What is the typical taste profile difference in a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir?
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW
This is a very interesting question, since this subject is being debated by many in the California wine world.
Pinot Noir has taken on a special role in Russian River, which is now recognized as one of the best locations in California for this demanding grape. It is key that the area is cooled by fog coming from the west. Many tasters say that Pinot from this AVA offers an ideal balance of ripeness, sensuality and finesse, with the pronounced berry aromas that are associated with the variety.
Sonoma Coast is more variable, simply because the AVA is quite large and takes in differing conditions. It stretches along the Pacific Coast from Mendocino and then continues inland and south to the San Pablo Bay. The fairly wet and cool/cold weather in the coastal zone produces rather paler Pinots with higher acidity. The best combine concentration and an elegant, firm structure.