|The hottest new region in the county is, in fact, its coolest. What’s hot
is the recognition that a place so close to the Pacific, with more than twice
the annual rainfall of its inland neighbors, can still be warm enough to ripen
wine grapes to their fullest flavor potential.
The answer, simply enough, is that these vineyards rise up above the fogline
on slopes once given over to natural forestlands, punctuated by the occasional
flock of sheep or herd of cows. On the coast, a thriving seafood industry provides
the perfect accompaniment to the region’s vinous offerings. Chardonnay with
the crab? Oysters? It’s so deliciously Sonoma County.
Though at 750 square miles it’s the county’s largest Viticultural
Area, it is at present the least planted. But that is changing rapidly as consumers
discover the depth of flavors that can be generated when varieties like Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir are planted where the end of the growing season is coincident with
their fullest flavor maturity. That’s how you come up with Chardonnays loaded
with fresh dairy cream and toasted hazelnut character and Pinot Noirs sulky and
silken with black cherry fruit and sandalwood spice.
~Sonoma County Vintners