Sonoma County is a fairly long drive from Los Angeles, so we SoCal wine lovers really appreciate that so many Sonoma producers took a road trip to L.A. - and brought their wine with them.
Sonoma In The City hit Los Angeles for a grand tasting event on April 24, 2012 at The London Hotel in West Hollywood. Jordan Winery threw a little 40th anniversary soiree the night before up on the London’s rooftop, one of those swingin’ little Hollywood gatherings with stars aplenty. The next day, the banquet room bulged with winemakers from Sonoma - Coast, County and Valley. Dry Creek Valley was represented; so were Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley.
The Dry Creek Valley AVA poured some great Sonoma County Zins. The ‘09 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel mixes in some Petite Sirah and Carignane for a smokey nose and bright cherry palate with plenty of refreshing acidity. Fritz Underground Winery brought their ‘09 Zinfandel, which lays a spicy herbal lace over the tart cherry. Gustafson Family Vineyards stole the table with their ‘08 Zinfandel/Syrah/Petite Sirah blend. It shows a touch of barnyard on the nose, an earthy palate and great acidity.
Alexander Valley Vineyards held up their end of the Zin bargain with their Sin Zin, showing an earthy cherry nose with raspberry on the palate and the finish.
Kenny Kahn, (right) owner/winegrower/co-winemaker at Blue Rock Vineyard in Alexander Valley, was anxious to show off the fruit of his labor - and with good reason. His ‘07 Cabernet Sauvignon has a splash of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and really makes with the chocolate. The ‘09 Baby Blue blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot into a wine that is earthy, tart and rich, and extremely easy to drink. The unreleased Best Barrel has gentle tannins in a Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot blend. Blue Rock’s terroir-driven wines were among my favorites of the afternoon.
DeLoach Vineyards’ ‘09 Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Mountain is 100% Pinot, sporting a nose very much like a Cab, complete with graphite. It’s a very full bodied wine. Their 2010 Zinfandel Russian River Valley is a delight, showing eucalyptus and a tingly acidity.
The Landmark Vineyards table sported two Chardonnays and two Pinot Noirs. The ‘10 Overlook Chardonnay has a huge expression of lightly oaked, tropical fruit. Its big sister, the ‘10 Lorenzo Chardonnay, Russian River Valley has a hard time beating it. They claim it’s very age-worthy. It should be - its $55 price tag is $30 more than the Overlook. Landmark’s ‘09 Grand Detour Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, is a five-vineyard blend, mostly from the Petaluma Gap, offering a very good level of acidity. There’s a bit more oak in the ‘09 Kanzler Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast - quite dark with a lengthy finish.
Inman Family Wines was represented by the grapegrower, winemaker, salesperson, accountant, operations manager and forklift driver - all in one woman. Kathleen Inman (left) has produced two lovely Pinot Noirs from Russian River Valley grapes - the earthy ‘08 OGV Estate and the aromatic ‘08 Thorn Ridge Ranch. Her 2010 OGV Estate Pinot Gris is gorgeous, with a nice peach flavor and a tart finish. OGV, by the way, stands for Inman’s organically-farmed Olivet Grange Vineyard.
Martinelli Winery’s ‘07 Chardonnay, Three Sisters Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, is a $60 Chardonnay that sure smells and tastes like one. A very earthy nose and extremely good acidity. Earth also speaks loudly in Martinelli’s ‘09 Pinot Noir, Three Sisters Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. The ‘09 Pinot Noir Bondi Home Ranch, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, is lush and dark, with a nice level of acidity.
Robert Young Estate Winery was the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley, way back in 1958. Their ‘07 Scion Cabernet Sauvignon has a nice tartness laid over the fruit expression that suggests Alexander Valley is well suited to Cab.
John Murray, at the Lasseter Family Winery table, got my attention by mentioning the 1919 field blend Zinfandel vineyard on their property. Then he wowed me with a $24 rosé - the ‘10 Enjoe Sonoma Valley. Syrah, Mourvédre and Grenache form a nice, dry wine with strawberry and watermelon aromas and flavors making me yearn for summer. The Lasseter ‘08 Paysage Sonoma Valley is a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauv ignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. There’s great grip here, along with a smokey nose and some tangy blackberry.
Stone Edge Farm Vineyard is organically farmed in Sonoma Valley. Their ‘07 Cabernet Sauvignon blends 81% Cab with the remainder Merlot. Nice fruit and pencil point grace the nose. The ‘08 Surround Cabernet Sauvignon has 6% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc in the mix, with blueberry and black cherry flavors.
Stonestreet Wines uses Alexander Valley fruit from their Alexander Mountain estate. The ‘09 Bear Point Chardonnay is oaky and rich, rich, rich. The ‘07 Monument Cabernet Sauvignon is very dark and rich as well. The ‘09 Broken Road Chardonnay - say it with me - is big and rich. Rather oaky, but a very nice effort in that style.
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