Fly Free: West Sonoma Coast AVA

23 Jun

Looking at you, newly minted West Sonoma Coast AVA. You and your super cool cooler climate craveable gulp-able delights.

The West Sonoma Coast AVA is within the Sonoma Coast AVA. Which is within Sonoma County. So why the need to separate? Is this just the typical the-smaller-the-region-the-more-elite-we’ll-be strategy? Well I guess not seeing as after eleven (my favorite number!) long years it was decided that the western wines were in fact different and unique.

Environmental factors are the key to these fresh af gems. The wines aren’t just cool, it’s literally cooler there. Cooler days. There’s less of a drastic shift from days to also cool nights. Way more fog and sea breeze. The result being temperatures ten degrees cooler than the rest of the Sonoma Coast AVA. Grapes ripen slowly and hold on to that precious acidity that makes them so refreshing. As you maybe possibly would imagine, this cooler climate does well for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They grow a smidge of Syrah to boot.

Now, the AVA is new. So there are not West Sonoma Coast bottling yet, but I gave a taste to a couple of members of the West Sonoma Coast Vintners–can you guess who was leading the charge to getting the AVA approved? Is there a stylistic difference? Yes. Yay! I look forward to tasting these when the officially West Sonoma Coast AVA bottlings come out.

In the meantime, here’s my thoughts. So far. Wine is a living and breathing and evolving thing. Here’s this year’s far west findings!

32 Winds Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019

Holy yes please. In a blind tasting I honestly might at least think this was an Oregon bottling, or maybe even Santa Rita Hills bottle. Aka the fruit is ripe but elegantly so. It smells of ripe black cherries, pomegranates, baking spices, and roses. The tannins are ever so well woven. On the palate you get all the aromatics plus a hint of dried earth, dried herbs and maybe even a touch of truffle and vanilla finish vibes. A quaffable wine–the alcohol is a modest 12.7%. But also a slow-sip-worthy one.

Raen Sonoma Coast Royal St. Robert Pinot Noir 2019

The name of the winery stands for “Research in Agriculture and Enology Naturally”. Terrifically between ethereal wafting sweet cherry aromas and grounded textured tannins. Um, they don’t say if there is oak at play but I think there has to be some. A touch of licorice, thyme, and…even a smidge of–is that menthol?–perhaps. Whatever it is I fucks with it.

2 Responses to “Fly Free: West Sonoma Coast AVA”

  1. Judith Clifford June 24, 2022 at 7:26 am #

    This would make an excellent YouTube video. When is the first one coming out?

    Sent from my iPad

    • Ellen June 24, 2022 at 2:15 pm #

      working on it!

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