Excellent Wines from the Sonoma Coast: Favorites from the West of West Festival

2012 de Coelo Quintus Pinot Noir

Benziger Family Vineyards’ de Coelo Quintus Pinot Noir, from grapes grown just 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean

Earlier this month we discovered a number of excellent wines from the West Sonoma Coast at the West of West Grand Tasting, part of the fourth annual West of West Wine Festival. The wines poured were made from grapes grown in areas such as Annapolis, Fort Ross/Seaview, Occidental, Freestone, Green Valley and the Sebastopol Hills. Sunday’s Grand Tasting (the WOW Festival holds two) was well orchestrated, which made it easy to access and enjoy the wines poured by the 40 participating wineries.

The West Sonoma Coast is ideal for producing grapes that are able to be crafted into wines with balance, integrity, character, and nuance. While the area may be best known for its Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, we also found a few Rosés and a Syrah that impressed us as well.

Marimar Estate's Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir

Marimar Estate’s Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir

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. Or, there is a similar tasting event coming to Southern California in November if that would work for you.

The white wines and rosés we enjoyed the most at the West of West Wine Festival Grand Tasting were:

32 Winds Wine (Healdsburg) – 2011 Lucky Well UV Chardonnay

Benovia Winery (Santa Rosa) – 2012 Fort Ross-Seaview Chardonnay

Ceritas Wines (Santa Rosa) – 2012 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay

2014 West of West Wine FestivalCrossBarn Winery (Sebastopol) – 2013 Chardonnay, 2013 Rosé

DuMOL (Orinda) – 2012 Isobel (Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay)

Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery (Jenner) – 2012 Chardonnay, 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir

Joseph Phelps Vineyards (Freestone) – 2012 Freestone Vineyards Chardonnay

LIOCO (Santa Rosa) – 2012 Hanzell Vineyard Chardonnay

Littorai Wines (Sebastopol) – 2012 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay

Lynmar Estate (Sebastopol) – 2011 Susanna’s Vineyard Chardonnay

Ramey Wine Cellars (Healdsburg) – 2012 Sonoma Coast and 2011 Platt Vineyard Chardonnays


The red wines we enjoyed the most at the West of West Wine Festival Grand Tasting were:

32 Winds Wine (Healdsburg) – 2010 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir


Banshee Wines

Banshee Wines’ Jack Hill and Tina Marie Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Banshee Wines (Healdsburg) – 2012 Jack Hill and 2012 Tina Marie Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Benziger Family Winery (Glen Ellen) – 2012 de Coelo Terra Nuema and 2012 de Coelo Quintus Pinot Noirs

Ceritas Wines (Santa Rosa) – 2012 Escarpa Vineyard Pinot Noir

DuMOL (Orinda) – 2012 connor (Joy Road Vineyard Pinot Noir), 2012 aidan (Wildrose Vineyard Pinot Noir)

Freeman Winery (Sebastopol) – 2012 Sonoma Coast and 2012 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noirs

Gros Ventre Cellars (Somerset) – 2012 Campbell Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir

LaRue Wines (Sebastopol) – 2012 Emmaline Anne Vineyard Pinot Noir

Lattanzio Wines (Santa Rosa) – 2012 Celia’s Cuvée and 2012 Umino Vineyard Pinot Noirs

LIOCO (Santa Rosa) – 2012 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir

Littorai Wines (Sebastopol) – 2012 Mays Canyon, 2012 The Pivot Vineyard and 2012 The Haven Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Marimar Estate (Sebastopol) – 2011 Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir

Peay Vineyards (Cloverdale) – 2012 Sonoma Coast and 2012 Scallop Shelf Estate Pinot Noirs

Red Car Wine (Sebastopol) – 2012 Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Estate Vineyard Syrah

Small Vines Wines (Sebastopol) – 2012 Sonoma Coast and 2012 MK Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Sojourn Cellars (Sonoma) – 2012 Silver Eagle Vineyard and 2012 Campbell Ranch Pinot Noirs


West Sonoma Coast VintnersThe annual West of West Wine Festival in western Sonoma County is an exciting opportunity to join the area’s top producers and growers during a weekend of Winemaker Dinners, Educational Seminars, and Grand Tastings all brought to you by the West Sonoma Coast Vintners (WSCV). So, you may just want to block off the first weekend in August 2015 right now to be safe. We’re looking forward to the Festival next year (on August 1st and 2nd, 2015) and would love to hear from anyone else about their experiences at this year’s event.

If you weren’t able to attend the Festival two weeks ago, and/or are heading toward Southern California, you should know that there is a travelling West of West Wine Festival heading towards Anaheim, California in a few months. The event is scheduled for November 8th at the Honda Center (2695 East Katella, Anaheim, 714-940-2900), and several of our favorite wineries from above should be there, but the list of confirmed attendees isn’t available yet.   For up-to-the-date information, and to purchase tickets, please keep checking here.

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