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ERIK MILLER, OWNER and winemaker at Kokomo Winery in Healdsburg, didn’t move to Sonoma to make wine.
From Kokomo, Indiana, he came here for the beauty and quality of life he discovered while visiting a friend. Miller relocated to Sonoma in 1999 and took the first job offered, a financial planning gig that required that he wear a suit and tie.
“It took two months to realize it wasn’t for me,” he said.
He made his way to wine, first working in production at Belvedere Winery outside Healdsburg (now VML Winery).
“Two weeks into harvest and I fell in love,” Miller said.
His next position was at Amphora Winery, working for owner Rick Hutchinson, and in 2004, Miller started the Kokomo label. By 2008, he had partnered with Randy Peters, a fourth-generation farmer who has vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast, and the match proved fruitful for both.
Kokomo has two wines on the Top 100
— 2015 Pauline’s Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Grenache Rosé and 2014 Winemaker’s Reserve Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Miller has become a rosé whisperer of sorts, with his pale-pink wines winning competitions through- out the state.
The Kokomo 2015 North Coast Rosé won Best of Class at the 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge, scoring an impressive 97 points.
“One thing that sets Kokomo apart is we do a lot of varieties, all grown where they should be,” Miller said. “I’m proud of the fruit farmed by Randy.”
Zinfandel is a Miller favorite.
“It’s important to us to showcase what we believe is California’s grape, especially when it’s grown and made in Dry Creek Valley, where we think is the best place to do so. It’s food-friendly with natural acidity,” he said.
– Julie Fadda Powers
Saint Helena Winery ‘Sympa’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Rating: 95 points
This wine has a dense purple color, a beautiful nose of white flowers, blue and black fruits and charcoal embers followed by a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel with terrific purity, sweet finely grained tannins, low acidity, plenty of glycerin and punch. The complexity is already starting to push through with secondary nuances. This compelling effort can be drunk now or cellared for another 20 years. – Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Saint Helena Winery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Rating: 91 points
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is delicious and, like so many 2012s, is open-knit, full-bodied, round, juicy and hedonistic with loads of blue and black fruits, cedar wood, licorice, graphite and background oak. This full-bodied, sex-pot of a wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15 or more years. – Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Saint Helena Winery – 100 Pratt Avenue – Saint Helena, California 94574 Tel 707.967.9463
The estate is comprised of 22.7 planted acres, precisely defined by 27 blocks and sub blocks. The site is planted to Pinot Noir (13.1 acres), Syrah (4.6 acres), Grenache (1.68 acres), Mourvedre (1.6 acres), Counoise (0.72 acres), Tannat (0.49 acres), Roussanne (0.17 acres) and Viognier (0.12 acres). The 13.1 acres of Pinot Noir are dedicated to diverse and rare Pinot Noir clones — Dijon Clones 115, 667, 777, andWESTWOOD ESTATE is a dream manifested by a group of lifelong friends driven by site, potential and pure deliciousness. We have a singular mission of growing and crafting world-class Burgundian and Rhone varietal wines. In 2001, Westwood identified a unique vineyard site in the northeastern end of the Sonoma Valley AVA and began development of the Annadel Gap Estate vineyard in 2002. The magic of our site is captured in the narrow wind channel between Annadel Peak and Hood Mountain, resulting in cool climate inspired wines.
The estate is comprised of 22.7 planted acres, precisely defined by 27 blocks and sub blocks. The site is planted to Pinot Noir (13.1 acres), Syrah (4.6 acres), Grenache (1.68 acres), Mourvedre (1.6 acres), Counoise (0.72 acres), Tannat (0.49 acres), Roussanne (0.17 acres) and Viognier (0.12 acres). The 13.1 acres of Pinot Noir are dedicated to diverse and rare Pinot Noir clones — Dijon Clones 115, 667, 777, and 943; Heritage/Field Selections Pommard, Mt. Eden, Calera, Chambertin and Martini. We planted Syrah with diversity in mind as well — 100, 174, 877 and Tablas Creek.
Our winegrowing goal each vintage is to preserve the unique expression and diversity of our site. The backbone of our winemaking program lies in our Estate Pinot Noir, Estate Syrah and our proprietary red blends - Elevation and Legend. Additionally, our winemaker will craft 4-8 barrels of clonal or field selection estate Pinot Noirs and single-varietal Rhone offerings which showcase the best of the vintage and vineyard each year. Put together, these wines tell the complete story of Westwood Estate.
We strive to cultivate our Estate Annadel Gap Vineyard under the highest agricultural standards. We farm our estate guided by organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices.
ESTATE PINOT NOIR
VARIETAL COMPOSITION: 100% Pinot Noir
CLONES : Dijon 115, 777, 843; Pommard, Chambertin, Martini, Mt. Eden and Calera
YEAR PLANTED: 2002-2009
FINING/FILTERING: Gentle fining, bottled unfiltered
AVERAGE PRODUCTION: 1000
PH: 3.65 I
TA: 5.6 g/L
RS: 0.1 g/L I
WINEMAKER NOTES: As the foundation of our Pinot Noir program, the Estate Pinot will strive to achieve a balance of bright fruit, balanced acidity and gentle tannins. Each vintage will see a different blend of clonal components in order to achieve this profile.
AROMATICS: Hints of black cherry and spice, cola, vanilla, raspberry and leather.
FLAVORS: The palate matches the nose with tastes of black cherry, spice, and raspberry accented in a layer of smokey vanilla. Seamless and complete and an elegant, persistent finish.