E Wine of the Week

E Wine of the Week
By Bruce Cochran
Sonoma What?
Discovering Sonoma’s many valleys and regions
Hello Everyone,
This week we’ll take a close look at Sonoma County. Or is it Sonoma Valley?  Anyway, we’ll take a look at this beautiful and varied wine region and the grapes and wine styles found throughout it.
Try a new wine this week!

Angeline Pinot Noir, from
Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley

So many times, so many of us refer to Northern California wine regions as Napa and Sonoma. Actually, each name refers to a city, and valley and a county.
In Napa County, there’s really only one valley that most people talk about, but Sonoma County has a lot more than just Sonoma Valley. And each is different from the others, with a unique style (or styles) of wines. Some don’t even grow the same grape varieties! Here’s a quick overview of Sonoma County’s main valleys.
Sonoma Valley is in the south, just over the Mayacamas Mountains west of Napa Valley. At the southern tip, both counties share the Carneros District. Nestled along an offshoot of San Francisco Bay and its cool water, Carneros is best known for pinot noir and sparkling wines. Farther north the temperatures are warmer, and you’ll find more cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and a richer, fuller style of chardonnay.
North of Sonoma Valley is Alexander Valley, actually the northern stretch of the Russian River upstream from Healdsburg. The largest of Sonoma County’s subregions, it’s farther from the ocean, and therefore warmer, so there’s not so much pinot noir here. It’s best known for cabernet sauvignon.
Russian River Valley is downstream from Healdsburg, following the river on its way to the cold waters of the Pacific. Its cooler climate makes it a great place for pinot noir and Burgundian (French) styled chardonnays.
There are other valleys and subregions to explore, including Dry Creek Valley, located in warmer, northern Sonoma Valley, with a reputation for full-bodied dry red zinfandel.
This week’s recommended wine is an old favorite, from Russian River Valley, Angeline Pinot Noir. Everybody loves a good deal on pinot noir, and the second label of Martin Ray Winery is been a go-to wine for me for several years. It retails for around $15 or so.

Categories: Legacy Archive