|Vineyards of Sonoma Mountain AVA|
The bucolic county of a million acres, currently farms more than 60,000 acres to premium wine grapes, according to Sonoma County Winegrowers. Diversely, this represents only about 6% of its total landscape. By recent estimates, it supports more than 1800 grape growers, of which almost 50,000 acres are sustain-ably farmed. Defined American Viticultural Areas began being uniquely recognized in 1981, and by 1985 there were seven(7). Today there are seventeen(17) Sonoma AVA's. In theory, each offers defining and unique characteristics that can be recognized as part of its heritage and consistency.
|Wild mustard in Sonoma County dormant vineyards|
To the Coast Miwok, it was the beginning of the world, but today it is known as the Sonoma Mountain AVA(1985). Fog-free, high altitude vineyards planted in freely draining soils of mixed volcanic materials contribute to make this a unique, distinctive growing region. Near its crest sits one of the oldest homesteads on the mountain, and one of the tallest Pinot Noir vineyards in Sonoma County. The 26 acre Platinum-rated Van der Kamp vineyard is on the dormant volcanoes north face, and offers its premium fruit to a handful of grateful artisans. LaFollette 2011 Van der Kamp Pinot Noir, displays an opaque plum robe in the glass with a brickish rim, presenting dried, dark tree fruits and earthy notes in its smoky aromas that preview a firm body; a body linear and refined, with a finesse that is developed, focused and deliciously lingering on the palate. Distinctive!
Diversely, just over the north county line in the Mendocino Ridge AVA(1997) and situated on an eroded sandstone plateau near the coast, 2000 feet above the Pacific, is the isolated 26 acre Manchester Ridge vineyard. LaFollette's 2012 Manchester Ridge Pinot Noir sits surprisingly opaque and dense in the glass. Generous aromas of dried cherries and wild strawberries lift from the glass, a gateway to the round restraint, the opulent and ripe, the rich and sultry. It is a juicy Pinot Noir, with nuance of violets and wet earth, that exquisitely lingers on the palate. Distinctive II!
|Sonoma Coast AVA|
Upon reflection, there is a sensibility to this distinction of place.
A special thanks goes out from wine lovers to the dedicated men and women of the harvest who make such enjoyable moments possible. Cheers!