Sunday, June 1, 2008

Notes from the Vintners Festival

On Saturday afternoon I went over to Santa Cruz for the Vintners Festival. Here are a few notes from the trip.

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard were pouring out of their new premises on Ingalls Street in Santa Cruz, alongside Pelican Ranch and Beauregard. The permits finally came through last Thursday, just in time. Right now the unit is completely empty, but the equipment will be moved in soon. The unit will be shared by Dragonfly Cellars, the own label of Jeff's assistant winemaker, Denis Hoey. SCMW were pouring five wines; a dry Grenache Rose, a Tinto Cao from San Antonio AVA (which I didn't much care for), two excellent Pinots from Brancifore and Bailey's vineyards and the Durif from Mendocino.

Sones Cellars were also pouring in the same location; they plan to move into the unit next door once everything is done. See seperate post.

Although not officially part of the vintners festival, Vino Tabi were pouring out of their unit in the same block. They were offering a Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay and two Central Coast Bordeaux blends, both made at Silver Mountain by Jerold O'Brien. Vino Tabi aims to be a kind of custom crush wine club, where people will be able to take part in the winemaking process and buy a barrel or shares in one, rather like Crushpad in San Francisco. The idea sounds like a lot of fun, though if you hope is to end up with some inexpensive wine at the end you may need to rethink; the sample wines on offer were priced around the $24-$26 mark and while they are decent quality there is certainly plenty of juice that's as good or available at a lower price.

Over in Soquel at Michael's On Main there were six local wineries competing for our attention. Cordon Creek concentrate on Bordeaux varietals from El Dorado and the Sierra Foothills, and are as just as good as they sound.

Clos Tita had their Cuvee and the very nice Estate Pinots, as well as a Bordeaux blend called Gironde and an unusual Syrah/Merlot blend.

Naumann were pouring a decent 2006 Chardonnay and some rather meaty Merlots; 2002, 2004 and barrel samples of the 2006 which was offered for sale on futures by the case.

Heart O' The Mountain had their excellent 2005 Pinot and a sample of the unreleased 2006, which is just as good. They too had a futures offering: 10% discount if you pre-order six bottles. Not a huge discount, but better than none and at least it covers the sales tax.

La Honda were pouring a nice Sauvignon Blanc and a Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah. Unfortunately the restaurant was closing at 4PM for a wedding so I didn't get to try the Syrah or the wines that Delmonico were pouring.