Wine Regions: June 2007 Archives
A region springs to lifeby Courtney Cochran
Sonoma County's westerly Russian River Valley is like no other place in Northern California's storied wine country.
One need only drive down winding, pine tree-dotted Highway 116 hugging the Russian River to feel transported to another place. The towering redwoods and river-side clapboard cottages seem to belong to another time as well, a time when lazy days spent dangling your feet in the cool river while sipping a glass of one of the region's award-winning Chardonnays or Pinot Noirs were commonplace.
Now known as the "Cradle of Pinot Noir", this mountainous region is producing elegant Burgundian-style Pinots with intense fruit and complexity. Gaining the respect of increasing numbers of Pinot drinkers, the Santa Cruz appellation--which spans a wide swath from Half Moon Bay to Watsonville--has firmly established itself as a hotspot for this notoriously fickle grape by winning award after award for its steadfastly individual wines.