2017 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Amrita Cellars

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Amrita Cellars, Santa Rosa, CA

Nose is very shy. Every note is little more than a whisper. Crisp raspberry, bright red berries overlay a subtle wet woody grassy turf. Red vines licorice eventually emerge as it breathes.

Body is balanced from front to back. Greeting with a very soft, silky mouth feel. Berries carry over albeit very restrained. Subtle citrus and cola like linger. Faint shadows of structure precipitate as the body fades into clouds and whiffs of the different notes. This show continues, slowly diminishing until there’s very little left on the palate but faint dusty grit and candle flames worth of warmth on winter night.

This is an very nice take on the classic Burgundian style of Pinot. It is very subtle. The average palate would likely find this too abstract and nuanced. However for the intermediate to advanced palate, it should prompt focus and quiet appreciation. I can also see this showing well as a chillable red. I think it’s impressive that such a small artisan wine can show such nuance and subtlety. Nicely done Sunny!

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WineSnob Discount

Sunny, owner/winemaker would like to invite you to taste his small batch production artisan wines. I think you should too, especially if you enjoy California Pinot Noir. You can order yours via their website Amrita Cellars (amritacellars.com) and use Promo/Discount Code WS2022 to get 10% off your order. A great opportunity to support a small artisan winemaker and explore another hidden gem off the beaten path. Be sure you share your thoughts and tasting notes with me.

2019 Pinot Noir (Ridgetop) by Sojourn, Sonoma

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Pinot Noir (Ridgetop – Sonoma Coast) by Sojourn Cellars, Sonoma, CA

Clear ruby color. Long legs. Bright raspberry and red berries on the nose. Fresh wet grassy turf, wet wood and hints of cola in the background. Welcome to the Sonoma Coast!

Even keeled body greets with a suggestion of citrus, raspberries, cola. A prominent refined caramel reminiscent of neutral French oak emerges and lingers along with a moderate warm spice heat. Thin fine tannins provide light, crisp, unobtrusive structure that lingers through the entire experience. Body quickly vanishes leaving behind crisp tannic grip, spice warmth and a slight bitter cola. As it breathes, the body develops a slightly creamy body. I love it!

I this is the second of three picks I brought back from my last visit to their tasting room. I found all their wines to be really well made and representative. This one has a bit more of a playful pleaser disposition while still echoing key characteristics of the terroir and region at large. They recently released a slew of new wines and I’m eager to get a closer look at the new lineup. Nicely done Sojourn! 🍷😁👌🏽

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2011 Pinot Noir (Red Birds) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma

Tonight’s Occasion: 2011 Pinot Noir (Red Birds) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma CA.

Clear, ruby red color. Bright aromatic nose out of the bottle with lost of raspberry, red cherry and pomegranate. Drooling. Cola and damp earth leather lingers in the background. This my friends, is Sonoma. Swirling vigorously intensifies ripeness, berries, leather and adds a touch of caramel. Just beautiful.

Beautifully balanced body from front to back, greets with a soft symphony of berries and silky mouth feel. A fresh crisp overlay hovers above the palate. I’m not sure what it is but it’s very nice, maybe herbal in nature? Soft, gentle and fluid tannins add structure hardly distinguishable from the body. As it fades, that minty almost eucalyptus freshness emerges marking the transition to finish. Along with cola, this gentle crisp freshness follows through a lingering finish capped by a gentle tannic grip, wet wood and subtle spice tingle.

My goodness. This Pinot Noir is absolutely gorgeous right now! I have perhaps one or two bottles left. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. The 2011 vintage is beautifully embodied here. I have come to appreciate so much about Pinot Noir and its expression of different regions and their terroir, thanks in no small part to our 2020 Winemaker of the year. A visit to their understated tasting room is a must for the enlightened palate. Carefully curated wines from far and wide to help baseline your palate and provide you with a solid reference point. This is why I believe this winemaker is worth following. Their wines easily occupy a quarter of my cellar going back to 2006 vintages.

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2018 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) by Amrita Cellars

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) by Amrita Cellars, Santa Rosa, CA

Out of the bottle this is clearly Russian River Pinot Noir. With primary soft notes of ripe red cherries and a wet leather of fine sedimentary soil this wine shows good sense of place. That Sonoma dirt/terroir shines through. Russian River gives it more of a fine silt twist as opposed to damp forest floor typical of say the Sonoma Coast. Bright berries and a hint of fresh herbal essence so subtle you’d likely miss it. Swirling vigorously only intensifies this subtle nose slightly, adding more cherry cola. I like it!

Body is nicely balanced from front to back, greeting with a touch of dry citrus, hints of cherries, and raspberry. Soft unobtrusive tannins quickly fill in the body, adding depth while a fain crisp oak creates a slightly plush, creamy mouth feel. Midway through, a gentle bitter cola emerges, ushering in the transition to finish. As the body fades, a mushroom leather makes a brief appearance. Ahhh Sonoma! As the show concludes, fruit notes take turn bowing out while the palate slowly drifts between moist and grippy dryness. A faint spice tingle remains and linger briefly.

This wine checks all the hallmarks of a classic Pinot Noir. It is a a clean, faithful and nuanced look at this region and this varietal. This is pretty far off the beaten path and about as artisan as it gets. I met the unassuming owner/winemaker Sunny last month at an industry function organized by our friends over at Sheldon Wine and Spirits (@sheldonwineandspirits). This is what I love about venturing off the beaten path. There seems to be a surprise in store at every turn. We truly are living in a golden age of winemaking. Great work Sunny. I look forward to many more vintages from you.

Read more Amrita Cellars on WineSnob.

WineSnob Discount

Sunny, owner/winemaker would like to invite you to taste his small batch production artisan wines. I think you should too, especially if you enjoy California Pinot Noir. You can order yours via their website Amrita Cellars (amritacellars.com) and use Promo/Discount Code WS2022 to get 10% off your order. A great opportunity to support a small artisan winemaker and explore another hidden gem off the beaten path. Be sure you share your thoughts and tasting notes with me.

2011 Pinot Noir (Black Pine) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2011 Pinot Noir (Black Pine) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma CA.

Nose is very shy out of the bottle with hints of dark cherry skins. Swirling vigorously releases a bold leather of damp fine sedimentary soil and wet wood. Hints of sweet cherry and cola linger in the back. A citrus so faint you’d likely miss it.

Body is balanced right down the middle, front to back. Wet wood leather carries forward almost immediately. Dark tart skins also emerge, bringing firm structure. Bitter cola, black berries and black currants paint a dark, dim lit stage. It is dry, somewhat serious in its expression. Earth notes wander about the palate throughout the experience. The body softens slightly as it transitions to finish as dark berries and hints of oak elevate slightly before falling back into the darkness and leaving the palate slightly moist and under the spell of a gentle but crisp tannic grip and spice tingle. As it opens up over an hour or two, subtle caramelization of those tannins lend a subtle pleasing sweetness to the body and suppleness to the mouth feel.

This is a flagship wine by our 2020 Winemaker of the year. Intended to introduce the world to their more limited signature wines. Roessler Pinot tends to be on the medium to full bodied side of the spectrum. This means, unlike traditional Pinot Noir, they actually benefit from cellar time. They tend to age gracefully. I opened the 2010 Vintage a year or so ago and this 2011 vintage is definitely more robust with more years ahead of it. It has had time to integrate very nicely. Both should be a real treat. The newer vintages are even more vibrant and should be very interesting to follow over time. Nicely done guys!

Tonight we paired the Black Pine with a pear, prosciutto, arugula pizza and truffle fries. Delicious!

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2019 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Carneros) by Corner 103, Sonoma

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Carneros) by Corner 103, Sonoma CA

Crisp notes of sweet cherries and berries out of the bottle. A gentle secondary butterscotch caramel. A damp earthy leather lingers in the back. These are all key hallmarks of a faithful Sonoma Pinot. Everything is fairly restrained overall.

Body shows good balance, slightly biased towards creamy than acidic. Cherries carry over as well as butterscotch caramel, albeit slightly more intense. Thin barely noticeable tannins provide good structure. Mouth feel is soft, light if not plush. Towards the back, the body fades to more of a cola and sweet citrus expression. Transition to finish is seamless, ending with a fairly neutral palate. No spice heat or tannic grip.

This is a clean, crisp, understated if not uncomplicated Pinot. It retains good sense of place without being overly abstract to the average palate (a tricky balance). This Pinot should appeal to a broad spectrum of palates; from beginner to intermediate and advanced. In summary, this is a faithful Sonoma Pinot for all to enjoy! I like it! Great job Lloyd and and the entire crew at Corner 103!

I recently visited their tasting room while while exploring boutique artisan wineries in Sonoma and I have so say the wines match the decor, ambiance and vibe. The warm, calm modernist setting right on the square in downtown Sonoma made for a great focused and guided tasting. If you are in the Sonoma area, I highly recommend making appointment and stopping by. If you do, don’t forget to let me know your thoughts and tag me on social media.

2019 Pinot Noir (Roger’s Creek) by Sojourn, Sonoma, CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Pinot Noir (Roger’s Creek) by Sojourn Cellars, Sonoma, CA

Deep ruby color appears unfiltered. Rich aromatic nose out of the bottle with a very noticeable bright red berries and ripe red cherries. A very present earthy leather takes a close secondary note reminiscent of damp forest floor. I absolutely love this about a faithful Sonoma Coast Pinot such as this one. I find this sense of place somewhat intoxicating if not raw and rich. A sweet tertiary note lingers in the background. It’s more of a melange that creates a sweet, buttery, shortcake essence. Swirling vigorously unleashes puffs of green, herbal notes so faint you’d likely miss it. I love it!

Body is balanced from front to back. Subtle acidity brings great tention which slowly morphs into a gentle, warm spice heat towards the back. Suggestion of raspberry, and red cherry carry forward. Subtle, almost unnoticeable tannins provide just enough structure. A crisp, clean caramel further softens the body to create a beautiful, slightly weighted mouth feel. A hint of bitter cola ushers in a finish characterized by a slow fade of the entire ensemble leaving the palate slightly moist.

I have no idea why it took me so long to explore Sojourn wines. Their Pinot Noirs embody so much of what I love about Sonoma. Even after all this, it’s still hard to put in words. I’m excited to dive deeper into another artisan winemaker off the beaten path. Nicely done!

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2019 Pinot Noir (Pomarium) by Peay Vineyards

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Pinot Noir (Pomarium) by Peay Vineyards, Sonoma Coast, CA

A burst of Rose petals hits the nose. Oh my! Beautiful floral aromas. Soft sweet cherry cola. Faint leather and red vines licorice lingers in the background. Bright, translucent ruby color.

Silky smooth body shows good balance with a touch of acid on the attack. Dark cherry skins lay down a paper thin structure over which a light, thin, soft almost silky body of cola, subtle blackberries and crisp (neutral) oak. This act quickly vanishes leaving the palate dry, crisp, and slightly grippy with a faint spice tingle. As it opens up, the cola intensifies. This wine is dry but this does not become evident until the finish.

A gift from my little boy. I have never heard of this winemaker before. I think they’ve done a great job with this wine. I like it and will have to pay them a visit. Nicely done Peay!

2019 Pinot Grigio (Orange Wine) by Passagio Wines, San Francisco CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Pinot Grigio (Albini Vineyards, Sonoma) by Passaggio Wines, San Francisco CA

Clear hypnotic copper color (skin fermented). Bright, slightly weighted nose which immediately presents a beautiful aromatic bouquet of passion fruit, honeysuckle and stone fruits especially ripe sweet cherries that remind me of Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills. Swirl vigorously to intensify the nose.

Precisely balanced body greets with a touch of acid and a touch of tannin in the form of white cherry skins going hand-in-hand. This quickly segues into a soft, plush, creamy body. A dash of clean, crisp neutral oak further softens an otherwise bone dry body. After the 3rd or 4th sip, a slight minerality makes it presence known through a slight mouth watering effect. Faint white cherries and cranberries frame the transition to finish that eventually leaves the palate otherwise slightly dry, with tart citrus notes and a gentle warm spice.

I fell in love with the first time saw this wine. A white wine with the personality of a sophisticated, Pinot Noir. The extra skin contact does wonders for its personality, character and expression. You can sip this wine at room temperature, slightly chilled or super chilled. The color draws you in and holds your attention while it gently convinces you, that this is the way Pinot Grigio was meant to be.

This is a one-time vintage. It may already be gone. I don’t think this winemaker will make another like this. Get a few and explore something truly unique and special.

Cindy you’re killing me!

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2014 Pinot Noir (3BBL) by Roger Roessler Wines

Tonight’s Occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir (3BBL) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma CA.

Clear ruby color. Gentle, plush, aromatic nose. Earthy notes take center stage with wet wood, damp forest floor, a touch of that all too familiar Sonoma Dirt and Mushroom. As it breathes, slightly ripened cherries creep forward. Swirling vigorously intensifies, fruit and floral notes. A sweet cola makes an appearance. Beautiful!

Body is nicely balanced, greeting with a gentle touch of acidity which is quickly replaced with a smooth, silky, slightly viscous body. Paper thin layers of crisp tannin are laid down beneath layers of thin wisps of cherry cola, faint crisp caramel and viscous leathery essence. Transition to finish is characterized by the emergence of a gentle but firm spice towards the back. Body vanishes, leaving behind slightly bitter cola as crisp, clean tannins assert themselves amidst a gentle warmth.

This 3BBL is a blend of this vintner’s top Pinot from that vintage. Each vintage unique in its own expression. This vintage is a beautiful representation of the greater Sonoma region. It preserves this identity very well in an all around classy expression. If you haven’t explored Roger Roessler wines, I highly recommend them. They make for a great study, a compendium of Pinot Noir from up and down the Pacific Coast. I have been following their wines for well over a decade now.

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