Wine of the Week: Sonoma Rookie Ram's Gate Hits the Big Leagues

There are thousands of wines vying for your attention. Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that promotes and protects the Napa Valley name and runs the preeminent Auction Napa Valley, boasts 431 members alone – -and those are just the Napa-based wine brands that chose to join and pay dues. So why even bother to seek out new bottles?

Fortunately, we don't let business logic drive our wine choices. We just taste it, and when we find a bottle that stands out we don't worry too much about its pedigree. It's a good thing, too, or we wouldn't have found this week's wine from Ram's Gate, a new kid on the Sonoma scene.

Ram's Gate 2009 Sonoma County Pinot Noir , $40. Fruit-forward and fun. Full of berries, from cherry to blackberry to a taut black raspberry. A semi-lush mouth with nicely interlaced but not in-your-face acidity.

Ram's Gate 2009 Sonoma County Chardonnay, $30. Toasty notes at entry are followed with a bit of zip. It's slightly citrus, slightly bitter, and all acidity throughout. This wine seems built to age but it's entirely drinkable now, although it would likely benefit from opening early or decanting.

The wines we tried were Ram's Gate's Red Label series, available at a more approachable price point. Ram's Gate also produce a premium, White Label wine.

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