“Valley of the Moon” — three Sonoma wines for autumn
_____________ autumn, 2016
“Valley of the Moon” Winery is named to honor the English translation of the Native American word Sonoma.
Today, the Valley of the Moon vineyard stretches 40 acres as a small slice of the California Sonoma region. Just as the crescent moon shows a sliver of the moon.
The vineyard is the perfect place to see the moon rise and set, says Kat Doescher, Valley of the Moon winemaker. “The mountains on either side provide perspective that often makes the moon seem quite large.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Doescher via phone while we tasted “Valley of the Moon” wines Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. These are wines she suggested to accompany the autumn season.
Here are notes per our “tele-tasting:” Her winemaking expertise, and my tasting the wines as a wine aficionada, or avid wine enthusiast.
Notes via the Winemaker’s perspective
Each grape has characteristics to itself that she regards when making wines, says Mrs. Doescher.
Pinot Blanc is white wine grape variety that is an offshoot of the Pinot Noir red wine grape, she says. It offers a brightness to the wine, and tropical fruit undertones.
She lets the grapes ripen on the vine. “If you pick too early, there is an edginess to the wine. The art is to let the grapes age on the vine, and to harvest them at full ripeness, just before they begin to rot.”
Capture the grapes then, and press them for their optimal floral compound.
Via the 2014 vintage, “I dreamed of the ripeness I have now.”
The Pinot Noir grape has characteristics that you must let develop on its own, Mrs. Doescher says. This takes patience, and a hands-off in letting the grape develop.
The 2014 season was warm, and optimal for drawing delicate flavors of the Pinot Noir.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the Valley of the Moon winery flagship wine, she says. Cabernet is a hardy grape.
The 2014 warm season proved optimal in her drawing texture, and accommodating richness of the grapes.
All wines are fruit forward, and dry, Mrs. Doescher says. “Some wines when I make them, I think of the fall.”
by this wine aficionada
O, yes! These wines pair well with autumn, the season of chilly weather, and occasional Indian Summer days. Each wine brings a vivid aroma and a plethora of flavors to the glass.
Delightfully aromatic, with floral to the nose. Hearty on the palate, with tropical fruit tinges like lemon and pineapple, and a sense of mineral in the finish. Pairs well with roasted pumpkin seeds, French Onion Soup, and soft cheeses. It also may serve as a fine accompaniment to a slice of pumpkin pie.
Serve slightly chilled to allow the aroma and flavors to open up.
Rich, cherry fruit to the nose and palate, with a red fruit finish. This Pinot Noir has a soft elegance. Pairs well with hard cheeses and autumn stews. Also pairs well with with late autumn afternoons on the patio, as you enjoy direct warmth from the sun.
Plump, berry fruits to the nose. Berry fruits land boldly to the palate, with hints of caramel. This is a full-bodied wine with a gentle finish. Pairs well with strong cheeses, and grilled vegetables and meats. Also accompanies well a jacket-weather night while gazing at the moon.
Suggested retail prices
Pinot Blanc — $19.00
Pinot Noir — $25.00
Cabernet Sauvignon — $26.00
Valley of the Moon vineyard represents a vine, per se, of the Madron Vineyard Estate, that is located in Glenn Ellen, the heart of Sonoma Valley. The Madron Estate has been producing wines since 1863.
Valley of the Moon wines are available in retail wine outlets. Check at your favorite wine store.
You may also order online at ValleyoftheMoonWinery.com.
***photos on the left by Jacquée T.
***photos on the right courtesy of Valley of the Moon Winery