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Distinctive New Wines

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SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAIN VINEYARD AND QUINTA CRUZ

John Tilson • 9/22/14        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

SOME STUNNING NEW WINES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT MISS!

jeff emery

I recently visited Jeff Emery again at his winery in Santa Cruz where he makes Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Petite Sirah, and Durif under the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard label. Under the Quinta Cruz label he also makes Spanish and Portuguese varieties – Albariño, Verdelho, Graciano, Tempranillo, Touriga, Souzâo, and Rebelo.

The wines here are always well crafted and beautifully balanced. And, they are great values (to read a previous article with more background information click here ).

Listed below are notes on current releases and soon to be released wines. There are some stunning wines that you should not miss. The wines are in selected retail outlets and available from the winery where a wine club program is also offered (to visit the website for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard click here and to visit the website for Quinta Cruz click here. To join the wine club with special offers and discounts click here).

 

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard logo

Bottle

The 2012 Pinot Noirs and 2012 Petite Sirah are not yet released. Notes on these wines do not include prices. Also, although I did not taste it, there are also 125 cases of a 2012 Vine Hill Reserve Pinot Noir which was made from a blend of the best barrels from the 2 Pinot Noir vineyards. Based on the quality of the individual vineyard bottlings, it should be really special and will be released in about a year.

2013 Grenache Blanc
This is a lovely wine with a lot of charm. It is not often that you see a Grenache Blanc, but they can be very delicious and this is a great example. Light yellow in color it is very aromatic with floral, green apple notes. Very crisp and elegant it shows a faint honey quality along with green apple and citrus and is very easy to drink – Highly Recommended Plus.   $18

2012 Grenache McDowell Valley Vineyard Mendocino
This will be the last vintage for this wine as the vineyard has been sold. It has a classic peppery quality along with lots of berry fruit and a nice underlying crispness as well as a tinge of pomegranate on the finish – Highly Recommended.     $18

2011 Pinot Noir Bailey’s Branciforte Ridge
The production of this wine was only 92 cases. This is a lovely Pinot Noir that will require several years additional bottle age to really show its stuff. It has lovely berry fruit that shows an herbal nuance with great purity and flavor. Balanced, with a firm underlying structure, it really needs time to come together and show its true complexity – Highly Recommended Plus.    $39

2012 Pinot Noir Bailey’s Branciforte Ridge
Unlike the 2011 vintage of this wine, 2012 produced a bountiful crop that resulted in wines with a lot of early charm. This is a great example. It has loads of very pure supple fruit that is accented by floral nuances. Balanced and supple, it is delicious now, but will keep and evolve over many years. Five to ten years down the road the comparison of the 2011 and 2012 will be most interesting – Outstanding.   

2011 Pinot Noir Branciforte Creek
This is an older Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir that consistently produces a wine of richness and complexity year after year. Again, yields were down sharply here in 2011 with under 100 cases produced. The alcohol is 12.5%.
What a wine! There is a deep perfume with a cornucopia of fruits intermingled with subtle floral spice notes. With great fruit and structure there is a gorgeous element of purity that really gives the wine an additional element of flavor interest. This should evolve into a classic Pinot Noir with time – Outstanding Plus.    $39

2012 Pinot Noir Branciforte Creek
The crop here was greater in 2012 than 2011 with about 236 cases produced.
The wine has a lot of depth and richness with layers of spice tinged fruit. It is supple and rounded with seductive charm and drinks beautifully now with even more complexity to come with additional age – Outstanding Plus.

2011 Petite Sirah Pierce Ranch San Antonio Valley
Dark in color this wine has a great intense perfume of blackberries and plums with a faint floral undertone. With very pure fruit there is intensity with structure and balance. This is a really marvelous Petite Sirah and shows the great potential for this grape as a stand alone varietal – Outstanding.   $18

2012 Petite Sirah Pierce Ranch San Antonio Valley
Only bottled for a few weeks at the time of my tasting, this wine was already showing extremely well. Dark in color it has a stunning perfume of a myriad of black fruits and also shows the same intense fruit on the palate. Supple, lush, and rounded there is a lot of intensity as well as charm. This is a wonderful combination. These Santa Cruz Mountains Petite Sirahs are consistently first rate and this is yet another example – Outstanding.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Luchessi Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
The vines here were planted in 1981 on the East side of the Santa Cruz Mountains just Northeast of Monte Bello Ridge. The yields are very low and produce a wine of great intensity. This 2011 is loaded with fruit showing a cedary complexity with and intriguing tinge of green olive. It is harmonious and balanced with a firm underlying structure and can be consumed now, but also has tremendous potential for long term aging – Outstanding.    $38

Barrel

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Luchessi Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains When last tasted this wine had been in barrel for only a short time. It was, nonetheless, really impressive (to read about it click on the link to my previous article in the introduction to this article). Now a year or so later it continues to show potential greatness. It is brimming with layered rich fruit that is dense and concentrated, yet with marvelous balance and structure. Really impressive – Exceptional Potential.

 

Quinta Cruz

 Quinta Cruz

 

Bottle

2013 Albariño
This is a gorgeous wine that is a real match for the great Spanish Albariños (to read an article on those click here).  Light yellow in color it has a gorgeous perfume of peaches intermingled with a faint tropical floral nuance. Crisp and dry with delicate floral tinged fruit the wine is impeccably balanced with a lot of flavor and charm – Outstanding.     $18 

2012 Verdelho Silvaspoon Vineyard Alta Mesa Verdelho is a Portugese wine variety that has been cultivated for over 500 years. Although production is tiny, the that are making this wine in California are finding that it has a lot of appeal as a food friendly wine. Consistently, the Quinta Cruz bottling is lovely. This 2012 is typical. Light yellow color with a lovely floral citrus tinged perfume the wine has a lovely delicate fruitiness with floral citrus nuances. Crisp and balanced this is a wine of great style and finesse – Highly Recommended.    $20

2012 Tempranillo Pierce Ranch San Antonio Valley
Tempranillo is an increasingly popular varietal in California. This Quinta Cruz bottling is consistently one of the best. This 2012 is blended with about 10% of other Portuguese varieties (Tempranillo is grown in Portugal where it is known as Tinta Roriz). It is particularly deep and fruity with a great perfume of cranberry and pomegranate with hints of spice and cedar. It is very flavorful with great structure and flavor and should age beautifully – Outstanding.   $18

2010 Souzâo Silvaspoons Vineyard Alta Mesa
This is a rare Portuguese variety that produces a very dark wine of great intensity. This 2010 is Very dark in color with a deep plummy perfume with exotic nuances. Rich and full with lots of plummy fruit, it also is structured with lots of well integrated tannin. An unusual wine with a unique appeal – Highly Recommended.  $24

2010 Touriga Pierce Ranch San Antonio Valley
This is another little known Portuguese varietal. It produces a wine of intensity and complexity. This 2010 has a deep perfume of cocoa and spice with floral and herbal tinged berry fruit. It has a myriad of flavors on the palate with a variety of red fruits intermingled with herbs, spices, cocoa, and floral undertones. Supple and rounded yet with an underlying crispness this is a real tasting experience – Highly Recommended.    $24

In 2012 there was enough wine to make 2 separate bottlings of Touriga using the Franca and Nacional varieties. These limited production bottlings will likely only be sold to wine club members. 

2012 Touriga Franca Pierce Ranch San Antonio Valley
Dark in color with a berry fruit perfume showing herbs, spices and cocoa this wine also has an interesting mix of flavors on the palate including spice, cocoa, herbs, and a faint dustiness. Supple with well integrated tannins, this is a wine that should be very interesting to taste over time as it develops and matures – Highly Recommended.

2012 Touriga Nacional Pierce Ranch San Antonio Valley
The Nacional shows more fruit at this stage. It is full and rich with subtle hints of herbs, spices and cedar. The tannins are also there yet fully enveloped by the fruit. An interesting contrast to the Franca for sure – Highly Recommended.

Jeff is also very pleased with his 2013 reds. Later I will go back to taste those as well. For now, if you have not experienced the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard and Quinta Cruz wines, you are missing some very special wines that are beautifully crafted and balanced and also are really good values! I am buying some of these wines for my cellar and I suggest that you do the same.

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

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