The Best of the Sonoma Coast’s 2012 Vintage are Mellow, Restrained Wines


And then come along the 2012 Pinot Noirs, a sigh of relief. The best of these are charming, pleasurable wines. If they were a Buzzfeed article, they’d be a flood of cute puppies riding tricycles. I mean that in a nice way…

The 2012s offer both the opportunity for restraint and plenty of sunshine in their flavors. I tasted it in wines like those from Failla and Ceritas, which brought a full bowl of fruit to the party. And in a wine like Papapietro Perry’s 2012 Campbell Ranch, a parcel 5 miles from the ocean. From a producer that has embraced powerful flavors in the past, here was a nod toward nuance.

It could be seen, too, in the completeness of Carroll Kemp’s Red Car wines, which similarly have gone through stylistic warbles . The 2012s are the most fully formed I can recall.

This isn’t a reversion to the Pinots of California past so much as evolving into a confident new approach to the grape….

Sonoma Coast stars from 2012

2012 Red Car Platt Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($68, 13.4% alcohol): Platt, sitting just above the town of Bodega, yielded an effort that’s juicy, musky and almost leathery in its texture. The fruit is plummy and liqueur-like. It’s a counterpoint to the Heaven & Earth ($68, 13.1%), from a 4-acre plot north near Occidental, which matches its typical rusty, spicy side (imagine cinnamon red hots and turmeric) to a red-fruited complexity.