4 Tastes of Sonoma

Social-media highlights of Taste of Sonoma 2022 wine and food festival, plus three Sonoma County wineries – Inman, Anaba, and Pedroncelli – focused on sustainability.

Taste of Sonoma

June 2022:  Loads of fun under the big tops (lead photo) at Sonoma County VintnersTaste of Sonoma, with more than a dozen diverse subappellations represented. The event took place at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens. A few of the many highlights:

Well, maybe some Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and a few others, too.
Iron Horse vintner Joy Sterling spread joy with her winery’s sparkling wine named Joy!
Bob and Heather Cabral had Pinot, the terrific 2017 Bob Cabral Cuvée Troubadour (also the 2017 Anne Rose Chardonnay).
Pete and Cathy Seghesio of Journeyman Meat Co. sliced up salumi that went so well with Troubadour.
Julian Gonzalez, winemaker at Guarachi Family Wines, served two winners from Sun Chase Vineyard, 2019 Chardonnay and 2018 Pinot.
Nikolai Stez, Cathleen Williams, and Zina Bower of Woodenhead – these three go way back – poured a refreshing 2021 French Colombard, along with 2016 Pinot Noirs.
Joseph Purrilli held a 2019 Leras Vineyard Pinot Noir from the folks at Papapietro Perry Winery and touted his latest product, a dishwasher-safe reusable govino glass.
Two Cabs that delighted were the 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Flambeaux Wine, courtesy of vintner Art Murray, and the 2010 Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Rockfall Cabernet, the latter still rockin’ it at the dozen-year mark.
It’s always a good sign at a wine-tasting event when the last stop after several hours yields a surprise as delicious and well-composed as the 2017 Teac Mor Chardonnay (the 2017 Pinot Noir was excellent, too). Quick chat with winemaker Joe left me wanting to know more about this small Santa Rosa winery.
Obligatory Duskie Estes photo (she’s everywhere!), this time with John Stewart in their Black Piglet truck.

See the original Facebook post for two dozen more Taste of Sonoma 2022 photos. The festival returns on June 24, 2023.

Inman Family Wines

July 2022:  Wonderful reunion with Kathleen Inman, owner-winemaker at Inman Family Wines, who wowed William and me with wines like the 2019 Pratt Sexton Road Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. We tasted it alongside two other single-vineyard 2019 Russian River Valley AVA Pinot Noirs, preceded by a 2019 Pinot with grapes from all three vineyards and the 2021 Endless Crush OGV Rosé of Pinot Noir.

The 2019 Pratt Sexton Road Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was the hit of a recent tasting.

Inman says she picks on the early side of the ripening process “to preserve natural acidity” yet coaxes out plenty of flavor. She presses Endless Crush “like a white wine,” with very little skin exposure. It’s got peachy, watermelony notes and mouthwatering acidity, with mild rounding and savoriness. Quite delightful, as are her three very popular sparkling wines.

Inman presses Endless Crush like a white wine.

Inman Family Wines has been concerned with sustainability for years, in the farming and during winemaking. In the vineyard, these include food-scrap composting, growing cover crops, and using worm castings to create bio-fertilizer and microbial teas that improve soil and plant health and boost vines’ plant and disease resistance. In the solar-powered winery, most of it fashioned from recycled materials, steam is used instead of hot water for sanitation, providing substantial water savings.

Most tastings take place on a patio with views of the estate Olivet Grange Vineyard’s Pinot Noir vines.
Kathleen Inman established Inman Family Wines in 2000.

Anaba Wines

June 2022:  Anaba Wines hosted a June media dinner at its Vintners House tasting room to celebrate its reopening. Katy Wilson makes the wines here. A 45-foot turbine on-site takes advantage of the Carneros District’s anabatic (upward moving) winds that inspired the winery’s name. The turbine plus solar panels supply Anaba’s 100% renewable electricity.

Anaba winemaker Katy Wilson holds a 2021 Rosé of Grenache.

Anaba produces cool-climate wines—Chardonnays and Pinots plus Rhône-style offerings like the Turbine white blend. Recently planted estate Picpoul Blanc vines will provide some of Turbine’s grapes going forward. At dinner, proprietor John Sweazey recalled his quest for Pinot Noir from the storied Soberanes Vineyard in Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands. The other Anaba wines come from Sonoma County grapes, but Sweazey wanted Soberanes in the portfolio.

Future vintages of the Rhône-style Turbine White blend will contain Picpoul Blanc grapes grown near the tasting room.

After the vintner’s third pilgrimage south, the grower, Gary Pisoni, a well-known California wine-biz “character,” laid out three requirements: “that you’re going to pay me…that I like you…and that you’re going to make great wines.”
As Sweazey spoke, we tasted the 2019 Soberanes, which lives up to the original bargain. It’s great, as were several wines preceding it and the Late Harvest Viognier and White Port we had later on. Also stunning was that night’s sunset.

Summer sunsets often stun.

Anaba is at a busy Sonoma Valley intersection, but many people drive past it, unaware of this Sonoma Valley Wine operation’s high-quality output. There are many ways to experience Anaba’s wines: at standard tastings, over Chardonnay after yoga, at a blending seminar, or as part of brunch, bocce, and pickle-ball outings.

Pedroncelli Winery

May 2022:  Sipped a 2021 Sauvignon Blanc at Pedroncelli Winery‘s East Side Vineyards, where the grapes were grown. “East” in this case refers to the east side of Dry Creek Valley‘s titular creek. Some of the sturdiest Sauvignon Blanc vines are three decades old.

More than 99% of vineyards in Sonoma County, including those at Pedroncelli Winery, are certified sustainable.

Our visit, one of Sonoma County Winegrowers‘ “Truck Talks” vineyard tours on the final day of May’s Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience, focused on sustainability measures. Sustainability is a big deal in Sonoma County, where 99% of the vineyards are third-party certified sustainable.

Sauvignon Blanc vine planted in the early 1990s.

John Pedroncelli Sr., the great grandfather of our host, Mitch Blakeley, founded Pedroncelli Winery in 1927, and it remains in family hands. Mitch’s duties include tackling sustainability matters, so he filled us in on measures the winery takes to ensure compliance. These include using cover crops to keep the soil fertile, mitigate erosion, and attract beneficial insects. Also, composting, pruning and hand harvesting to reduce carbon emissions, and leaf removal and other tactics during the growing season to prevent insect pests, mildew, and other problems.

Block 007 Cabernet Sauvignon contains the best grapes from Pedroncelli’s East Side Vineyards.

Subsequent stops took us to the sources for all of the 2019 Block 007 Cabernet Sauvignon (the winery’s best Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in the block’s gravelly soils) and some of the 2019 Mother Clone Zinfandel. “Mother Clone” refers to the source for the head-trained vines on the original Geyserville estate’s hillsides, in view of the winery and tasting room.

Lightly edited, the posts here originally appeared on my Facebook page. 

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