In Gilroy, California there are many wineries off of Hecker Pass Highway. These wineries are on the "main drag" of Santa Clara County wine tasting tours that travel from Morgan Hill to Gilroy. If you are looking for a winery that is off the beaten path (and you are trying to avoid the tour buses of inebriated sommeliers-for-a-day) I recommend going to the East side of Gilroy to visit Satori Cellars.
Satori – is a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment that literally means "understanding". In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to a flash of sudden awareness, or individual enlightenment, and is considered a "first step" or embarkation toward nirvana.
Satori is not just a moment of enlightenment, it is also the first letters of the names of the family that owns and operates the winery (Sandy, Tom, and Riley). Not every winery has the privilege of having such a unique and meaningful name. Satori cellars is a small winery in Santa Clara Valley that has 15 acres of grapes and a beautiful outdoor tasting room. There is a bocce ball court, picnic tables, and a lavender labyrinth garden that you can enjoy while you are experiencing their offerings. Music is always playing and something is going on every weekend at Satori.
They have a variety of excellent wines, and three of my favorites are: Cabernet of the Blue Hand, Harmonic Convergence, and JoyoUS.
Cabernet of the Blue Hand 2006 Estate – This is a big, bold 100% estate grown wine that will knock your socks off. It is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. I have heard that new wineries take about 10 years to start making good wines from their grapes, but this wine is an exception to that rule. I have tasted a couple years of this wine ('06 and '07) and I have to say that the 2006 is my favorite so far. Flavors of black cherry and dusty earth with just a hint of tobacco make this one of my favorite wines. Period.
Harmonic Convergence Estate Reserve 2007 – This is one of the wines that Tom seems to take an exceptional amount of pride in, and he should. A blend of Petite Syrah (81%), Syrah (11%), and Zinfandel (8%) make this a meaty wine, but with solid fruit overtones. This wine has an aroma of blackberries with tasting notes of mocha, tobacco, and blackberries. As you can tell. the blackberry tones really hit me on this wine, in a good way of course.
JoyoUS Estate Reserve 2007– JoyoUS is the go-to red wine in my house. When we are having people over for dinner and we want to open a bottle of red, we open a Joyus. It has a blend of flavors that all of our friends and family have found palatable. Comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon (46%), Syrah (39%), and Merlot (15%) and aged for 20 months in French oak, it is a solid red wine that pairs easily with pasta, steak, or a crisp autumn evening. Scents of spice and black raspberry blend seamlessly with flavors of smoke and a slight hint of vanilla.