Oh how I love discovering boutique wineries. There’s just something special about the personalities behind them — and I, inevitably, feel a certain camaraderie even if our only communication is through wine.
Odonata is owned and operated by winemaker Dennis Hoey. He has a lifetime worth of experience in the wine industry working with vintners big and small throughout California. In 2005 he started his own label, Odonata, and as of 2014 he’s focused, full time on his boutique winery, located in the Salinas and Santa Cruz area. He is a winemaker who sources his grapes predominantly from the Central Coast region, but is looking forward to planting his own 2 acre estate vineyard this year.
On my last trip through Paso, I stopped by Zenaida Cellars, a winery I had come across when they kindly sent me a few bottles to sample. While their Syrah was outstanding, I truly fell in love with their Fire Sign red blend. But for some reason I held on to their GSM waiting for the opportune moment to pop the cork (or, this this case, twist the cap). And, honestly, I think it’s because of the name. I’m an itchy-twitchy girl who can’t hold still for more than a moment and wanderlust is something that’s truly in my heart. Well, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m traveling — like, a lot. Admittedly, my recent travels are primarily taking me to various California wine regions, but in so doing I feel like I’m traveling to world as I learn and taste through each grape’s heritage, each winemaker’s journey. And so, now is the time to twist off the cap of Zenaida Cellars 2014 Wanderlust.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a fan of Nagy Wines. She packs a respectable amount of depth and complexity into varietals I thought I knew so well. And yet, for all of the intricacy, each wine maintains a well-rounded refinement, simply celebrating the fruit and opening its ability to pair with a variety of cuisine.
Well, Nagy Wines 2013 Pinot Blanc has a slightly different approach. A well-rounded celebration of the fruit is is. Deep and complex, it is not. Not every wine has to have layers and layers of diverse tastes and textures to be “good.” Sometimes it’s about a few good flavors, a consistent texture — sometimes it’s just about drinking wine for fun. Well winemaker Clarissa Nagy has crafted a wine that says, sometimes, girls really do just want to have fun. So let’s have some fun!
Flora Springs winery was established by John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey in 1977. But, as anyone at the winery will tell you, the property as a vineyard has history dating back to the early 1800s when Napa was just forming its roots as a California wine region. So the families already had a jump start on success by purchasing fertile land perfect for crafting what they’d soon be known for — Bordeaux blends. 1984 marks the first vintage of Flora Spring’s now infamous flagship blend, Trilogy — originally a traditional Bordeaux-inspired red wine consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, but today taking on a more modern, California approach blending together up to 5 Bordeaux varietals (including the addition of Malbec and/or Petite Verdot in certain vintages). The 2014 vintage marks the 30th anniversary for the flagship blend and it just so happens to coincide with the winery’s 40th anniversary. Quite a celebration! Unfortunately i was unable to attend the combined release-anniversary party thrown at Flora Springs earlier this month, but the kind folks from the winery were kind enough to send me a bottle of their celebratory wine.
One of the fun things about living in the SF South Bay area is the abundance of hiking trails. As an active, outdoorsy type, getting lost in the woods is one of my favorite past times. I’ll never forget the first time I found a path along Steven’s Creek and decided to follow it because of its name “Zinfandel Trail.” At the time I just thought it was funny, but a couple miles up and around the mountain I came across a sign that piqued my interest “Winery ➡️.” So I followed it. Of course. At the end of my trail I found Picchetti Winery. So I popped in and did a tasting. Of course. And I absolutely fell in love with their signature white wine blend Pavone.