Sonador Cellars or “dream” in Spanish is the dream of two couples who met at a charity wine and food event in Florida. Both couples, Doug and Sue Gallagher and Sergio and Maria Gonzalez-Arias live in Florida and have long nurtured their healthy enthusiasm and passion for wine. Sergio is a neurosurgeon in Miami and when both couples decided to produce a wine commercially, it was Sergio who had the initial contacts for sourcing grapes in the Napa Valley from high on Atlas Peak.
Their first vintage dates from 2001 and they produce a single wine each year. Today they source fruit from two very reputable vineyards, the historic valley floor Lewelling Vineyard located behind the St. Helena High School and a mountain vineyard – the Wurtele Block of Terra Valentine’s Spring Mountain vineyards. The Lewelling Vineyard is definitely one of the older vineyards in Napa as it dates back to the mid 1860’s. What is also unique is this vineyard is still owned and managed by the same family today. The Lewelling vineyard has provided fruit for some of Napa’s top vintners over the years.
The result of these two distinctly different vineyards (valley floor and hillside fruit) produces an intriguing wine with the structure and complexity of the mountain grown fruit blended with the fruit from the more fertile valley floor.
Because of the vineyard sources they have a variety of Bordeaux and other varietals to work with. The wine each year is always a majority Cabernet Sauvignon but the actual blending varietals vary depending on the vintage. They have other varietals besides the major Bordeaux ones and for the past few vintages have also blended with Petite Sirah. When its all said and done, the final blends each year come down to mouth feel and taste.
The winemaking tries to be as gentle as possible with the fruit. Tannin management is key in the vineyard but certain practices are also employed during the winemaking including limiting the number of their punch-downs later in fermentation so as not to extract seed tannins.
We first met Doug and Susan at one of the Cheers St. Helena events (St. Helena businesses which stay open later and hold wine tasting in their shops once a month during the summer); finding that their wine fit our palate well, we made a follow up visit. Bruce Devlin has been their winemaker for several years. We tried both the 2005 and 2006 vintages.
These wines are structured based on the partner’s palates as well as their winemakers. They are built to be consumed now; both vintages we tried have a nice softness on the palate with manageable non overbearing tannins. The one thing to note about these young wines is they are already well balanced between oak, fruit, acid and tannins. These wines should age well at least 10 years.
The 2005 is aromatically a rich wine showing aromas of blueberry and raspberry with more subtle hints of vanilla from the barrel aging. The entry is rounded and smooth and shows wonderful fruit flavors throughout the palate. The fruit continues through to the finish which is anchored by supple fine grained tannins.
The 2006 vintage shows graphite on the nose especially if the wine is colder with notes of blueberry and fine brown chocolate. Well integrated flavors of dark plum and blueberry show with the flavors leaning more towards dark fruit rather than red fruit. This wine has a complex mid palate with great depth of flavor. The tannins are rounded, balanced, fairly soft and are presented on the finish rather then too early on the palate as you might find in a wine not yet in balance. Notes of dark chocolate also appears towards the lengthy finish.
The production is always very small – 2005 saw merely 400 cases. They do produce magnums and other large format bottles for specific charity events. They are currently distributed in California and Florida (for obvious reasons) as well as select other states.
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially
http://www.sonadorcellars.com does not work. Do they have another web address?