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Radio-Coteau Lemorel Zinfandel, Sonoma Coast 2014
Radio-Coteau Lemorel Zinfandel, Sonoma Coast 2014

Wine Banter by John Haggard — September 2019

Aug 26, 2019
by John Haggard, Sophie's Cellars


Radio-Coteau Lemorel Zinfandel, Sonoma Coast 2014 ~  An unfined and unfiltered jewel. One of the most distinctive Zinfandels I’ve tasted in at least a decade. I tasted the wine over a 24-hr period. My tasting notes indicate a distinctive eucalyptus quality upon first opening with red and black licorice flavors. 

However, after allowing the bottle to settle over a day, I realized the Eucalyptus had turned to menthol and the black licorice flavor also encapsulated red licorice and red berry, plum and dried red cherry. The spicy notes were more that of the oak. The wild coastal sage became more expressive and integrated and the finish had a very subtle beetroot quality. 

The true magnificence of this cool-climate Zinfandel is due to the fact that year over year only ¾ of a ton per acre are produced, which naturally creates a more concentrated flavor. This zinfandel, if properly cellared could easily age for decades, at least two. I found this zinfandel to be magnificent and would be a perfect pairing for rack of lamb. I do recommend decanting for several hours. 

For more information visit:

Fort Ross VineyardFort Ross Pinotage, Fort Ross Seaview Vineyard, Sonoma Coast 2014 ~ When I opened the pinotage, I poured a few ounces into a glass and experienced bright, red, sharp fruit with an amazing bright acidity throughout the palate and very firm tannins. However, through the years, I have tasted several vintages of this pinotage and I knew the secret to this wine is aging, so I created my own experiment. 

I returned the cork immediately to the bottle and left the bottle for a full 2 days in a cool climate of approximately 64 Fahrenheit, and what I found was the same amazing red berry flavors, however, the bright acidity and oak had integrated to become around and soft mouthfeel from the front of the palate to mid and finish. 

The importance of decanting this wine is allowing air to come into contact and for the wine to breath. If your intention is to age the wine for 5 years, you will be generously rewarded. However, if properly cellared, this wine has the capacity to go 20 plus years. I highly recommend placing a bottle or two in your wine cellar and you will certainly be rewarded with one of the finest aging pinotages being produced on the Sonoma Coast. 

This wine can also be enjoyed now providing you are willing to decant. Red meats are certainly the better pairing, whether bbq’d on charcoal, or seared in a black iron skillet. Gamey foods, as well as beef dishes, will all pair beautifully. 

For more information, visit

Old Grove Festival, Saturday & Sunday, September 14 & 15 ~ Armstrong Red Woods State Natural Reserve, Guerneville. While not just a wine event (it’s all about the Music under the Redwoods!), there is always an impressive array of winery sponsors who pour some spectacular Sonoma County wines at the festival – don’t miss it! Proceeds benefit the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. Tickets &

Valley of the Moon Vintage FestivalThe Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, September 27 - 29, Sonoma Plaza, Downtown Sonoma. A weekend-long celebration of Sonoma Valley’s grape harvest! Wine tasting, live music, culinary delights, grape stomp, art festival. 100% of festival proceeds are donated to local community organizations. Learn more

Feast Over the River, Sunday October 6 at  4pm on the Guerneville Bridge, above the beautiful Russian River. World-class Sonoma County wines are being poured paired with food by some of Sonoma County’s leading chefs. There will be a reception to kick of the event from 4pm-5pm, dinner seating starts at 5pm. This is an inaugural annual event on the bridge in support of the Russian River Chamber of Commerce so that this organization may continue their efforts in support of our local businesses. For more information, visit:

JOhn Haggard - Wine Banter


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