Sonoma Sparklers Tour

For this theme tour, we’ll visit five Sonoma wineries with backgrounds different to those found in Napa. Instead of French Champagne houses, we’ll visit a Spanish Cava house and a German family ~ perhaps not such an obscure concept when one considers the role of Krug, Bollinger, Deutz, and Heidsieck in the history of Champagne. Once you take this SPARKLE TOUR, I want you to … Continue reading Sonoma Sparklers Tour

Sonoma Pinot Styles Tour

Pinot noir is certainly not unique to Sonoma, at least not in California the way it is unique (in France) to Burgundy (with minor exposure in Alsace next door). But Sonoma does especially well with Pinot Noir, has more acres of PN than any other single County in North America, and supports significant stylistic differences from district to district. Sonoma is also well known for … Continue reading Sonoma Pinot Styles Tour

Sauvignon Blanc Smackdown Tour

Enjoy this theme tour. All the wineries will have other wines as well, so it’s not one-dimensional, in case you’re unsure Sauv Blanc deserves your entire focus. If you try all three days, it takes you completely through Napa, northern Sonoma, and out to the beautiful Sonoma coast. That’s a lot of really great countryside driving. At the end you will be in wonderful shape … Continue reading Sauvignon Blanc Smackdown Tour

Sonoma – U.S. Comparison

Central Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Compared to the Burgundian grape varieties from the Central Coast, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Sonoma have resiliency. They’re reliable. The long hang-time of the Central Coast gives those wines a luxuriant softness, like velvet. Sonoma makes a more mannerly wine, respectful, good posture. Like denim. One would never say of a Sonoma Chardonnay, “too fruity”.  Sonomans know fruit … Continue reading Sonoma – U.S. Comparison

Sonoma – International Comparison

White Burgundy Chardonnay in Sonoma County doesn’t have trouble ripening. So, relative to white Burgundy, one can assert the fruitiness argument. That argument sort of misses the point, however, about Russian River Chardonnay.  Relative to other New World Chardonnays, those from the Santa Rosa Plain are like Corton-Charlemagne is to other white Burgundies: they have an I-beam for a backbone. At the northern end of … Continue reading Sonoma – International Comparison

Sonoma History

First there were Pomo Indians. Peaceful, self-sufficient Native Americans, who for 3,000 years developed techniques of weaving reeds into some of the most beautiful and functional containers ever seen. Some of their baskets were designed for holding liquids, and they would even weave small boats for crossing rivers. Then, and this is important, there were Russians. The first vinifera grapes in Sonoma County were planted … Continue reading Sonoma History

Sonoma Map

Sonoma County: Getting There

I’m reminded of something Nick Lander, Jancis Robinson’s husband, told me once when I complained about street names in London changing every couple of blocks. “If you don’t know how to get there,” he said, “you probably don’t have any business going.” A philosophical commentary, no doubt, on the unexamined life. A corollary in Sonoma County would be, “Decide where you want to end up … Continue reading Sonoma County: Getting There