Author: Joe Filutze & Alma Callan
Sonoma is home to countless wineries and many of them Boutique wineries that produce incredible wines. Canihan winery is one of those hidden gems that should not be overlooked. We met winery owner Bill Canihan at his vineyard property and were greeted cheerfully. Bill gave us the history of his family and the events that led to their migration to the Sonoma Valley. The 20 acre property was purchased in 1975 by the Canihan family and accommodates a beautiful home, water tower, and a historical barn built in the late 1800’s. The barn left a remarkable impression on us as Bill described some of the history of the barn and the estate. Located in the front center of the property, the house and barn are surrounded by 20 acres of beautiful vineyards. Bill explained how his family planted the vineyards in the late 1990’s and how the varietals were strategically placed to gain the greatest benefits for their wines. We also had the pleasure of meeting Winemaker Alexandra Romanini. Alexandra also greeted us graciously and we felt very much at home. Alexandra walked us through the vineyards and explained how the varietals were planted and cared for, and how their farming techniques defined them as a sustainable and organic wine producer. The care and management of their vineyards was evident by the passion that Alexandra expressed. The vineyards are home to Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Viognier varietals which supply Canihan wines with their delicious unique characteristics. Canihan started their first production in 2004 at about 320 cases total, 100 cases of Pinot Noir and 220 cases of Syrah. Canihan wines currently produce a little over 1000 cases a year, approximately 700 cases of Pinot Noir and 300-400 cases of Syrah. Winemaker Alexandra Romanini achieves great results in her wines and her Pinot Noir and Syrah are Canihan’s signature wines. All Canihan wines are organic certified by the CCOF California Certified Organic Farmers since 2008, which have attributed to their sustainable farming standards. The vineyards are dry-farmed according to winemaker Alexandra Romanini and no chemicals or pesticides are used on their grapes. The wines are proof of this as they have full rich fruit with soft tannins and smooth finishes. Canihan wines have achieved several notable awards including Gold and Double Gold awards for Best of show in the 2014 and 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition, and the 2015 World Wine Championships Tastings (Gold), along with other prominent gold awards in the 2015 Pinot Noir Shootout, the Vintners Club Blind tastings, and Beverage Testing Institute.
Canihan Family Wines 2012 Canihan Family Pinot Noir – Gold Medal Winner is aged in French Oak Barrels for 18 months and has notes of spices, dark fruit, Earl Grey tea and dark chocolate. This is a bold and spicy wine with great finishes. 14% Alcohol. 2010 Exuberance Syrah - Gold and Silver Medal Winner is aged in 90% French Oak and 10% Hungarian Oak Barrels for 20 months. This big and bold Syrah is rich and has flavor profiles of sweet berries and persuasive tannins with a great finish. 13.5% Alcohol. 2011 Exuberance Syrah – Gold and Double Gold Medal Winner is aged in 100% French Oak Barrels for 22 months. This exceptional wine is very pleasing to the palate and has aromas of herbs and floral characteristics accompanied by spice, white pepper and dark chocolate. This sophisticated Syrah is a well-defined and graceful wine. 13.5% Alcohol. 2012 Exuberance Pinot Noir – Gold Medal Winner is aged in 100% French Oak for 18 months. This Pinot Noir is definitely a keeper with a wonderful inviting nose of berries. Upon first sip you feel the multiple layers of blackberry and cherry. It has a little spice to it that rounds it of as a very pleasing easy drinking Pinot Noir. 14.2% Alcohol. Canihan Estate wines are definitely award winning as the quality of grapes and accomplished winemaking are evident in their wines. The combination of passion, hard work and experience expressed by Bill and Alexandra can only lead to success and we wish them the best in future vintages.
When we asked Bill to describe his winery, he responded “We are a modest small winery, with excellent wines”.
Canihan Family Wines are available for purchase through their online wine club at:
Or by contacting Bill Canihan at: firstname.lastname@example.org