No, not “Saturday in the Park,” for those of you old enough to remember the song by Chicago, but a Saturday afternoon spent at Soquel Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Lori and I started really spending time in the Santa Cruz Mountains area about 2001, and Soquel Vineyards was our first “find”. Small winery, and it takes a bit of an effort to get there, but worth it. Excellent wine, great people, great setting and view.
We hadn’t been to Soquel Vineyards in a few years, but we’ve been drinking some of our older Soquel wines lately. (Read our posts on The Business of Blends and When Should You Open That Bottle.) And since we’re almost out of Soquel wines, and had a free afternoon, there we went, up the winding road, and found ourselves there on a simply beautiful day. When we first visited many years ago, they only had a small tasting bar inside. They have since added an outside patio, and have different inside and outside tasting menus. We got one of each tasting menu, and they were nice enough to serve us both outside on the patio. (Thanks to Kelsey for taking great care of us!)
We really enjoyed the following wines (i.e. we bought a mixed case of these):
2013 Chardonnay, Lester Family Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains
2013 Pinot Noir, Lester Family Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains
2012 Trinity Rosso, blend of Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo
(As an aside, we opened a bottle of the Trinity Rosso a few days ago, and it was perfect for dinner with Lori’s meat loaf.)
After finishing our tasting, we wandered inside, and caught up with Peter Bargetto. On every visit we’ve made to Soquel, either Peter or his twin brother Paul – two of the three partners in the winery – have been there talking with the guests and helping with the tastings, usually providing some select barrel tastings at the end. Today was no different, and Peter treated us to tastes of the 2013 and 2014 Intreccio, and new Bordeaux blend that Soquel will be releasing soon. Each year the blend changes a bit, depending on the quality and taste of the grapes. We were impressed with both vintages, and can’t wait to see them in bottles and released to customers. We also tasted a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Coombsville District, which was still really young; hard to get a read on. Although based on the Soquel track record, it’s going to be great.
To our view, Soquel embodies and exemplifies what is great about the Santa Cruz Mountain wineries: small family wineries, producing outstanding wine with a lot of passion and care, in a great area, and taking great care of their customers. In particular, their longevity and consistency make them a must visit winery in the area.