Rising above Sonoma Valley to the east and the Santa Rosa Plain to the west–and set apart by being well above the morning fog line–Sonoma Mountain is primarily an enclave of powerful, yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignons. The region’s primarily eastern exposure allows full morning sunlight to promote a long, even ripening season, without pushing the process along too quickly. Well-drained soils and steep slopes allow smaller berries to focus on clear, intensely singular fruit flavors, from black currant to cassis, with notes of blackberry and violets that only add to the wines’ inherent complexity.
Due to the wide variety of slope and exposure, other varieties are grown as well. They include Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (early season varieties), Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon (a later season variety, like Cabernet), and some highly distinctive Zinfandels, whose uneven ripening patterns defy category. That said, it is the singularity of Cabernet Sauvignon that most concretely defines the Sonoma Mountain Viticultural Area.
Follow several Sonoma County growers and winemakers through a typical winemaking season. Get a glimpse into the process behind making some of the world’s finest wines.