We’re Toasting: Sonoma on The Broadcast


I love the region of Sonoma…relaxed, comfortable and very, very welcoming. We’re heading out this weekend so I wanted to talk about a few of my favorites this morning with Suzie on The Broadcast before we have our Sonoma adventure.  Click here to see segment from the show; check out little bit about the story behind each wine below. Cheers!

Reuling Vineyards Chardonnay – $75, When Tim and Jackie Reuling found their Sonoma property smack dad in the middle of incredible Pinot Noir country in Sonoma they were on the hunt for a place to turn into a B&B….but great soil won out, with the couple planting vines on their 16 acre property that was a neglected apple orchard.  Today, through their sustainable, very green efforts, they have created one of the best vineyard sites in the area with fruit sourced by some of the finest winemakers in Napa and Sonoma, including Aubert, while luring away the highly respected former winemaker for Araujo, Matt Taylor.  After growing grapes for several years they finally starting making their own, with Matt’s assistance.  2012 marks the first vintage for Reuling Chardonnay, made in very small production, filled with stone fruit, apple and lemon cream notes with a lush finish, this is hands off, vineyard rich Chardonnay at its best.  A special wine that will be available via their website for a limited time.

Pfendler Vineyards Pinot Noir – $45, The Petaluma area of Sonoma benefits from foggy mornings and cool, coastal breezes that blow day and night, keeping tempramental Pinot Noir grapes dry, avoiding issues of possible fungus which Pinot can be prone to, while allowing a long growing season for grapes to fully ripen.  The result, balanced wines with bright acidity and freshness.  High atop Sonoma Mountain in Petaluma the late Peter Pfendler planted his first grapes in 1992.  Today, Peter’s courageous wife, Kim, continues on with his dream, maintaining both the winery and vineyards, as well as a cattle ranch, all while raising their young son, Nicholas.  Pfendler Pinot Noir is filled with juicy black cherry, blackberry and bramble notes with toasted spices, tobacco and a touch of earthiness on the soft, lingering finish.  An elegant wine, just their their owner, Kim.

Lasseter Amoureux Malbec Blend – $54, John Lasseter has an incredible career in film, working for Disney and then going on to head up Pixar, creating some of the most beloved animated films in history.  Like many filmmakers, he also loves wine and had a dream to open his own winery with his wife, Nancy, influenced by some of their favorite wines produced in the Rhone region of France.  In addition to Rhone though, they also love a great Bordeaux style blend, this one featuring Malbec at the front, as they fell in love with Malbec on on their honeymoon, from their Sonoma County estate fruit. Blended with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon for structure and power, Merlot for supple lushness and floral Cabernet Franc the black cherry and spice Malbec sings of France in the heart of California.

Amapola Creek Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – $70, Sonoma does just about every red variety from earthy Pinot to hearty Cab to spicy Zin, with some of the finest mountain fruit Cabernet in the country, without the price tag of their sister region, Napa.  And, winemaker Richard Arrowood knows how to make good Cabernet great…and he has had lots of practice.  The winemaker of Chateau St. Jean from 1975-1990 (including when they were named the number one wine in the world by Wine Spectator) Arrowood started his own project with his wife, Alis, in 1985 finding a 100 acre mountain property on the Mayacamas Range in-between Napa and Sonoma. The couple, with Richard at the lead, produces intense, robust and very special Cabernet Sauvignon, along with one of the best Zinfandel wines I have ever tried.  Their Cab, from their organically certified vineyards, is aged for 2 years in new French oak, creating a robust, cedar and cigar box filled wine with black cherry, black licorice and a touch of wild herbs and floral notes.  Big and bold, a gorgeous Cabernet.

Ravenswood Icon Blend – $75, Joel Peterson is known as the father of Zinfandel…which he does very well, and has for years. But he also has a few fun wines in his repertoire that shake up the traditional a bit, and his Ravenwood Icon is one of those wines.  A blend of mixed Sonoma black grapes, blended each year in differing amounts, based on what will make the perfect wine at the end.  36% Carignane for fresh acidity, 27% Petite Sirah for pepper and strength, 25% Zinfandel for spice and supple juicy fruit, and 12% Mixed Black grapes, resulting in an interesting, different, but very tasty, balanced and fresh red wine with character….just like its founder.