The Santa Cruz Mountains American Viticultural Area, or AVA, is perhaps one of the least appreciated wine growing regions in California. This despite being home to some truly fantastic wines, including some of the state's most iconic wines from producer Ridge Vineyards. But while many people may have heard of Ridge, it is far from the only reason that wine lovers ought to be paying attention to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Home to lots of little producers, the region is a treasure trove of well-priced wines of distinctive character.
Pinot Noir has a long history in the Santa Cruz mountains, thanks to pioneers like Dick Graff at Mount Eden Vineyards, among others. More importantly, the Pinot made in the hills above Silicon Valley is actually good, despite the fact that few people know it's there.
If you're interested in tasting some of it, well, it just so happens that there's a whole festival dedicated to Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Who knew?
The main event of this festival is the tasting known as the "Grand Cruz" held on Sunday the 27th, which provides attendees the opportunity to taste 60 or so Pinot Noirs along with lots of nibbles from various restaurants.
For those with aspirations at deeper understanding, a panel and seminar are available prior to the tasting on Sunday, and true devotees can visit wineries with a special pass the day before. More details are available on the event's web site.
2011 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Paradise
Sunday, March 27th, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
35 South 2nd Street
Campbell, CA 95008-2900 (map)
Tickets for the grand tasting are $55 in advance, $65 at the door. Tickets for the seminars are $75 and include the grand tasting. Purchase your tickets online.
My usual tips for such public tastings apply: wear dark, comfortable clothing; drink lots of water; make sure you have food in your stomach; get a good night's sleep before; and SPIT! so you can learn something instead of getting drunk.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
The Changing Love of Pinot Noir? Vinography Images: Patchwork California Wine Country Macabre The Latitudes and Longitudes of Pinot Noir Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 15th, 2015 Vinography Images: The Rockpile Do You Need to Worry About Arsenic in Your Wine? At What Price, To Kalon? Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 28, Richmond, CA Vinography Images: Happy Tree
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune