ORANGE COAST MAGAZINE
By Rusty Gaffney
Orange Coast magazine’s recent West of West Orange County featured the wines of the West Sonoma Coast. Many of these wineries are small, producing special wines in 200 to 300 case lots, and sold directly to consumers through a mailing list. They are highly sought-after and treasured by lovers of fine pinot noir and chardonnay.
One of the newest members of the West Sonoma County Vintners is Alma Fria, owned by the Holtermann family. Three generations have represented and imported wines for leading wineries all over the world. In 2012, the family hopped over to the winegrowing side of the business, acquiring a 2.56-acre vineyard located in the remote ridge tops of Annapolis, on the far west Sonoma Coast five miles inland from the Sea Ranch coastal community. The Holtermann Family Vineyard, situated at elevations of 700 to 800 feet, was originally planted in 2002 to pinot noir and chardonnay.
Alma Fria also sources fruit from another West Sonoma Coast vineyard, the Doña Margarita Vineyard, located in Freestone, and also planted in 2002.
The winemaker is veteran West Sonoma Coast vintner, Carroll Kemp, who also crafts wines under the Red Car label.
This wine exemplifies the wondrous expression of pinot noir that emerges from this region, offering intriguing aromas of damsons, cherries, and exotic spices that build in intensity and interest over time in the glass. The middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and raspberries are complimented by a touch of oak. The wine has impressive harmony, with soft tannins and a good cut of acidity on the refreshing finish. This is a classy wine that aims to please.
The wine is vinified with wild yeast, and aged in 25 percent new French oak barrels. Only 230 cases were made; $58. Find it exclusively at almafria.com. A 2012 Holtermann Family Vineyard Pinot Noir ($58) and a Sonoma Coast blend ($35) are also recommended. Join the mailing list for first access to future releases.