We have a great selection of interesting local wines in Watsonville for Pours and Tours this weekend with our Comanche Cellars event on Saturday from noon through 4:30pm. Winemaker Michael Simons makes fewer than 1,ooo cases of these handcrafted wines, so this is a great opportunity to try and buy these fairly rare gems! He sources grapes from renowned local vineyards.
2011 Griva Vineyard & Cedar Lane Vineyard $30 bottle/$7 a glass
The Griva Vineyard is located in the midst of a dry riverbed in the heart of the Arroyo Seco AVA. The sandy soils, foggy mornings and sunny, breezy afternoons create unique conditions for the cultivation of distinctive Chardonnay grapes. Cedar Lane Vineyard is also a very special vineyard. It was founded by three oenophile families in 2001 with the express purpose of producing unique grapes for small winemakers. The vineyard is fully farmed by sustainable methods, and the grapes are hand harvested.
This wine was barrel fermented, aged one year in new French oak. Prior to its only racking, the lees were stirred monthly to develop roundness and complexity, imparting a generous mouthfeel and a long toasty-pleasant finish. You’ll be delighted by tantalizing aromas of butterscotch. pineapple and papaya that lead to peppy flavors of peach cobbler and tangy, decadent lemon bars. Finishes with toasty macadamia nuts, salted caramels and coconut.
2012 Hahn Estate Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir $34 bottle/$7 a glass
Nicky Hahn, the founder of the Hahn winery, was among the first to suggest that Santa Lucia Highlands should be declared considered as a unique winegrowing district. In 1991, the Federal government approved the Highlands as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA). The region is now California’s premier cool-climate winegrowing district and sets the standard for New World Pinot Noir.
It was practically an ideal growing season with perfect conditions for everything from fruit set to slow. even ripening. This wine reflects its sunny heritage beautifully. with aromas of a warm afternoon briar patch, roasted plums. cherry tobacco. rosemary and carob. Layers of flavors unfold like a novel. beginning with spicy plum jam and dark cherry, followed by tangy cranberry, then creamy carob and chai. Finishing up with a large serving of lipsmacking berrylicious blackberry and marionberry pie.
2011 Hahn Estate Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir $34 bottle/$7 a glass
Many of the Highlands estates are “grower-only,” focusing their efforts on supplying the best grapes possible to outside wineries, like Comanche Cellars. But Hahn also creates award-winning wines of their own.
It’s an understatement to say that 2011 vintage was a cliffhanger, but in this case, patience prevailed. Despite the rains, fruit matured, and this wine definitely proves a valiant survivor. Opening with aromas of cedar closet, sagebrush, juniper, cherry tobacco, rosemary and carob, the flavors are deeply seductive with pomegranate, dark cherry, tarragon, cranberry, Thai basil and salty black licorice. This is already a wine for contemplation, don’t rush to conclusions.
2011 Mesa Del Sol Vineyard, Arroyo Seco Syrah $28 bottle/$7 a glass
Mesa Del Sol Vineyards are part of a historic estate perched on a mesa overlooking the Arroyo Seco River. The lean rocky soils are organically farmed organically and the vineyards are irrigated by a thriving trout pond on the property.
This smoky, meaty Syrah hails from a lovely vineyard on the banks of the Arroyo Seco River, just as it emerges from the Ventana wilderness. Syrah loves to ripen slowly in this fog-free paradise, developing delectable dense, layered flavors and tantalizing aromas of fresh-baked blackberry pie, ripening plums and smokey meat. On the mid-palate, it delivers satisfying flavors of blackberry, ginger, balsamic and brown sugar coated ribs, grilled over a hickory wood fire. Hints of Worcestershire-spiced pecans and blackstrap molasses add to the intrigue. The acidity is plentiful, making this wine really lovely with food, especially with smoked pork shoulder or zesty ribs. It finishes with hints of coffee and mission fig bars.