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A Tasting of Small Vines Wines, Sonoma, California

Footsteps of the grower, Small Vines Wines

Footsteps of the grower, Small Vines Wines, photo: Small Vines Wines

Paul and Kathryn Sloan craft exquisite, small lot, grand-cru inspired artisan wines sourced from their sustainably-farmed estate vineyard in Sebastopol, as well as from a few select Sonoma Coast producers.

The label on their bottles – a rendering of their vine’s roots and shoots, which mirror one another in height and depth – symbolize Small Vines Wines devotion to balance, both in the vineyard, and in the cellar.

This is the second article of two on Small Vines Wines. Read the first part here: Meeting Paul Sloan, winemaker at Small Vines Wines in Sonoma.

2015 Small Vines Wines Rosé of Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines Rosé of Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines Rosé of Pinot Noir, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Delicate vin gris hue.

Nose: Mimosa, blood orange, frisson de rose.

Palate: Sloan adds a little bit of Chardonnay to his Pinot Noir for texture, similar to a typical Champagne blend. This medium-bodied rosé pours out complex, multi-layered, and delightfully dry.

Suggested Pairings: Unicorn wine. Best sipped at sunset in your Secret Garden with your Prince or Princess Charming of choice while watching a rainbow slip into a pot of gold. It’s that rare.

Alcohol: 12.5%

Suggested Retail: SOLD OUT

2014 Small Vines Wines Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Small Vines Wines Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Small Vines Wines Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Pale straw robe.

Nose: Inviting aromas of toast, butterscotch, and lemon zest.

Palate: Marzipan, brioche and lemon curd on the mouth. Minimal battonage and some time in stainless steel prior to bottling allows for a well-integrated, light bodied wine with under-stated acids.

Suggested Pairings: This subtle wine suits a simple summer meal of grilled, garden-fresh veggies, crusty loaf of just-baked bread, creamy unsalted butter, and free-range roast chicken.

Alcohol: 13.6%

Suggested Retail: $55

2014 Small Vines Wines Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Medium-opaque, deep garnet hue.

Nose: Black and raspberry, red apple and brandy nose.

Palate:  Medium-light body, bright acids, silky tannins that ensure aging potential.

Suggested Pairings: A wine best shared al fresco with friends over a fire pit on the deck or patio.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $65

2014 Small Vines Wines TBH Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Small Vines Wines TBH Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Small Vines Wines TBH Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Pristine golden robe.

Nose: Aromas of sandalwood, grapefruit, orange blossom, wet rocks,

Palate: Elegant lemon-lime mouth with discrete creme brûlée back note.

Suggested Pairings: A stealthy stunner worth savoring with guests over a casual-yet-elegant meal such as braised bronzino, swordfish, or salmon.

Alcohol: 13.7%

Suggested Retail: $72

Specifications:

Vineyards: 100% The Barlow Homestead. Planted 2009, cool-windy ridge top with heavy coastal influences, Sebastopol. Farming: Organically farmed by Small Vines Viticulture, Inc. Spacing: 4×3 (3630 vines per acre.) Soils: Dark gray Goldridge fine sandy loam. Yields: ~1.5 lbs. per vine, naturally, lightly thinned for uniformity. Clones: Hyde Wente and Kistler Mt Eden Wente Selections. Hand Harvest Dates: The Barlow Homestead 8/27, 8/29 and 09/2/2014. Pressing Method: 100% whole cluster, very slow and gentle press cycle. Brix at Pressing: Barlow 21.8-23.6. Fermentation: Barrel fermented with native yeast and native malolactic, minimal batonnage. Barrel Program: 10 months on fine lees; 7% new French oak Allier. 93% neutral French oak, Francois Freres Ermitage, Remond, Demptos. Bottling: Bottled unfined, unfiltered August 6, 2015. Chemistry: pH: 3.13, TA: 0.77 g/100ml, RS: 1.4 g/L, Alc: 13.7%.

2014 Small Vines Wines TBH (The Barlow Homestead) Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines TBH (The Barlow Homestead) Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines TBH (The Barlow Homestead) Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Fuscia-infused deep opaque blackberry robe.

Nose: Cranberry, currant, raspberry, potpourri, sous bois on the nose.

Palate:  Cherry cola, mushroom, green tea, dried rose petal on the palate. Unblemished acidity; well-structured tannins ensure a graceful aging.

Suggested Pairings:  A pour to ponder.

Alcohol: 13.2%

Suggested Retail: $82

Specifications:

Vineyards: 100% The Barlow Homestead: Planted 2009, cool-windy ridge top with heavy coastal influences, Sebastopol. Farming: Organically farmed by Small Vines Viticulture. Spacing: 4×3 (3630 vines per acre.) Soils: Dark gray Goldridge fine sandy loam. Yields: ~1.5 lbs. per vine, naturally, lightly thinned for uniformity. Clones: Calera, Pommard, Swan, 943. Hand harvest dates: TBH: 8/26, 8/30, 8/31/2014. Brix at cold soak:  22.3- 24.4 Brix. Fermentation: Native yeast fermentation; 3-5 day cold soak; On the skins for 14-18 days including pre and post-fermentation maceration; Native ML; 35% whole cluster. Barrel program:  15 months on fine lees; 23% new French oak, Allier, Siruge. 77% Neutral: Remond, Ermitage,Sirugue. 100% free run. Bottling: Bottled unfined, unfiltered January 11, 2016. Chemistry: pH: 3.52, TA: 0.57 g/100ml, RS: 0.4 g/L, alc: 13.2%. Release date: August 2016.

2014: Small Vines MK (Matt Keller) Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Small Vines MK (Matt Keller) Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Small Vines MK (Matt Keller) Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Opaque ruby robe.

Nose: Rhubarb, leather, red fruit.

Palate: Medium-light body. Balanced acids and tannins; this wine will turn velvety over time.

Suggested Pairings: Grilling wine – bring out the high-end, better-cuts BBQ.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $82

Specs: Vineyards: 100% MK Vineyard: Planted by Small Vines in 1999, east facing ridge above Occidental, 800 ft. elevation, 10.5 miles from the coast. Farming: Organically farmed by Small Vines Viticulture, Inc., using biodynamic practices. Spacing: 4×4 (2722 vines per acre.) Soils:  Extremely sandy dark gray loam. Yields: ~2.5 lbs. per vine, naturally, lightly thinned for uniformity. Clones: Dijon 114, 115, 667, 777. Hand Harvest Dates: 8/29, 8/30/2014. Brix at Cold Soak: 22.7-23.1 Brix. Fermentation: Native yeast fermentation; 5 day cold soak; on the skins for 14-18 days including pre and post-fermentation maceration; Native ML, 50% whole cluster. Barrel. Program: 15 months on fine lees; 43% New French oak: Siruge, Atelier. 57% Neutral: Ermitage, Francois Freres. 100% free run. Bottling: Bottled unfined, unfiltered January 11, 2016. Chemistry: pH: 3.69, TA: .54 g/100ml, RS: 0.4g/L Alc: 13.5% Release Date: August 2016.

2014 Small Vines Wines Baranoff Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines Baranoff Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Small Vines Wines Baranoff Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, photo: Small Vines Wines

Robe: Deep garnet robe.

Nose: Dark cherry cola, balsa nose.

Palate: Cedar, red cherry, red raspberry, black pepper bouche. Frontal attack gives way to a velvety finish reminiscent of a Pommard premier cru.

Suggested pairings: Beef Bourguignon.

Alcohol: 13.2%

Suggested Retail: $82

Specs: Vineyards: 100% Baranoff Family Vineyard: Planted in 2001, top of ridge above the Laguna de Santa Rosa, Sebastopol. Farming: Sustainably farmed by Small Vines Viticulture, Inc., with organic weed control. Spacing: 4×4 and 4x meter (2722– 3350 vines per acre.) Soils: Red sandy clay loam. Yields: ~1.8 lbs. per vine, naturally, lightly thinned for uniformity. Clones: Calera, 777, Swan, 459. Hand Harvest Dates: 8/27, 8/30, 9/2/2014. Brix at Cold Soak: 221.-23.5 Brix. Fermentation: Native yeast fermentation; 5 day cold soak; on the skins for 17 days including pre and post-fermentation maceration; Native ML, 75% whole cluster. Barrel Program: 5 months on fine lees; 43% New French oak: Siruge, Atelier. 37% Neutral: Ermitage. 100% free run. Bottling: Bottled unfined, unfiltered January 11, 2016. Chemistry: pH: 3.74, TA: 0.56 g/100ml, RS: 0.3 g/L Alc: 13.2%. Release Date: August 2016.

This is the second article of two on Small Vines Wines. Read the first part here: Meeting Paul Sloan, winemaker at Small Vines Wines in Sonoma.

LM Archer is a freelance writer based in Seattle and California. She is Francophile who considers wine an art and Burgundy the centre of the universe. She is the founder and editor of binNotes | redThread.

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