Regional Spotlight - Sonoma Coast AVA
Over the last 15 years, the rugged Sonoma Coast has emerged as one of the world's greatest terroirs. If you've ever drank a Chardonnay from here with its Corton-Charlemagne-like weight or one of the top muscle-bound Pinots, you understand what the region delivers. These wines are in a class of their own.
Delicious as they are, Sonoma Coast wines are made in an incredibly difficult growing environment. It's no place for the novice winemaker. The best sites are treacherously steep, just peaking out above the chilling fog line. Powerful winds and ocean storms can reduce a vine and its precious fruit to shreds. Every year, harvest comes dangerously late with yields sometimes as low as ½ ton per acre. Risks like these bring long days and sleepless nights for the pioneering winemakers with the heart and passion to work here. Then again, it's exactly these extreme conditions that make the region's wines so undeniably brilliant.
The top vineyards sit above the creeping fog line 1,000 feet above sea level, sprinkled a few miles off the coastline where they are set behind oak trees that protect them from the Pacific Ocean's mighty wind gusts. The entire AVA is over 500,000 acres but only a handful of prime spots are planted to vine; a sparse 7,000 acres. These sun-exposed peaks literally jut straight out of the ocean and pierce the fog, providing the vines with a rocky soil, perfect drainage and complexity-inducing mineral deposits. Given the proximity to the ocean, the cool temperatures extend the growing season to late October, giving the wine's unparalleled flavor development without high alcohol levels.
Below are the tasting notes on the recently released 2007 Morata Chardonnay, a brilliant 230-case production from this unique region. Look forward to other exciting Sonoma Coast wines as we continue to get access to them!
2007 Morata Chardonnay - This Chardonnay is such a great example of the extreme terroir of the Sonoma Coast. It's rich on the palate with bold flavors of creamy citrus and pear but its freshness makes for an incredible drinking experience. Everything about this wine is outstanding but it's the subtle nuances of smoky butterscotch, minerals, and citrus zest that put it in a league of its own.