I’d never heard of Pfendler Vineyards before attending a media lunch last week, where I met owner Kimberley Pfendler and winemaker Justin Harmon. I’m glad I did, because what I discovered was some of the best-produced wine I’ve had in recent memory, hailing from Sonoma’s most recently designated AVA, the Petaluma Gap.
With production of just 500 cases per year, Pfendler is a tiny operation that you’re unlikely to find outside of California, at least for now. But it’s worth ordering a bottle or two from the winery directly to check it out — particularly the bright Chardonnay — before the rest of the world catches on.
I’m even putting my money where my mouth is — and just ordered a case of wine for myself.
2015 Pfendler Vineyards Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – An immediately and intensely lovely chardonnay, with a slight tropical edge atop ample lemon, some grapefruit, and a softly spicy element. With plenty of acidity, it cuts through the creaminess to give this wine a beautiful balance that drinks well on its own or with food. A / $38
2015 Pfendler Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – A somewhat aromatically dense expression of pinot, with aromas of black cherry and chocolate. It’s a bit lighter on the palate, with a slightly dusty element and hints of vanilla, particularly on the finish. Again, nicely balanced, but more burly today than you might expect. I look forward to watching its development over the next few years. A- / $45