Sonkin Cellars 2012...

Just got my Sonkin Cellars 2012 release email. I met Loren Sonkin 4 or more years ago at an offline at NVWC with Carrie, Randy, Nick Wittman. I have been on his list since the inaugural release and have opened every vintage but try to keep my hands off to let them age some. IIRC this is the 4th release, please correct me if I am wrong. He has been getting many well deserved ratings and it seems the 2012 has been given a super rating. Below is the release letter:

Greetings from the team at SonkinCellars!

Can you believe this is already our fourth release?

This year has been a very exciting one for us. First and foremost, this is the year in which we debut our second Syrah blend, the 2012 Unmasked. Unmasked is the culmination of years of work with the great Paul Gordon of Halcon Vineyards in Mendocino County – whose cool-climate Syrah grapes share much in common with the Syrah of France’s famed Northern Rhone – with a dash of the stunning fruit of the famed White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara.

The success of our flagship Persona, with customers and critics alike, has enabled us to grow. Not to grow for the sake of growing – we will always strive to remain small enough to know and care for each and every one of our customers, and to ensure that each bottle of wine has our personal stamp of approval. But large enough that we can offer two Syrah blends instead of one, blends that highlight the structured cool-climate Syrah of California’s north coast and the rich and expressive Syrah of California’s warmer regions to the south.

We were also blessed with the fact that the 2012 vintage was a great one in California. Our 2012 Persona received 93 points from the Wine Advocate, which described it as having “fabulous aromatics of black raspberry, crème de cassis, crushed flowers, violets, spice and underbrush that flow seamlessly to a medium to full-bodied, graceful, elegant, yet nicely concentrated and rich Syrah.” Those who love big but balanced Syrah will love this.

The Wine Advocate also gave a great review to Unmasked, which it called a “rock-solid Syrah” with “a pure, focused and nicely concentrated profile that carries cooler climate aromas and flavors of blackberries, underbrush, olive and hints of peppered meats” with “enough tannin and structure to keep it drinking nicely through 2022 or so.” All of you Rhone-heads will really love this one.

While one does not make wine to garner reviews, we continue to be flattered by the praise of wine critics whom we respect. We are delighted to report that we have received outstanding scores from well-respected wine critics in each and every vintage we have produced, from such publications as the Wine Advocate, the Wine Spectator, and the Rhone Report.

Finally, this year brings a redesign to our labels, in an effort to better capture the spirit of our work. We think they’re really nice. Let us know what you think.

Thank you so much for your support of our 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages, all of which are sold out.

The 2012 Persona and Unmasked are again $46, and ground shipping is included on any order of 6 bottles or more. We have bottled 74 cases of Persona and 48 cases of Unmasked. Orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis. We offer you the opportunity to purchase up to twelve (12) bottles of each bottling. You may also request additional bottles, but that “wish list” request cannot be guaranteed.

If you have any difficulties placing your order, please let me know at Thank you again for your interest and support in our labor of love. We look forward to sharing the 2012 Persona and 2012 Unmasked with you.

Warmest regards,
Loren Sonkin and Jane Flaherty
Tom and Kathy Futey
Tom and Jenna Warren

I recommend his wines highly, Loren knows his wine and has always given me great advice when it comes to all things grape… Besides that he is a great guy and active forum member. Need to support folks like this…

Congrats Loren and Tom for an awesome rating and great wines.

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I have always been a fan of the Persona. It is a solid wine, and I am glad they got some recognition from Robert Parker.
The Unmasked will be new to me, but I am really looking forward to trying it.

I’m looking forward to Unmasked as well. Have had some Halcon Vnyd wines in the past. Looking forward to seeing what Loren does with that source…