Press & Reviews

Sonoma County: Latest Releases from the 2018 Vintage

By Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate, September 2020
This report on the latest releases from Sonoma county focuses on coastal wines from the 2018 vintage. Many of the producers included here are members of the new West Sonoma Coast Vintners. This group of wineries located very close to the Pacific Ocean hopes to distinguish itself from the larger Sonoma County appellation and other, much warmer regions within, like the Russian River Valley. 
Continuing to taste through the 2018s has confirmed that many properties struggled to ripen a bumper crop in an unexpectedly cool year. There are lots of washed out, dilute, flavorless wines being released whose character only reflects this struggle. A few producers who controlled yields hit it out of the park. Wayfarer has released an absolutely stunning set of 2018s, and these Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are some of the best wines from the vintage. Jayson and Cleo Pahlmeyer and their winemaker, Todd Kohn, have proven that the Wayfarer vineyard, discovered by Helen Turley in 1998 and located down the road from Marcassin, has indisputably earned its reputation as a California grand cru. 

Other notable producers in this report include Walter Hansel, whose 2018s offer incredible layering and concentration for the vintage. Joseph Phelps continues on its upward trajectory with a gorgeous set of 2018s that offer singular expression and loads of pleasure. This report also includes the latest releases from Michael Cruse, whose Ultramarine sparkling wines are some of the most exciting bubbles produced in the US today. 

The Wine Advocate review for the 2018 Wayfarer Chardonnay can be viewed HERE.  

The Wine Advocate review for the 2018 Wayfarer Pinot Noir can be viewed HERE