Follow The Prince
twitter icon rss icon

Download &
print (pdf)

Sojourn Cellars

“Life is but a sojourn. Enjoy the best of it.”
Plato

Proprietors Craig and Ellen Haserot and proprietor and winemaker Erich Bradley produce small lots of handcrafted artisanal wines from exceptional vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa counties. The pair met on the tennis courts of Sonoma and formed Sojourn Cellars in 2001, releasing their first Pinot Noir in 2004. The brand has been highly successful, earning considerable praise from the wine press (see “Sojourn Cellars: Pull Up a Lawn Chair,” in the PinotFile, Volume 8, Issue 14, 2010). Today, they produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines that are largely sold on allocation to mailing list members and a select group of restaurants and retailers.

Haserot is the exuberant one, the “face” of the winery, heading up sales and marketing (pictured below). Bradley, more reserved but with a charming smile, studied winemaking at University of California at Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College and was mentored by winemaker Dick Arrowood. He is also the owner and winemaker of Audelssa Estate Winery in Glen Ellen, a small producer of Bordeaux and Rhone inspired wines, where he has received well-deserved praise from Robert Parker (“Everything I have tasted has been enormously impressive”). The Sojourn wines are also crafted at Audellssa.



Winemaking is minimalistic using whole berry native fermentations in small open-top fermenters, with hand punch downs, basket pressing, and no pumping. The Pinot Noirs are unfined and unfiltered.

Personal tastings are available by appointment daily in downtown Sonoma at the Sojourn Cellars Tasting Salon. Visit the website for further information and to sign up for the mailing list: www.sojourncellars.com.

2011 was a very challenging vintage for vintners and I know in talking to many of them that they struggled to craft wines that were up to their usual standards. That makes all the following 2011 Sojourn Pinot Noirs all the more impressive, for the lineup is exceedingly impressive across every bottling. The wines are relatively light in weight, very approachable, with soft tannins and are surprisingly good. I have found few other wineries in California that have been able to equal the quality of the 2011 vintage wines reviewed here. My hat goes off to Erich and Craig. I wouldn’t want to play these guys in tennis, because they are a talented and determined pair.



2011 Sojourn Cellars Rodgers Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.60, 550 cases, $48. Released Spring 2013. Vineyard is high on a ridge in the heart of the Petaluma Gap. The vines receive the full brunt of wind and fog that define this cool climate site. The light chalky volcanic ash soils on steep inclines typically lead to vine stress and high levels of concentration. Pommard and 777 clones. 15% whole cluster (Pommard), aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red berries, black cherries, briar and a hint of spearmint. Light, even a bit thin, with tangy flavors of red cherries, red raspberries and cola, supple tannins, and a good cut of acidity on the mildly shallow finish. Very giving and easy to drink. Good (+).

2011 Sojourn Cellars Gap’s Crown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.58, 800 cases, $54. Released Spring 2013. This hillside vineyard is located on Roberts Road just above Sangiacomo Vineyard. Clones are 828, 115 and 667. 10% whole cluster, aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy but pleasing aromas of dark red cherries, raspberry jam, peat and wood shed. A pretty wine with impressive roundness and polish, offering flavors of cherry pie glaze and mixed berries, with oak-driven spicy layers in the background, and noticeable richness on the mid palate. Very good.

2011 Sojourn Cellars Silver Eagle Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.56, 175 cases, $59. Release fall 2013. Inaugural vintage for this 30-acre vineyard farmed by Ulises Valdez that is located in the Green Valley AVA north of Occidental and at the western edge of the Sonoma Coast. Pommard clone, and Calera and Vosne-Romanee selections were sourced from a low-vigor section of the vineyard. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Frgrant with aromas of red fruit, particularly cherry, and sandalwood. An elegant wine that is light on its feet with tasty flavors of cherries, raspberries and cranberries accented with baking spice and oak. Forward, easy to drink, with plenty of pinotosity, but not enough fruit singing. A little better when tasted later in the day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good (+).

2011 Sojourn Cellars Ridgetop Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.55, 275 cases, $59. Release fall 2013. This vineyard is owned and managed by Thomas Rivers Brown and Fred Schrader and farmed by Ulises Valdez. Located in the remote coastal mountains near Annapolis, it is surrounded by redwoods at 1100 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Yields are minuscule with concentrated flavors. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. The perfume draws you into the glass with aromas of darker plum and berry with notes of balsam and salt air. Delicious middleweight core of vibrant plum, black cherry, berry and cola flavors clothed in soft, lacy tannins, finishing with a lingering memory of cherry liquor. Very smooth in the mouth and discreetly sappy, this wine displays impeccable balance. Memorable.

2011 Sojourn Cellars Campbell Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.58, 175 cases, $59. Release fall 2013. Ulises Valdez has taken over vineyard management of the property. Located in the remote coastal mountains near Annapolis, it is surrounded by redwoods at about 750 foot elevation. Clones 115 and 777. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of dark red cherries and berries as well as wooded forest. Very tasty and harmonious, with ripely flavored blueberries, raspberries and cherries. Smoothly textured with soft, dry tannins and a generous finish. Nothing out of place. Still pumping out the flavors nicely the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Very good.

2011 Sojourn Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.57, 975 cases, $48. Released February 2012. This vineyard is located at the western base of Sonoma Mountain in the Petaluma Gap. Clones 115, 777 and small portions of Swan and Pommard. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Vibrant aromas of fresh cherry pie glaze and baking spice with oak in the background. Juicy and light on its feet, with flavors that echo the nose.Very smooth and comforting, slipping off the palate at the end leaving an impression of perfectly ripe black cherry fruit. A rather feminine wine that packs a wallop of flavor. Still satisfying the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.

Wineries in this Article
Share