Monday, July 6, 2015

Best Santa Cruz Mountains Value Pinots (Under $30) - Planning Part 2

Sue and I spent the last couple of months scouring the Santa Cruz Mountains for the Pinots, often joined by the Fosters. We had a great time visiting so many different places, some for the first time! We spent $830 gathering a single bottle of each of the wines. When visiting wineries, we left with at least 3 bottles and sometimes as much as a case. Our wine budget is depleted, our cellars are overflowing, and we're ready for a break. Is it time to taste yet?

Preparing for the Tasting

I put them all together for this money shot.

Under $30 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots

I removed all the foil, wrapped them in K&L bags, and stored them.

All Wrapped and Ready to Taste

The Final List (28)

WineryWineRetailBest Price
Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery2013 Alfaro "A" Estate$25.00$25.00
Bargetto Winery2013 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir, Regan Estate Vineyards$35.00$28.00
2013 Pinot Noir, Regan Estate Vineyards$28.00$22.40
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery2010 Estate Pinot Noir$39.00$29.00
Byington Vineyard & Winery2012 Pinot Noir, Estate$39.00$29.25
Dancing Creek Winery2010 Santa Cruz Mountains Legato, Pinot Noir$28.00$28.00
MJA Vineyards2011 Davine Cellars Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$38.00$26.60
2012 Reagen$38.00$26.60
Domenico Winery2009 Santa Cruz Pinot Noir$35.00$28.00
La Honda Winery2013 SEQUENCE, Pinot Noir$28.00$28.00
McHenry Vineyard2012 "Swan Clone - Estate" Pinot Noir$38.00$28.99
2012 Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$34.00$25.99
Muns Vineyard2010 Estate Pinot Noir$40.00$28.00
Nicholson Vineyards2012 Pinot Noir, Cuvee$30.00$25.50
Pelican Ranch Winery2011 Santa Cruz Mts., Meadowridge Vineyard$35.00$29.75
2010 Santa Cruz Mts., Amaya Ridge Vineyard$35.00$29.75
Perrucci Family Vineyard2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$34.00$23.80
Radonich Brothers Vineyards2012 Estate$27.99$27.99
Rexford Winery2011 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains$25.00$20.00
Roudon-Smith Winery2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Private Reserve Pinot Noir$30.00$26.40
Russian Ridge Winery2012 Russian Ridge Pinot Noir$30.00$25.50
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard2010 Pinot Noir Bailey’s Branciforte Ridge Vineyard$32.00$29.00
Sante Arcangeli Family Wines2013 Pinot Noir, Split Rail Vineyard, Corralitos$36.00$28.80
Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$36.00$28.80
Ser Winery2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$33.00$28.00
Silvertip Vineyards2012 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Estate$32.00$24.00
Soquel Vineyards2013 Estate Pinot Noir$33.00$29.70
Storrs Winery2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$36.00$28.80
Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$35.00$29.75
Trout Gulch Vineyards2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir$28.00$28.00
Villa del Monte Winery2013 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains$34.00$28.90
2013 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Regan Vineyards Martini Clone$32.00$27.20
2013 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Regan Pommard Clone$32.00$27.20
2012 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Regan Vineyard$32.00$27.20
Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery2013 Terra Narro Estate Pinot Noir$29.00$23.00

Things I've Learned

There are a lot of Great People Out There

Those that responded were very helpful. They shared information, helped pick wines and vintages, and went out of there way to deliver or make it easy for me to pick up the wine. Thank you all.

Always Check the Bottles Before you Leave

If you don't, you might find that sometimes you won't have what you came for when you get home. Thankfully wineries are usually super flexible about making exchanges, even on days they aren't normally open.

Be Specific with the Rules

The purpose of this was to find the best readily available, under $30 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot. In some cases enthusiasts would have to go to extremes to get the price. In other cases the wine was no longer even made. If I ever do something like this again, I'll make the rules more restrictive.

Never do Something Like this Again

This was a little too aggressive. 28 wines is a lot. They were costly and time consuming to gather. They are going to take months to taste 6 or 7 at a time.

Good Luck!

I've met and interacted with so many great wine producers.  I'm rooting for all of them. If I wasn't confident we use an objective process I would be worried these interactions could sway the results.

The first tasting will hopefully be in August. I'll post results as I get them.