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2008 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast

Go find your wallet. And a telephone. This wine is a dead-solid “buy some right now because it’ll be gone very soon and it would be a real shame if you don’t get to try it” wine.

I tasted this wine out of the barrel about a year before bottling. At that time, I put it on my mental “gotta get some” list. Without further tasting, I bought a half-case as soon as the wine became available. This review is based on one of those bottles, but the wine was poured blind in a flight of four Pinot Noir from Russian River/Sonoma Coast. Despite the tasting being blind, I recognized this wine immediately in the glass based only on my memory from the barrel sample. It is deliciously distinctive.

The 2008 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast is extremely complex. At first sniff, there was so much going on in the nose that I wanted to tell the wine take it easy on me because I couldn’t write fast enough. Among the most prominent aromas are black cherry, raspberry, brown spice, cranberry, orange peel, plum, tea, incense and dark floral notes. The color is medium ruby and it leaves copious legs on the side of the glass, a nod to the 14.5% alcohol.

The palate has medium-plus body, acidity and intensity. The alcohol makes itself known only in the richness of the body; I didn’t perceive any heat. The tannins are very well integrated. The finish too is medium plus and focused on fruit and acidity. The flavors are much like the aromas: cherry, earth, raspberry, tea and orange peel.

As the wine sits in the glass for a while, the aromas and flavors that were initially volatized by the pouring settle down and the fruit becomes more dominant. Some vigorous swirling brings the complexity back and I suspect that bottle age will do the same. If you try this wine, I recommend drinking it in a regular Pinot Noir glass, not a massive Grand Cru glass. I’ve tried both and found that, with this particular wine in a huge glass, all of the aromas hung out in the bowl of the glass talking to each other and didn’t come out to play with me. In the regular glass, they didn’t have anywhere to hide.

I think this is a great wine and rate it Very Highly Recommended. It has wonderful complexity in the quantity of flavors and aromas and their styles (eg. fruit and spice and herbal notes and floral, etc.). It offers a strong core of tasty fruit and a good finish with enough acidity to give it some versatility with food. The only reason I’m not giving it our Highest Recommendation is that I think the alcohol lies just a bit too heavily on the palate. People who prefer their Pinot Noir with body that borders on the creamy will disagree with me and may think the wine virtually perfect.

Unlike the 2007 Siduri Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir reviewed yesterday, the 2008 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast is a wine that should be paired with foods that are somewhat lightly flavored. Many of this wine’s aromas and flavors are quite delicate and will be masked by strong foods, whether they be meat, fish, cheese or a sauce. Delicately seared sea bass with fresh spring peas and a lightly aromatic broth would be very nice. Drink now through 2016.


2008 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Rating: Very Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2016
Retail Price: $48
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Vinification: open top fermentation, native yeasts, unfined and unfiltered
Aging: 50% new French oak
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork

This wine was purchased for review.

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