James Suckling-Sonoma County, California - ""Sliced apple, pear, apricot, stone and lemon curd on the nose. Touch of cardamom, too. Medium-to full-bodied with fresh acidity and a smooth, supple palate. Elegant.""
Olema wines are made to celebrate the unique character of one place, from the beautifully diverse Sonoma County to the rolling hills of the Côtes de Provence. Each year, the Olema Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon include fruit from two or more sub-appellations within Sonoma County. The resulting blend captures these incredible places while creating something greater than the sum of its parts. The Olema winemaking philosophy breaks down into two parts: first, discovering vineyard sources that grow great fruit at a great price. How? “It’s all about going to uncharted territory,” says winemaker Jesse Fox. “The quality of grape-growing in California is rising, and there’s fantastic fruit in not-yet-discovered places.” In some cases, it’s an up-and-coming region like Alexander Valley, which grows outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon—but it’s also about finding sites that fly under the radar within acclaimed AVAs like Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. .
After fermentation, blending is the key to Olema wines. Blending is creating balance, a wine that isn’t “too much” in any direction—too ripe, too acidic, too tannic, too sweet. The wines that result are meant to be elegant and enjoyable. “Our goal as a winemaking team is for someone to take a sip of an Olema wine and say ‘wow, that’s delicious!’ We want the wine to be part of people’s everyday lives, something they can drink on a Tuesday that also fits in at a special occasion.”
Wine grapes have been planted in Sonoma County since the first European settlers arrived. In 1812, Russian immigrants began planting vines along the coast. In the 1820s, Spanish monks planted vines as they built their missions. In 1855, Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy founded Buena Vista, which bills itself as California’s first premium winery, still in operation today.