Our next “must stop visit” is to Sobon Estate and Shenandoah Vineyards, located in Amador County. Both are owned by Leon and Shirley Sobon. Once again, the next generation is the main force in carrying on what Leon and Shirley began. Each winery has its own personality and style of wine.
Sobon Estate (www.SobonWine.com) is the oldest winery in the foothills, originally D’Augostini Winery, founded in 1856, it was purchased by Leon and Shirley as their 30th anniversary gift. Sobon Estate is a registered landmark and boasts a museum of wine and farm antiquities. Some of the wines we tasted:
2007 Roussanne – one of the few wineries to make Roussanne as a varietal. This is a lovely, light, peachy white wine.
2007 Viognier – classic character showing peach and apricot in the aroma and a long, lingering finish of tree fruits and spices.
2007 Sangiovese – this wine had just been released. This is a very young wine but had incredible fruit and complexity. The future for this one is bright indeed. I will bide my time and hide mine in my cellar for a few years to see what transpires.
2006 Zinfandel “Old Vines” – great nose with lots of berries and a bit of chocolate. Soft on the finish with lingering fruit.
2006 Zinfandel “Cougar Hill” – once again, there is incredible fruit, lots of complexity, a bit of smokiness in this one. Soft and luscious on the finish. Nicely balanced.
2006 Zinfandel “Fiddletown” – a consistently classic style that is rich and lingering with berries and plum and a memorable finish.
*A note about Sobon Zinfandels, of which they make several vineyard designated offerings. They are one of the few wineries left who haven’t gone crazy with the 15% alcohol plus in their wines. I applaud them for that and say that it really makes a difference in the softness and approachability of these wines. All three of these Zinfandels have won double gold medals.
2007 Zinfandel Port – of course this one is a much higher alcohol because it is a Port wine…which would signify that it has been fortified to probably 18% or higher. I haven’t had a Zinfandel Port in a long time. This one was rich and heavy, as one expects Port to be, with outstanding concentrated fruit. My thoughts turned to pouring it over French vanilla ice cream.
Shenandoah Vineyards (www.ShenandoahVineyards.com)
2006 Zinfandel Special Reserve – a best buy offering. For $9.95 at the winery, you won’t find a nicer wine at the price. It was a little light, which I have no problem with as that is a stylistic preference. But the bright fruit and easy drinkability said it all.
2006 Vintners Selection Zinfandel – extremely aromatic wine with just about everything…plum, berries, chocolate, and raspberry with lots of that jammy character that is classic in some Zinfandels.
2005 Vintners Selection Cabernet Sauvignon – medium bodied with lots of cassis and cedar. This was a very food friendly wine and would go well with everything from pizza to prime rib.
2006 Zingiovese® – yes, I spelled that correctly. This is a 50-50 blend of Zinfandel and Sangiovese. It had some licorice with lots of plum and some spiciness in the finish. A very nice blend indeed.
2005 ReZerve® (also spelled correctly) Paul’s Vineyard Zinfandel – the Paul’s Vineyard is outstanding every year. This is no exception. It is a big, bold wine with full, rich, classic Zinfandel flavors…lots of berries and some chocolate. Paul is one of the second generation I mentioned earlier. He is Leon and Shirley’s son.
2007 Black Muscat – dessert wine at 10% residual sugar. Very perfumey wine with rich blackberry fruit and that wonderful Muscat spiciness. Black Muscat is another wine you don’t see much of and this one is a winner. Luscious just for dessert or with something chocolate.
Next stop - Latcham Vineyards