If my Lottery Picks were as prescient as my wine picks!

If my Lottery Picks were as prescient as my wine picks I’d be writing this from one of my homes overlooking a pristine beach.

What started my wistful thinking was the news in my inbox with the results of an interesting data analysis.  A Pinot producer that was one of my early “bets” turned out to be the top-rated Pinot Producer on CellarTracker, the world’s most extensive database of wine tasting notes and ratings from wine collectors around the globe.

Go ahead, guess who it was in the top spot… Kosta Browne?  Sea Smoke?  Kistler??  Peter Michael???  Au Bon Climat???  All good guesses.  But all would be wrong.

The top spot went to “Sojourn Cellars”.  

When I first discovered their wine, six years ago, I knew they had something special going on.  Owner Craig Haserot stood in my kitchen and poured six of their wines for me, and I selected their 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot for my “Pinot Selections” Wine Club.  Despite their relaxation-inspired logo, they had just burst onto the wine scene with great gusto, and if you’ve ever met Craig you know that’s the only way he approaches everything in life. If you squint a little bit and employ just a modicum of imagination, his size and demeanor might remind you of another Sonoma pioneer whose surname started with “H” – one A. Harazthy.

A. Harazthy, early CA Wine PioneerCraig Haserot, contemporary CA wine pioneer!

According to the data analysis of Cellar Tracker, Sojourn Cellars out-ranked all of the prestigious producers listed above.  And their favorable reviews are not limited to the online pinotphile, they’ve caught the attention of professional critics as well, rarely scoring less than 90 points from the likes of Wine Spectator, Pinot Report, Wine Advocate, et al.  

I’m proud to have supported them in their early days, and to have introduced them to you, my friends.  Congratulations to Craig Haserot and Erich Bradley.

(Note: I currently have a very small quantity of one Sojourn Cellars Pinot in stock.  I recommend it highly. The 2012 Russian River pinot from Wohler Vineyard ($48)

Why is this man smiling?  Good times are about to happen...
Why is this man smiling? Good times are close at hand…




Mah Jong Wines – Sojourn Cellars, Molnar Family

I received a great email from friend and customer Seth Pariser, this morning, and thought I’d share it with you.  Not only does he give reviews of two wines from  past club shipments, but also a most helpful tip on how to cheat at Mah Jong.  Thanks Seth!

Cheers, Dave


Hi Dave,

Last night my wife Dani had her Mah Jong group of ladies over and nearly opened my newly purchased 2006 Kosta Browne Gary’s Vineyard SLH Pinot for them. Thank god I got home when I did to stop her and to explain they were not KB worthy as lovely as they were. Instead though, I opened up two bottles: 2006 Molnar Family Poseidon’s Vineyard, Carneros and the 2007 Sojourn’s Sonoma Coast.

They may not have been Kosta Browne’s, but they were very intriguing wines all on their own worthy of enjoying.

Molnar Family Label I popped the Molnar and I got a little heat initially but crisp fruit quickly opened up on the mid palate and some nice spices on the back. I even detected a touch of some barnyard funk. This was a fusion of Burgundy meeting Northern California. A very good mah jong wine. Although I did not play, I was governing the wine pours to make sure our guests were enjoying themselves.

Sonoma Coast LabelThen came the Sojourn. That’s when the game turned in my wife’s favor. This one was like drinking silk velvet from Lyon, France. Pure smooth delivery. The nose gave a little forest floor but an opulent delivery of bright raspberries mixed with subtle acidity exploded in my mouth that sang in perfect tune and harmony together.

This was the one that took their minds off of their games (except for my wife who remained focused). This was a perfect hustling wine for home court advantage. We were a great team together.

Thanks again for the wonderful selection of choices.

Seth Pariser

Note, I am not a fan of Kosta Browne – a pinot on steroids. Not all grape varietals were born to be body builders, though many enjoy that style. In fact, this week’s news indicates that MANY people disagree with my tasting notes on Kosta Browne – they just reported selling the winery to the Vincraft Group for $40 million.  That sales figure is many times the amount of successful, comparably sized wineries, so their wine style must appeal to a lot of people other than me.  But I say, try both styles and  Viva la difference!

Dave the Wine merchant