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Wine from California (Sonoma County)

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Wine from California (Sonoma County)

Sonoma County is located in the northern coast of California. The region is the largest of the nine San Francisco Bay counties. It is home to over 60, 300 acres of grape vineyards. About 75 percent of agriculture in Sonoma County is dedicated to growing wine and grapes. Sonoma County has wide variety of weather conditions and soils. Certain grapes grow in cooler and warmer areas of the region, providing wide range of grape varietals that get harvested and produced.

Widely planted winegrapes are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel among many more.

Winegrowing production in Sonoma County started back in the 1800s when Russian Colonists planted the first grapes in the Sonoma Coast. Shortly after, several thousands of vines were planted. In the 1900s, Sonoma County grew up to 250 wineries. Since the 1960s up to the present time, demand and taste for wine has continued to grow, making Sonoma County an important region for wine and grape production.

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Ancien Pinot Noir Russian River Jouissance 2019

Ancien Pinot Noir Russian River Jouissance is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. 

Jouissance comes from the southwestern corner of the appellation, only nominally protected by the coastal hills and open to the maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean, is the single source for these grapes. The soils here are sandy loam and very well drained, typical for the Russian River Valley. The cooler sections of Russian River, near Sebastopol, are known for producing explosive and aromatic fruit flavors balanced with acidity and earthy aromas. All seventeen rows are planted with Dijon 115 clone, nudging the wine toward perfumed aromas and light spice notes as a compliment to the lush fruitiness derived from the soils.

Notes of strawberry and tart pie cherry are accompanied by notes of sweet vanillin, toasted hazelnut and coffee as an introduction to this joyfully juicy blend of rich fruit and earthy spice. The wine opens to a well integrated mid-palate of dark berries, toffee and cassis. The broad palate is elevated and brightened with a mouthwatering acidity that welcomes this wine to the table. Sassafras, herbal notes and baking spices are revealed in the satisfying finish.


Review:


"Enticing, with succulent griotte, loganberry and anise notes driving through, while lightly singed apple wood and bramble accents underscore the finish, where the fruit takes a full encore. Drink now through 2030. 308 cases made. - JM"

- Wine Spectator (August 2022), 93 pts



 Wine Spectator: 93
Argot Chardonnay Sonoma County 2018

Argot Chardonnay Sonoma County is made from 100 percent Chardonnay. 

Pouring a green-tinted gold, our Sonoma County Chardonnay is a beautiful wine from word go. Radiating from within, a blast of apple/pear fruit informs this wine both aromatically, and on the palate. As flavors unfurl, a progression of orange blossom, pineapple, white peach, and hazlenut are followed by a finish dominated by ginger, baked apple, with a trailing kiss of mint’s freshness. A stunning wine — wholly informed by the perfection of 2018’s growing season — defined by its dichotomy of massively intense flavors, and superb acidity and freshness.

 Raised by minimalistic methods, often associated with the classic Chardonnay winemaking techniques of Meursault. With a focus on the coolest Chardonnay region in Sonoma County, 2018’s long, even growing season favored our vineyards’ moderate climate, old vines and deep volcanic soils. These grapes were allowed an extended ripening period on the vine, resulting in perfect balance and concentrated flavors.





Argot Mosaic Pinot Noir 2016

Argot Mosaic Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

Sourced from both high-elevation and valley floor vineyards, located in the cool-climate AVAs of Sonoma Mountain, Bennett Valley and Petaluma Gap. A drama-free growing season allowed for a leisurely harvest of perfectly ripe, healthy fruit. Low-stress, clean ferments, led to an exceptionally pure Pinot Noir, laden with fruit, earth and spice.

Review:

"Medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Mosaic has a pretty nose of pink peppercorn, herbs and dusty earth over a core of savory black fruit and spices. Medium-bodied, it gives good layers of flavors in the mouth with concentrated black fruits and loads of spice, grainy tannins to support and a long, lingering finish. Yum! 600 cases produced.. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 92+ pts

 Wine Advocate: 92
Argot Mosaic Pinot Noir 2017

Argot Mosaic Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

Sourced from both high-elevation and valley floor vineyards, located in the cool-climate AVAs of Sonoma Mountain, Bennett Valley and Petaluma Gap. A drama-free growing season allowed for a leisurely harvest of perfectly ripe, healthy fruit. Low-stress, clean ferments, led to an exceptionally pure Pinot Noir, laden with fruit, earth and spice.


Argot Mosaic Syrah 2016

Argot Mosaic Syrah  is made from 87% Syrah, 13% Grenache (10 years old)

An impressively rich, intensely flavored wine with significant body and structure. A Syrah that hearkens to the wild, spice-driven Syrahs of the Southern Rhone.

Review:

"Refined and stylish, featuring a complex core wrapped in multilayered blackberry and blueberry flavors, laced with bitter chocolate, black licorice and smoky meat notes. Drink now through 2030.- Tim FISH"
- Wine Spectator Insider (January 15th 2020), 93 PTS

 Wine Spectator: 93
Argot Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2018

Argot Pinot Noir Sonoma County is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

Everything you have come to expect from an Argot Pinot Noir, shone through the filter of a textbook-perfect vintage. We simply can not get over the quality of fruit this wine displays! Intense, yet fresh; fruity, yet spicy; brambly, yet juicy; immediate, yet lingering. A Pinot Noir that displays the variety’s natural come-hither attitude, while succinctly capturing its intriguing nature. There are not enough superlatives to describe this wine. Almost too easy to love!

VINEYARD   Multiple vineyards throughout Sonoma County, including both valley floor and high-elevation hillside sites
PRODUCTION   600 cases
VARIETAL   100% Pinot Noir
CRUSH   Night harvested by hand beginning in mid-September, concluding at our coolest sit on October 13. Cluster and berry sorted by hand, de-stemmed, no crushing
FERMENT   7-day cold soaks, followed by native fermentation in open-top containers, with the grapes fermenting on their skins for an average time of 14 days.
AGING   16 months, French oak barrels, 7% new, remainder once-used.  Never racked prior to bottling.  Bottled un-fined, unfiltered.
NOTES Singularly great. 2018 was an all-time vintage for California’s North Coast, achieving rarely before experienced heights. A mild summer gave way to Autumnal perfection, allowing cooler areas the opportunity to ripen their crop while chemistries remained perfect. What arrives in bottle is nothing short of a pinnacle representation of Sonoma County Pinot Noir — profound depth of pure, red Pinot Noir fruits, caressing textures balanced by deep minerality and a quenching acidity.




Argot Posted Syrah 2016

No Syrah terroir in Sonoma County compares with Sonoma Mountain’s northwest crown—cool fog-affected mornings, sun-bathed afternoons, cooled by persistent coastal breezes, and temperate evenings. The soils in Steiner’s Syrah blocks — ashy and moondust-like, littered with decomposing sea bed — further contribute to the unique nature of this site. After a 3-vintage hiatus, I am thrilled to be back working with Steiner Vineyard’s Syrah. By its nature, this slow-to-ripen, cool-climate site produces fabulously deep, intense, structured wines. Now, raising a big, brawny Syrah is no rare act of alchemy. It is the wonder of Steiner’s terroir — a magical elegance and beauty, informing the inherent power, depth and intensity — that makes this bottling so special. 2016 produced a classic wine that deftly balances massive flavors and texture, while retaining vital freshness, and a palpable sense of cool. Production was low, so get it while you can. Simply a “WOW” wine, not to be missed.

VINEYARD: Steiner Vineyard. Located at 1,100 ft, on the northwest crown of Sonoma Mountain. CRUSH: Early morning harvest by hand, October 1st, cluster and berry sorted, destemmed and crushed. FERMENT: 5-day cold soaks, followed by 14 day native fermentation in open-top bins. AGING: 20 months, French oak, 100% new, mixture of 300L hogsheads and barrique shapes. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.

Review:

"Refined and stylish, featuring a complex core wrapped in multilayered blackberry and blueberry flavors, laced with bitter chocolate, black licorice and smoky meat notes. Drink now through 2030.- Tim FISH"
- Wine Spectator Insider (January 15th 2020), 93 PTS

 Wine Spectator: 93
Argot Simpatico Ranch Chardonnay 2019

Argot Simpatico Ranch Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.

Powerful aromas of key-lime, white flowers, orange blossoms and a fierce, flinty, sauvage note define a wildly complex nose. Once in the mouth, gracefully pronounced textures coat the palate delivering an exotic interpretation of cool-climate Chardonnay character — lime peel, orange blossom, ginger and clove —lingerings deep into a vibrant finish.

Planted 1978. Shallow volcanic soils on the gently-sloped, south-facing foothills of Bennett Peak on Bennett Valley’s floor. One of California’s coolest Chardonnay vineyards. In the final year of 3-year draught cycle, Simpatico Ranch saw its earliest ever harvest and smallest crop, exposing a reserve of exoticism and minerality previously untapped. A watershed vintage for both the vineyard, and appellation. Night harvested by hand on 9/16, whole-cluster pressed direct to barrel; no settling to ensure maximum lees contact. Barrel fermented on heavy lees. Malolactic fermentation. 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Finished 2 months in steel tank, low Sulphur during barrel elevage.

Review:


There are 225 cases of the 2019 Chardonnay Simpatico Ranch, which is from a cooler, higher elevation site in Sonoma. Lots of peach, tangerine, honeyed minerality, and toasted hazelnuts all emerge from the glass, and while I don't think it matches the 2018, it's a brilliant Chardonnay offering medium to full-bodied richness, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. It's beautifully balanced and is going to keep for at least 5-7 years."

- Jeb Dunnuck (September 2021), 94 pts

 94 Points
Arrowood Vineyards Reserve Speciale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Arrowood Vineyards Reserve Speciale Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon.

Introduced to the nose with seductive dark fruit and aromas of blackberry, fresh fig, and licorice, this wine is rich in complexities. Fresh notes of Bing cherry and violet also surface as the wine breathes. Framed by a firm structure and silky elegance, the persisting texture defines what makes this wine the Reserve Speciale. The power behind this wine ingratiates itself to the entire palate—dark chocolate and nutmeg outline baking spices and plum. And a lingering finish will carry on long afterwards. The long barrel aging and year in bottle before release guarantee its readiness to drink. However, those that hold onto it will be rewarded, with an aging potential of 20+ years.

Review:

The deep purple-black colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Speciale (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) sings of fresh blackcurrants, warm plums, mulberries and black raspberries with touches of cedar chest, pencil lead, underbrush and sautéed herbs. Full-bodied and laden with black fruits and earth layers, it has a firm, grainy structure and a long, earthy finish. 715 cases produced.

-Wine Advocate 96 Points




 Wine Advocate: 96
Belle Glos Dairyman Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021

Dairyman Vineyard is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. 

Dark plum in color with abundant aromas of dark chocolate, black cherry, and sun-ripened blackberry with a hint of cedar. Layered flavors of blackberry and raspberry pie filling, accompanied by notes of cinnamon, chocolate, and nutmeg play on the palate. Smooth and focused with refined tannins and a medium finish.

Black Oak Pinot Noir NV

Black Oak Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. 

The Black Oak Pinot Noir is a glowing example of what they do best in Puglia, make great wine. Deep ruby in color with a lovely bouquet of sweet spices, even a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavors are flowing with ripe black cherry. This medium-bodied wine with its fresh acidity will complement many meal selections.

Bydand Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2016

Bydand Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is made from 100% Chardonnay

Aged for 16 months in 30% new French oak, 70% neutral French oak

Farmed by one of California’s most respected and longest operating grape-growing families, the Roberts Road Vineyard is located in the Petaluma Gap. Sitting on well draining gravel soils, coastal winds allow for a long, slow and even growing season. Planted in 1998 these Dijon 95 grapes provide minerality and vibrancy to a full-bodied wine with impressive purity of flavor and mouth-feel. French oak barrels add subtle toast to aromas of pear, stone fruits and white citrus.

Review:

"Dark gold in color, this wine is densely layered in ripe peach and rich butterscotch. The oak is hearty yet well-integrated, adding to the overall structure and power of the wine. - Virginie Boone "
- Wine Enthusiast (July 2020), 90 pts

 Wine Enthusiast: 90
Bydand Pinot Noir Umino Vineyard 2017

Bydand Pinot Noir Umino Vineyard is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

This small, sustainably farmed vineyard perches on a south-facing ridge in the Sebastopol Hills area of the esteemed Russian River Valley AVA, and has produced exceptional Pinot Noir for Bydand since their first vintage. Third-generation farmer David Umino rejected early assessments that the site was too cool for viticulture, and planted Pinot Noir there in 1996. The cold maritime winds in fact help to modulate ripening, and protect the grape’s natural purity and balance - resulting in fruit-driven wines with expressive red fruit and dark berry flavors, balanced with crushed rock and mouth-watering freshness. Velvety tannins coat the palate, providing an alluring and persistent finish.



This site combines the best of the earthy west Sonoma Coast and well-fruited Russian River.


Review:

"Dark and rich in blackberry and cherry, this wine is lightly dusted in cardamom and cinnamon, with bold intensity and lasting richness. The site shows through in its elegance
and power. - VIRGINIE BOONE"
- Wine Enthusiast (December 2020), 92 pts

Chappellet Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay 2020

Chappellet Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay. 

The Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay draws you in with alluring aromas of tropical flowers, summer melon, nectarine, lemon zest and guava, as well as French oak-inspired hints of melted butter and baking spices. On the palate, finely tuned acidity and a creamy, mouth-filling texture add depth and nuance to lush layers of stone fruit, lemon custard, pineapple and passionfruit, all of which culminate in a lingering fruit and spice finish.


Review:

The 2020 Chardonnay Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard is floral, with delicate tropical fruit of melon, orange blossom, and sweet baking spice. The palate is medium-bodied, with a silky texture and notes of toasted vanilla bean, ripe pear, and almond. A well-made wine, it cleans up with lingering floral perfume. Drink 2022-2030.

-Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points


 91 Points
Chappellet Grower Collection Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir 2019

Chappellet Grower Collection Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

Displaying the alluring essence of great Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, this wine is both opulent and complex, with gorgeous aromas of ripe plum, bright cherry, black tea, anise and clove, along with hints of sweet, toasted oak and dried herbs. On the palate, supple tannins and a silky texture add depth and richness to the juicy dark berry flavors, with notes of hibiscus and tarragon emerging during the long, satisfying finish.

 Review:

I loved the 2019 Pinot Noir Chappellet Grower Collection Dutton Ranch, which comes from a notable site in the Russian River Valley and was raised in 45% new French oak. Ample black cherries, redcurrants, toasted spices, underbrush, and orange tea notes all emerge from the glass, and it has nicely integrated oak, medium body, ripe, polished tannins, and a great finish. This is another terrific Pinot Noir from this estate that brings classic California fruit yet in a balanced, elegant, classically built package.

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points

 94 Points
Davies Nobles Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018

J. Davies Nobles Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. 

The Nobles Pinot Noir starts off with aromas of rich strawberry, black cherry and Earl Grey tea, followed gracefully with coriander and exotic spices. The palate offers a juicy mid-palate of blueberry and plum layered with mocha and rhubarb, closing with a long-integrated acidity.

Review:

Elegant and pure-tasting, with red berry, plum and raspberry flavors that are well-structured. Toasty midpalate, with a rich finish that offers spicy minerality. Drink now through 2026.
-Wine Spectator 92 Points

 Wine Spectator: 92
DuMol Ryan Pinot Noir Jentoft Vineyard 2019

When we consider the potential of a piece of land to grow world-class wine, we immerse ourselves in the physical characteristics of soil type, depth, texture and drainage, slope aspect, sun exposure, et cetera—myriad complex details. On site potential alone, Jentoft likely sits at the top of our entire vineyard portfolio. 

The site’s coastal marine soils are remarkably shallow with underlying sandstone bedrock poking through the topsoil. Lean, “boney” soils generally yield low-vigor vines and powerful wines, and that’s what we have here. The potential is incredible, and now that these vines are mature, we’re seeing the promise realized.

Our new vintage of Jentoft Vineyard Ryan Pinot Noir is highly evocative of this steep hillside site high in the coastal mountains surrounded by the forest. To me, it represents the essence of coastal Russian River Pinot Noir: intensity, vibrancy, deeply pitched fruits with pulsating acidity and an incredible length of flavor. We’ve bottled Ryan Pinot Noir from several sites since 2002 , and this is the pinnacle of achievement for this wine so far.

The wine opens with a sense of tiny dark intense wild berries, tart and explosive, pine needle freshness and hints of cedar amplifying the aromas. The palate is sappy, dark and elevated with Rainier cherry, cassis and huckleberry fruits. There’s laser-like intensity to the wine’s driving flavors as they expand along the dry, firm palate, exotic floral, gravelly nuances extending the lingering finish. No need to decant. Drink between 2020 and 2027. 

Review:

Another Russian River cuvée, the 2019 Pinot Noir Jentoft Vineyard Ryan is a deeper ruby, translucent color and has a gorgeous array of black raspberry and cherry fruits supported by ample spice box, savory flowers, rose petals, and dried bouquet garni-like nuances. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and fleshy, with the more rounded, supple style of the vintage, it's ideal for enjoying over the coming 7-8 years, probably longer, but there's no need to delay gratification more than a year or two. - Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points


 96 Points
Dutton-Goldfield Rued Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Dutton-Goldfield Rued Vineyard Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay. 

The nose leads with tangerine, apricot, and kiwi fruit, accented by lemon oil, orange blossom, and hazelnut. In the mouth, the fruit/floral and bright/rich theme continues, with the lychee and Meyer lemon top notes joined by Asian pear and Gravenstein apple, framed with honeysuckle and gardenia.

The dual nature of the wine makes it pair well with both rich and light fare, like lobster roll, roasted pork, or sautéed sole.

Review:

From a clone once called the Chardonnay Musque selection, this wine is highly aromatic and fresh. Juicy tropical fruit and tangerine flavors remain crisp and brilliant, leading to a complex midpalate of Meyer lemon and pear. The finish is topped by lasting, lingering layers of hazelnut.

- Wine Enthusiast 94 Points

 Wine Enthusiast: 94
EnRoute Winery Brumaire Chardonnay 2021

EnRoute Winery Brumaire Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay. 

From the inviting lemon peel and passion fruit perfume to the silky palate filled with notes of tropical guava, white peach blossom, and nectarine, the 2020 EnRoute Brumaire is at once opulent and elegant. Full and generous, with juicy acidity, cool mineral accents – think wet slate and crushed shell – and a lifted vanilla and toffee finish, this is a vintage with presence.

EnRoute Winery Les Pommiers Pinot Noir 2021

EnRoute Winery Les Pommiers Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. 

This extraordinary vintage of Les Pommiers Pinot Noir offers balance, concentration, and harmony. Delicate violet and ripe strawberry aromatics open onto a full, silky palate framed by seamless tannins and vibrant acidity. Notes of confectionary spice and toasted oak accents lead into a finish that is lovely and lifted.

 


Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay 2018

Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.

With mild temperatures leading to a long growing season and a surprise-free harvest, the 2018 vintage can only be described as idyllic. Alternating spells of cool and warm weather during bloom led to varying berry sizes, perfect for developing complexity in Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. Morning fog, afternoon sunshine and a lack of heat spikes throughout the summer allowed for a long ripening period that developed fruit with excellent natural acidity and beautiful flavors.

Mouth-filling citrus, orange blossom and lemon flavors highlight the 2018 season with a textural mineral note gliding across the finish. This is a year marked by brilliant natural acidity, so don’t be afraid of laying some 2018 Chardonnay down for the future.

With age comes maturity and beauty. Our Camp Meeting Ridge Estate vineyards are nearly 30 years old and among the longest standing in the area. Their robust root systems give them a depth and resilience that allow the vines to flourish in raw conditions. They express the unique traits of the setting where they grow. In 2018, our vineyards gave us everything we could have hoped for, and we did our best not to get in the way. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from this vintage are profoundly complex wines that convey the nuances of a specific time and place.

Sourced entirely from our organic and biodynamically farmed Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard. Planted in 1991, these “older” vines are producing our most exciting and interesting Chardonnays to date. Given the extremes of this site, each small block ripens at its own pace. Picked by hand in the foggy frigidness of the early morning, fruit integrity and temperature were ensured for a whole cluster pressing by sunrise.


Review:

Coming from the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation, the 2018 Chardonnay Camp Meeting Ridge is more mineral-laced, with a touch of marine-like iodine in its orchard and citrus fruits. Nicely textured and medium to full-bodied, with bright acidity, it's going to benefit from a year (or two) in bottle and should keep for a solid 7-8 years or more.

-Jeb Dunnuck 94+ Points


 94 Points
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