Sonoma County is one of California’s most diverse regions, as is reflected by its many sub-appellations. It can produce delicate sparkling wines and big, barrel-fermented whites, or lean reds and fat, alcoholic reds.
Here is a sample of some wine I recently tasted.
2012 Amapola Creek “Monte Rosso” Sonoma County zinfandel ($42)
A big red from Dick Arrowood: 15.5 percent alcohol, unfiltered and unfined. In spite of its heft, it’s made in the Bordeaux style: lean with lots of acidity and some balsamic notes and well-integrated tannins. Flavors are dark, slightly tart cherries with a hint of creamy milk chocolate in the finish.
2012 Amapola Creek “Joseph Belli” Russian River chardonnay ($45)
A big, juicy, lightly sweet chardonnay with flavors of mellow apples, caramel, figs, and shortbread with some touches of minerality. Can overwhelm lighter fare.
2012 B. R. Cohn “Gold Label” cabernet sauvignon ($40)
Although it’s 67 percent Napa grapes, it’s from a Sonoma winery; lots of enjoyable, murky, muddled fruit with primary flavors of blackberry and chocolate. That said, it could use a bit more clarity of flavor and a defining structure.
NV Gloria Ferrer Carneros blanc de blancs ($19)
An enjoyable sparkler that is floral and crisp, yet with some creaminess, moderate weight and a refreshing finish.
2012 Inman Family Russian River rosé brut ($56)
Kathleen Inman’s sparkling pinks have the ability to taste both like a still rosé and a sparkling wine, which is not as common as it might seem. This vintage has nice ripe strawberry fruit and a satisfying richness.
2012 Inman Family Russian River chardonnay ($29)
Crisp apple fruit followed by chalkiness and hints of light oak.
2011 Inman Family “OGV” Russian River pinot noir ($51)
Lovely, ripe, dark-cherry aromas with rooty flavors with some cola notes. Medium body, well-balanced between being too big or too lean with nice bitters notes at the edges and a clean finish.
2013 J Russian River vin gris ($17)
Made with pinot noir grapes, this rosé by another name has crisp strawberry flavors, moderate body, pleasantly bitter edges and a clean finish.