Monday, May 4, 2009

Sycamore Creek

I've written about Sycamore Creek before, in particular their stellar 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon but this was my first visit to the winery. It's located off Watsonville Road, at the junction with Uvas Road. There's a narrow bridge over the eponymous creek leading into the vineyard; 10 acres of dry farmed head pruned old vines.

The current owners of Sycamore Creek, Bill and Carolyn Holt, also own the highly regarded Uvas Creek Vineyard, which is located a further mile down Uvas Road. Fruit for the wines is sourced from both vineyards and some is purchased locally. The Holts are gradually refurbishing the old vineyard and introducing new VSP trellising. All the wines with the exception of the Sauvignon Blanc carry the Santa Clara Valley appellation.

There are two tasting options; a flight of 5 current releases that is free and a flight of 5 reserve wines that costs $5. The fee is not refunded with purchase.

2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey County
A lovely crisp, fruity Sauvignon Blanc. Nice herbal nose with notes of lime. Dry with mouth-watering grapefruit and lychee flavours. $17

2006 Chardonnay
Sourced from the nearby Vanumanutagi vineyard it clearly shares many characteristics with the offering from Fernwood Cellars. Rich aromas of creamy vanilla and butterscotch lead into sweet caramel and mango flavours and a long finish. $22

NV Uvas
A legacy of the previous owners, the Uvas is a blend of Cabernet and Chardonnay, with 3% Syrah added. It's an unusual combination, but it proved popular so has been continued. The nose shows blueberries and oak; on the palate there's the caramel notes from the Vanumanutagi Chardonnay combined with the berry flavours from the Cabernet. $18

2005 Syrah
The nose suggests fresh berries, smoke and English tea. Sweet flavours of blueberries and black olives, with a tannic finish. $18

2006 Mosaico
A Bordeaux blend, featuring all 5 grapes. Smoky, rustic nose with violets and brambles; flavours of brambles, blackcurrant and graphite witha good, structured finish. $25

2006 Carignane
Sourced from 100 year, old dry farmed Blake Family Vineyard on nearby Redwood Retreat Road
A smoky, dusty, earthy nose like a library or old wardrobe. Layered fruit; raspberry, sour cherry, allspice and new mown grass, with a tart finish. Nice structure; a good food wine. $21

2006 Cabernet Franc
New release. Aromas of black cherry and tobacco; Rich, sweet, silky black fruit, coffee and tobacco with racy acidity. $?

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
Nose of leather, Cedar and spice. A big, tannic wine that needs time; great flavours of, blackcurrant and spicy oak. $20

2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
A vibrant, smoky nose with berries and a hint of mint. Seemed smoother than 2004; nice cassis fruit, long finish and good structure. $28

2006 Petite Sirah
A typically inky, glass staining colour with a funky, barnyard nose. There's some good fruit backed by huge, chewy tannins. A wine to lay down and forget for a while. $20

2008 "Cabernet Blanc"
I confess I didn't get this. A rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, the label says "Late harvest"; it has 15% alcohol and 1% residual sugar. The wine was pressed after just 24 hours, giving a pale rose colour. It's got ripe, sweet flavours of wild strawberry and guava. To me a summer rose should be light with lithe acidity and relatively low in alcohol. This seems to be more of a get-your-date-tipsy kind of wine. $?