Bill Dowd photoWhile recently in Sonoma County, CA, for the final days of the grape harvest, I visited the Sonoma-Cutrer vineyards and winery for a private tasting of several of their wines either now available or still in the pipeline. Because their grapes are grown over five Russian River Valley ranches covering markedly different soil, and numerous clones are used, the wines sharply differ from each other.
• 2007 Cutrer Chardonnay
This blend will be bottled in the spring and probably go on the market in the fall of 2009. It is pleasantly citrusy, with nuances of golden raisins, lemon peel and apricots. Nicely rounded structure with a medium-length finish and smooth on the palate throughout.
Suggested retail price should come in at about $35 a bottle.
• Les Pierres 2007
This is an excellent wine already, although don't look for it on the market for a year or more. Peach and apricot notes, very crisp structure and finish with lime and flinty nuances.
Suggested retail price should come in at about $41 a bottle.
• Les Pierres 2000
The volcanic soil of the Sonoma Mountain area bring notes of citrus -- particularly lime -- and green apple to both the nose and finish of this crisp chardonnay. A little more honey and butter on the long finish. Unfortunately, this is a library wine no longer available to the public.
• Sonoma Coast 2004 Pinot Noir
A 100% pinot noir (S-C has only been making red wine since 2002) made from grapes grown on the Vine Hill and Owsley ranches that come under the Sonoma-Cutrer umbrella. The sea air adds some salty tang to go with the essences of cinnamon and Double-Bubble chewing gum in this light, playful concoction. The current release is a 2005, but some 2004 still can be found if one is diligent enough in the search.
Suggested retail price: $40 a bottle.
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