This post was written by Terry Lozoff, VP Marketing
I’ve traveled to a lot of wine regions, but none more so than California's Sonoma County. I love visiting Sonoma—it has a little bit of everything, from fun towns like Healdsburg and Sebastopol, to delicious restaurants, and of course, great wineries. Plus, I like that it’s much more laid back than its neighbor to the east, Napa.
If you’re looking for diversity, Sonoma County has you covered—both in regards to wine and terrain. The region stretches from the rugged Pacific coastline to the wooded country roads of Russian River to the warm, flowing fields of Alexander Valley. And all along the way you’ll find a variety of wines; most notably Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the cooler climate areas, and Zinfandel and Bordeaux varietals (Cab, Merlot) in the warmer areas.
This winter, we’re excited to release three reserve wines from Sonoma County that truly show off the diversity of the region and the high quality wine that is being made there. From the southern-most region of Sebastopol Hills in Russian River Valley we’re introducing Lot 164, a single vineyard Pinot Noir. Then, we go all the way up north to Alexander Valley for Lot 163, an alluringly textured Merlot, and Lot 165, a monstrous Zinfandel from one of the most elite Zinfandel micro-appellations in the world.
Read on for a brief look at all three of these new Sonoma County wines.
Lot 163 Reserve Merlot, Alexander Valley
Many people hear the world “Merlot” and immediately tune out. It’s a lasting influence of the 2004 movie Sideways. But Merlot deserves your attention... especially this one.
Lot 163 comes from a highly-respected, family-owned winery that has been farming Alexander Valley since the 1800s. It’s actually the very same winery that is responsible for Lot 148 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of our stand out reserve wines (and, possibly, my favorite Cabernet in our portfolio… shh, don’t tell anyone). Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is a Bordeaux varietal that develops beautifully in the northern reaches of Sonoma County where the climate is warmer and can more easily ripen these Bordeaux varietals. And, like our Lot 148, you’ll get an abundance of rich fruit and texture along with a kiss of toasty oak when you take a sip.
If you like bold, rich, dry and textured wines that pack in a whole lot of flavor, I highly recommend trying this wine. It’s a wine that’s ready to drink now, but can easily develop for another 3-5 years in the bottle, if not more.
Lot 164 Collector Series Pinot Noir, Sebastopol Hills
Our newest Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from a sought-after vineyard site in Sonoma County’s Sebastopol Hills. This specific micro-region in Russian River Valley is the most southerly region in Sonoma County and is also one of the coolest. Just 10 miles from the Pacific, cool ocean breezes in this area help to create Pinot Noir with intense aromas and fantastic energy. The term Sebastopol Ridge is a name we coined to identify this specific vineyard site that undulates through the hilly terrain.
If you’re already a fan of our Lot 75 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, you won’t want to miss out on this wine. It comes from the same producer, but is a much smaller production wine that was singled out because of its elite origin and impressive presence. Take a sip and you’ll immediately understand why this is our first ever Collector’s Series Pinot.
Lot 165 Collector Series Zinfandel, Rockpile
Like Lot 163, Lot 165 comes from the same family-owned winery as Lot 148 (clearly, we really like these guys!). But what makes Lot 165 particularly exciting is that it’s a Zinfandel from one of the most sought after Zinfandel appellations in the world: Rockpile. Perched high above Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile AVA is defined by its rugged terrain that climbs to 2,000 feet in elevation. Steep slopes, howling winds and rocky soils are met with a consistent sun exposure that is unique for Northern California. All of these factors come together to create the ideal terroir for wild and powerful Zinfandel.
Lot 165 is hand-harvested (which is necessary in this unforgiving terrain) by block and fermented in small batches. The wine matures for a year in French oak barrels, after which the final blend is assembled and bottled.
There’s no doubt that this is a monster of a wine that will stand the test of time. If you love Zinfandel, or love our Lot 148 Cabernet, or want to experience one of the finest expressions of Zinfandel there is, don’t miss out on Lot 165. Only a couple hundred cases were produced, so better jump on this one soon!