Sonoma Coast is becoming one of the most sought-after Pinot Noir appellations in California. Our 2011 Sonoma Coast bottling is a structured and complex style of Pinot Noir. Dark fruit flavors with Christmas Cake spice notes highlight this complex, medium-bodied wine.
This bottling will pair with duck and other game birds, casseroles, and beef bourguignon.
Bravium translates from Latin as "reward, prize, or gift." Derek Rohlffs - Bravium’s Proprietor & Winemaker - founded the winery in 2007. Bravium produces single vineyard, traditionally-crafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown in hillside and mountaintop vineyards. Bravium’s vineyards are located in the relatively cool growing regions of Anderson Valley, Carneros, Mendocino Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Lucia Highlands, and Sonoma Coast. Derek employs simple winemaking techniques - gravity-moving wines and bottling his red wines unfined and unfiltered - allowing the vineyards and vintages to remain at the forefront. "The longer I make wine, the more I subscribe to a 'less is more' approach," Derek has said. Critics are growing increasingly excited about Bravium's wines, placing it alongside benchmark "producers such as Rhys, Kalin Cellars, Porter Creek, Joseph Swan, Copain and Littorai," while calling out its "deft integration of oak, judicious use of whole cluster fermentation, pleasant aromatics, flavor without weight, and bright acidity for refreshing drinking."
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about half as much wine as its northeasterly neighbor. Because of its vast size, however, Sonoma is able to achieve far more diversity within its borders, which include sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid-back and down-to-earth, but the wines are serious and well-made, ranging in style from subtle and elegant to rich and powerful. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
As a proclaimed non-enthusiast of Pinot Noir, I was shocked (to say the least) when I tasted Bravium's Pinot. Is is the Christmas Cake spice notes that won me over? Was is the combination of neutral and Frech oak barrels? Not sure. But pour me another! (... and another, and another...)
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.