Norton Safeweb

Monday, December 28, 2015

Unique/Innovative Wines of Sonoma County

Tired of the same ol' Chardonnay and Merlot off the shelf from the local store? Following are some interesting wines you may want to try. You'll probably have to order from or visit the winery to find them. These wines may be low production and sell out.

Will you love them all? Probably not, but if you're the curious type and want to seek out new things then give it a go!

David Coffaro reds. I can't pinpoint just one standout from his unusual varietals and blends made from estate grapes like Aglianico, Barbera, Carignan, Peloursin, and Souzao. Looking for that Zin, Cab, Carignan blend? This is your place.

Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc. Not much of this grape grown in California anymore, but it's a crisp and refreshing wine. If you like Sauvignon Blanc you'll love this Chenin Blanc.

Estate 1856 Petit Verdot (a Bordeaux-blending grape). I've had wines from these folks occasionally and all have been excellent. The caveat is they don't have a tasting room and only ship to a few states. This wine is not only unusual, but is a gold medal winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

Harvest Moon Ice wine. This is a specific kind of dessert wine made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. Germany and other European countries are known for ice wines along with the Niagara region of Ontario. Sonoma County doesn't have the weather to produce it, but Randy from Harvest Moon kind of "cheats" and freezes his Gewurztraminer after picking.

Paradise Ridge Sparkling Shiraz. A red bubbly. Champagne-style wines are traditionally made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but you can make a sparkling wine out of any grape, but finding one from a red base wine is rare.

Trentadue Chocolate Amore. A fortified late harvest Merlot (18% alcohol) with the "secret ingredient" of chocolate. Yes, it's decadent and being Trentadue it's reasonably priced.

Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc. There are a few people making this crisp, lighter, green appley wine, but I mention William here because this wine seems to be his passion. It's a small outfit so tasting is strictly by appointment as he's not always available.

Disclaimer: I work for one of these wineries