Sobon Estate: Shenandoah Valley’s Pride The Sobon family has been active since 1977 in winemaking and viticulture at their Shenandoah Vineyards site in the historic Shenandoah Valley of California. In 1987, they quintupled their vineyard holdings with the acquisition of the former D’Agostini winery. This new property, aptly named Sobon Estate, continues the family’s firm commitment to making the best Zinfandels in the state with a series of old vine and vineyard designated releases while at the same time expanding the role of Rhone varietals. It is located in the popular Motherlode county of Amador County at a high elevation, (approximately 2000 ft. above sea level). After extensive varietal and clonal experiments, Leon Sobon has determined that soil, climate and topography make this area the ideal site for growing traditional Rhone varietals; Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Grenache. The plantings, which began in the mid 80's are now some of the most robust and vigorous Rhone style vineyards in the state and the demand for cuttings from these remarkable vines (from fellow vintners and growers to propagate new vineyards) is almost as great as the demand for the intensely flavored, highly concentrated grapes they produce. The wines themselves pay tribute to the great traditional winemaking of the Rhone appellations of France. The Sobon Estate Viognier is the result of a meticulously managed rare 100% organic vineyard. Low yields are essential; crop thinning is extensively employed to maintain this objective and assure an intense floral wine to match any Condrieu. Condrieu is of course, France’s most renowned Viognier wine. The estate’s Syrah, situated on a 30 degree north-facing slope, basks all summer long in the most glorious sunshine and is cooled by brisk evening breezes rising up the hill. Again, low yields are the norm. At Sobon, they have the additional advantage of having both the Hermitage clone and the Shiraz clone for Syrah planted almost 50/50. They are harvested and fermented separately giving a unique opportunity to produce a Syrah of almost unprecedented strength and complexity. With approximately 35 acres dedicated to Rhone varietals and total case production under 3,000, the Rhone style wines are very limited and often sell out very quickly. The remainder of Sobon Estate is still primarily Zinfandel. These vines, planted prior to prohibition, are all head pruned, dry-farmed and like their Rhone cousins, are 100% organic. The Sobon have designated certain site specific vineyards such as the now famous "Rocky Top", "Cougar Hill" and our old Fiddletown vineyard - "Lubenko" as special, very limited releases. The fruit from these vineyards is among the most intense ever harvested. Selected and picked by hand, these wines show a dimension and degree of complexity of incredible proportion. The key of course, are these vines’ proclivity to produce tiny crops, sometimes under two tons per acre. The remainder of the estate’s Zinfandel goes into an exclusive Zingiovese, a blend of Zinfandel and Sangiovese (the Brunello clone). The Sangiovese is planted on old lava flow and because of the soil and low yields, produces one of the most extracted Sangiovese in the state. In short, Sobon produces small quantities of wines that are both exquisite, as well as exclusive.