AFFORDABLE TREASURES FROM SONOMA COUNTY
Discovering affordable, really delicious wines for you guys might be one of my favorite parts of my job. I love finding brands that are just doing it right. Valravn has been one of those finds for me: easy drinking wines from Sonoma County, made with minimal intervention and clean winemaking that are ready to drink young.
Valravn Wines was started by Baron Ziegler in 2007 who first began his journey as a wine buyer at 15, of course below the radar, and by the time he was 21, he was managing three stores and in charge of buying wines by the container.
Baron’s first venture in wine production was with Banshee wines, then he started the import group Valkyrie selections, along with Averaen in the Willamette Valley (another store favorite), Valravn in Sonoma and Requiem in Washington State.
Baron recruited winemaker Rob Fisher, who got his start working in the Domaine Carneros tasting room, remaining at the winery for 6 years, moving from the tasting room to the cellar to the lab. Rob then decided to go back to school at Fresno State where he graduated with his Enology degree. Since that time, Rob has worked the cellars of Donum Estate, Ancien Wines, Etude Wines, Lyric, & Beaulieu Vineyards before going to Valravn.
The first time I sampled the Cabernet Sauvignon, I knew they were onto something; there was something special from the first sip. In a sea full of samples during the pandemic, Valravn's Cabernet Sauvignon is a diamond in the rough.
Not everyone is looking for Sonoma Cabernet, but there is something about Sonoma fruit that has a softness and ready-to-drink mentality without being jammy, as some Napa Valley Cabs are still trying to discover, especially at this price point. This Cabernet doesn’t have all of the extra fluff and nonsense that a lot of under-$25 Cabernets can have in order to make them more approachable young.
The Valravn Pinot Noir found its way through our delivery door by accident; based on how much I liked the Cabernet, I decided to give the Pinot a try to see if it matched the quality of the Cab. As a big Pinot fan myself, it shined even brighter! Bright red cherry fruit with soft silky tannins, light body and easy drinking, everything I look for in Sonoma Pinot Noir. The slight earth edge makes this wine great for porch-pounding or with your backyard BBQ.
Two down, two to go.
Next up is the Valravn Zinfandel. It has a purity of fruit and essence that is hard to find these days. Most Zinfandels’ character can be masked by the high alcohol content these days, but Valravn has found a sense of balance with a fruit-forward entrance, and a touch of oak giving it a sweet and spicy finish.
Finally. the Valravn Chardonnay. I was on a mission to replace a wine that was no longer produced, sadly a real customer favorite at our store. Valravn’s Chardonnay hit the price I was looking for, and offered the flavors I needed, too. Full of concentrated fruit with lively acidity, citrus and white flowers on the nose, with a wonderfully creamy body that people will love in their next California Chardonnay.