See new tasting notes and ratings on a selection of great red wines from Sonoma County, tasted by Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn.
All the wines below were selected from the Collectible California tasting on 20 September, held by the California Wine Institute at the US Embassy in London.
Scroll down for Sayburn’s top Sonoma reds
Sayburn’s top-scoring Sonoma wine was Kutch’s McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir 2015, rated 96/100 points, made by ex-NASDAQ trader Jamie Kutch. ‘Without doubt a winemaker to watch’, according to Sayburn.
In second place was Radio-Coteau’s Harrison Grade Syrah 2013, scored 95/100. This Syrah may come from the Sonoma Coast appellation but it’s got Rhône written all over it, the clue is in the name — ‘Radio-Coteau is derived from Rhône slang implying ‘messages from the hillsides’, said Sayburn.
Other highlights include two 94-point Cabernet Sauvignons from the Silver Oak and Peter Michael estates, grown in Alexander Valley and Knights Valley AVAs respectively.
Sayburn praised the fine complexity of Peter Michael’s flagship Les Pavots 2011 — a wine that is certain to reward cellaring.
He also points to the sustainable vine-growing practices of Silver Oak, founded in 1972 and currently running on over 1,400 solar panels.
Many of the top Sonoma winemakers prize a sustainable approach, the region’s winegrowers’ association once boasted it would be the nation’s first ‘100% sustainable wine region by 2019′, and all the wines below are certified organic.
Sayburn’s selection includes relatively new releases, mostly from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. Despite their youth, most of these wines have entered their drinking window as of 2018, although they will continue to evolve the next few decades.
Introduction copy by Laura Seal.
Top Sonoma red wines for the cellar:
Ronan Sayburn is a Master Sommelier and head of wine at 67 Pall Mall in London, he is also COO for the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe.