Saturday, May 9, 2009

Vine Hill

When Ken Burnap retired he sold the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard company to his assistant, Jeff Emery. Unfortunately Jeff didn't have the resources to also purchase the historic Jarvis vineyard, so that was sold to Nick Guerrero who founded Vine Hill Winery. The vineyard has been replanted and is currently not producing.

The first releases were labelled as "Gatos Locos" (Crazy Cats), which was the label Nick had used for his home winemaking. The premium brand is Cumbre (which means Summit) and will be exclusively Santa Cruz Mountains fruit. I first tasted the wines at Pinot Paradise last year and wasn't that impressed, but the current release is a significant improvement.

2006 Cumbre Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Sourced from the Lester Family (formerly known as Deer Park) and Saveria vineyards in Corralitos, it shows very bright, focused cherry fruit, both on the nose and the palate, backed by chewy tannins. One to cellar. $49

2006 Gatos Locos Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from the Nelson Family vineyard near Zayante and the Devery vineyard near Mount Madonna. Cherry fruit backed by chocolate and caramel notes, with a nice finish. $29

2006 Gatos Locos Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Sourced from the Manildi Vineyard near Soquel and Nelson Family vineyard. It's got a good, smoky nose with black fruits. Sweet, spicy blackberry flavours with a hint of clove and a good tannic finish. $20 Value