At the beginning of this month we were lucky enough to attend the West Sonoma Coast Vintners’ Grand Tasting, part of the 2013 West of West Wine Festival. Although this was the festival’s third year it was only our first time attending. At the Tasting, we were pleased by how the event organizers had limited ticket sales to prevent overcrowding at the tables. This enabled easy access to the 100 wines offered by the 36 participating wineries.
We enjoy visiting the wineries around the West Sonoma Coast, and are wine club members at two of them. The climate on the coast is ideal for producing grapes that are crafted into wines with balance, integrity, character, and nuance.
In case you aren’t personally familiar with wines from this area, we thought we’d share what our favorites were at the Grand Tasting event so you can explore the region on your own. You can look for these wines at local restaurants and stores, purchase them online, and/or follow the links below to the wineries’ websites to learn more about visiting and tasting room options.
These high-quality wines were made from grapes grown in areas such as Annapolis, Fort Ross/Seaview, Occidental, Freestone, Green Valley and the Sebastopol Hills. The West Sonoma Coast may be best known for its Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs but we also found a Pinotage and Syrah we suggest you seek out.
The white wines we enjoyed the most at the West of West Wine Festival Grand Tasting were:
Hirsch Vineyards – 2011 Estate Chardonnay
Littorai – 2011 B. A. Thieriot Vineyard Chardonnay
Pahlmeyer – 2010 Chardonnay
Paul Hobbs Winery/CrossBarn – 2012 CrossBarn Chardonnay
Ramey Wine Cellars – 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Or, if you are looking for red wine suggestions, these were our favorites:
32 Winds Wine – 2010 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Banshee Wines – 2011 Marine Layer Pinot Noir
Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery – 2009 Pinot Noir, 2009 Pinotage
Freeman Vineyard & Winery – 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2011 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noir
Gros Ventre Cellars – 2011 Campbell Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 “First Born” Pinot Noir
Lattanzio Wines – 2011 Umimo Vineyard Pinot Noir
Littorai – 2011 The Pivot Pinot Noir, 2011 Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery – 2009 Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir
Paul Hobbs Winery/CrossBarn – 2011 CrossBarn Pinot Noir
Peay Vineyards – 2011 Scallop Shelf Estate Pinot Noir, 2011 La Bruma Estate Syrah
Sojourn Cellars – 2011 Ridgetop Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast Vineyards – 2010 Freestone Hills Pinot Noir, 2009 Balistreri Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
Zepaltas Wines – 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2006 Suacci Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
The West of West Wine Festival is an exciting opportunity to join the area’s top producers and growers at a weekend of wine tasting, seminars, and award-winning cuisine brought to you by the West Sonoma Coast Vintners (WSCV), an association of wineries and growers who are passionate about farming wine grapes on the coastline of Sonoma County.
Over the course of the weekend, the WOW Wine Festival offered Winemaker Dinners, Seminars, Vineyard Tours, a Grand Dinner, and two separate opportunities to attend a Grand Tasting. So, you may want to block off the first weekend in August 2014 just to be safe. We’re looking forward to the Festival next year and would love to hear from anyone else about their experiences at this year’s event.