Soquel Vineyards’ boutique winery is situated miles up narrow roads in the mountains above Santa Cruz. It was established by twin brothers Paul and Peter Bargetto and the partner Jon Morgan (none of whom was unfortunately there or at least available on the day I visited). They make around 5000-7000 cases in total per annum. Their sales are virtually all local.
Their vineyards are planted primarily with cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, zinfandel and most recently nebbiolo. Unfortunately, despite making an appointment well ahead of time, only a small selection of their wines were available to taste, and most were at the end of the bottles, with no willingness shown to open new bottles, presumably as they were wanting to head off home.
Chardonnay, Santa Cruz
This undergoes 50% malolactic fermentation: apparently many of the coastal vineyards do some malo, but inland they don't, because of the heat.
A crisp, gently buttery, perfumed chardonnay nose, with some very fresh, almost sawdusty oak. Round and well-flavoured on the palate with some real tropical fruit flavours. Great balance. A very impressive wine. Very Good Indeed+
Noir Partner’s Reserve,
Muns Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, Soquel, 14.3%
From grapes grown in the Muns Vineyard on Summit Road. It has slightly plummy red fruit on the nose with a hint of unripe époisses skins. Very full flavoured, but not at all hot. It really opens up in the glass with lovely young pinot noir flavours.
Zinfandel Schmierer Vineyard,
Lodi, Soquel Vineyards, 14.8%
The vineyards of the delta rounds around Lodi, on the east of San Francisco Bay, is one of the heartlands of Californian Zinfandel, with some venerable old vines. This wine comes from grapes from ancient 105 year old vines. There’s delicate blackberry fruit and some woody spice on the nose. Full and round on the palate, it carries its alcohol very well. This is a nice, neat, well-crafted wine with notably good concentration, but not at all overdone. Superb stuff.
Reserve, Santa Cruz Mountains, Soquel Vineyards, 14.4%
This has a very subdued nose with some nice cabernet fruit. It’s very focussed on the attack, but it becomes a bit warm on the palate. But then it goes on to finish reasonably well. It just feels a bit ordinary.
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Last updated: 2 January 2008