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Michael Foley, Ridge Vineyards

Michael Foley, Ridge Vineyards

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To say that Ridge Vineyards is an icon in California wine country is an understatement. Tradition and consistency have made this winery one of California’s favorites. And a visit to Ridge winery only confirms what is true about this winery–they don’t settle for anything less than the best. Its beautiful grounds, famed Monte Bello Series, and courteous staff have brought me to their Santa Cruz Winery tasting room on many occasions.

Ridge has become synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon and for very good reason.  Their Monte Bello Series became

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Photo by Joe Ercoli @ anvilimage.com

 

Robert Frost once wrote, Two roads diverged in a wood/and I—
I took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference.

In this case, the wine road less traveled led me to Treasure Island where besides an old naval base and the location of the World’s Fair in the 1930’s there is not much afoot except fantastic views of San Francisco that await a snapshot from its next tourist. This island can be an oasis or wasteland whichever way you choose to see it, but several unique wineries have sprouted up making it their home here, including

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Four Winds Winery

Four Winds Winery

 

It’s the end of summer and what better way to celebrate the harvest than to revisit a favorite winery of mine in Calaveras County in the Sierras over Labor Day weekend.  Previously named Laraine Winery, Four Winds Winery sits just off of HWY 4.  The road leading into to Four Winds winery is called Six Mile Road and you wind your way through beautiful scenery including rolling hills, old barns, and roaming horses. The winery itself sits on a

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Big Dog Vineyards SF Bay Area Winery

Big Dog Vineyards

 

It’s not often that I step into a tasting room and feel right at home. There are too many wineries that have become double c’s – corporate and cold.  But that isn’t the case at Big Dog Vineyards in Milpitas where owners Sandy and Mark make their guests feel welcome with their charming tasting room and wonderful wines.  This small, family run winery rests atop a 1200 foot scenic hillside next to their beautiful residence. A large courtyard patio overlooking a hillside of vines offers a great place to sit and have a glass of wine and relax.

We drive up to the winery to enjoy super bowl festivities and watch the San Francisco 49ers play. Though there are about 10-15 people in the tasting room and courtyard, the staff is extremely attentive  from the moment we walk in.   Dick, one of the tasting room managers, greets us for a tasting and reminds us  to take our time sipping each wine. He is knowledgeable about the wine list and genuinely wants to hear our feedback.  Mark sets up a big screen in the tasting room and Sandy prepares appetizers and snacks for guests, including very delicious teriyaki meatballs. I stop counting after the 10th meatball I pop into my mouth.   I  even enjoy some Cheetos with some Cabernet, which is a first for me!  During half time, we stand outside and enjoy the views and sip wine next to tall heaters.  It’s hard not to take photos as the sun starts to set and the soft light cascades over the vines.

The duo is modest about their wines,  but the red wines are no joke and it’s evident how committed and passionate they are about wine-making. The Cabs are a must taste. Standouts are the 2006 and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – both with a sophisticated bouquet loaded with vanilla, spice, and dark berry flavors.   Their Zinfandel Port Style Dessert Wine is also stellar and has a great balance of sweetness and flavor. Think of a field of plump blueberries.

The winery is open to the public the first full weekend of each month. A complete schedule is available on their website. If you want a warm, welcoming and peaceful wine tasting experience, Big Dog Vineyards is a great place to visit.

 

Visit

Big Dog Vineyards

4545 Felter Road

Milpitas, CA 95035

408-935-9194

www.bigdogvineyards.com

 

Taste

2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Zinfandel Dessert Wine

 

Try

Cheetos and Cabernet – who would of thought?

 

 

 

 


Copyright 2014 Laura Ercoli - Wild Wine Woman. Design by Anvil Image Photography

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