co-sponsored with the Bay Area Wine Society] A number of Santa Cruz Mountains vintners are in town for a trade tasting in the afternoon. Several have graciously agreed to join us to explore limited production wines from this appellation. We will swirl, sniff and sip then rate and rank 16 different wines from different parts of the AVA (I'll post the lineup as we get closer to the date). This follows our "Taste Off" format which we alternate bi-monthly. The results will then be posted on our
blog. We will also raffle off some vino and other goodies for those who preregister. As of now the line up we expect to be sampling includes:
Mount Eden (see this laudatory
article from the Wall Street Journal)
La Honda whose Cab won a double Gold at the SF Chronicle competition)
Heart o' the Mountain (whose estate vineyard was once owned by Alfred Hitchcock). Their Pinot Noir came in 2nd out of 267 Pinot Noirs from around the world at the 6th annual Pinot Noir Shootout hosted by Affairs of the Vine. It was also awarded 95 points by the expert tasting panel.)
Vine Hill Hot and cold nibbles will be also served that pair with the wines. And the gallery has retained a piano player to add to the mood. The Santa Cruz Mountains has been recognized as a premium wine producing region since the late 1800's when local winegrowers first began to win acclaim for their wines in national and international competitions. Few of these original wineries survived prohibition, but many new wineries have developed since the 1940's. In 1981 the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation became federally recognized, one of the first American Viticultural Areas to be defined by geophysical and climatic factors. The appellation encompasses the Santa Cruz Mountain range, from Half Moon Bay in the north, to Mount Madonna in the south. The east and west boundaries are defined by elevation, extending down to 800 feet in the east and 400 feet in the west. The number of wineries and the acreage planted in the Santa Cruz Mountains has increased dramatically in recent years as the area has become recognized as a unique grape-growing region. The individual microclimates, marine influence, mountain terrain, distinctive soils, and low crop levels, all contribute to the production of intensely concentrated fruit. There are now over 70 small, family-owned wineries in the region. The small size of these operations allows the winemakers the opportunity to handcraft their wines and to maximize the potential of the grapes. The same spirit of innovation, independence, and determination that distinguished the great winemakers of the 19th century lives on today.