Aromas of black tea and cardamom greet the nose, with layers of blueberry and blackberry in the background. Flavors of cranberry, cherry and orange provide freshness on the full-bodied palate and accentuate the underlying acidity.
Buena Vista Winery calls itself California’s oldest premium winery, and it’s hard to argue the point given it was founded about the same time California became a state. Agoston Haraszthy de Mokeska was a Hungarian immigrant from a wealthy, land-owing family, and in 1840 he landed in California with the dream of creating his own agricultural empire, including a winery. A man of great energy and vision, he was elected to California state legislature and explored the state – at one point he was the sheriff of San Diego – before buying the 800-acre Sonoma ranch known as Buena Vista. He built a stone winery, planted vineyards and organized the first society for the study and improvement of California viticulture. For the next 100 years the estate had periods of success but also periods when it fell into disrepair and did not make wines. By the mid-20th century the estate had been purchased by a large German corporation, which made some improvements and some excellent Cabernet Sauvignons. In 2011 Buena Vista was purchased by Boisset Family Estates, which owns a collection of historic estates in Burgundy and California. Buena Vista still owns nearly 900 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Syrah Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.
Sonoma Coast AVA runs from San Pablo Bay in the south to Mendocino County in the north. It includes 7,000 vineyard acres and earned AVA status in 1987. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean means it gets double the rainfall of nearby inland appellations and the ocean gives the appellation a relatively cool climate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can thrive in these conditions, and there are numerous producers making critically acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.