To be clear: There are a lot of very compelling wines in Sonoma proper now along with the 4 that I describe under.
These 4 do, nonetheless, take the heart beat of Sonoma’s present goings-on. They’re the wine equal of catching somebody’s eye from throughout a crowded room. And, as I wrote in Half One in every of this publish, these wines signify Sonoma’s previous, current and future in distinctive and thrilling methods.
This brief checklist of 4 wines embody an attractive mix of vintages from historic properties that signify the previous, particularly the 2018 Fort Ross Winery Pinot Noir from Gary Farrell and the particular fortieth anniversary mix of three vintages of cabernet sauvignon from Laurel Glen. The “current tense” is represented by the tank pattern of pinot noir from Rob Rubin Vineyard, which displays the pressing crush of this yr’s harvest. And I caught a glimpse of the longer term in a cheeky and surprising grenache from Hamel Household Wines that factors towards uncharted and really compelling days and years forward.
Right here’s a bit of extra context for these wines to explain why they “work.” I encourage you to trace them down and take the heart beat of Sonoma for your self.
2018 Fort Ross Winery Pinot Noir, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Vineyard
There’s one thing of a whisper about this wine’s quiet individualism. That is pinot pinot, so to talk: it’s pinot noir in what I take into account the old-school model, earlier than immediately’s larger alcohol ranges and the louder, cab/merlot profile of wine began complicated pinot’s profile within the eyes of customers. (That confusion is a subject I coated in an article just a few weeks in the past, about wine drinkers wanting pinot noir however with out the pinot noir.) It isn’t straightforward to develop or make pinot, and definitely not within the Fort Ross space of Sonoma county. This winery is positioned lower than a mile from the Pacific Ocean within the tiny Fort Ross-Seaview appellation, and it’s acknowledged as one of many closest vineyards of the California shoreline. Its origins are distant and rugged, and this wine from 2018 nonetheless maintains its id and its composure as Sonoma pinot noir.
Laurel Glen Winery Property Cabernet Sauvignon, Particular Version
The primary “hit” of this wine is that it’s cabernet sauvignon from Sonoma Mountain. (In case you haven’t picked up on this but, I’m a type of sucker for off-the-beaten path vineyards, wines and folks.) The second “hit” of this wine is that it’s from Laurel Glen, which has been producing cab from organically farmed vineyards since 1968, and represents the tenth anniversary of recent possession below Bettina Sichel and her staff. The third “hit” is that it’s a mix of three vintages (2007, 2011 and 2012) to commemorate the property’s fortieth anniversary. It sounds prefer it shouldn’t work or that mixing wine from three totally different years is one thing that shouldn’t be taking place. But it surely did. And we’re glad.
2019 Grenache from Hamel Household Wines
This wine caught me approach off guard. I anticipated cabernet sauvignon from Hamel. I anticipated Bordeaux varietals, and even zinfandel. However grenache? It took me a minute to get my head across the concept and what which means for this producer of their specific space of Sonoma. I additionally realized throughout this tasting that Hamel has additionally been working with terroir knowledgeable Pedro Parra; I used to be all of the sudden much less disoriented, and issues started to make sense. (Final yr I wrote a publish on this column referred to as “Who’s This Pedro Parra Man Anyway? And Why Do Wine Individuals Love Him?” That provides you a way of why the intrigue barometer went approach up once I realized of his involvement.) I discovered this grenache to be very like Parra himself: oddly compelling in a enjoyable, tell-me-more type of approach. It takes a minute to get used to. It didn’t take a minute, nonetheless, for me to know that I needed extra of the wine in my glass.
2021 Pinot Noir Tank Pattern from Ron Rubin Vineyard
I’m neither winemaker nor chemist, and I have no idea how this wine goes to style in six months or a yr from now. I’m an observer, nonetheless, and what I do know from observing winemaker Ed Morris on the crush pad and within the barrel room final week, is that these are glad grapes and glad juice. He’s a cheerful winemaker, with the angle of getting survived (there isn’t a different phrase for it) the ravages of latest vintages, and understanding the environmental benefience of 2021. Morris can be a fourth-generation craftsman by commerce, having shifted to winemaking from coopering, or barrel-making. He’s an agile “bridge” from previous to future, with this tank pattern’s very temporary pause within the current tense of Sonoma’s goings-on proper now.