Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Woodside Vineyards

Woodside vineyards was bonded in 1963, which makes them officially 45 years old this year (and slightly older than me). In this anniversary year some significant changes are afoot. Now aged 82, Bob Mullen has sold his property on Kings Mountain Road along with the vineyard and winery buildings, but not the business. Woodside Vineyards is now in the process of looking for a new home, preferably within the Woodside area.

The good news is that the new owner isn't planning on taking immediate posession, so the 2008 vintage will continue to be produced as normal. The future of the vineyard is not certain, but it seems likely that it will continue to be managed by Woodside Vineyards for at least the next year, possibly longer. Since that is only one of around 25 vineyard sources used by the winery there shouldn't be any significant impact.

This last weekend the vineyard held an open house for mailing list members and were pouring several new releases. Wes and his group had visited on Saturday; I managed to get up there on Monday.

1997 Sparkling Wine I wasn't particularly impressed with this the last time I tasted it. The price has been reduced from $30 to $20 so clearly I'm not the only one. There's some green apple but a lot of what some might call minerrality, but to me it just tasted like baking soda. There's far better bubbly for the money. $20

2006 Chardonnay Lots of vanilla and green apples. Fruity with a rich mouthfeel. Quite low in acidity for a Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay and a surprisingly tannic finish; I'm guessing this was fermented on the skins for longer than is typical. I'm in two minds over this; I got one to try at a later date, but it's not my favourite. $22

2005 Pinot Noir This is the first chance I've had to taste the Pinot, but I've heard good things about it. At Pinot Paradise I think it was the first wine to run out, and unfortunately I'd started at the other end of the room. I wasn't disappointed; it really delivered. It reminded me of a much more concentrated version of the 07 Great Blue Heron I tried on Saturday; not entirely surprising given the proximity and the shared history. Lots of chocolate and cherry, with a long finish. $36. Go get some before it sells out!

2005 Estate Zinfandel I do like the Woodside Zinfandel. Lots of bright raspberry fruit and pepper, with some coffee and chocolate from the oak. The finish is long too. $30

2005 Kings Mountain Cabernet This wine and the Estate Cabernet both won Gold medals at the SCMWA Commercial Wine Competition, with the Kings Mountain being voted best SCM Red. I'm sorry, but the judges got it wrong. The Kings Mountain cab is a good wine; lots of blackberry/blackcurrant fruit, a little coffee and caramel, but it didn't wow me like the (Silver medal winning) Pinot did. I'm not even convinced that the 2005 is as good as the 2004 I opened recently, though to be fair the 2004 had a year of cellaring. Having said that it's still a damn fine wine and one of the best Santa Cruz Mountains cabs for opening tonight. Excellent value at $22. I bought two and would have liked a case.

2004 Estate Cabernet A lot more structure - tannin and acidity - than the Kings Mountain. Typically the Estate needs a few years in the cellar to show well and this one is no exception. There's plenty of fruit but it needs time to come round. $40.


Wes Barton said...

It was the '04 PN they poured at Pinot Paradise - the best of that vintage at the event, in my opinion. Trying the '05 was the catalyst for organizing this tour.

For anyone interested, there is one more open house day on the 7th.

cellar rat said...

Hey Dave! The guys over at Woodside were always nice to me. And, Brian has given me tons of advice. Best of luck to everyone there. Excellent article btw.