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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 2018

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.


Argot Bastard Tongue Pinot Noir 2018

Argot Bastard Tongue Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Sonoma Pinot Noir.

Inheriting an unbroken string of success, the “Bastard Tongue” arrives fully-formed and ready to impress. Always a blend from multiple Pinot Noir vineyards, this iteration of “BT” was selected from three distinct sites, each making their own unique contribution of Sonoma County terroir to the wine’s character.

Exploding forth on a tidal wave of high-toned, intense red and black fruits, this is a Pinot Noir that no stemware can contain. The palate’s profound depth is balanced by an inherent freshness, allowing the wine to crackle with brambly energy, while sustained by bass notes of underbrush, black tea, pie spice and baker’s chocolate. A formidable rendition of “Bastard Tongue”, and a deserving successor to its line.

Night harvested by hand throughout September, cluster and berry sorted by hand, de-stemmed, no crushing. 7-day cold soaks, followed by native fermentation in open-top bins. Average time on the skins, 14 days. Aging 20 months in French oak, 100% new. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.

Very versatile for pairing. Goes well with grilled meat, vegetable, fish, poultry and cheese.

Review:

"A more limited production cuvée, the 2018 Pinot Noir Bastard Tongue is a big, ripe, sexy beast of a Pinot Noir delivering loads of black cherry and black raspberry fruit intermixed with plenty of spring flowers, sappy herb, and forest-like nuances. Full-bodied, it has a hedonistic, sweetly fruited style, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It doesn’t pull any punches yet stays balanced, textured, and a joy to drink. It should keep for 5-7 years or so.”

- Jeb Dunnuck, 95 pts



 95 Points
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
Black Oak Pinot Noir 2019

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 Sonoma Coast 2017

Bydand Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast  is made from 100% Pinot Noir

Aged for 16 months in 40% new French oak, 60% neutral French oak

Umino Vineyard is perched atop rolling hills overlooking the Petaluma Gap in Sebastopol, CA. Taking advantage of maritime influence this 11-acre vineyard benefits from warm sunshine throughout the day and cool coastal winds at night. Planted in 1996 to 4 Dijon Clones of Pinot Noir these vines produce wine of purity and balance. Exhibiting rich flavors and aromas of crushed rose petal, raspberry and cherry cola with earthy minerality and lively acidity.



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

Ferren Chardonnay Lancel Creek 2018

Lancel Creek Vineyard is perched above the tiny hamlet of Occidental on the remote Sonoma Coast. This secluded, two-acre site was prepared, planted, and is still tended by Ulises Valdez. The pale, off-white Goldridge soil provides just enough nutrients and moisture for these densely planted vines to ripen a small amount of intensely aromatic and flavorful Chardonnay. The vineyard faces the Pacific Ocean, a mere five miles to the west. The combined influence of the cold Pacific and the warming afternoon sun produces a wine of incredible richness and sublime balance.

Soil types: Goldridge, fine sandy loam.
Age of the vines: 15 years


Review:

Crushed lemon, poached pear, hazelnuts, and white flowers as well as incredible minerality emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay Lancel Creek Vineyard, one of the finest Sonoma Coast Chardonnay I've ever tasted. Intense, full-bodied, stunningly concentrated, and yet still ethereal and elegant, with incredible class and length on the palate, this is another sensational, magical Chardonnay from Ferren that should age nicely for 10-12 years, and I suspect even longer.

-Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points



 98 Points
Ferren Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2018

Ferren Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

100% native fermentation (primary and secondary), long cool fermentations often lasting up to a full year, minimal lees stirring, no additions of any kind (commercial yeast, water, acid, enzymes, etc., never any fining or filtration). Aged 18 months in 15% new French oak (Francois Freres, Vosges, Troncais Forrests)



Flanagan Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Flanagan Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The nose displays a pretty mix of violet, black fruits, orange blossom, and bergamot. On the palate the wine shows red and black current intermingled with mocha and earth notes. There is a ton of structure, and, at the same time, is very elegant. The texture feels “just right” with fine grained, supple, ripe tannins.

Flanagan Chardonnay Bacigalupi 2017

Flanagan Chardonnay Bacigalupi is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.

Just south of the winery, Bacigalupi Vineyard straddles Westside Road in the upper reach of Russian River Valley. The 125 acre vineyard encompasses a range of terroir, from heavier valley floor soil along the Russian River to alluvial clay loam on the rolling hillsides. The fruit is sourced from a superb block of 25 year-old Wente Clone vines located on the western slope of the site. Bacigalupi was the source of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that, famously, beat the French wines at the "Judgement of Paris" in 1976. Bacigalupi Chardonnay has a nose of lemon zest and vanilla bean. The palate opens with red pear and Meyer lemon, and brioche toast and honey comb notes on the finish. Like well-made Chardonnay from great vineyards around the world this wine benefits from getting some air, will age for years, and is best when served chilled around 50 degrees. This wine will evolve in the bottle for many years to come. A terrific wine from one of Sonoma County's top sites for Chardonnay.

Review:

"Fresh and floral, this bold, layered wine tastes of green apple, lemon and lime, with a pleasing bite of tartness on the midpalate. The acidity is persistent and supportive of the fleshy full-bodied nature of the tropical richness the wine otherwise presents. - Virginie Boone"
- Wine Enthusiast (August 2019), 91 pts

 Wine Enthusiast: 91
Flanagan Pinot Noir Platt Vineyard 2018

Flanagan Pinot Noir Platt Vineyard is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.

Platt sits 2.5-miles from the Coast and the vineyard cascades down a south facing ridgeline. The Goldridge Fine Sandy loam soils are the most sought after for Pinot Noir and afford excellent drainage. The wind blows reliably out of the west and provides good airflow which helps keep the grapes clean. The vineyard elevation ranges from 425-850 feet above sea level and is frequently (but not always) above the fog that fills the valley most every morning.

Flanagan Pinot Noir Platt Vineyard is a compelling expression of what is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest vineyard sites in California. The wine has a brilliant color and the fruit character, despite the very cool site, is explosive. The nose offers a rich bouquet of ripe cranberry, cola, and a hint of spice. The palate shows very clean dark red fruit with a silky, persistent finish. Incredible acidity, a beautiful mouthfeel, and an incredible purity of fruit character make this a reference point wine.


Flanagan Russian River Chardonnay 2016

Textured, classic Russian River Chardonnay with pleasing counterbalance between ripeness and acidity,distinguishable by underlying minerality, quality oak.

The nose is a blend of pear fruit and caramel. On the palate, these notes continue and are balanced with a hint of Rangbur lime in the finish. The crisp acidity is a perfect balance to the richness of the wine. This is to my mind exactly what RRV CH can be when top sites are well farmed and winemaking is focused.

Eric Flanagan and his family live on the vineyard property the Chardonnay comes from.

Flanagan Sonoma Pinot Noir 2016

Our 2015 Flanagan Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast continued the string of “winemaker vintages” that started with the 2012 vintage. For the third year in a row, there were no damaging weather events and fruit condition was excellent. We continue to do relatively short fermentations with some whole cluster additions. The wine was aged in Francois Freres and Rousseau barrels for 12 months.

This wine is the first that includes fruit from our two new vineyard designate sites. Both Sunchase and Sonoma Stage are well regarded, cool climate Sonoma Coast vineyards and in 2014 both produced abundant, ripe, clean fruit. The resulting wine is reflective of the cooler climate sites and shows more restraint and more elegance than the 2013 Pinot Noir. The fruits are focused on black cherry and nearly ripe black plum (sweet, but crisp and not flabby). We used a gentler touch on the oak to allow the great vineyard sites and the beautiful vintage to shine through.

Flanagan Syrah 2016

Flanagan Syrah is made from 100 percent Syrah.

The Flanagan Syrah Bennett Valley opens with notes of white pepper, cherry blossom, and Bay Leaf. The palate has ripe black fruit, bacon fat, and Herbs de Provence with a surprising amount of tannin structure for New World Syrah. The wine is ripe and generous and retains great acids. The small berries produced from the steep, volcanic hillside site gives the wine great color and concentration. This is a wine that can stand proudly with top Syrah from around the world.

Aged in 100% French oak barrels from Allier Centre France cooperage with 15% new barrels.

Review:

"Impressive dark fruit in the blackberry zone and sweetly fragrant spices with hints of pepper and oak toast. The palate has a very supple and juicy edge with a suave, plush and smoothly delivered, black-cherry and blackberry core of flavor. Drink or hold."

- James Suckling (November 2018), 94 pts

 94 Points
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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