Sojourn Pinots and Cabs Blindtasted

Tom's House, Palo Alto, CA
Tasted Thursday, November 4, 2010 by Richard Jennings with 586 views

Introduction

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Craig Haserot, founder and co-owner of Sojourn Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, came to taste with our weekly blindtasting group, bringing with him a collection of his Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Sojourn sources Pinot grapes from top vineyards along the Sonoma Coast, and Cabernet grapes from highly regarded vineyards in Napa Valley. Craig's partner in Sojourn, which established a tasting room just off the square in Sonoma this year, is winemaker Erich Bradley, who was formerly winemaker at Arrowood in Sonoma Valley.

Craig is a friend and tasting buddy of mine, and a great wine marketer. He's also coined such useful terms as "tweener wackage" (that interesting or odd wine that doesn't fit in a flight but gets poured while waiting for the next course) and "hoteling" (the request for the stacking of caloric and/or rich restaurant courses, like foie gras or sliders, on top of each other). I have been tasting the Sojourn wines from the first vintage, and I think these are very well made and reliable Pinot Noirs and Cabernets. The Pinots may be a little richer and riper than I am buying these days, as my Pinots need to be food friendly (higher acid), but for the style, I think they are very good. And I'm quite impressed with the purity of fruit and depth of the Cabernets.

In the first Sojourn flight, Craig poured four vintages of Pinot from the Sangiacomo Vineyard, and an '09 from the more recently planted Ridgetop Vineyard. For the group and for me, the '07 Sangiacomo, from a truly excellent vintage, came out on top. The '09 Sangiacomo is also very impressive, and came in second for me. The '09 Ridgetop came in second for the group and third for me. In the two video clips below, Craig describes the challenges of the botrytis impacted '06 vintage of Sangiacomo, and gives more info about the Ridgetop Vineyard.

In the Sojourn Cabernet flight, we sampled four different vintages comprising four of the different vineyards from which Sojourn sources Cabernet. My favorite was the '06 Mountain Terraces Reserve, from the vineyard that provides most of its fruit for Audelssa's Cabernets (for which Erich Bradley is also the winemaker), but the group's number 1 was the '07 Howell Mountain Cab.

Besides the blind flights of Sojourn Pinots and Cabs, we started with a flight of Promenade Cabernets that I was sent for tasting. We then tasted a blind flight that Ross poured that turned out to be '82 vintage Bordeaux and Cabs. The group's and my number 1 in this flight turned out to be the '82 Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace, followed by the Lynch Bages. We ended with a blind flight of Sauternes that turned out to be two Rieussecs--'78 and '80. The more botrytis affected vintage, 1980, was easily the favorite both for me and the group.

Flight 1 - Promenade Wines pre-tasting (3 Notes)

Promenade uses purchased fruit, and we all very much liked the '05, with the '07 coming in second, and the group, and me, having a lot of problems with the '06, which seemed quite green and faulty compared to the other two wines. The fruit is from Napa's Stag's Leap appellation. The owners are Diana and David Sullivan and the winemakers are brothers Art and Judd Finkelstein.
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  • 2005 Promenade Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 92 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District

    Dark red violet color; nice, rich berry, plum, menthol, lead pencil, herbaceous nose; tihgt yet, poised, tart cassis, cedar, classic Cabernet, cassis, mint chocolate chip palate; medium-plus finish (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot)

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  • 2006 Promenade Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 79 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District

    Dark red violet color; bug spray, weedy, green, pine nose; open knit, green, cassis, pine palate; medium finish

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  • 2007 Promenade Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 90 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District

    Very dark red violet color; ripe berry, blackberry, boysenberry, menthol, chocolate nose; ripe cassis, tart berry, cedar palate with firm, mouthcoating tannins, needs 4-6 years; medium-plus finish 90+ pts.

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Flight 2 - 1982 Cabs Blindtasted (4 Notes)

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Flight 3 - Sojourn Pinots Blindtasted (5 Notes)

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  • 2007 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard 92 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Group's #1 (my #1) – 39 pts; 3 firsts, 7 seconds, 3 thirds, 1 last place – medium dark cherry red color with pale meniscus; smoke, char, cherry, red berry nose with a touch of brett; rich red berry, cherry, raspberry, floral palate with depth; medium-plus finish 92+ pts.

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  • 2009 Sojourn Pinot Noir Ridgetop Vineyard 91 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Group's #2 (my #3) – 41 pts.; 4, 4, 4, 1 - medium dark cherry red color with pale meniscus; hibiscus, light cherry nose with green notes; youthful, tart red berry, raspberry syrup, hibiscus, floral palate with green notes; medium-plus finish 91+ pts.

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  • 2006 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard 89 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Group's #3 (my #5) – 46 pts.; 6, 1, 1, 3 - light medium cherry red color with clear meniscus; hibiscus, red berry, floral nose; soft entry, red bean, red berry, raspberry syrup, cherry palate; medium-plus finish

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  • 2009 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard 92 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Group's #4 (my #2) – 53 pts.; 2, 3, 4, 3 - medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; cherry, baked cherry, floral, raspberry, hibiscus nose; rich cherry, floral, black raspberry, red berry palate; medium-plus finish

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  • 2008 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard 91 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Group's #5 (my #4) – 61 pts.; 1, 0, 4, 4 - medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; rich, framboise, peony, baked raspberry, raspberry syrup nose; rich, ripe berry, raspberry, raspberry syrup, baked raspberry, baked cherry palate; medium-plus finish

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Flight 4 - Sojourn Cabs Blindtasted (4 Notes)

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Flight 5 - Sauternes Blindtasted (2 Notes)

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  • 1978 Château Rieussec 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Light medium orange color; nice, mature, baked orange, brown sugar, mushroom, sour cream nose; tasty, rich, mature, baked orange, apricot, brown sugar, sour cream palate; medium-plus finish

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  • 1980 Château Rieussec 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Medium orange color; tart orange, dried orange, ghee, clarified butter, baked orange nose; tasty, rich, juicy, botrytis, mandarin orange, apricot, cantelope palate with good acidity; long finish 92+ pts.

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