Last updated on November 18, 2023
As the Thanksgiving Holiday approaches, many contemplate the best wine to serve to make our Thanksgiving feast memorable. Halleck Vineyard, a small Sebastopol winery, comes to mind. Many of their wines lend themselves to creating a unique and excellent accompaniment to the Thanksgiving dinner. Not only does the wine lend itself to the cuisine, but the story behind Halleck and its Inner Circle, a wine club about sharing experiences, represents what Thanksgiving is all about.
Ross and Jennifer Halleck came into the wine business by sheer luck. Ross owned a branding agency in Menlo Park. Many of his clients were wineries located in Napa and Sonoma. Through visits with those clients, he developed a love of wine. Ross decided to move to wine country and commute to work in 1990. He purchased a 5-acre property in Sebastopol that became his home. On a whim, he decided to plant Pinot Noir grapes, and with no experience and a little good fortune, his vineyard became a success. Today, Ross describes himself as a new-world winemaker creating an old-world style.
Although Ross and Jennifer are now divorced, they are still business partners and friends working together in every aspect of their winery. What started as a college fund for their boys became a way of life through their involvement with the community and sharing experiences around a bottle of wine.
Halleck Vineyard Gewürztraminer
When Ross was in his twenties, he lived in Kenya. At the time, Indian food was not popular in the United States, but a large population of people from India lived in Kenya. There were several places to eat Indian food in Kenya. Ross discovered Indian food during his stay. The cuisine includes chutneys and curry. The perfect pairing for these dishes is Gewürztraminer. When Ross returned to the United States, he learned to cook Indian food. Since he wanted wine to pair with this cuisine, he decided to produce his own Gewürztraminer. The Gewürztraminer is the Halleck fastest-selling wine at Thanksgiving because pairing the wine with cranberry sauce is similar to chutney, making the cuisine a great match.
2022 Calandrelli Dry Gewürztraminer, Russian River Valley: I found a wonderfully dry Gewürztraminer with floral aromas and notes of ripe fruits. The wine displayed subtle, savory flavors of honeysuckle and ginger spices on the palate. For a Gewürztraminer, it is very smooth and well-balanced. It is one of my favorites when it comes to this variety.
Halleck Vineyard Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc
Ross has always been intrigued by Sancerre and wanted to make a Sauvignon Blanc in the French style. The story behind the name “Little Sister” occurred after selling out of their Estate Pinot Noir; they went to a neighbor and purchased Pinot Noir, which became Three Sons Cuvee Pinot Noir. The Halleck’s described this wine as the “little brother” to their Estate Grown Pinot Noir. The success of their Estate Pinot Noir, enabled them to purchase Sauvignon Blanc from another neighbor. Thus, it became the “Little Sister.” Like the community they built, family is another important aspect of the Halleck philosophy.
2021 Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley Sonoma County: Picking the grapes early, 30 percent of this cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc ferments and ages for six weeks in neutral oak. The lush mouthfeel is accented by crisp acidity, tropical notes, and herbaceous qualities.
Halleck Vineyard Not Your Mother’s Dry White Zinfandel
Many of the Halleck Inner Circle members wanted a Rosé. Ross did not care for the Rosés created in the United States, but when he discovered the Rosé of Provence, he decided to produce a wine that reflected that style. Halleck’s Rosé is unique because of its aspirations for being a French Rosé, but instead uses a non-traditional grape, Zinfandel.
2021 Not Your Mother’s Dry White Zinfandel Russian River Valley Sonoma County: The Zinfandel grapes for this wine are grown specifically to create a Rosé. I found a dry Rosé with floral notes. On the palate, the wine displays bright and fresh qualities with hints of strawberry and cherry accented with a sweet finish.
Other Halleck Vineyard Wines – Pinot Noir
Since Halleck Vineyard is known for its Pinot Noir, it behooves those with a hankering for Pinot Noir to consider augmenting their Thanksgiving feast with one of Halleck’s Pinot Noirs.
2018 Pinot Noir Three Sons Cuvee Russian River Valley Sonoma County: Honoring Ross and Jennifer’s three sons and affectionately called “Little Brother,” this wine blends Pinot Noir from three vineyards Halleck sources grapes. With floral aromas and flavors of cherries, and hints of baking spices, this wine displays a bright demeanor and is very drinkable.
2019 Pinot Noir Clone 828 Sonoma Coast: The wine exhibits more structure as a single vineyard clone. The character is brooding with dark fruit flavors.
Thanksgiving Dinner 2022
The wines of Halleck Vineyard will compliment your Thanksgiving feast with unique flavors, making your holiday memorable. Thanksgiving is a social holiday that brings friends and family together. As we share wine and converse, we share special experiences like Halleck’s community becoming part of their Inner Circle.