Friday, July 1, 2011

Gilroy Wineries - June 25, 2011

A friend and member of my team, Mark Romano, was in town, so we made plans to explore a couple of wineries around Gilroy, the "Garlic Capital of the World", on Saturday. I like to buy the members of my team a bottle of wine for Christmas. Mark works remotely, and instead of sending his bottle, I always wait for him 
to come out to head quarters and we go wine tasting to find him a bottle he really likes.

I pulled up the wineries within 10 miles of Gilroy and sent it to the potential group. Those interested did some research and we came up with the plan. Mark, Bob, Michel, and my wife and I agreed to meet at the first winery at 11:00.

11:00 AM - Sycamore Creek Vineyards

Bob suggested Sycamore Creek because it had some good yelp reviews. Yelp did not steer us wrong.

The tasting room was very nice. It was large with plenty of room for tasting. It was very functional and layed out nicely. It had a nice bathroom, which sounds strange to mention, but if you've ever sipped a nice Cab and then been forced to use a porta-potty you might appreciate the information.

The staff was very attentive, informative, and cordial. They answered all of our questions and filled us in on all their wines.

All of the wine tasted very good. My favorites were the 2007 Merlot, 2007 Cab Franc, and 2007 Mosaic. I found I preferred the 2007 Cab - Winemaker's Selection to the 2007 Reserve Cab. I also picked up one of the 2006 Mosaic for grins. Bob bought one of these so we could taste it. He didn't like it as much as the 2007. I wasn't so quick to jump to this conclusion, as the 2006 was very smooth. Afterwards we found out that the 2007 had been open for 3 days, so perhaps it was all about the breathing. Michel and I found a great deal in the $100 a case 2005 Old Vine Cab. We picked up one to split. You can't go wrong with a less than $10 a bottle wine you enjoy drinking. What an amazing deal! This replaces my previously favorite deal of $15 a bottle David Bruce Russion River Pinot Noir, which must be bought by the case to get that price and can be inconsistent, but is still one heck of a deal.

Mark's favorite wine was the 2007 Merlot. I agree, it was very nice wine.

Bob was disappointed that they were out of the Cab-Shiraz blend. He said he really likes this blend. I don't recall ever trying it.

Winery Details

Noon - Sarah's Vineyard

I had enjoyed a Pinot from Sarah's before and wanted to check the place out for myself.

The tasting room was nice. There was plenty of room for tasting. There was a small art gallery. The grounds were very scenic. Jose said they had a nice place to play bocce, but I didn't see this.

The staff was attentive and cordial.

I didn't care for most of the wine, but I did like 2009 Estate Pinot, which wasn't exactly on the $5 tasting menu. I'm a big fan of Pinots, and wanted to try them all so I took a page out of Bob's book and promised to buy two that were not on the menu if she allowed us to taste them. In the end I bought 2 of the 2009 Estate Pinots.

1:00 - Lunch

We opened one of the 2009 Estate Pinots and enjoyed a nice lunch on a shaded picnic table at Sarah's. They were setting up for a big event and we tried to stay out of their way. We had sandwiches, cheese, prosciutto, crackers, olives, good company, and good wine. What more could anyone want?

2:00 - Solis Winery

The tasting room was very nice. The counter was a tad small, but accommodated all of us and 2 other groups with plenty of space. They had a very nice picnic area out back with a fantastic view of the vineyard.

The staff was very attentive, informative, and cordial. I learned that I had been mispronouncing Meritage. The staff pointed out, and wiki confirms, the word should be pronounced to rhyme with heritage. 

I didn't care for any of the wine we tasted. My wife liked the Seducente, which was served with a wink by the Anne Hathaway looking pourer, so we picked up a couple of bottles. Perhaps a second taste will change my opinion.

Winery Details

3:00 - Jason-Stephens Winery

We didn't originally plan to go here, but we were in the mood to hit another winery before we left and we had received a couple of recommendations for this place along the way.

The tasting room looked like an unfinished basement, with drop cloth walls on a couple of sides. The counter was a good size.

The staff was very attentive, informative, and cordial. It was confirmed again, that I was indeed Frenchifying Meritage.

The wine was very good. Given this was the fourth winery, I was a little past my prime tasting, but enjoyed everything we tried. My favorites were the Syrah and The Blend. Our pourer loved the Blend and explained that it came about by the staff experimenting with blending Syrah and Cab. I thought it deserved a try on it's own, and picked up a bottle.

After the trip I noticed on their website that they had a Monte Bello Road Cab that I don't recall trying. At $70 a bottle, it's probably good we didn't try it.

Winery Details


In the end I found a 2005 Burrel School Cab Franc hiding in the fridge, my last one, that I gave Mark. He had loved this the year before.