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Friday, November 12, 2010

Sonoma Wineries: A few old-timers

If you're looking for big, jammy, expensive fruit-bombs then this post isn't for you.  This is about some of the guys that have been around for decades and still making their wines the same way, for better or worse, depending on your tastes.

I sampled mostly red wines.


PEDRONCELLI since 1927
Image from pedroncelli.com

First thing that hit me were the prices with most wines in the $15-$18 range.  The Friends Red, a blend of Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Merlot, is a steal at $10.   The Mother Clone Zinfandel is an old vine Zin with typical Dry Creek brambly characteristics, and another steal at $15.

These aren't big, lush wines, but they are excellent food wines and can stand a bit of ageing.


PRESTON since 1975

Exquisite balance. Not too tannic, good fruit, but not jammy or alcoholic.   Folks who like the Turley-esque fruit bomb wine should try Preston's Zinfandel.  You can have nice fruit without 16% alcohol (they don't go over 14.5% on their wines).

Higher-priced with most in the mid-$30s.  Besides the Zinfandel, the LPreston Rhone-style blend and Syrah-Sirah blend were excellent.   Some really great wines.


DRY CREEK VINEYARDS since 1972

Semi-nice, but not Preston nice though at Preston prices.  I tried their three available Zinfandels (you know you're in Dry Creek when you can taste three Zins at one stop) and preferred the Beeson Ranch at $34.   I have been a fan of Dry Creek for a long time, but a bit disappointing this time.


FOPPIANO since 1896

It's all about the Petite Sirah.  They have an Estate Petite (I tried) and a Reserve Petite (I didn't).  The Estate Petite Sirah had a nice spicy, peppery note to it that you don't often find though it also had some of the tannins you often do. This is what you'd call a manly wine--it ain't for sissies!  Don't drink this wine tonight; wait a few years.