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Monday, February 1, 2016

Where to get your Pinot Noir fix in Sonoma County

Pinot Noir is a cool-climate grape so it thrives in the less warm micro-climates of Sonoma County. This would be the Sonoma Coast, Carneros, and Russian River Valley appellations. This list is all about the Russian River Valley as there are many more choices of places to visit.

These wineries are all open daily with no appointment required, unless otherwise noted. Since Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grow in the same area you'll find most of these folks making excellent Chardonnay, too. This is also a great place for Syrah and even Zinfandel.

On Westside Road near the Russian River

Balletto - This family has been making quality estate wines for years without a lot of fanfare. My favorite bang-for-the-buck Pinots.

Deloach - They make many Pinots all selling at reasonable prices. They get fruit from many North Coast vineyards.

Dutton Goldfield - The Dutton Ranch folks are well-respected. They put out a half-dozen different Pinots.

Fog Crest - Fairly new, a lot of money behind them, a winemaker with a great resumé, and a nice setting. Open daily--call for an appointment.

Gary Farrell - A top-notch Pinot producer for many years. Reservations are required on weekends.

Joseph Swan - Excellent wines. Pinot Noir is what made them famous before Pinot was all the rage. Open weekends.

Lynmar - Nice setting, they make about a dozen different Pinots. Fruit-forward style, oak influenced.

Marimar - They have several top-quality vineyards in the cooler parts of the county.

Merry Edwards - One of the best winemakers in the county puts out several great Pinots.

Moshin - Pinot is their specialty, but they make several other wines.

Rochioli - One of the more famous Pinot vineyards anywhere. Some of their wines are available only via a mailing list with a very long waiting period. They are that good.

Siduri - He actually gets Pinot fruit from all over California and some from Oregon. Makes a couple dozen different Pinots. By appointment.

Twomey - From the Silver Oak family. This is their label for wines other than Cabernet. They get fruit from all over the state. The wines are not inexpensive. Nice view from their tasting room.

Woodenhead - Burgundian-style Pinot (opposite of the fruit-forward styles of folks like Lynmar).

Part of last year's harvest