Friday, May 30, 2008

Burrell School

Now that the fire is out I took a drive down to Summit Road to check on the damage. More of that in a later post. On the way back I called in at Burrell School to see how they were doing and inquire whather the fire had affected them at all.

First, some background. In 1854 Lyman Burrell (pronounced BUR-el) acquired a thousand acre ranch in what was then the Rancho Soquel Augmentation. He later donated one acre to establish the school that bears his name. The Burrell School District was formed in 1877 and the school operated until 1951. The property was subsequently bought back at auction by descendants of the Burrell family and it was used as a meeting hall. In 1973 Anne and Dave Moulton purchased the building together with ten acres of land and established the Burrell School Vineyard and Winery.

The winery is easy to reach; it's just a few miles south-east of Highway 17 on Summit Road. The distinctive read and white school house and bell tower is hard to miss, and serves as the winery's insignia.

The estate vineyard is planted with several varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and some recently grafted to Petite Verdot. There is also a separate vineyard known as the Estate Pichon Vineyard, located on the slopes of Mount Umunhum above Lexington Reservoir. Some grapes are also purchased, notably Pinot Noir from Veranda Vineyard and Zinfandel from Amador County.

2005 Estate Chardonnay Sightly atypical Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. Light on oak and with some tropical flavours, but still with plenty of acidity.

2006 Rose of Pinot Noir An unusual wine. Slightly sweet but with a lot of acidity, including a whiff of acetic acid/ethyl acetate. Not unpleasant, but not my style.

2004 Estate Pinot Noir Again, very unusual for a Pinot Noir. Very gamey and smoky; more Black Forest ham than black cherry.

2004 "Honor Roll" Estate Merlot I'd had this at home a couple of nights ago and am definitely a fan. Ripe brambles and tart cranberries, together with some good chocolatey oak. My favourite of the line-up. On sale at $24

2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Young and tannic, not showing its fruit easily. All these wines had been opened the day before and gassed, and was still tight. Definitely needs some cellar time.

2004 Amador County Zinfandel Light in weight for an Amador Zinfandel, and I mean that in a good way as I find many Zinfandels outside of the Santa Cruz Mountains or Dry Creek areas to be too heavy, overextracted and overripe. This was my second favourite.