dsc09610For many wine consumers, the name Sonoma-Cutrer is synonymous with Chardonnay which the Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards has been making since 1973, in the heart of the Russian River Valley of northern California.

With vineyards in the hillsides and rocky foothills in what became recognized as the Sonoma Coast Appellation, the Burgundian-style Chardonnays:  flinty, crisp with aromas of apple and pears mingling with hints of tropical fruit in the palate; have always been different than the traditional oaky, buttery California benchmark chardonnays;  a decision that Michael “Mick” Schroeter continues to respect  in his new role as Winemaking Director — the third since the winery came into existence.

After a very exciting career at Penfold’s, in Australia —  Mick  Schroeter  worked on Penfold’s legendary Grange Hermitage—, serendipity drove him to  California, where he ended up settling with his family.  Before his new position at Sonoma-Cutrer, he made his mark during 17 years at Geyser Peak Winery in California as Vice President of Winemaking for which he was twice  named “Winemaker of the Year” at the London International Wine & Spirit Competition.   Sonoma Cutrer  is under the Brown Foreman umbrella.

Originally, Sonoma Cutrer set out to produce only one wine— terroir-driven Chardonnay,  but has added a limited production of  world-class Pinot Noirs.  “It is a unique assimilation of traditional Burgundian winemaking methods and our own technological innovation,” says Mick of the winemaking process. “ It's a perfect balance of tradition and discovery, bringing forth noble wines that express a sense of place, vintage after vintage.”

At a luncheon at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach with  winemaker Mick Shoreter and Robinson Brown IV of Brown Foreman,  the food friendly wines were perfect with stone crabs, luscious seafood and many sides that would be perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner.

dsc09619Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay Sonoma Valley Les Pierres 2006 $ 37.95

Yellow-gold with perfect clarity, the wine displays distinct aromas of spice and lemon-lime over a pronounced flinty mineral backbone typical of the vineyard. “Full of deep, complex flavors that speak to the leanness of the soil, Les Pierres is a wine worthy of our Grand Cru approach,” says Winemaker Mick.    “Flavors of green apple and lemon evolve to dried lemon peel and lime zest, while floral notes recall the acacia flowers of the Burgundy countryside in spring.  Careful oak aging and fermentation impart a hint of fresh-baked bread crust. The wine’s structure is firm, focused and elegant, and the remarkably long finish is classic Les Pierres: tight, lemon-mineral, extending with great acidity."  

dsc09614Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $20.00

a mineral, flinty nose, flavors of lemon, apple, pear, pineapple and cantaloupe-the full array of Sonoma's cornucopia of fruit, joins a nutty, spicy, coconutty lightly oak profile that stakes out a unique territory . A great wine with oysters and seafood




dsc09618Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Russian River 2008  $35.00

Firm, intense and vibrant yet with a mineral edge, full-bodied wine, with classic aromas of red and black berries enriched with tobacco leaf and spices, with medium tannins balanced by a good acidity, and a nice lengthy finish. Pairs well with batter-fried lobster or any other fish, chicken or meat dish.