Sonoma County is one of my favorirte places in the world for exploring pinot noir. There are so many diverse regions, so many small producers and so many different styles, making Sonoma an inexhaustible source of quality pinot noir.
I found one such wine a few months ago, the 2007 Baker Lane Pinot Noir Ramondo Vineyard
from the Sonoma Coast appellation.
This pinot displays a pretty garnet color in the glass. Lush and full aromas of blackberry, cranberry sauce, sweet cherries, cocoa powder and some savory spices. This wine is bright and smooth on the palate, not overbearing in any way. Flavors of cranberry, wild cherry and cola glide over a bed of plush tannins. I could go for a little more acid, but there's just enough for balance. A hint of eucalyptus and cocoa powder lingers on the finish. This stuff is pure silk, and much more restrained than a lot of Sonoma Coast pinot noirs. It got more and more elegant after two hours being open. I rated the wine 90 points. I imagine it could age well for another two or three years, but it is delicious now. My girlfriend, who has more of a new world palate, loved this wine as much as I did. "Can you buy more?" she asked.
The grapes come from a vineyard just a quarter-mile from Baker Lane's Estate vineyard. The owner of the site has allowed the Baker Lane winemaking team oversight over the property, which is planted to 4 acres of pinot noir and a little more than 1 acre to syrah. Before purchasing this bottle I'd never heard of Baker Lane, but this producer is now on my radar, and not just because they share my last name. If this bottle is any indication, they make elegant and delicious pinot.
K & L Wines has the 2007 Ramondo Vineyard on sale for $29, which is a solid buy. I was lucky enough to get it for $22 at auction, but I think I'll be buying some more to drink in the next two or three years.