The aromas are a cornucopia of fruit with cherry, raspberries and blueberries and orange alongwith notes of sweet oak, juniper, tobacco and mineral highlights. Cherry, blueberry andmineral are the main flavors with vanilla and sweet oak adding complexity.
This wine hasimpact on the palate with its intensity, but this is not a flash-in-the-pan style of Pinot. This is anelegant wine built to age gracefully over the medium term, with good acidity, fine tannins andlong finish. While a bit young on release, it will evolve beautifully, and is best enjoyed from2007 – 2012.
Keller Estate Winery
Keller Estate Winery and Vineyards, owned by the Keller family, is nestled in the Sonoma Coast, Northwest of the Carneros region on Lakeville Highway east of Petaluma not far from the edge of the county. They are the southernmost winery in the Sonoma Coast appellation and the first to establish itself in the Petaluma Valley. The San Pablo Bay lies immediately to the south. To the Northwest lies the Petaluma gap where an opening in the coastal hills allows masses of fog to flow freely towards the Petaluma Valley. This geographical signature is unique and creates a cool and long growing season for Keller Estate's vineyards.
The winemaking philosophy at Keller Estate is simple: they respect the terrior that is characteristic of this vineyard estate and they minimize the handling and manipulation of the grapes to preserve the quality. They have pursued a blueprint of clonal diversity based on the altitude, orientation and soil composition of each vineyard block that is best for each individual clone. This clonal diversity provides the textures, flavors and aromas with which to build complexity into the wines. Winemaker Michael McNeill spends considerable time in the vineyard, assessing crop levels, canopy management and irrigation timing. However, his most important decision comes from tasting the ripening fruit over and over again – the optimal time to harvest.
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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.
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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.