Sonoma Coast is an AVA that encompasses vineyards that run along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean within the larger region of Sonoma County. Because the vineyards that grow in this area are closest to the ocean, they’re also the coolest and get the most moisture from the fog that rolls in off the ocean.
As this area is much cooler than Napa, which is to the east, the Chardonnays produced here tend to show the grape’s more modest side. Anyone accustomed to the classic “California Style” – wines that are rich, buttery, and often oaky – will be surprised by the clean minerality and focus on fruit, like green apples and pears, that is often found in Sonoma Coast Chardonnays. That’s not to say that these are lean wines – not at all, they’re still wines with substantial body and, in fact, some of the winemakers that pioneered the “California Style” did so with Sonoma Chardonnays.
Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008 – $24.00
La Follette Sangiacomo Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008 – $29.99
Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008 – $40.00
MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008 – $25.00
Peay Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008 – $50.00
Ramey Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2008 – $38.00
At the end of the day, Sonoma makes more Chardonnay than any other single region in the world, so it would be hard not to find a great example of every style of Chardonnay from the region. However, if you like Sonoma Coast Chardonnays, and would like something similar, try a Santa Barbara Chardonnay. Santa Barbara Chardonnays are usually somewhere in between the ones that are produced in Napa and Sonoma. While they’re usually not as buttery and oaky as Napa Chardonnay, they’ve got more of a focus on citrus and tropical flavors than the green fruits that Sonoma Chardonnays tend to show so they can taste “warmer”.
To learn about Chardonnay’s from other regions around the world that you might enjoy, click here for “Columbia Valley Chardonnay”
For more information on the episode featuring Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, click: Episode Guide: Savoring Sonoma Coast Chardonnays.