Tom's House, Palo Alto, CA
Tasted Thursday, November 4, 2010 by Richard Jennings with 580 views
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.
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.