My husband and I were recently out to dinner at Café La Haye in Sonoma when a woman surprised us by popping over to our table unexpectedly …
Nancy Lilly pointed to the bottle of MacRostie pinot noir on the table, and she said we were drinking the grapes she and her husband Tony reared on their Wildcat Mountain Vineyard.
The vineyard is located on the ridge to the southwest of the town of Sonoma, overlooking both the valley and the San Francisco Bay.
How often does Lilly take it upon herself to inform the populace that it’s drinking her grapes?
“Any chance I get, but I’ve probably only had a dozen chances to meet a customer in a restaurant,” Lilly said with a grin. “Our pride runs deep … Seeing our vineyard name on the label means that all of our hard work is recognized in the world of super-premium wines.
Wildcat Mountain Vineyard has cachet because it’s between 580 and 740 feet above sea level.
“Winemakers want stressed sites and we have that in spades,” Lilly said. “We have rocky, shallow volcanic soils, cool winds from the bay and the coast that try their best to force the vines to grow diagonally but which produce small, thick-skinned berries.”
It turns out Lilly’s small, thick-skinned berries make for a great pinot noir. Sometimes we forget that Wine Country is a village of farmers and it was refreshing to have someone like Lilly remind us of that.