1 Loring: Pinot Noir Santa Barbara 2017 – 89 points
1 Educated Guess: Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2018 – 89 points
1 Peirson Meyer: Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2017 – 92 points
Sonoma County is more than twice as large as Napa og encompasses the coastline, mountains and rivers. While Napa may be a shining jewel, Sonoma has rustic beauty and plenty of backroads. The district has become famous for its phenomenal and expressive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, but is also home to perhaps the best Zinfandel vineyards in all of California.
Russian River Valley is a sub-appellation in Sonoma County close to the ocean and bordering – you guessed it – the old Russian River. The curvy landscape and cool ocean fog add significant temperature swings during the growing season, and the appellation features a plethora of micro climates.
Another sub-appellation in Sonoma County is Sonoma Coast, majestically stretching more than 2,000 km2 along the Pacific coast. The vineyards can be hard to access, extremely cool from the maritime climate, and they feature a wide spectrum of micro climates. These factors work to slow fruit ripening and are perfect for a facetted Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.