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The Weekly Dozen - Sonoma Salute

You’ve heard about a baker’s dozen, right? You add one extra for a generous total of 13.

This week we are featuring a cheap wine writer’s dozen – one bottle shy of a case – of Sonoma County wines. But it’s an 11 that will keep you satisfied from the neck down to the punt, so enjoy.

We should note that Sonoma County – after devastating fires not long ago – is now experiencing major flooding.  So if you’re in a buying mood, the wine producers of Sonoma need your support.

NV J “Cuvée 20” Russian River Valley Sparkling Wine ($31). Very refreshing with lots of bubble intensity, flavors of apples plus a little peach and lemon and a nice metallic minerality in the finish.

2016 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay ($22). During the 1980’s, northern California wineries used the term “fighting varietals” – good-value, variety-labeled wines priced only slightly higher than generic blends. This wine is one of those, with good fruit intensity of apples and pears, some minerality and a crisp finish.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($36). Light touches of mellow apple and golden honey with medium body and a tight finish.

2016 Mi Sueno Los Carneros Chardonnay ($40). Very smooth and fruity Chard with good acidity in the finish and light on the toast. 

2015 Gehricke Los Carneros Pinot Noir ($22). Light bodied with mature fruit and more savory notes that you normally experience in a Pinot.

2016 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($25). Enjoyable, with medium fruit intensity and food-friendly freshness and acidity.

2015 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($28). While the brand might not have the cache it once did, you’d be hard pressed to find a better Cali Cab at this price – great texture and mature fruitiness without being fruit forward, a good match with game or spicy stews.

2016 Gehricke Russian River Valley Zinfanel ($30). A wild wine in a good sense – lively, red-berry flavored Zin with a lot of herbal garrigue notes.

2015 Rodney Strong Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($35). Muted and mellow combo of red and black fruits with a little cream, a little chocolate and a good finish.

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Russian River Valley Syrah ($47). A northern Rhone- style red with earthy, tart-berry flavors and a very savory finish – ideal with a cassoulet. (If you’ve never made one, now is the time – very simple, very satisfying.) I would briefly decant just to marry the flavors a bit.

2015 Dutton Goldfield Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($55). Rich and intense, but a Zin with notes of Pinot Noir in its cola and rooty flavors and none of Zin’s savory characteristics. Whatever, it’s a very enjoyable drink.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from

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