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|Owner(s)||Hoot Smith, Linda Smith|
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Kastania Vineyard and Winery is nestled adjacent to the western shoulder of Highway 101 as it meanders through Petaluma. The land here has been owned by the Smith family since the 1860s. Originally it was a sprawling ranch extending east of the Petaluma River, but was gradually sold off. The plot that remains is lovingly maintained by Hoot and Linda Smith and is quite beautiful, studded with majestic oak trees that are a few hundred years old. Overlooking the eastern portion of the Petaluma Gap and the Petaluma River, the Smith’s Pinot Noir vineyard sits on a knoll welcoming northerly travelers to southern Sonoma County wine country.
Hoot planted his 5+-acre vineyard in 1995 primarily to Pinot Noir including clones Pommard 4, 115, 667 and Calera. The Calera clone never performed well here and has been replaced with a Rochioli Vineyard selection. For the first eight years, Kastania Vineyard supplied grapes for a vineyard-designate Pinot Noir made by Landmark Vineyards in Kenwood. Beginning with the 2005 vintage, Hoot has kept the grapes for his own label, Kastania. Kastania means “chestnut” in Italian. Hoot said it just didn’t seem right to name the winery “Smith.” The winemaker is Leslie Cisneros, who is also the winemaker at Arista in the Russian River Valley.
A newer winery and tasting room sits at the top of the property. The inviting tasting room is decorated with owl-themed memorabilia that Linda has collected over the years. Linda likes to joke that she collected owls long before she met her husband, and she “ended up marrying a ‘hoot’”. A golden owl is prominently featured on the Kastania label.
Kastania Vineyard & Winery was sold in 2019 to San Rafael's Donald family, ending an era for proprietors Hoot and Linda Smith. Laurence Donald worked for Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery as a vineyard liaison for several years before the purchase. He changed the name to Parum Leo and the first release under that label was a 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Planned production is about 2,000 cases annually.
2007 Kastania Vineyards Jaden & Keira’s Cuvée Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 400 cases, unreleased. Aged 11 months in 18% new French oak barrels. · Interesting array of aromas including cherries, strawberry, maple syrup, root beer, herbs and a touch of porto. The flavors echo the aromas with some added sassafras and oak. Supple tannins, smoothly textured and very light on its feet. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Kastania Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 336 cases, unreleased. Aged 11 months in 43% new French oak barrels. · This wine is a step up in intensity with deeper aromas of cherries, tea and oak toast and perfectly ripened fruit. Vigorous with flavor and character showing a rich core of spiced cherry fruit complimented by oak smoke. Saucy and fat, yet retaining an edge of finesse. A great mouthful of Pinot. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Kastania Vineyards Sonoma Coast Estate Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 351 cases, $35. · Both 2006 bottlings are light garnet in color. The aromas of wild berries, especially strawberries draw you in and there is a little barnyard for interest. Tasty red berry including cranberry flavors with lively acidity and a razor sharp finish. Medium-weighted with reigned-in oak and gossamer tannins. Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Kastania Vineyards Sonoma Coast Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 393 cases, $45. · The aromas are slightly more penetrating and persistent here with again, plenty of fresh wild berries and a little good funk. Similar flavor profile with a little more cherry notes and a more luxurious, plush mouth feel. The clean finish exhibits tangy acidity. A true reserve wine that justifies the added price and a love letter from the vineyard. Both of the 2006 bottlings are beautifully scaled and show a woman’s touch in the winemaking. Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Kastania Vineyards Sonoma Coast Estate Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., not yet released-possibly February, 2007. The wine is still a bit closed and · The perfume offers cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries with a skosh of alcohol. The same fruits are featured in the flavors. The texture is very silky and the finish is lively. Great potential here. Reviewed January 15, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Kastania Vineyards Sonoma Coast Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Noir
14.5% alc. early 2007 release. · More plush, more power, more Pinot than the above wine. Give it 6-12 months and it will launch you toward heaven. The wine has a sweet scented nose of decadent warm spiced cherry pie. Waves of spicy, tenacious red and black fruits cascade on the palate with a richness of flavors that shows off California’s flashy potential. The texture is cozy and velvety. You’ll want to chew on this one. Reviewed January 15, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Kastania Vineyards Sonoma Coast Estate Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 139 cases, $35. · Although the cork looked fine, this wine seemed to be a tad oxidized. The aromatics were typical of an aged wine, with a little good funkiness, raisin, cigar box and sherry notes. The flavors of raisin, sherry and marzipan carried over . The balance was fine and the finish clean. Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Kastania Vineyards Sonoma Coast Estate Proprietor’s Reserve
14.5% alc., 205 cases, $45. · The nose is reserved but charming with deep, dark fruits, grilled meat and oak char. Full-bodied and fresh black cherry and black current flavors are accompanied by powdery tannins and an appealing soft texture. This wine is just beginning to emerge, although it is quite a treat to drink now. Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »