Category Archives: Santa Cruz Mountains

I’m Thankful For … Thomas Fogarty Wines

At this holiday season, the kind of wines I am most thankful for are those made by dedicated, small producers in relatively tiny quantities based on particular, distinctive vineyard sites. One that I visited in recent months that not only fills this bill but also makes the kind of food friendly wines that are ideal for the holidays is Thomas Fogarty Winery. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

California Wines Showing More Balance: SF Family Winemakers Tasting

What was noteworthy for me among the wines I tasted was a decline in the overripe versions of these wines that had come to dominate production over the last two decades. Due, I’m sure, to the relative coolness of the last few vintages in California, as well as to a conscious aim for higher acid, more balanced wines by an increasing number of winemakers here, I tasted many more balanced, lower alcohol Cabernets this year. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Visit to Varner: Superb Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnays

I’ve previously written here about the long lived, complex Chardonnays of Mount Eden, and on my blog about the great Chards from Rhys and Ridge. The other Chardonnays from this region in the same league come from a vineyard in Portola Valley planted by identical twin brothers, Bob and Jim Varner. The keys to the Varners’ terrific Chardonnays are meticulous farming and very gentle winemaking techniques. Continue reading

Posted in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Winemakers | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot: Challenging Conditions, Occasional Brilliance

Planting vines in the cool, high altitude Santa Cruz Mountains is a quixotic endeavor. Trying to grow and make great wine out of notoriously fickle Pinot Noir in these climes is particularly challenging. Nonetheless, a few driven producers over the years have made some brilliant, minerally, complex, cool climate Pinot in these parts. Continue reading

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Mount Eden: One of California’s Oldest and Greatest Producers

Mount Eden produces some of the most admirable, consistent and ageworthy expressions of terroir to be found anywhere in California. Their wines—Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate vineyard at the top of Table Mountain, 2000 feet above the Silicon Valley town of Saratoga–have gone from strength to strength in the past two decades. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Winemakers | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

State of Zinfandel 2012: ZAP Grand Tasting

I know that it is hard to grow Zinfandel, in part because individual grapes tend to ripen at very different rates. It seems clear from a tasting like this that it is not so easy to make very good Zinfandel either. I applaud the producers who manage to do so, crafting complex and intensely flavorful wines, often from very old, extremely low yielding vines. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Napa, Russian River, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Winemakers, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Many Moods of Pinot Noir

So what are the different styles of Pinot Noir? Since so many growers and winemakers refer to it as a “fickle” grape, explaining that it is both hard to grow and often tricky to make wine out of, perhaps we should refer to the “moods” of Pinot rather than styles. Continue reading

Posted in Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Lucia Highlands, Sonoma Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments