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New Pinot Noir and Cabernet Releases from Sojourn Cellars

Sojourn Cellars consistently produces top-quality Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from North Coast sites. Most of the releases are vineyard-designates, but there are some fine appellation blends as well. Winemaker Erich Bradley delivers a style that’s rich and deeply flavorful, yet well-balanced and pretty rather than bruising. The grapes for the wines below were 100% de-stemmed, then fermented with native yeast in open-top tanks. I tasted the unfined, unfiltered wines blind in flights including other producers.

2011 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Coast, 175 cases - $59
This is the first release from Campbell Ranch for Sojourn. The vineyard is located in the near Annapolis (in the coastal mountains northeast of Sea Ranch) on the northern Sonoma coast. The clone 115 and 777 grapes came from blocks worked by star vineyard-manager Ulises Valdez.

Uniquely attractive aromas and flavors of wild raspberry and blueberry are dusted with forest spice which reflects both the “true Sonoma Coast” site, nestled amongst redwoods, and the cool 2011 vintage. The medium+ body and moderate tannins of fine grain and chalk are just right and the wine is ready-to-drink now but will easily age for seven years or so. 13.8% alcohol. Highly Recommended

2011 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Wohler Vineyard Russian River Valley, 525 cases - $48
Wohler's youthful vines—re-planted on Goldridge loam near Forestville less than 10 years ago—have delivered bold aromas and flavors of wild cherry, dark berries and spice which are consistent from first sniff all the way through the lengthy finish. Moderate tannins of talc frame this medium+ body wine. Delicious now but best 2015 - 2020. 14.2% alcohol. Highly Recommended

PINOT Ridgetop 112011 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Ridgetop Vineyard Sonoma Coast, 275 cases - $59
The Ridgetop Vineyard is sited similarly to Campbell Ranch—in the mountains near Annapolis, surrounded by redwoods—and is also managed by Ulises Valdez. Ridgetop is higher though, approximately 1,110 feet vs. 750, and features a jumble of soils.

Sojourn’s Ridgetop Vineyard bottling of 115, 667, and 777 clone Pinot Noir is dark ruby in the glass with bold aromas of ripe red cherry, brown spice and supporting notes of flowers and forest spice. The full-bodied palate holds beautiful and intense tangy red fruit flavors framed by slightly drying, fine-grained and chalky tannins. Powerful, pretty, balanced and long. Drink now through 2023. Very Highly Recommended

2010 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietary Cuvee Napa Valley, 150 cases - $95
Sojourn’s Proprietary Cuvee is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon but includes fruit from three different vineyards, including Beckstoffer George III in Rutherford. The wine was aged in French oak, 75% new, for about 18 months.

The nose of this opaque, full-bodied wine bursts with black currant jam, currant leaf and licorice with side notes of pine. Loads of chalky tannins balance notable acidity and persistent, mouth-filling flavors of mocha, black cherry and dark spice (especially clove and allspice). Very Highly Recommended

Sojourn Cellars is located in a small, re-purposed house just off the square in downtown Sonoma. They are on my short list of must-visit tasting rooms in the area. The hourly tastings are by appointment and limited to 10 people. Sojourn wines are sold primarily direct to consumer via a mailing list.

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Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

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