AWG Correspondent

Tom Riley

Lambert Bridge Winery Photos

Lambert Bridge Winery Review

Regions: Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley AVA, California

Reviewed: July 27, 2013 by Tom Riley
Published: August 4, 2013

I like wineries that understand hospitality, wineries that take a subtle but undeniably professional approach to ensuring the comfort of their guests.

I like wineries that offer exceptional wines but don’t remind you of how wonderful they are every five seconds.

I like wineries where, once your tasting is finished, you try to find ways to stick around just a little bit longer.

Maybe that’s why I like Lambert Bridge so much.

Nestled in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley, just a few miles northwest of Healdsburg, the hub of Northern Sonoma County, where the Dry Creek, Russian River, and Alexander Valleys converge, Lambert Bridge is one of the brighter stars in Sonoma County’s wine constellation. Situated on property first developed in 1915 by C. L. Lambert and owned by the Chambers Family since 1975, Lambert Bridge is, despite its relative youth, one of the oldest post-Prohibition wineries in Dry Creek Valley.

Surrounded by a grove of pines and set on a rise overlooking a wide lawn and rows of vines across the road, the winery has a rustic, almost retro feel, which is accented by the antique trucks parked out front. Whenever I visit Lambert Bridge, I am delighted by the calm there. Whether the parking lot is empty or full, there is a gentle, relaxed feeling to the place that seems to say, “Thanks for stopping by. Glad you could make it.”

Inside the vaulted, redwood-paneled tasting room, you enjoy a warm welcome. Some of the warmth comes from the large fieldstone fireplace on your right, and some of it comes from the furry welcoming committee usually found taking up a good portion of floor space. Bernie, a St. Bernard, and Wile E., a Great Pyrenees, love visitors, but they embody Lambert Bridge’s laid-back attitude completely. Still, in true Lambert Bridge fashion, they can be as friendly and hospitable as any of their winery colleagues. When they’re awake that is.

There are two tastings offered at Lambert Bridge -- the Classic, which for $15 provides five current release wines, and the Signature, which for $25 offers more exclusive wines, including small production lots and reserve labels. On the weekends the Signature tasting is conducted in the winery’s candle-lit barrel room. My friend and I visited during the middle of the week so no barrel room for us. But we did want to get the full Lambert Bridge experience so we splurged and did both menus.

Pouring for us was Shelby, the wine club manager. We could not have hoped for a better guide: knowledgeable, friendly, full of information on all things Lambert Bridge, and effortlessly patient despite our seemingly endless barrage of questions. My experience of Lambert Bridge wines before this visit had been limited to one or two of their excellent reds. Our time with Shelby not only confirmed my belief in their red wines, but opened my eyes to the several wonderful white wines they produce. Sauvignon blanc, viognier, and chardonnay are all expertly crafted and show both elegance and great varietal typicity. These wines come with relatively substantial price tags; happily, unlike too many other costly labels, Lambert Bridge backs up these numbers with notable quality. In the ten wines we tasted, there was not a bad sip to be had.

While I was impressed with both the sauvignon blanc and the chardonnay, I think my favorite wine of the day had to be one of their zins, either the 2010 Forchini Vineyard or the 2010 Maple Vineyard. Both these wines balance power and restraint, providing all the sleek strength good zinfandels possess, but also an elegance that steered far from the overblown jamminess that too many of these wines still suffer from.

After we finished our tasting and shopped for wine, and after we had Shelby take our picture in the barrel room, and after we petted the dogs and browsed the picnic coolers, and after we said good-bye a second time, we were almost ready to leave. That is, after we strolled the gardens and the front lawn and then took some more pictures. After all this, we finally got in the car, almost set for our next Sonoma winery adventure, but not quite.

Yeah, I really like Lambert Bridge.

Address & Contact Information: 4085 W. Dry Creek Rd. Healdsburg, California 95448. Telephone: 707-431-9600, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 10:30-4:30.

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