Larson Family Winery, Carneros

A leader in the “Dog & Family Friendly” winery category, Larson Family is the perfect place to spend an afternoon without even having to think about a next stop. After you arrive and settle in it’s so easy to forget about the time and as the hours pass you’ll have an array of experiences you didn’t even know you had. Between the bocce court, the open lawn and family style setting and the yard adjacent to the vineyards where dogs and kids alike can roam free, the delicious wine is just the icing on the cake.

Customers often ask me about the size of an operation (small/boutique, medium or large) when it comes to some of their favorite wineries. This can be relative to quality and the smaller it is, often times that leads to a more hands-on and crafted approach to winemaking. Here is the quintessential boutique winery producing no more than 5k cases annually and contained to a small estate tucked away in the southern Sonoma landscape. It’s just around the corner from Gloria Ferrer and an exact contrast to how size impacts the overall experience. Both have their place and exciting offerings but Larson is where you can really come and let your hair down.

As we put aside our equipment for the afternoon we had John sit with us and tell us his story and the more than 120 year legacy of his family and the estate. This is exactly the experience that when I take a bottle home and drink it years later I can remember the richness of the day and the one-on-one time with such principles. Between their 3 different labels and 10 different varietals, what resonated with me most was their stylistic Chardonnays. Reason being, they’re in the beating heart of Carneros, which if you’ve read other posts is King and Queen of the AVA. Since Chardonnay varies this is the place to sip a few side by side, from light and more mineral driven, to medium-bodied and slightly oaked, to full and buttery. And since I come across so many people who claim to be “anti-Chard” (aka ABC), this is the tasting I usually suggest before you write them all off. Also you’ll find varietals you don’t really see in the area and a little treat if you’re spending a whole day drinking Chard and Pinot at your other stops in the area.

Being that they’re such a small winery you will no doubt be able to find these wines in the market. More of a suggestion to find the dirt road and sneak back and grab some bottles while enjoying the day at the source.

Thanks John, Luke and other John for taking such good care of us! Can’t wait to come back, maybe for some live music in the vineyard…

My Favorites/Suggested:

2012 Larson Family Sparkling Rose

2013 LF Tempranillo

Millerick, 3 Lab AND Larson Family Chardonnay – Side by side

*No Appointment Required; $-$$

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