Cantara Cellars buy grapes from Lodi region of California. So you won’t find a Pinot Noir wine here which happens to be one of our favorite wines. However, we do like many other varietals.
Cantera does blends but they also do varietal wines like their Petite Sirah or Sangiovese which is the grape used in making Chianti. I had tasted her Chardonnay before and really liked it. It has a creamy mouth feel and has a good amount of fruit. I didn’t care for the Albarino today though. It was too austere for me. Chris did find some Chardonnay for Ron to taste and he liked it as well.
During our tasting, Chris said she’d give us a 5 minute tour of the winery where we met her husband, Mike, who was busy getting ready to ferment some Chardonnay grapes. He had five different vats of bubbling yeast and they smelled wonderful. Mike explained that he uses different yeasts to create a more nuanced wine. I never had realized that using different yeasts would affect the flavor of the wine! He uses the different yeasts in different vats of the same grape type and then after they have fermented, he tastes the various batches and begins to create his wine blending from the differently yeast fermented grapes.
As we talked to Mike, he shared a couple of barrel samples with us. One Petite Sirah barrel sample was from the 2009 vintage. It was wonderful, full of fruit and flavors with a great mouth feel and taste. We also got to taste a barrel sample of a Cabernet which is blended with Cab Franc, Merlot and a couple other varietals. It was quite lovely. But my favorite was the Petite Sirah.
Back in the tasting room, we tasted the 2008 Petite Syrah which was also very good and a Zinfandel which was too jammy for me but Ron liked it. I liked the Mourvedre and the Intrepid (blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Cab Franc). I also tasted the Franknvine, a Syrah based blend of 6 varietals which I also liked. But the Petites really were my favorites.
It was a lovely break from our usual routine and I’m so glad we have local wineries to frequent! We joined the wine club too because I know I want more of their wines at discounted prices and the opportunity to attend their wine tasting events. And who doesn’t like a good wine buy?
Do you have local wineries that you enjoy? What are some of your favorite wines?