The meteoric rise of Pinot Noir’s popularity in recent years has led to some misguided efforts with the wine world’s most temperamental varietal.

Consequently, the good stuff is hard to come by. Mostly because Pinot Noir is notorious for its intolerance. To make premium quality Pinot requires nothing short of perfect growing conditions. That means that finding the ideal site for a vineyard is like striking gold.

IMG_9319For decades, Sonoma County has attracted its fair share of prospectors searching for the mother lode. Some wine producers were lucky enough to have staked their claim early, long before the rush of recent years. Those producers’ names are known the world over, but good luck getting your hands on any of their coveted fare. They all tend to share one thing in common: they’re tiny. When you find a great one that’s yet undiscovered, don’t go writing about it on the internet if you plan to keep some for yourself.

Take Fogline Vineyards for example…

The team at Fogline launched their label in 2009 and only recently opened their tasting room in northern Santa Rosa on River Road, a stone’s throw west of Highway 101 (just past the Vintner’s Inn). You won’t find a well-appointed chateau there, but you will find the Pinot Noir you’ve been looking for. Don’t tell anybody.

Each one of their offerings is distinctive, ranging from elegant and bright, to complex, structured, and earthy. They focus on single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and produce just around 1000 cases annually, so there’s not a lot to go around. They have a beautiful Chardonnay and a rich, ripe Zinfandel as well, but the Pinots are the highlight and the reason to keep going back.

zzdata-FogSiteLOGO2_BRANDCOLOR_SM0If you must share this find, feel free, but know that once word gets out about Fogline, we’ll be fighting to get on that list. Best to go soon and get ‘em while you can.