I have recently sampled a number of released Pinot Noirs from different areas of the Sonoma
Coast . Several of these wines were obtained from Jason Jenkins, proprietor of Vine & Barrel,
an excellent wine shop and tasting bar at 143 Kentucky Street in Petaluma. Jason (photo
right) stocks well over 85 Pinot Noirs and carries almost all Pinot Noirs grown in the Petaluma
GAP region. Built above an old speak easy, the location has served as both a brothel and
card room and has even been a drinking hideout for Al Capone in the 1930s. In early October
of this year, Vine & Barrel hosted the Great Petaluma Pinot Noir Tasting with over 35 wineries
attending. The website is www.vineandbarrel.com (707-765-1112).
2007 James Family Stony Point Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $40. A family owned
boutique winery owned by Jeff and Judy Jones in Sebastopol. Gold Medal winner at the 2008 Sonoma County
Light crimson robe. Long and persistent scents of black cherries, violets, oak and baking spice.
Elegantly styled cherry core wrapped in savory herbs. The finish leaves a leafy and oaky impression. The
nose trumps the palate at this stage.
2006 Calstar Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $28.50. This is winemaker Richard
Davis’s own label. He also makes the wines at Halleck Vineyard and Londer Vineyards. Best of
Class winner at the 2008 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition. Sourced from Sangiacomo
and Hallberg vineyards.
Bright Bing cherry initially, developing a darker fruit profile with time in the
glass. Cherry-driven flavors with a hint of prune, tea and subtle oak. A very satisfying drink that is
silky textured and beautifully composed. Not a serious wine, but readily accessible and a good value.
2006 Hart’s Desire Rockin H Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Reserved aromatics of berries, exotic spices, oak and rose petals. Tart
blackberry and black raspberry fruit with moderate fullness in the mouth, smooth
texture, and a dry, tangy finish. Still drank fine the next day from a re-corked
previously open bottle.
2006 Verve Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 150 cases, $28.
Alluring scent of
ripe cherry and raspberry compote and cola. Refined tannins surround the juicy cherry core. Hints of
root beer and cream soda add interest. Nicely restrained and well-crafted.
2006 Emeritus William Wesley Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $50. Aged in
30% new French oak.
Patience is the word here. If you drink the wine now, decant it or
swirl vigorously in the glass. Reserved, but pleasant earth-dusted black cherries, violets
and wine cellar scents. Brimming with dark berry fruit that is toned with musk and cola.
Well-integrated oak, silk and satin on the palate, and finishing with mild ripe, dry tannins.
Beautifully crafted with great potential, but this wine has a ways to go before it
completely reveals itself.
2005 Ridgeway Two Pisces Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 250 cases, $30. From a
vineyard located on southwest Petaluma hillsides. Vinified by Dan Goldfield.
Luxurious scents of bright red
cherries, sage and oak. Cherry-driven with crisp flavors and bright acidity on a medium-weighted framework.
2005 Andrea La Rue Loccmind Rd Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $32. Grown by Flocchini Estate
Vineyards, cellared and bottled by Flo Enterprise, Sebastopol. The winemaker is Jared Souza.
in color. Dark berry jam, cooked plum, hint of prune and smoke aromas are followed in the mouth by
silky dark fruits, black tea, and orange peel flavors that fan out nicely on the palate. Perfectly balanced with
admirable acidity and some persistence on the finish.
2005 Atascadero Creek Sonoma Coast Morris Ranch Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $33. From a
very small family owned winery in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River
Valley. A tasting room is in Sebastopol at 3541 Gravenstein Hwy N.
Appealing fruity nose
with slightly confected cherries and strawberries and a sidecar of Provencal herbs. The herbs
carry through on the palate that features soft, light redder fruits. A soft, smooth and feminine
wine with appeal.
2003 Windy Hill Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., $25. An estate bottled wine from Windy Hill
Estate in Cotati (Petaluma Gap region of Sonoma Coast).
A complex aromatic profile consisting of black
cherry, rhubarb, herbs and a touch of oak, gaining power with time in the glass. Oak dominates the grillmarked
fruit on the palate especially on the finish. Silky in texture with supple tannins and a dry finish. Decent