Category Archives: Sonoma Coast

Grand Daddy of California Wine Events: Family Winemakers San Francisco

The major stars of the tasting for me, with strong lineups overall and one or more wines rating 93 points or higher, were Bien Nacido, Benovia, Chateau Montelena, Grgich Hills, Herb Lamb, Kaena, Keenan, Ladera, Lagier Meredith, Lamborn Family, L’Aventure, Ottimino, Paloma, Saxon Brown, Seavey, Thomas Fogarty and Vino Noceto. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

California Wines Showing More Balance: SF Family Winemakers Tasting

What was noteworthy for me among the wines I tasted was a decline in the overripe versions of these wines that had come to dominate production over the last two decades. Due, I’m sure, to the relative coolness of the last few vintages in California, as well as to a conscious aim for higher acid, more balanced wines by an increasing number of winemakers here, I tasted many more balanced, lower alcohol Cabernets this year. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

San Francisco Pinot Days: Pinot from All Over

The eighth annual Pinot Days grand tasting visited San Francisco’s Fort Mason Festival Pavilion this past Saturday. This was my sixth year attending the event, and I’ve seen it shrink, particularly over the past couple years, from a two-day-plus extravaganza, featuring several seminars with winemakers in addition to the Sunday grand tasting, to now a single, half-day event on Saturday, without the winemaker seminars. Pinot Days claims to still be the biggest Pinot Noir festival in the world, with over 200 producers and around 500 wines. Nonetheless, this is not the three-day-weekend, wall-to-wall Pinot fest it used to be. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, New Zealand Wine, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Sonoma Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Many Moods of Pinot Noir

So what are the different styles of Pinot Noir? Since so many growers and winemakers refer to it as a “fickle” grape, explaining that it is both hard to grow and often tricky to make wine out of, perhaps we should refer to the “moods” of Pinot rather than styles. Continue reading

Posted in Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Lucia Highlands, Sonoma Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2011 Pinot on the River: Delicious Sonoma Pinot Noirs

The very top producers at this tasting, for me, responsible for one or more wines I rated 92 points or higher, were Balletto, Benovia, Big Basin, Keefer Ranch, Littorai, Mount Eden, Small Vines, Sojourn and Windy Oaks. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedrock Wine Co.: Wines with Real Personality from Very Old Vines

Bedrock makes a remarkable number and range of wines for a very small operation. Through 2010, Morgan has made a Chardonnay from the Brosseau Vineyard, but plans to use that fruit in the future to make sparkling wine. A Graves Blanc inspired Cuvée Karatas (named after Morgan’s dog, and formerly called “Caritas” until trademark litigation loomed) is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from Monte Rosso Vineyard and Kick Ranch, respectively. He’s also made a Mourvèdre Rosé. On the red side, Morgan has produced a variety of single vineyard and appellation Syrahs, single vineyard and appellation Zinfandels, a Cabernet from the Bedrock Vineyard, a Russian River Pinot, and intriguing red blends based on very old vine field blend plantings. He calls the latter “Heirloom Wines.” Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chardonnay, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

2011 Family Winemakers San Francisco: New Finds and Great Wines by Old Favorites

The new finds for me that were most impressive were Alder Springs, Black Sears, Carica, Charnu, Delectus, Figge Cellars, Meander/Aiken and Sierra Madre Vineyard. On the value front, besides new producers (to me) Carica and Figge Cellars listed above, I can also recommend from this tasting Coastview, with their bargain priced Fieldfare and Le P’tit Paysan offerings; C.G. Di Arie, Croze/Smith Wooton; Field Recordings, whose prices are surprisingly low on very characterful wines; Field Stone and Silver Wines.
Spence (nice Howell Mountain Cabernet) Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Lucia Highlands, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments