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Notes on Sonoma: Old Roots and New Shoots

Aspen Daily News
May 5, 2016
By Drew Stofflet

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Napa, Calif. – Well, the lifts are closed for the season. What are ya gonna do? Hit up wine country I guess.

I’m on my way through a wine press briefing that led me through the ides of northern Napa County (with a stop to visit our dear Aspen lovely Jennifree in the town of Napa) to a groovy Sonoma County crisscross in search of the noble chardonnay and pinot noir. Come along with me.

Kathleen Inman purchased a vineyard called Olivet Grange along the wide river plain of the Russian River in 2000. Clay, gravel and a mysterious old-growth redwood forest are buried below. Since purchasing this precious 10-acre parcel, Inman’s wines have expressed the essence of this region and why it has such a legacy in the wine world: beautiful, graceful glimpses of minerals along with the feisty acidity and purity of fruit to back it up. Back in the day I carried her pinot gris, maybe circa vintage 2004, on my list in Carbondale and it was my absolute favorite domestic white. Her chardonnay is flinty, lemony, fancy and French, and her pinot shimmers gorgeously like a rockstar in a purple-blue light. And she has a worm farm to make compost tea in the production of biodynamic, natural wine. She picks early by taste, not by sugars. She does cool-temp ferments. She uses screwcaps because she says they work. And she makes the only single-vineyard sparkling pinot noir in the United States. I like her!