Where the Old World meets the New….
The winery known as the “Little Known Secret” lies just east up the mountain from Sonoma Hwy and marked by an American and Italian flag you can’t miss. Moon Mountain is also a brand spanking new AVA in the heart of Sonoma County.
As we pulled up my friend Patrick was headed up the driveway to greet us with a few glasses of their estate Sauvignon Blanc but before he could get to us I had a Great Dane’s nose nestled against my driver side window, eager to say hello. Gracie, the estate’s winery dog, was celebrating her 2nd birthday so it made for an even more special day.
More than Sauvignon Blanc, Petroni Vineyards is most known for being the first to plant the clone Sangiovese Grosso in CA. A trimming coming straight from Lorenzo Petroni’s suitcase (but really his homeland of Tuscany), this is the grape behind so many world-class Italian wines and in this case most notably Brunello, Lorenzo’s specialty. His mission was to rival those reds coming from Italy by discovering THE most suitable soils and hillsides that replicate those of his homeland. The 37 acre site he stumbled upon in Sonoma in 1992 was just perfect. Over the years their lead item at the winery – Poggio Alla Pietra – has proven a stunning example of what Sangiovese can do in prime Californian terroir. Here you’ll also find a little Cab, Syrah, and Petit Verdot (my second favorite of the day) considering these varieties also thrive here.
Heading into the caves, Patrick first walked us through the 18000 sq ft space which felt like an endless journey through the underbelly of the Mayacamas (where they host the majority of their visitors). Equipped with a full kitchen and their own organic gardens, we learned they host Food & Wine dinners and have ample space to accommodate the ultimate dining/wine tasting experience just far enough away from the noise of the valley. As we sat down for our tasting experience we were offered a vertical, of sorts (1999, 2002, and current release 2011), of the PAP along with other wines from the Vault. This is the tasting I’d suggest since it’s a mature winery and their library consist of well-aged reds. The lineup was set up beside the perfect selection of meats and cheeses that complimented the complexity of flavors showing through in the wines. Rich, textured and coming from organically grown grapes, these wines are bold and layered with some of that signature eucalypts sneaking through that I SO love to find in Italian wines. Such a good representation of old world winemaking right here in our own backyard. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of their estate olive oil on your way out, always one of my favorite touches when the wineries offer it.
I’ll most definitely be back as they host many industry events and I’ll be sure to cover the experience to share with you all.
*By appointment only; $45-$85 per person