By Wine Editor

Santa Cruz Label Reviews 2009

Beauregard Vineyards

Beauregard Vineyards 2006 Trout Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir /
Ben Lomond Mt.

Grown in the sub-AVA of Ben Lomond Mt., the Pinot shows superb color in a glass. Swirl and take in the rich aromas of damp earth, ripe cherry, and raspberry, as well as sweet hints of vanilla, clove, and cola. A sip brings a rush of red berry flavor and creamy, toasty vanilla that move into notes of truffles, spice, and a kiss of minerals. A very nice wine that paired well with grilled chicken seasoned with thyme.
Score: 92

Black Ridge Vineyard

Black Ridge Vineyards 2006 Viognier / Santa Cruz Mountains
Bill Brosseau's first effort as winemaker, this Viognier presents with a vibrant burnt-golden hue. Aged in a combination of French oak and stainless steel, a freshly swirled glass releases a full bouquet of honeysuckle, melon, peach, and vanilla. With a sip, this crisp, light wine delivers flavors of ripe pear, creamy vanilla, tart critus fruit, and a touch of orange blossom. A fresh zip of acidity brings the wine to a bold, refreshing finish. It is quite suitable for an warm evening on the back porch.
Score: 83

Black Ridge Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon / Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from entirely estate fruit, this Cabernet Sauvignon was accented with a touch of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, then aged in French oak for 20 months. In a glass, this ruby-violet wine opens up with rich cherry aromas, followed by deeper notes of rose petal, tar, and earth. On the palate, flavors of blackberry, cherry, truffles, and hints of spice unfold with each slow sip. A soft wine with light tannins makes for great drinkability. Try it with a plank steak with onions and cumin seeds.
Score: 84
Black Ridge Vineyards 2006 San Andreas Red / Santa Cruz Mountains
This blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit†Verdot presents with a lovely deep red-purple hue. Swirling unfurls rich cherry, blackberry, and raspberry aromas, along with softer hints of oak and pepper. Firm tannins provide a solid backbone as the same berry flavor envelopes the palate. Touches of vanilla, coffee, and black pepper round out the profile. Drink it now with a dry aged rib eye steak baked in rosemary salt or cellar it for later. Either way, it promises not to disappoint.
: 89
Black Ridge Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Franc / Santa Cruz Mountains
Bottled exclusively for members of the Black Ridge Circle Wine Club, there were only 61 cases of this wine produced. Produced from estate grown fruit, the wine is rich and well-structured with ample tannins. Flavors of ripe cherry and black currants flow into notes of earth, roasted coffee, and black olive. This is a fine example of the varietal for the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Score: 85
Bonny Doon Vineyard
Bonny Doon Vineyard 2005 Le Cigare Volant / California
Here we have a lovely, layered old world blend of 50% grenache, 24% mourvËdre, 22% syrah, 3% carignan, 1% cinsault. Swirl a glass and indulge in the effervescent herbal and floral aromas, with highlights of cherry and bacon. A sip brings back the red berries and flows into notes of lavender, chocolate, cinnamon, truffles, and a touch a cigar. The finish is smooth, yet bright with the lingering essence of minerals. Cook up some lamb chops seasoned with dill, or spoil your taste buds by pairing it with a Chef Pascal truffle from Vosges Chocolates, a superb blend of Kirsch, dark chocolate, and dried Michigan cherry.
Score: 90

Bonny Doon Vineyard 2007 Le Cigare Blanc / Arroyo Seco
In keeping with the great tradition of blended wines of Ch‚teauneuf-du-Pape, Le Cigar Blanc is a blend of 64% Roussanne and 36% Grenache Blanc. Swirling a glass releases a rush of fresh mineral aromas complimented by hints of apple and pear. The wineís fresh acidity carries crisp flavors of pear, apple, and peach with the pronounced mineral accents to a dry, hot finish. Anything from fresh seafood to a basic roast chicken would make great accompaniment for this wine.
Score: 86

Burrell School Vineyards
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Teacher's Pet" Chardonnay /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Sourced from their estate vineyard located at over 1500 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this lively Chardonnay shows nice flavor development, as well as a crisp, refreshing acidity. When sipped slowly, the wine unfurls with layers of flavor, opening with ripe red apple, apricot, and toasty oak, then flowing into enriched hints of citrus, caramel, and nut. A lovely, bright wine that deserves the company of lime and ginger grilled prawns with cilantro-garlic butter. Enjoy a bottle now or cellar it for 3-5 years and see what treat awaits.
Score: 88

Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Principal's Choice" Pinot Noir /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Bringing together four different French clones and aging in French oak for 18 months have produced a very nice wine. A very bright Pinot, with excellent structure, swirling a glass releases delectable aromas of plum, strawberry, raspberry, and cola along with gamy notes. The palate is rich with red fruit flavors, with hints of rose petal, sweet spice, and chocolate adding a nice depth. Only 720 cases were produced, so get a bottle or a case before they sell out.
Score: 90

Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Extra Credit" Cabernet Franc /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Grown on the Estate Pichon Vineyard and aged in American oak for 18 months, this is the wineryís vintage of Cabernet Franc. And fittingly, it is quite charming. An alluring nose of boysenberry, raspberry, sweet tobacco, and cedar-spice, along with subtle floral notes rise from a freshly swirled glass. When sipped, red berry flavors pack the palate, with deeper accents of earth and sweet spice flowing into a lovely, lingering finish. Only 480 cases were produced, so get a bottle while you can.
Score: 89
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Honor Roll" Merlot / Santa Cruz Mountains
Estate grown fruit was aged in French oak for 24 months for this vintage. The resulting wine is big with bold, deep flavors. Allowed to unwrap in a glass, fruit layers of black cherry and plum flow into floral notes, with subtle hints of cocoa as well as vanilla rounding out the palate. Full flavored and well structured, this wine would stand up nicely to a cumin crusted lamb loin. 575 cases were produced.
Score: 87
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Detention" Zinfandel / Amador County
The historic Ryan Oaks Vineyard in Amador County provided the fruit for this Zinfandel. From its bold ruby-purple hue, aromas of plum, baked currants, cherry, and smoky tobacco rise up. A sip carries zesty dark fruit flavors, with accents of cinnamon and black licorice drifting across the palate. A robust wine, pair it with grilled baby back ribs with green onion, chiles, and lime and enjoy.
Score: 83
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 Estate Pichon Syrah /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Located at 1,200 to 1,800 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Pichon Vineyard has a history that dates back to the 1800ís. This current offering of Syrah presents with an attractive, soft garnet hue. Done in an elegant French style, the bouquet opens up with ripe red berries. Notes of hickory bacon, leather, white pepper, and licorice follow. Pair it with pan-fried chicken breast in a red-wine and applewood-bacon sauce and enjoy with some good friends.
Score: 89
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Dean's List" Cabernet Sauvignon /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Sourced from fruit grown on the Pichon and Luchessi vineyards, this blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc was aged in French oak for 24 months. The resulting wine unfolds with rich fruit flavors of cherry, plum, and blackberry. Vibrant herbal notes, black pepper, licorice, and smoky leather add a very nice depth. Supple tannins and good structure promise this wine will age quite nicely, so enjoy a bottle now, but save another for the cellar.
Score: 85
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 “Schoolyard" Petite Sirah / Santa Cruz Mountains
This is the first time Burrell School has released a Petite Sirah, so only 61 cases were produced. Aged in American oak, the wine presents with an elegant, deep purple color. The nose is full of dark berries, vanilla, and bacon. A sip, and the dark berries return alongside black plums, with complicating gamier notes and a touch of white pepper. Try it with a Venison Loin with tangerine, black pepper and cranberry compote.
Score: n/a
Byington Winery
Byington Winery 2006 Viognier / California
Not a grape commonly bottled on its own in California, this offering was aged in French oak to bring out its soft, revitalizing palate. From its pale, straw-colored hue rise up vibrant aromas of honeysuckle, orange-blossoms, and vanilla. When sipped, its crisp acidity carries bold tropical fruit and subtle floral notes across the palate. Serve this wine with a carrot, orange, and tarragon soup and enjoy. 146 cases were produced.
Score: 82
Byington Winery 2006 Chardonnay / Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from the Redwood Hill Vineyard, the fruit was aged in French oak prior to bottling. Swirl the glass and enjoy the rich aromas of creamy oak and tropical fruit that rise up. With a sip, smooth flavors of apple, pear, apricot, and vanilla drift over the palate. Full-bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, this wine would pair well with braised shrimp pasta in a creamy sauce.
: 83
Byington Winery 2005 Alliage / Paso Robles
This Bordeaux style blend combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc from six different vineyards. Aged for 18 months in French and American oak, the wine has a rich bouquet of sweet cherries, cedar, raspberry, and oak, with hints of licorice and spice. Supple tannins and a nice acidity make this wine quite drinkable with great potential for aging. Open a bottle now with a thick New York steak and keep one in the cellar for 5 to 10 years from now.
Score: 86
Byington Winery 2004 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Here we have a fine example of a Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet. Swirl and sip to discover the rich layers of flavors, with black currants, truffles, earth, lavender, cherry, and chocolate all mingling together. A concentrated, bold wine now, it also has the structure to age for up to 10 years. 500 cases were produced to get a bottle to try now and another to save for the cellar.
: 85
Byington Winery 2005 Reichel Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon /
Alexander Valley

Located 2000 feet above the Sonoma Valley in Geyserville, Byington has been producing Cabernets from the fruit since the beginning of the winery. After 20 months of barrel aging and no filtering, the resulting wine is concentrated with supple tannins. Allowed to open in a glass, deep flavors of cherry and blackberry mingle with notes of lavender, cocoa, spice, and cedar. Laid down properly, this is a wine that could age quite nicely.
Score: 83
Byington Winery 2005 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon / Paso Robles
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit, with only seven barrels chosen for the final blend, this is a bold, yet nicely balanced wine. Aged in new oak, the wine opens nicely in a glass, revealing ripe fruit flavors of blackberry and boysenberry that wrap around soft notes of vanilla and bright highlights of spice. With a full-body and supple tannins, there is great promise for aging. Grill up a couple of peppercorn seasoned steaks and uncork a bottle or two.
: 85
Ca Del Solo Estate Vineyard
Ca Del Solo Estate Vineyard 2008 Muscat / Monterey County
Seeking to express the terroir of Monterey County, the winemaking philosophy for the Caí Del Solo Vineyard is a ìhands offî approach. The resulting wine has a vivid, fresh bouquet dominated by honeysuckle and orange blossoms, with more subtle notes of citrus fruits, sweet spice, and a touch of must. Brighter and more acidic than most Muscats, flavors of peach, apricot, and tangerine mingle with lively floral notes on the palate. Pair a bottle with a fresh, homemade apricot torte and indulge.
Score: 88
Ca Del Solo Estate Vineyard 2008 Albarino / Monterey County
As one of the rarer varietals in the world, it was rarely seen outside the northwest Iberian Peninsula until 1989. Crisp and fresh, the nose carries fresh fruit aromas of lemon and grapefruit. Herbaceous notes and hints of exotic spice round out the bouquet. When sipped slowly, refreshing citrus flavors flow into subtle floral notes that come to a very dry, punchy finish. Proscuitto or your favorite shellfish are excellent parings for this wine. If you love dry whites, give this a try.
: 86
Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery
Cinnabar 2006 Chardonnay / Santa Cruz Mountains
Temperatures varied during the 2006 growing season, but overall the year was long and dry with the fruit maturing at a leisurely pace. Rich, creamy vanilla, butterscotch, oak, apple, and peach aromas encompass a layered bouquet. When sipped slowly, apple, pear, vanilla, banana, and a dash of sweet spice drift over the palate. Smooth, with just the right zip of acidity, this wine is highly drinkable. A chicken Caesar salad would be a very nice pairing for this wine. Open a bottle now, or give it a few years to develop.
Score: 89
Cinnabar 2006 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
The Santa Cruz Mountains are known for producing first-class Pinot Noirs, and this bottle does not disappoint. From its deep purple hue, fragrances of black cherry, dark plum, a touch of lavender, and spice rise up. When sipped, a very warm palate delivers ripe dark fruit flavors with nuances of truffle oil, cloves, and minerals. Matched with a roast pork tenderloin in a blackberry sauce, the wine promises not to disappoint. Only 400 cases were produced, so get a bottle while you can.
Score: 90
Cinnabar 2004 Limited Production Petite Verdot / Lodi
Hailing from the banks of the Mokelumne River, this wine spent 30 months in American oak before bottling. Thus, only 250 cases were produced. Swirling a glass opens up layers of aromas with blackberry and baked currants flowing into jammy plum, truffles, coffee, and licorice. Rich black fruits dominate the palate, unfolding into deeper notes of coffee, tar, and truffles. A nice, well-balanced wine that is great for food. Roast beef anyone?
Score: 90
Clos LaChance Winery
Clos LaChance 2006 Chardonnay / Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from ten select vineyards and aged in oak for ten months, the resulting wine presents with a lovely, soft straw color. A classic Chardonnay nose of peach, granny-smith apple, pear, and creamy oak rises from a freshly swirled glass. The palate recreates the nose with the same fruit flavors touched by hints of sweet spice, vanilla, and oak. Open a bottle and sit down to enjoy some honey roasted walnut prawns.
Score: 87
Clos LaChance 2007 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Swirl a glass and the lively floral nose of rose, geranium, and lavender can transport you to a warm spring day. The palate has a nice depth with herbaceous notes flowing into flavors of plum, brown sugar, coffee, and hints of spice. Open a bottle and unwrap a Calindia Bar from Vosges Chocolates. The flavors of cardamom, eucalyptus, and citrus fruits, along with the robust finish of Venezuelan dark chocolate, blend splendidly with the wine.
: 88
*Colores Del Sol Vineyards
Colores Del Sol 2008 Malbec Reserva / Mendoza, Argentina
Made from 100 percent Malbec grown in the high elevation Lujan de Cuyo area of Mendoza, winemaker Matt Parish has produced a rich, flavorful wine. Swirling a glass unfurls a layered nose of ripe dark fruit, earth, licorice, and burnt spice. Smooth and not overly tannic, the palate is ripe with blackberry, cherry, and blueberry notes with subtle hints of oak, dark chocolate, and floral nuances that lead into a bright fruit driven finish. This is a wine made for red meat, and itís a good value in the $12 range. Score: 88
Domenico Wines
Domenico 2006 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
With fruit sourced from two different Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards, the wine strikes a nice balance with ripe fruit flavors playing off a pleasant acidity. Red berry aromas dominate the nose, with notes of smoke and cola in deeper pockets. On the palate, vibrant flavors of cherry and strawberry flow into notes of truffles and earth that mingle together on the lingering finish. This wine would pair nicely with variety of dishes ñ from salmon to lamb to a white chocolate dessert.
Score: 87
Domenico 2004 California Port / Amador Valley
A blend of 50% Souz„ o, 50% Tinta C„o varietals, this port spend 18 months aging in barrels. In a freshly swirled glass, aromas of black current, cherry, and creamy chocolate envelope the senses. Once sipped, the black cherry and currents return unfolding into deeper notes of toffee, dark chocolate, and prunes. A lush, smooth port with a touch of acidity, it is well-suited as a relaxing after dinner drink.
Score: 84
Domenico 2006 Orange Muscat / Amador Valley
Fermented slowly at cool temperatures, this a smooth, markedly sweet dessert wine. From its soft golden hue, a bouquet of orange blossom, cinnamon, clove, and hazelnut unfolds when a glass is swirled and sipped. Enjoy this wine on its own, with your favorite fresh fruit torte, or a coconut-cream pie. Only 265 half-bottle cases were produced, so try one before they run out.
: 84
Downhill Winery
Downhill Winery 2006 “Alessia" Barbera / Amador County
Focusing on small batches and attention to detail winemaker Frank Ashton has produced a wine with an intoxicating, bright nose. Itís perfumed with bright floral and mineral notes, alongside zesty cherry and hints of provolone cheese. The mouth-filling flavors of raspberry, cherry, bold spices, and herbaceous notes make this an excellent food wine. Enjoy it with a mushroom risotto or a proscuitto appetizer.
Score: 90
Fleming Jenkins Vineyard & Winery
Fleming Jenkins 2007 Chardonnay / Santa Cruz Mountains
The fruit for this wine was grown on a sloping one-acre vineyard in the foothills, 1,400 feet above the city of Los Gatos where temperatures range from the mid-fifties to nearly one-hundred degrees. The resulting wine is crisp, yet rich, as fresh peach, apple, and creamy oak highlight the bouquet. A sip, and vanilla, tropical fruit, ripe melon, as well as notes of oak, drift over the palate. Enjoy this wine on its own or pair it alongside your favorite cut of fish in a creamy lemon and herb sauce.
Score: 89
Fleming Jenkins 2006 Madden Ranch Syrah / Livermore Valley
Sourced from grapes grown on John Maddenís vineyard, the fruit was cold soaked for 3 days prior to being aged for 14 months in French Oak. From its deep violet hue, notes of blackberry, cherry, and brown sugar dominate the nose, with gamier accents floating beneath. A vibrant, rich wine with supple tannins, the palate is nicely layered with dark berries, coffee, and white pepper, that finish on bold notes of smoky earth. This is a wine that can stand up to zesty, full-flavored dishes.
: 85
Fleming Jenkins 2006 Black Ridge Vineyard Syrah / Santa Cruz Mountains
Allowed to hang for longer than the Madden Ranch Syrah, fruit from the Black Ridge Vineyard was aged for 14 months in French oak before bottling. In a freshly swirled glass, ripe aromas of dark fruit mingle with accents of spice, smoke, and subtle floral notes. When sipped slowly, a richly layered palate unfolds with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, plum, cinnamon, vanilla, and spice drifting across the palate. A long, lingering finish and ample tannins make this a great wine to serve with hearty red meat recipes.
Score: 87
Fleming Jenkins 2005 “Choreography" Cabernet Blend / Napa Valley
The Nord family vineyards near Yountville provided the fruit for this blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot, and 1% Malbec. Aged for twenty months in French oak, the resulting wine is rich and possesses great depth. Swirling a glass releases indulgent aromas of sweet cherry, plum, currents, and coffee, alongside hints of mint and cedar. From its deep ruby hue, flavors of red and black fruit drift over the palate, with accents of spice and earth adding a nice complexity. A smooth, lush of lingering fruit rounds out a sip. Winemaker Greg Jenkins deserves notice for this effort.
: 90
Hallcrest Vineyards
Hallcrest Vineyards 2005 Belle Farms Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Reviving the historic vineyard from the 1940ís in 1987, John Shumacherís latest offering of Pinot Noir is worthy of notice. The nose is lush with ripe black cherry, plum, and lovely floral notes alongside hints of hickory meat and soft earth. A sip brings lovely strawberry and cherry flavors accented by nuances of cola and cinnamon. A bright, crisp wine, it can be savored before dinner or enjoyed with grilled lamb or a roast turkey breast or cellared for a few years.
Score: 90
Hallcrest Vineyards 2004 Barrell Select Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Another offering from the historic Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard, each bottle is commemorated with an individual number. A California springtime nose of rose petal, lavender, and bing cherry greets the senses. Plum, cherry, and floral tones unfold into notes of minerals that build to a refreshing spicy finish. A smooth, bright wine with a nice acidity, it could be paired now with a grilled pork tenderloin or cellared for further development.
: 85
Hallcrest Vineyards 2005 Barrell Select Chardonnay / Santa Cruz Mountains
Here we have another fine offering from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The nose is rich with creamy, spiced oak, tropical fruit, apple, and just a tinge of smokiness. With a nice acidity and a smooth, fresh mouthfeel, it is easy to savor the mixture of apple, pear, and butterscotch flavors that flow into a toasty oak finish. Pair this Chardonnay with anything from a fresh salad to poultry to a creamy seafood dish.
Score: 88
Loma Prieta Winery
Loma Prieta Winery 2005 Merlot / Santa Cruz Mountains
As a small production winery, only 61 cases of this mountain-grown Merlot were produced. Swirling a glass releases a full bouquet of cherry, raspberry, burnt tobacco leaves, and earthy notes. On the palate, the red berries return with hints of black olive, spice, oak, and menthol. Grill up some tasty lamb kabobs with rosemary pepper and open a bottle to enjoy.
: n/a
Loma Prieta Winery 2005 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from fruit grown at a 700 foot elevation, this Pinot Noir was aged in 100% new French oak for 10 months. Out of its soft purple hue, bright aromas of red fruit, cola, and a hint of rose pedal. When sipped slowly, plum and cherry flavors dominate the palate, with subtle notes of earth and creamy oak lingering at the wineís finish. A light body and crisp acidity make this a highly drinkable wine. Just 72 cases were produced, so get one before they run out.
Score: 86
Loma Prieta Winery 2006 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Grown at 2,400 feet, this 100% Pinot Noir was aged for 11 months in French oak. The nose is full of ripe red fruit and the palate conjures up flavors of raspberry, strawberry, and plum, with accents of cola, orange peel, as well as a hint of spice. A lovely, smooth wine with nice acidity, it can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a Shiitake mushroom and tofu stir fry with a sweet soy sauce. Just 195 cases were produced of this very nice wine.
: 90
Loma Prieta 2007 Saveria Vineyard Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
The Saveria Vineyard has a history of producing first-class wine, and this Pinot is not an exception. Its nose is a deep blend of raspberry, strawberry, musty forest floor, clove, and cinnamon sticks. The palate is light and smooth with sweet red berry flavors that unfurl into notes of truffles, figs, toasty oak, and spice. The wine closes upon notes of strawberries and fresh minerals. Portabella mushrooms or salmon with a balsamic vinegar marinade would pair quite nicely.
Score: 90
Loma Prieta Winery 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon / Santa Clara Valley
Aged in a combination of French and American oak, this Cabernet Sauvignon has supple tannins and a nice depth of flavor. Allowed to open in a glass, flavors of currants and earth flow into floral notes, with hints of tar, oak, and brown sugar rounding out the profile. Pair this with a grilled beef filet in a green peppercorn-brandy sauce and sit down to a bottle.
Score: 83
McHenry Vineyards
McHenry Vineyards 2005 Estate Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
The 2005 harvest produced small, concentrated berries, and the quality of the fruit translated into this flavorful and complex wine. The bouquet opens up with ripe spiced cherries, cinnamon, cola, and raspberry. Highlights of cinnamon and lush black cherry unfurl into pockets of rose petals and finish with lingering fresh mineral notes. A bright wine with a nice clean acidity, it is great as an aperitif. The wine would also pair superbly with smoked meats or a fine cigar.
: 91
Mount Eden Vineyards
Mount Eden 2006 Estate Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Grown in the Los Gatos area, sandwiched between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the fruit produces vibrant, crisp wines. Swirling a glass releases a nose of wet earth, raspberry, cherry, and exotic spice. The palate is quite bright with the cherry and raspberry flavors returning, unfolding into notes of earth and vanilla, which close upon a cocoa powder finish with lingering accents of minerals.
Score: 88
Organic Wine Works
Organic Wine Works 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor's Reserve / Mendocino County
Using not just organically grown grapes but also organic methods of production, Organic Wine Works is an atypical label. The wineís connection to the earth is clear in the stout earthy nose that layers sour floral notes, with herbal nuances, a touch of feta cheese, and ripe dark fruit. Blackberry, sour cherry, forest floor, and a hint of toffee make up the palate. Fans of robust, earthy wines wonít be disappointed.
Score: 81
Organic Wine Works 2007 “Radical" Cabernet Sauvignon / California
This is a totally organic wine from start to finish. Swirling a glass opens up a nose of dark plum, black currants, and cinnamon, with hints of tobacco, black olive, and floral notes. A sip of this easy drinking wine brings forth smooth red fruit flavors that mingle with accents of lavender and olive. Try a glass with a rich, sharp cheddar.
: 83
Organic Wine Works 2006 Zinfandel Proprietor's Reserve / Lake County
Winemaker John Schumacher has been producing organic wine since 1989 when he founded the label. This Zinfandel has a ripe red fruit nose with rich, complicating notes of elegant mountain spice and earth. When sipped, the wine wraps the senses in raspberry, cherry, and blackberry flavors. Deeper notes of leather, sweet tobacco, and spice flow into a pleasant, lingering finish. A smooth mouthfeel and silky tannins make this wine easy to drink and enjoy.
Score: 90
Organic Wine Works 2007 Zenful Zinfandel / California
Another in a long line of organic wines from John and Lorraine Schumacher, this Zinfandel opens up with a palpable nose layering smoked meat, menthol, herbaceous notes, and dark spiced plum. The palate combines plum and cherry fruit flavors with earthier tones of herbs, truffles, and coffee that flow into a slighly dusty finish.
: 82
Organic Wine Works 2007 Maverick Merlot / California
Swirling a glass releases a powerful nose with heavily perfumed floral tones mingling amongst chemical and mineral notes. A sleek wine without heavy tannins, the mouthfeel is quite smooth. Red berry flavors along with gamy notes flow into hints of coffee and minerals, which give the wine a kind, soft finish.
Score: n/a
Organic Wine Works 2007 Notre Terre / California
One of the Organic Wine Works special blends, as the name suggests, it is true to the earth. The nose is dominated by inky grape and blueberry aromas, with pockets of earth, herbs, clove, and a woodsy element merging together. When sipped, blueberry and boysenberry flavors flow into notes of earth and green olive, which close upon a soft minerally finish. A light wine with mellow tannins, it could pair with a variety of dishes.
: n/a
Silver Mountain Vineyards
Silver Mountain Vineyards 2006 Estate Chardonnay /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Produced from the Mount Eden clone, known for its small, concentrated berries, this 100% Chardonnay was aged for 11 months in oak. Swirling a glass lets loose sweet fragrances of orange blossoms, notes of creamy vanilla, and hints of toasty oak. The palate is packed with bright citrus fruit including lemon and ripe orange that finishes with a pleasant touch of acidity. Open a bottle now and pair it with grilled chicken season in rosemary and garlic, or give it a few years in the cellar, and see what awaits.
Score: 87
Silver Mountain Vineyards 2007 Rosè of Pinot Noir / Central Coast
America has yet to have a love affair with Rosè, but this wine may help them along the way. A blend of fruit grown in Monterey County and the Santa Cruz Mountains, the wine was aged 5 months in stainless steal. Ripe aromas of summer drift up from a glass with cherry, cranberry, and watermelon enveloping the sense alongside accents of lavender. When sipped, the bright red fruit returns finishing on a lovely hint of spice. This wine is the perfect companion for a warm spring day.
: 90
Silver Mountain Vineyards 2005 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from Muns Vineyard 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, it sits above the fog line and enjoys gentle seas breezes from the Monterey Bay, making it ideal for growing Pinot. Swirl a glass and take in the rich aromas of cherry, strawberry, cola, and truffles along with soft floral notes. Sip slowly and allow the bright red fruit flavors to drift over the palate flowing into a finish of rose petal and cinnamon. Perfect to pair with roast chicken, grilled salmon, or bbq pork, this wine may just become your weekend favorite.
Score: 91
Silver Mountain 2006 Miller Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir /
Santa Cruz Mountains

Miller Hill Vineyard is located less than a mile from the winery at a 1750 foot elevation. In a freshly swirled glass, rich aromas of black cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix with notes of orange peel, vanilla, and smoky oak. When sipped slowly, red fruit flavors flow into hints of hickory, rose petal, toasty earth, and orange spice. A crisp wine right out of the bottle, giving it a day to breath brings out its smooth and silky character. Grilled chicken with a touch of mesquite seasoning makes for a very nice pairing.
Score: 89
Silver Mountain Vineyards 2001 Alloy / Central Coast
Bringing together fruit from the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley, this Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot was barrel age in French, American, and Hungarian oak for 22 months. The resulting wine is smooth and slightly jammy, with supple tannins and rich fruit flavors of currents, cherries, and blackberries, with more herbal notes lingering just beneath. A very nice wine to enjoy with a fresh cut of lightly seared tuna.
: 89
Storrs Wines
Storrs 2006 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from the southern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the southwest-facing vineyards enjoy plenty of sunshine along with Monterey Bay's cooling breezes. Bottled in mid-April of 2008, the wine's nose is rich with bright red berries, refreshing minerals, and a hint of mint that are balanced nicely by a smooth touch of vanilla and chocolate. Cherry, strawberry, vanilla, and red currants dominate the palate with subtle notes of chocolate, spice, and earth rounding out the flavors. The wine finishes with soft nuances of minerals and chewy dried cherries. A light, elegant Pinot, with just a kiss of acidity, it drinks quite smoothly.
Score: 91
Woodside Vineyards
Woodside Vineyards 2005 Pinot Noir / Santa Cruz Mountains
This is a rich, flavorful Pinot from the Skyline region of the Santa Cruz appellation. The nose is ripe with black cherry and raspberry mixing brilliantly with floral notes, traces of earth, a touch of vanilla and dark chocolate, as well as a sprinkle of allspice. Red berry flavors dominate the palate flowing to notes of musty forest floor and sweet spice. The finish is fresh with lingering notes of minerals. An elegant, smooth wine with a nice hint of acidity, it is easy to savor a glass. Paired with a mushroom and spinach calzone, it was even better.
Score: 91

Ratings Key:
96 — 100
92 — 95
89 — 91
85 — 88
81 — 84


Other Great Related Links:
Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries: A World Apart
Santa Cruz Wine Reviews 2009
The Santa Cruz Mountains: A Paradise of Pinot Noir
The Santa Cruz Mountains: Pinot Noir Wine Reviews

More Links:
Realms of Imagination in Monterey - The Great Wine Escape Weekend
Monterey Wine Reviews 2009

The Livermore Valley Harvest Celebration:Rediscovering the Charm of Family
Livermore Valley Label Reviews 2008
Andy Beckstofferís Imprint On The Wine Industry
A Day in the Dust: A Tasting of 2005 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Duckhorn: A Portfolio Tasting
Freemark Abbey
Rutherford Napa Valley Tastings 2008
Paso Robles, CA Tastings 2008

Paris Wine Bars (Bistros) By Eric Gaudet
Italian Wine Classification
Guide to Napa Varietals
Ten Best Wines of 1998

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