Similar to the RRV, Sonoma Coast is large enough (500,000 acres) to defy easy explication. Ranging from San Pablo Bay to the southern border of Mendocino County, the appellation encompasses an impressive diversity of weather and soil. Generally regarded as a cool climate appellation, the recent creation of sub-appellations (Fort Ross-Seaview) has gone a distance to more accurately define the appellation. La Rochelle is sourcing fruit from two sources in the appellation. Though each wine is distinctive in organoleptic detail, each shares the general Sonoma Coast characteristics of blod orange/root vegetable aromas and rose hip flavors.
Carved from more than 650 acres on the east side of the Petaluma River, the 20-acre El Coro Block of La Cruz Vineyard is a gorgeous site planted to seven different clones of Pinot Noir on very light, well-draining loamy and volcanic soils. Our first vintage from this site was 2007, and the clonal mix of the wine has changed over the years. In 2012, we will be harvesting exclusively from the Dijon 828 clone “Block C.”
Across the Petaluma River from La Cruz, at the southern end of the Petaluma Gap (7 miles from the ocean) lay the Springhill Vineyard. This site, owned by Chris and Karen London, is home to 20 acres of Pinot Noir (La Rochelle sourced the Swan, Dijon 828, Dijon 115, among others) and Scottish Highland cattle (crazy good burgers!). Our first vintage from this site was 2008. Planted on the loamy Steinbeck soil series, the windswept site is 600′ above sea level.
The Four Sisters Vineyard is located high above the Petaluma Gap and San Pablo Bay. As fog fills the valley below during the warm summer months, Four Sisters basks in sunlight throughout the day. The cool temperatures, from the fog below and windy afternoons, allow the Pinot Meunier grapes to ripen slowly and achieve full maturity with long hang time. Pinot Meunier, a close relative to Pinot Noir loves this environment.