Last year I wrote about the passport program in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I said it was one of the best wine tasting deals. It features over 50 wineries, is offered four times a year and is good for two years. On the third Saturday of January, April, July and November, passport holders are welcomed at participating wineries throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. I must have really sold the program because relatives gave the Navigator and me passports for Christmas. Which makes me think, I’ll start putting my Christmas wish list in “Wine Line” every year.
We missed the January date. The third Saturday in July was supposed to be 107 degrees in our little burg, Livingston, so we grabbed our documents and headed for the coast. And so did about half the population of San Jose. Highway 17 became a parking lot from the summit to Highway 85. But here is the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about one-third of the wineries are on the eastern side, from Menlo Park to Gilroy. We opted for Saratoga, parked the car and had our passports stamped at four tasting rooms and had a plethora of lunch spots to choose from. Our next passport date is Nov. 18 and we’re looking forward to visiting the 10 wineries on Summit Road just off Highway 17. If interested, go to scmwa.com. So many wineries, so little time.
So Many Wines, So Little Time
The Stewart & Jasper Tasting Room held a Chardonnay Throw-Down on July 20. It featured four of their best selling chardonnays; Prescription ($18), Frank Family ($34), Lloyd ($36) and Rombauer ($36). A new and unknown entry made a total of five chardonnays. All were tasted blind. Blind tastings are the best way to determine your wine palate (drink what YOU like) and not be influenced by other factors. The large turn-out selected Rombauer but a very-very close second was the unknown entry, McGrail Family Chardonnay ($30).
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I made a quick trip to MoTown and bought a case of 2016 Dry Roses at World Market. With 30 percent off, no wine was more than $10. I also found a great summer white at Trader Joe’s for $4.99. It’s the 2016 MBALI from South Africa and it’s a blend of chenin blanc (79 percent) and viognier (21 percent). At $4.99 it’s a summer steal. I finally tracked down more of the 2014 Robert Hall Merlot (State Fair Winner) at Village Fresh in Turlock and at Stewart & Jasper. It is fairly priced at $14. Load up on this one. And the hunt continues. Cheers!
wine, wine line, russ winton, wine tasting, wine column, reds, whites, vino