Cool climate grapes. Spectacular vineyard sources. Welcome to the roller coaster that is Montagne Russe.
The story of “Montagne Russe” (mon-ton-yah roos) – or “Roller Coaster” in French, is indeed an entertaining one with many ups and downs! Kevin Bersofsky, Owner and Winemaker, began his budding career as a garagiste (garage) winemaker in 2006. After learning that his “premium” grape source – stolen from behind a library in St. Helena – had been suffering from phylloxera for many years, it was obvious why his wines were less than stellar. He continued making garage wine, but the grape quality got much better. A Syrah he labeled “Three Balls In” after a bocce reference, was the true launchpad for what is now Montagne Russe.
In a bizarre stroke of bad luck in 2013, Kevin was forced to dump 1,200 bottles of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Pinot Noir on the ground. But he picked himself up after this “traumatic experience”, said goodbye to the garage, and officially launched Montagne Russe.
The winery is now well known for their small-production wines from cool climate regions such as the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. The team hand-picks their relatively tiny vineyards, properties that specialize in their craft and are known for producing exceptional grapes. Of one vineyard partner, Kevin notes, “The Alarids (owners of Tondre Grapefield) are solid salt of the earth people. They are farmers at heart who put their soul into the soil.”
Montagne Russe now shares space with the likes of the Aubert’s, Kistler’s, Rochiolli’s, and other heavy hitters. The wines have earned very impressive accolades over the years, garnering numerous 93-95 point ratings from critics such as James Suckling, Robert Parker and the San Francisco Chronicle.
The “Roller Coaster” is the perfect description of this inspired team’s journey and a fitting name for the winery. Now, after twelve years of thrilling winemaking experiences, Kevin has learned to enjoy the ride, with both hands in the air.
Did we mention he actually designed roller coasters as an engineering undergraduate?
Visit Montagne Russe tasting room at the newly opened Bacchus Landing in Healdsburg!