“There is no place on earth like Sonoma County ”. James Laube
This large, agriculture-based county, just north of San Francisco and west of the more famous Napa valley, has been producing wine for more than 200 years.
The location bordering northern Pacific Ocean’s waters provides unique climatic conditions, as the tectonic movements of two continental plates have created a number of soil types.
Te vicinity of the cold pacific currents creates fog that cools the air daily, starting shortly after 4 p.m.
Drastic diurnal temperature changes ripen grapes while preserving acidity. Fully ripe grapes with sufficiently high acid levels are the backbone of appealing and food-friendly wines.
has approximately 400 000 hectares of land of which only six per cent is devoted to vineyards where 1800 growers supply 450 wineries.
Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and viognier, along with other white grape varieties are favourites, while for red wines grape growers prefer cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, syrah, zinfandel, merlot, plus a few experimental varieties.
Of the 450 wineries, Buena Vista, the first commissioned winery in 1857, is considered the oldest in the U S A to be still in business. Sonoma County has 12 AVAs – Sonoma Coast, Rock Pile, Dry Creek valley, Alexander Valley, Knight’s Valley, Chalk Hill, Green valley, Bennett Valley, Sonoma Mountain, Russian River, Sonoma valley, and Los Carneros Sonoma County.
Sonoma Coast is the largest of all, and is located on the Pacific Ocean coast. Here vineyards with potentially suitable soil abound at reasonable coast. Many growers buy and cultivate vineyards with an eye on future profits. These conditions along with the climate yield suitable quantities of superb quality fruit. Sonoma County, and Napa Valley to the east, share one AVA – Los Carneros, which is unique in the U S A. The division was based on accumulated climate data. The Los Carneros AVA established in 1981 contains 20 different soil types, but daily and seasonally varying temperatures.
Export oriented Sonoma wineries embark on bi-annual promotional tours of Canada, visiting Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.
Recently, several wineries showcased their wines in Toronto.
The following caught my attention from Sonoma Country:
Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Schug Carneros Estates, Sonoma Coast
Les Pierres Chardonnay, 2005, Sonoma-Cutrer, Sonoma Valley
Steel Plough Syrah, 2008, Landmark Wines, Sonoma Valley
Cortina Zinfandel, 2007, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley
Symmetry, 2007, Rodney Strong, Alexander Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, Ehret family Winery, Knight’s Valley
Bella’s Blend, 2006, Ehret family Winery, Knight’s Valley
Pinot Noir, 2008, Davis Bynum, Russian River Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005, Chalk Hill estates, Vineyards and Winery, Chalk Hill
Ramal Vines Pinot Noir, 2007, Buena Vista
Pinot Noir Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, 2008, Mac Rostie
All above reflect true varietal character, are well balanced with good acid-backbone, full-bodied, and with long aftertaste. All are excellent food wines with relatively high alcohol and can be cellared for years, but are enjoyable now.
They are priced reasonably and represent good value.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.