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Taste of the Sonoma Coast

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 (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 Harvest Fair. · 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

13.9% alc., $28. · 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. · Deep reddishpurple 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 at best.

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