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Sonoma: A tale of two wineries

 

Tales of two very different Sonoma County wineries:

La Crema: Head west out of Santa Rosa, Calif., through acres of grape vines, passing tractors and wagons on the road, and soon you're in a dark forest of 100-foot redwood trees alongside a fast-moving river. It's the Russian River Valley.

Here, in one of the coolest parts of Sonoma County, sisters Laura Jackson Giron and Jennifer Jackson, with winemaker Melissa Stackhouse, produce cool-weather varieties of chardonnay and pinot noir.

La Crema is a small family winery with vineyards spread around northern California's coolest areas, including Anderson Valley to the north and Los Carneros to the south.

Stackhouse specializes in the winemaking style of France's cool Burgundy

area, fermenting the grapes in oak barrels, using secondary malolactic fermentation to soften the wines and make them more complex.

            Frei Brothers: This winery dates to 1890, when Swiss immigrant Andrew Frei purchased 334 acres in Sonoma County from a gold miner, and, by 1895, was making 20,000 cases of wine a year. In 1903 he turned the vineyard over to his sons, Walter and Louis.

After Prohibition ended, the Frei brothers signed an agreement to sell all of their grapes to Julio Gallo, and, in 1978 the E‚&‚J Gallo Winery bought the vineyard outright, keeping the Frei Brothers name. Today it's part of Gallo's high-end Sonoma operations.

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

   ø‚2007 La Crema

îîNine Barrel'' Chardon

nay, Russian River Valley:

a big wine, with 14 percent

alcohol; ripe and rich and

creamy, with powerful

baked fruit flavors; $70.

   ø‚2008 La Crema

Pinot Noir, Russian River

Valley: black cherry and

bittersweet chocolate aro

mas and flavors; lush and

ripe; $38.

   ø‚2007 Frei Brothers

Reserve Sauvignon

Blanc, Russian River Val

ley: aromas and flavors of

cut grass, minerals and cit

rus; crisp and lively; $20.

 

RECOMMENDED

   ø‚2007 La Crema

Chardonnay, Los Carne

ros: lively citrus aromas,

with flavors of toasty oak

and caramel; rich and

creamy; $30.

   ø‚2007 La Crema

Pinot Noir, Los Carneros:

black raspberry and

mocha aromas and flavors;

rich and ripe; $38.

   ø‚2007 La Crema

Nine Barrel Pinot Noir,

Russian River Valley: big

and rich, with black plum

and cinnamon flavors,

creamy, with ripe tannins;

$90.

   ø‚2006 Frei Broth

ers Reserve Cabernet

Sauvignon, Alexander

Valley: full-bodied, with

aromas and flavors of

black cherries, licorice

and mint; $24.

   ø‚2007 Frei Brothers

Reserve Merlot, Dry

Creek Valley: medium

body, black cherry and

black pepper aromas and

flavors, soft tannins; $20.

   ø‚2007 Frei Brothers

Reserve Syrah, Russian

River Valley: black rasp

berry and black pepper

aromas and flavors, soft

tannins; $24.

   ø‚2007 Frei Brothers

Reserve Chardonnay,

Russian River Valley: aro

mas and flavors of lemons,

pears, peaches; rich and

soft; $20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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