Sunday, October 10, 2010

Petroni Vineyards: A Rare Sonoma Beauty

One of the best things I can do as a writer is help bring new discoveries to my public. When a small family-owned winery is brought to my attention, I simply cannot wait to share the story! This past week I was turned on to something pretty special and I am so excited to be sharing this story with all of you!

800 feet up in the Mayacamas Mountain range on the Sonoma County side lies a 37 acre parcel of land just below the famed Monte Rosso Vineyard. It’s hidden away so the instructions on how to get there can be a little tricky. In fact, it says “Call Us If You Get Lost!”. The journey up to this winery will be worth it as the beauty and the breathtaking views will enlighten you! Now that’s what I love. A little hidden gem waiting to be discovered! Since 1992, this beauty has been the home of Petroni Vineyards. Owned by Italian-born San Francisco Restauranteur, Lorenzo Petroni (owner of the famed North Beach Restaurant) and his wife Maria Elena, this winery and Tuscan-style estate is the home of some very special, small-production ultra-premium varietal wines and certified organic olive oils. The winery produces some very diverse varietals such as Brunello and that fact makes it pretty unique. Their first wines were produced in 1998 and recently, the wines have been handcrafted by New Zealand winemaker, Martin Mackenzie (of the famed iconic and organic Stonyridge Vineyard). His passion and dedication truly shine through in the three wines I was sent to sample this past week. I feel truly fortunate and their story has touched me in a big way!

I was completely blown away by the delicious and rich 2009 Rosato Di Sonoma! I blind tasted it without looking at any notes and immediately detected the spicy, full-blown cherry character of Sangiovese! The rich ruby color was so vibrant in my glass! I couldn’t wait to have some more! This wine (50% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah) was refreshing and so fruity-spicy. The perfect Rosé for Autumn! Made using the “saignee” method (where they literally bleed the vats for color and flavor) I spoke about in a previous post and aged four months in stainless steel, this is a must-try for everyone! And get this, the $12 price tag is an eye-opener, that's for sure!!

The 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from their estate vineyard at Trinity Ranch, which lies on the Sonoma/Napa county line. In a way, this is a cool-climate Chardonnay because of the high elevation of the vineyard allows for a longer ripening period for the grapes and the flavors develop nicely while retaining acidity. A pleasant, light to medium-bodied chardonnay with many citrus and rich tropical notes and just a hint of nutty vanilla on the finish. I enjoyed this wine with a light meal and it was perfect! Aged ten months in new and used French Oak. $30.

The third wine I sampled was the 2005 Poggio Alla Pietra Brunello Di Sonoma. I had never had a Brunello before. Brunello is a red varietal mostly made in Italy so to find someone making this wine in California was exciting! I didn’t know what to expect. After sampling it, I would consider this wine their flagship. Coming from their Poggio Alla Pietra estate vineyard, this wine was rich and earthy with notes of cigar box, cedar, anise and deep, dark cherry flavors all wrapped up in an intense little package! This wine is complex and could definitely be put away and aged for several years to see how it evolves. Wow! Pretty amazing and this particular vintage will be released to the general public in November. I was able to sample it early and I felt pretty lucky. It retails for $60 however the winery is taking pre-orders at a special price of $39 per bottle so you will definitely want to consider this investment! The 2005 vintage will be a classic and not to be missed!

Seriously, folks! I’m a little star-struck by this gorgeous winery and left with a huge desire to visit! I think it’s a rare find! I certainly want to thank my friend Ryan Wycoff, who is their Director of Sales and Marketing! I never would have found it if it weren’t for him. The winery has limited distribution in several states so the easiest way to access their wines is on-line or at the winery. Petroni Vineyards offers tastings by appointment only, daily from 10-4. For more information, please check out their website at They are located at 990 Cavedale Road between the towns of Sonoma and Glen Ellen. It will be an interesting journey getting there but Petroni Vineyards is a must-visit for anyone wanting an off the beaten path experience in Sonoma wine country!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.


  1. Nice article Grace. Petroni wines sound awesome. Thanks for sharing.