Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tasting at Picchetti

At the bottom of Monte Bello Road is the scenic Picchetti Ranch, owned by the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District. This 308 acre ranch has over 3 miles of trails. It's also home to California Bonded Winery number 148 - Picchetti Winery.

Over a centuary ago Vincenso and Secondo Picchetti began farming Zinfandel, Carignane and Petite Sirah on this land and founded the winery. It had a turbulent history; following Prohibition some of the vineyards were replanted as fruit orchards, but it wasn't a very profitable enterprise and wine production eventually stopped again in 1963.

The winery was re-opened in 1982 as Sunrise Winery and in 1998 the lease was purchased by Leslie Pantling who changed the name back to Picchetti Winery. The winery produces about 9000 cases a year, with fruit mostly sourced from vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley. The tasting room is open daily from 11AM to 5PM. For $5 you can taste 5 of about 15+ wines, with the charge refunded with purchase.

We called in on the way back from the event at Ridge. Personally I've always found Picchetti's wines a bit hit and miss but there's usually some good ones. We concentrated on the wines from local vineyards. I didn't take much in the way of notes.

2006 Viognier $25
Nice, floral character.
2006 White Pavone $23
A blend of Chardonnay from Santa Cruz Mountains, with Viognier and Gewurztraminer from Santa Clara Valley. Slight sweetness. Very fruity and intense. A good accompaniment to spicy food. Recommended.
2005 Leslie's Estate Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains $29
A nice, balanced wine. Quite oaky and buttery/creamy but with good acidity holding it together. Recommended.
2005 Rose of Syrah, San Benito County $20
Fairly lightweight, with a bitterness on the finish that I didn't care for. Not Recommended.
2005 Merlot, Santa Clara County $27
An easy drinking Merlot, gentle on the oak, with a dusty finish. Fruit sourced from the Dorcich Vineyard in San Martin. Recommended.
2005 Syrah, Santa Clara County $33
Didn't care for this at all. Lots of acidity overpowering the fruit. Not Recommended.
2006 Red Pavone $29
A Bordeaux blend - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, together with an Italian varietal called Lagrein. A pleasant wine with a peppery flavour but I couldn't justify the price tag.
2005 Quarry Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Los Altos $33
This is a smooth, supple cab from a vineyard in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. While pleasant it's not a particularly stunning bargain; I'd go for Mount Eden's Saratoga Cuvee at around $25 every time.
2005(?) Montebello Cabernet Sauvignon $45(?)
The fruit was sourced from the Vidovich vineyard, up next to Ridge; Picchetti have been buying fruit from them since the first harvest in 2000. I've been drinking Vidovich Monte Bello Road Cabernet Sauvignon by the case since I discovered it last year, so it was interesting to compare; this had way more depth and concentration with an interesting eucalyptus/mint note on the finish. Recommended.
2004 Bellicitti Vineyard Zinfandel, Saratoga $30
I'm afraid I didn't care for this. There was just too much residual sugar for my liking. Not Recommended.
2006 Port $37
A combination of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. I'm not a huge fan of domestic Port and this didn't really do anything to sway me.