I love that new local wine shops and urban wineries are popping up all over the Bay Area recently. It’s like a fresh generation of winemakers are speaking up — and their stories are all about bringing Old World wine classics in to our modern day and age. And such is the case of winemaker Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery.
Walsh brings almost 20 years of experience to her private winemaking business. Through the course of her career she’s studied wine and winemaking all over the world including Costa Rica, New Zealand, and of course at home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So it’s no wonder that Ser Winery offers an eclectic mix of varietals from the classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to the more exotic Muscat and Cabernet Pfeffer.
True to the boutique style winery production, the Ser Winery tasting room is quite modest itself. In fact, if it didn’t have a huge “Wine Tasting” sign hanging over the footpath on Saratoga Avenue, you’d probably walk right by it. The interior is modest, both in size and decor, but there’s no reason for it to be any more elaborate than it is — leave the complexity to the wines.
For $12, Ser offers four 1 to 2 ounce pours from their current release list. They also share the facility with SilverTip Winery, and provide an option to mix and match between the two menus. The service is as friendly as you want it to be — as in, they’re happy to leave you well enough alone after pouring you your next wine, but if prompted, will certainly engage in friendly conversation and are more than happy — and knowledgeable enough — to answer questions you may have about the wines, the winemaker, and (bonus points), food pairings.
- WHAT TO TRY: If you’ve never heard of, let alone tasted, a Cabernet Pfeffer, Ser Winery is the place to do it. Although the word pfeffer” translates as the German word for pepper, Ser’s take on this rare varietal is quite silky and calm on the palate. The wine speaks first of bright berries like cranberries, boysenberries, maybe even a few red grapes, with a delicate undertone of a very subtle floral aroma. It’s not until the mid-palate that you’ll start to get a hint of savory spices, and the tannins don’t kick in until the end — just enough to provide a solid finish and and overall well-balanced drinking experience.
- More into whites? I must recommend the Dry Orange Muscat. Even if you’re not a lover of Muscats, this one is worth a sip (or two). It’s like drinking an orange peel-based pot pourri: The wine exudes such a strong floral bouquet with a distinct essence of orange pith — and it’s just as dry as those crunchy pot pourri petals as well.
For more information about Ser Winery, the tasting room, and the winemaker, please do visit the Ser Winery website.
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