Guide to Red Car Wines

Karen Frazier
Couple enjoying a winery

Located in Sonoma County, Red Car has been producing wines for two decades. While the winery started by producing Syrah in Los Angeles, it moved north to Sonoma County and now produces cool-climate California wines such as Pinot Noir, Roussanne, Chardonnay, and Syrah. The winery, which was named for the Los Angeles trolley line, seeks to grow grapes sustainably in biodiverse environments along the Sonoma Coast.

Wines From Red Car

Red Car's wines are generally well-received by critics, often garnering ratings in the lower to mid 90-point range. In the past, the winery has offered an array of different red wines, rosé, and white wines including wine blends. Current releases of Red Car wines include the following varietals.

Chardonnay

Red Car currently produces two Chardonnay wines.

  • Estate Chardonnay is an estate wine made from 100% Chardonnay from vineyards in Fort Ross-Seaview. Vinous rated the 2016 vintage 93 points and Wine Enthusiast rated the 2012 vintage 93 points. The Chardonnay is aged 18 months in 25% new French oak. Expect notes of lemon curd and vanilla.
  • Ritchie Chardonnay comes from a vineyard of old vines on the Sonoma Coast. Wine Enthusiast and Wine Advocate have both rated the 2015 vintage, awarding it 91 and 92 points, respectively. The wine is barrel aged 16 months in 15% new French oak. Expect flavors of apricot and lemon peel.

Vivio Roussanne

Vivio Roussanne is a dry white wine produced with Roussanne grapes from the Bennett Valley region. It is aged in 100% neutral French oak. Wine Enthusiast liked the 2015 vintage, rating it 90 points. Expect apple and floral notes in a brightly acidic wine.

Rosé of Pinot Noir

Currently, Red Car makes one rosé wine from its Pinot Noir grapes. It is made in a vin gris style in which the red wine grapes are pressed, removed from the skin, and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The Red Car rosé is then aged for three months in neutral oak barrels. Wine Enthusiast liked the 2018 vintage of this wine, awarding it 91 points. It's a zippy rosé with tropical notes.

Pinot Noir

Like many other Sonoma County wineries, Pinot Noir is Red Car's flagship wine. The winery produces several Sonoma County Pinot Noirs from its different vineyards.

  • Estate Pinot Noir comes from grapes from Fort Ross-Seaview. It's aged 12 months in 13% new French oak and presents with flavors of cola and berries. This wine is well-received by critics. The 2016 vintage earned 90 points from Wine Spectator and 92 points from Wine Enthusiast.
  • Heaven & Earth Pinot Noir comes from the Heaven & Earth vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. It's aged 12 months in 15% new French oak, and it has been well-received by critics. Vinous awarded the 2016 vintage 92 points.
  • Doc's Ranch Pinot Noir comes from the Doc's Ranch Vineyard near the coastal redwoods on the Sonoma Coast. Aged 12 months on 8% new French oak, you'll find hints of cranberries and blood orange.
  • Hagan Pinot Noir from the Hagan Vineyard is aged 15 months in 15% new French oak. It's been well-received by critics with the 2014 vintage earning 93 points from both Vinous and Wine Enthusiast. Expect notes of blackberries and oranges.
  • Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is aged in 7% new French oak. Wine Enthusiast and Wine Advocate both gave this wine good ratings of 93 and 91 points, respectively.
  • Zephyr Farms Pinot Noir is barrel-aged 18 months in 20% new French oak. It's an aromatic Pinot Noir with hints of redwood and spice, and it has been well-received by critics. Vinous awarded the 2015 vintage a 92 point rating.

Syrah

Red Car has had quite a bit of success with the juicy and spicy Syrah grape, making delicious varietal wines.

  • Estate Syrah is fruity and aromatic. Aged 18 months in 27% new French oak, expect notes of pepper and plums in a spicy wine. James Suckling liked the 2014 vintage, awarding it a 91-point rating.
  • Vivo Syrah from the Bennett Valley's Vivio vineyard gets unique flavors from volcanic soil. With notes of juniper and berry, the Syrah is aged 18 months in 20% new French oak.
  • Sonoma Coast Syrah is aged 18 months in neutral French oak. The aggregated critics' score is 90 points across vintages and critics. It's a rich and intense red wine.

Mohrhardt Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 was the first year Red Car offered this Cab, a single-vineyard wine from the Sonoma Coast. It's aged 20 months in 33% new French oak. Expect notes of bay laurel and licorice in a classic Cabernet Sauvignon that pays homage to the tradition of coastal winemaking in the Médoc.

Visiting Red Car Winery

Red Car's tasting room is located in Sebastapol in the heart of Sonoma County at 8400 Graton Road. The tasting room does welcome walk-ins but recommends reservations for all of its tasting experiences. Tasting prices start at $20 for a single-vineyard flight. The winery also offers a seated Pinot Noir tasting for $35 (reservations required) or a seated tasting and charcuterie experience for $45 (reservations required and limited to 10 participants). Reserve on the Red Car tasting page or by calling 707. 829. 8500.

Winery tasting

Where to Buy Red Car Wine

You can buy Red Car Wine directly from the winery's website or by visiting the winery. Many wine shops across the country may also offer the wines.

Red Car Wine Club

You can also join Red Car's wine club. The winemaker offers multiple levels of membership including:

  • 3 bottle club delivers three annual shipments of three bottles each.
  • 6 bottle club delivers three annual shipments of six bottles each.
  • 12 bottle club delivers three annual shipments of 12 bottles each.
  • Rosé case club delivers a case of rosé three times per year.

Club members also receive discounts on wine purchases, complimentary tasting experiences, and invitations to special events and preferred pricing.

Coastal Wines From Sonoma County

Red Car wines are fine wines coming from Sonoma County, primarily along the coast. The winemakers take care to produce high-quality wines that are sure to please the most discerning of palates.

Guide to Red Car Wines