Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sojourn Cellars – A Pinot Noir Gem in the Sonoma Square

Sojourn Cellars was founded by Erich Bradley, who was the Assistant Winemaker at Arrowood Winery, and Craig and Ellen Haserot. Their goal was to create a first-class boutique winery with a focus on producing distinctive Pinot noir wines as well as a small production of Cabernet Sauvignon from quality vineyard sources. Their first vintage release was in 2001 with 100 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and since then they have added Chardonnay to the winery profile.
The Sojourn Cellars tasting room is located in downtown Sonoma. Visitors can sample their wines in a small cozy little house conveniently located among the many tasting rooms and restaurants that surround the village square.

While visiting I sampled the following wines:

The first sample was the 2011 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay. The grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Family Vineyards who provide high quality fruit for a number of premium wine producers. This wine is straw in color with lofty aromas of lemon custard, caramel, roasted marshmallows and a hint of pistachio. On the palate it is light bodied, very crisp and has a prolonged finish. A very seductive wine that stands out from the mélange of California Chards on the market, this wine sells for $45 a bottle.

The following wines were sampled side by side. I first went through them all making notes on the nose and then went through them again going back and forth between them making notes on the palate.

The second pour was the 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. In the line-up this wine is the most fruit forward with aromas of strawberries, cherries and a hint of smoke. On the palate it is fairly weight with medium- weight, it is very crisp and has a medium length finish. This wine sells for $39 a bottle.

The third wine was the 2011 Rodgers Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. The grapes are sourced from the Silverado Winegrowers, a low-key but influential vineyard company that now controls about 10,000 acres along the California coast. In 2000 they took a lease on a hilltop site north of Highway 37 between Petaluma and Sonoma. The first vines were planted around 2001 and today it consists of an 83.5 acre vineyard on 297 acres comprised of well-drained and complex soils with layers of lots of volcanic tufa and ash. This wine is more intense than the previous wine with pronounced aromas of strawberry preserves, raspberries, damp earth and a hint of smoke. On the palate it is medium bodied with mouthwatering acidity and a silky texture in the mid palate. This was my favorite in the line-up and I brought a bottle home $48.

The fourth pour was the 2011 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. Gap’s Crown is a 138-acre Sonoma Coast vineyard that supplies Pinot Noir to more than more than 20 wineries including top producers like Kosta Browne, Patz and Hall and MacPhail. The land is owned by Bill Price, a financial investor who has invested in several leading California vineyards and wineries. Gap’s Crown  Vineyard is located in the foothills of the Sonoma Mountain, east of Rohnert Park, in the cool and windy Petaluma Gap in southwestern Sonoma County. The vineyard offers a variety of soil types at elevations ranging from 300 to 800 feet above sea level. It was first planted in 2002 and it includes 106 acres of Pinot Noir and 32 acres of Chardonnay. The profile of this wine seems like a blend of the two previous wines. It has the fruit-forward character of the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir but the earth and smoke notes of the Rodgers Creek Pinot Noir with additional herbal accents on the finish. This wine sells for $54 a bottle.

If you are a Pinot fan and you are planning a trip to Sonoma, Sojourn Cellars is a definite “must visit”!

For more information or to visit:

Sojourn Cellars

141 East Napa Street

Sonoma, CA 95476

Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Phone: 1-707-938-7212