My good friend, Mayumi, came to visit from Japan. She and her husband used to live in San Jose and we would visit places around the Bay Area, including Napa. We both enjoyed wine so I finally took this opportunity to visit a nearby winery in the Santa Cruz Mountain: Loma Prieta Winery. It was a hidden gem!
I attended a dinner party about a year ago where I had their Pinotage. It was delicious! I was told I needed to make a visit up there to enjoy both the wine and the view. I had made the attempt twice when other out-of-town friends came to visit but for one reason or another, I did not make it.
Finally, on a warm late October day, we made our way there. It only took us 40 minutes from San Jose compared to the usual 2.5 hours to Napa. Already, that was a win! Second, the LACK of crowds was very enjoyable. Their tastings were only on the weekend from noon to 5pm. We were there around 12.30pm. We were the first group there – enjoying the breathtaking view of the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking the Santa Cruz Coastline/Pacific Ocean in distance. Wow!
The wine was just as amazing as the view itself. The tasting was reasonably priced at $5 and we got 5 tastings ranging from viognier, pinot noir, merlot, to their signature pinotage. Mayumi and I were both surprised at the fragrance of each wine – it smelled so good! This was the first winery where I was just satisfied with “smelling” the wine. Of course, the surprise did not stop there, especially, with the merlot. I never liked merlot, because it usually felt like I hit a “stop” sign every sip. However, Loma Prieta’s merlot was very smooth, easy, and light.
The signature pintoage was every bit delicious; however, I ended up purchasing the petite SIrah, which was not even on the tasting list. We actually met the winemaker (another major plus! How often do we meet the winemaker at the big fancy winery in Napa?) I was sharing with Paul, the winemaker, that I never liked Sirah. He immediately asked the guy to pour me their petite Sirah. I was impressed! The smell was oaky with hint of berries and it tasted rich but smooth with a long finish. Yummy!
On a side note, the winery had this cool idea of making ornaments from corks. I have never seen this too. With purchases, you get to choose one for free. They have ornaments for every holiday from Valentine’s day to Halloween to Christmas. Very different!
Finally, if you’re not a wine drinker, that is totally okay. This place is so relaxed and low key that you can bring picnic up and just enjoy the view. It’s a wonderful place to take the family out for a nice outing, to take someone for a special date, or a fun girl’s get away! We have plan to come back after daylight saving is over to enjoy sunset. I bet this will just be a magical place to be at sunset!