On Saturday night, I attended the marvelous Moonlit Fandango at Rockin’ H Ranch in Lakeville. The first part of the event took place at the edge of the Petaluma River,

In Lakeville, looking southwest from the edge of the Petaluma River, near sunset

where guests slurped oysters from Tomales Bay Oyster Company and tasted a number of wines from the Lakeville area, which is known as the Petaluma Gap and is part of the vast Sonoma Coast appellation.

A pinot noir caught my eye and with my first sip, I was enchanted by it, a Ridgeway Family Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir, from a small vineyard out D Street in southwestern Petaluma. The wine had everything I want and so rarely find these days in a pinot noir. It’s that nearly indescribable pinot thing, a delicate, sensual aroma that always translates into a light ephemeral voluptuousness on the palate. Pinot noir that has been picked late, overextracted or is too high in alcohol loses this quality. Pinot noir that has it is what all the fuss is about.

A pinot noir with all the right qualities

The wine is $30 a bottle–not cheap, I know–and is available through the winery.

A little bird told me that Don Baumhefner was the consulting winemaker for this wine and it is no surprise. His Copeland Creek 2005 Pinot Noir is the finest pinot I’ve tasted in a decade. Think of the Ridgeway pinot noir as this wine’s kissing cousin.

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