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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

Eating and Drinking Local in Sonoma

Nalle Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Hopkins Ranch 2007

Thomas Matthews
Posted: June 23, 2010

While in Healdsburg, Calif., for Wine Spectator’s annual Bring Your Own Magnum party in Sonoma, I stopped into Bistro Ralph for lunch. It’s a casual restaurant right on the plaza that focuses on local food and wine. Very local: Almost everything is sourced from Sonoma County. (On the other hand, I would guess that most of the customers when I was there were non-locals like me.)

I sat at the bar and ate a juicy burger made of ground lamb from CK Lamb, founded in 1984 by sheep rancher Bruce Campbell of Healdsburg, who sells to top chefs from wine country to New York. The burger was delicious. I paired it with a Pinot Noir ($12.50 for a generous glass) from Nalle, better known as a Zinfandel producer. The wine was supple and elegant, with bright cherry and spice flavors. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Sonoma Pinot Noirs.

• Plus, learn more about how California Pinot Noir is Riding High in our magazine archives.

Rich Meier
Reno,NV. Washoe —  June 24, 2010 7:10pm ET
Shared a 2007 Kosta Browne Amber Ridge with friends who deserved a special thanks last night. Wow was it amazing. Go to their website and watch their posted video on this vineyard and grower. What a great area and amazing grapes.
Thomas Matthews
New York City —  June 25, 2010 8:41am ET

Thanks for the comment. It's an added bonus of quality when your "local" source of food and wine is Sonoma County!

Michael De Polo
W. Bloomfield, Mi —  June 27, 2010 9:52am ET
Sounds like we should have stopped in for a meal when we were out there a few years ago. I did, however, get a photo of the painted-on-glass name of the place to show my dad, Ralph.

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