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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

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.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check outour comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley

The 2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley is a rich and deeply-fruited wine that is a good representation of the region and vintage. The grapes were clearly very ripe, yet not so high in sugar as to produce excessively high alcohol.

Immediately out of the bottle, the nose is maraschino cherry, vanilla and baking spice. A friend of mine said it reminds him of strawberry cheesecake. I’m thinking cherry vanilla ice cream. The fruit and alcohol combine to give the wine a lightly creamy body and texture. The finish is fairly long with persistent fruit and a small amount of warmth.

People talk about wines being good food wines or bad food wines. They tend to consider wines with high acidity and low alcohol to be good food wines. Everything else get’s lumped into the bad category. This is a simplistic way to look at things. For one thing, the characteristics of the food make a big difference. Barolo is high acid and moderate in alcohol but has a lot of tannins. It has to be paired with the right food.

Balancing the richness of flavor, in both the food and the wine is important too. If one is much stronger than the other, the milder element will be overwhelmed. The 2007 Siduri Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir is very tasty but it’s ripeness and somewhat low acidity mean that it could steamroll a subtle meal. That said, I  think it’s a good wine with a meal if you choose the right food.

The day after having taken my tasting notes (I tasted the wine blind in a set of four Pinot Noir), I finished the bottle with dinner. The meal consisted of braised short ribs over black French lentils with mushrooms and shallot confit. Neither food nor wine revealed new components in the other. However, they were a good match in texture and intensity. The sweetish fruit in the wine also balanced the slightly bitter and earthy flavors of the food. It worked for me and I was sad when the bottle was empty.

This wine is hard to get now, but if you can find it for less than $35, it is Highly Recommended. Drink now through 2011.

2007-Siduri-Keefer-Ranch

2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2011
Retail Price: ~$29.99 [The wine is sold out at the winery, but is available here and there online. At the time of this writing,
JJ Buckley has one bottle at this price.]
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Cork

This wine was purchased for review.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check outour comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2007 Fogdog Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

Freestone Vineyards is the Joseph Phelps Vineyards venture in the Sonoma Coast AVA. They produce only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes come from four vineyards near the winery in the hamlet of Freestone, situated between Sebastopol and Bodega Bay.

Fogdog is the label Freestone Vineyards uses on their most affordable wines. Most affordable doesn’t mean inexpensive though. The 2007 vintages of Fogdog Pinot Noir and Chardonnay both retail for $35.

The 2007 Fogdog Pinot Noir is ruby in color with medium-plus intensity and leaves slightly pigmented legs on the side of the glass. Aromas of cherry, raspberry and a hint of orange zest emerge immediately. Vanilla and perfumey wood appear after a few minutes. On the palate, the wine is supple but not nearly as thick as some California Pinot Noir these days, with moderate, fully-integrated tannins and slightly mouth-watering acidity. Flavors include cherry, orange zest, raspberry and tea. The finish is medium plus and, despite the alcohol being just 13.5%, slightly warming.

The 2007 Fogdog Pinot Noir is a very good wine, fruit-centric in its flavors yet complex. The fruit is juicy and fresh yet restrained, demonstrating what Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is all about. There’s good balance between acidity and alcohol until the last moment. Serve it with thick soup made from seasonal mushrooms or roast pork loin flavored with rosemary and thyme. Drink now through 2014. Highly recommended.

2007-fogdog-pinot-noir

2007 Fogdog Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2014
Retail Price: $35
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 13.5%

This wine was purchased for review.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2007 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

Sojourn Cellars has released their 2008 vintage now. I tried them in barrel last year and have some of the 2008 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard, but haven’t had a chance to open one yet. In the meantime, I revisited one of my favorite Pinot Noir from last year, the 2007 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast.

Sojourn Cellars is a small, artisanal winery based in the town of Sonoma. They focus on Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. They have some vines of their own, but made their 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from grapes planted in four non-Sojourn vineyards: Sullivan Vineyard on Skagg’s Island, Windsor Oaks Vineyard in Windsor, Sangiacomo Fedrick Vineyard near Petaluma and Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard in Penngrove.

The wine was bottled in August of 2008. Now, it’s clear and bright ruby in the glass with garnet overtones and medium-minus intensity. The nose is moderately intense with cranberry, brown spice, raspberry, cherry and vanilla the most prominent aromas. With decanting, orange peel and rose petal emerged. The palate shows good balance between fruit and acidity with just a bit of heat on the finish from the alcohol. The body is  just over medium and flavors include cherry, vanilla and milk chocolate. Raspberry appears and the chocolate recedes after decanting.

Decanting doesn’t hurt the 2007 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast at all, but isn’t necessary. The wine is lovely from the outset and doesn’t change significantly with air. It is unfined and unfiltered, but it does not throw enough sediment to worry about.

The wine is certainly ready to drink now but should age nicely and develop for a few years. It would be a tasty accompaniment to pan-roasted quail in Moroccan spices but something less exotic, such as take-out pork fried rice from your favorite Chinese restaurant, would be just fine. Drink now through 2014. Highly recommended.

2007-Sojourn-Pinot-Noir-Sonoma-Coast

2007 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Rating: Highly Recommended
Retail Price: $36.00 (sold out at the winery)
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir, clones 777, 115, 459 & 667
Aging: ~ 8 months in French oak barrels, 50% new
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.3%

The bottle reviewed was purchased from the winery in 2009.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Carneros Napa Valley

The 2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Carneros Napa Valley is bright ruby in color with aromas of cherry, cranberry, strawberry, raspberry and vanilla that reach your nose well before the rim of the glass does. In the mouth, the wine is smooth and rich with flavors of cherry, vanilla and milk chocolate. Juicy acidity balances the body, but the tannins are a bit light. The finish is moderately long and all about juicy fruit.

This 2008 vintage of Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir from Carneros comes in at 15.5% alcohol, clearly on the high side for Pinot Noir. However, while one can assume the alcohol to be somewhat high because of the wine’s weight in the mouth, it is not at all hot or unbalanced. During my blind tastings, the wine’s ample acidity actually led me to think the alcohol to be under 15%.

Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Carneros Napa Valley wines are made predominantly with grapes hand-picked from vineyards in Carneros, however small amounts of fruit from elsewhere, such as the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, are sometimes included to add interest and enhance balance. The grapes are fermented in neutral tanks (stainless and wood) and undergo 100% malolactic fermentation as well as aging in Burgundy barrels. The amount of new oak is minimal however, so the wine is not dominated by oak-derived aromas or flavors.

At just $27, the 2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Carneros Napa Valley offers good value. While it doesn’t have the complexity or delicacy of some more expensive examples of Carneros Pinot Noir, this wine is pleasingly fruit forward, well-balanced, and an appropriate expression of Carneros AVA Pinot Noir. This wine is bold enough to hold up to a rare filet of beef but I would prefer it with grilled salmon. Drink now through 2014. Recommended.

2008-Robert-Mondavi-Winery-Pinot-Noir-Carneros

Rating: Recommended
Retail Price: $27.00
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 15.5%
Closure: Cork

This wine was received as a review sample from the winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook.
Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.