Sonoma Magazine, Dec 11, 2019
Top 100 Sonoma Wines 2019
By Linda Murphy
Could there possibly be a wine region in the world that offers more quality, diversity, affordability, and pure drinking pleasure than Sonoma County?
With its viticultural riches, agreeable climate during the growing season, and makers committed to excellence, Sonoma stands tall among the planet’s wine-producing elite. That makes choosing the finest wines of the year from thousands of candidates an excruciatingly difficult — and delicious — task.
Our list of the Top 100 wines of 2019 includes expensive bottles as well as many great deals. But value is relative. Like art, antiques, 11-course dinners, and Warriors playoff tickets, wines are worth what the market is willing to pay. It’s hard to feel sticker shock about a $70 Sonoma Pinot Noir when a Burgundy of equal quality costs three times that much. And top-tier Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons sell for $250 or more, so by comparison, Sonoma’s finest are true bargains. That calls for an end-of-year toast to a fabulously diverse wine region that produces something for everyone, across all price levels.
Healdsburg-based wine critic Linda Murphy selected the Top 100 Wines of 2019 based on her yearlong tastings at wineries and of samples sent to her, as well as her blind tastings at wine competitions including The Press Democrat 2019 North Coast Wine Challenge.
A former managing editor of Sonoma Magazine, Murphy writes the LikeWine feature in each issue, was the founding editor of the San Francisco Chronicle wine section (earning two James Beard Awards), and contributes to The Press Democrat, jancisrobinson.com, and Decanter magazine, among other publications. She’s evaluated Sonoma wines for 30 years in a professional capacity but always has the consumer in mind with her recommendations. Not all expensive wines are worth their price, and many value-priced wines deliver far more interest than their price would suggest. This philosophy is reflected in our Top 100 Wines choices. Something for everyone.
RHÔNE- STYLE REDS
Eric Kent Wine Cellars 2016 Las Madres Vineyard Carneros Syrah $44 Owners Kent Humphrey and Colleen Teitgen produce small lots of cool-climate-grown wines. This one has savory herbs and pepper sprinkled over the juicy blackberry and dark cherry fruit. It’s deep, concentrated, and built for aging in the cellar.
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