Tag Archives: merlot

Guglielmo Winery

IMG_1435Directly across the street from Live Oak High School (::sigh:: memories) is Guglielmo Winery.  It is located in Morgan Hill, on Main Street to the East of the 101.  If you are tasting in the South Bay, it is a required stop.  This is a great winery with a new remodeled tasting room.  They have reds, whites, and champagne; all in all, something for every palate.  With the wide variety of wines produced, it is an easy winery to revisit for tasting many times. 

There are three labels produced at the winery: Private Reserve, Villa Emile, and Emile’s Table Wine.  The Private Reserve wines are hand crafted with limited release.  The current Guglielmo Private Reserve series includes, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Villa Emile wines are made from grapes grown in the best regions of California wine-making.  The current Villa Emile wines are Chardonnay, White Zinfandel, White Reisling, ETW-redCabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  Emile’s Tables Wines hark back to the founding of the winery in 1925, when the winemakers frequently used a blend of wines.  There is a Red and a White Emile’s Table Wine currently.  Of all the wines that they have, the ones I like best are: Emile’s Premium Red, Villa Emile Merlot, and the Private Reserve Rosatello.

Emilie’s Premium Red – This wine is a Italian-style blend of Zinfandel, Ruby Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Barbera, and Carignane.  This is not a “fancy” wine for you wine snobs out there.  I like this wine because it is a value priced table red that goes with just about anything, including nothing.  It is smooth, easy to drink, and still has an incredible amount of flavor.  I agree with the winery when they say that this is a “zesty table wine with aromas of cherries”.

2006 Villa Emile Merlot – This is my favorite wine of the Guglielmo selection of wines.  It is a VE-merlotbold Merlot with flavors of black cherry and cedar.  It has a strong and lingering finish while still being smooth and gentle on the tannins.  I love to use this wine to make french onion soup; about a cup of wine goes into the soup and the rest is drunk while cooking and eating.

2007 Private Reserve Rosatello – This is an estate bottled wine made from 100% Grignolino Rose grapes that was first released two years ago in celebration of the winery’s 80th anniversary.  I generally do not like to drink a rose wines because they usually taste too fruity and sweet, like a white zinfandel was mislabeled actually.  This wine is much drier while still retaining the strong flavor pear.  There are only a few wineries that make a Grignolino Rose wine in California, so I think that this is a must try even if you cannot make it to the tasting room.  You can order a bottle of it at the Guglielmo Online Store.

As you can see, there are a number of wines to try at Guglielmo Winery when you decide to stop by and visit.  They have a well deserved reputation for making consistently good wines.  They also have an elegant area for weddings or other parties.  So drop in, have a glass, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

(Guglielmo barrel image credited to Fire-Eyes Photography)

Solis Winery

Here is yet another wonderful winery in Santa Clara Valley.  Solis Winery uses “modern technology to produce meticulously crafted award-winning wines” that also taste good!  Solis is located on Hecker Pass, on the left if you are coming from Gilroy, with a cluster of other wineries.  Because it is near so many other wineries, they get quite a few tours coming through the tasting room and can be quite crowded on the weekends.  I personally like a more intimate tasting experience, so I recommend going there during the week if possible.  The tasting room is actually down a few SolisWinerystairs once you enter the building and there is a very nice outdoor area that you can enjoy while tasting.  Their tasting room has always stuck in my mind because of the stairs that you have to go down and the almost half circle bar that they have; it is unique in my experience.  There were two wines that I found exceptional in my experience: the Seducente and the Merlot.

2005 Seducente – Pronounced “sed-u-chent-ay” (I was corrected on this so many times I was ready to throw it in thebottles02 face of the person correcting me).  It is a Super Tuscan wine made of estate Sangiovese and Merlot from Mann Vineyards.  I found strong flavors of black cherry when I tasted this wine, and the Sangio blended with the Merlot really smoothed out the tannins.  I am a huge fan of Sangiovese by itself, so when it is blended I usually wonder why a good wine was wasted.  I did not wonder that with this wine; this blend works perfectly.  I want to buy enough of it to have a bottle every week (too bad the reality of bank accounts and having no place to store it keep me from doing just that).

2005 Merlot Estate – I thought that this was an excellent example of what a Merlot should taste like.  It had body and flavor without being too heavy on the tannins; extremely smooth and easy to drink.  I tasted berries and plum in this wine, along with a slight hint of earth, ironically I couldn’t smell anything past the good red wine smell.  I was enraptured.  I am not surprised that this wine has won two gold medals, only surprised that it has not won more!

While I did not personally taste the 2004 Sangiovese Estate, I have been told by many friends that it is an excellent wine.  Currently the winery is sold out of it, which is why I did not taste it, but it can be found stores.  I was referred to the local Nob Hill Foods as the best bet to get some.  They also make a Fiano, which is a rarely found Italian white wine varietal.  I cannot wait to go back and try this one in particular.  Along with these superb wines, Solis produces Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Meritage called Cara Mia among others.  One final thing to mention is the Solis Wine Club; I am not a member but I have friends and family that are.  If you are interested in joining a wine club that has great events focused on food and wine pairings, you might want to consider Solis.bottleneck

Thomas Kruse Winery

Out past the Outlets in Gilroy there is a handful of wineries that enjoy the peace and quiet of being on that side of town.  Most of the other wineries are on the Hecker Pass side of town, but if you make the drive to Gilroy, I suggest exploring the other side of town for a more personal tasting experience.  Thomas Kruse Winery is one of the best onesIMG_2266 to try; with the good wine, laid back atmosphere, and beautiful view it is easy to spend hours just hanging out there.

After traveling down a gravel drive past Cabernet vines you arrive at the tasting room, which is also the main winery building.  Don’t expect fancy lighting and decor to distract you from the wine; the bar is a rough table and most of the light is natural sunlight.  I have 3 favorite wines from this winery, but I have been told that I will add a fourth once I try the Apricot Desert Wine (which is not released yet).

2006 Chardonnay – If you like an oaky, buttery Chardonnay this is not the place for you.  In fact, don’t even ask for one, unless you are joking.  This wonderful example of a Chardonnay had the aroma of kiwi and fresh apples.  I could smell this wine all day long, assuming I did not drink it all.  Sipping the wine the first thing you notice is a fresh crisp green apple flavor with pineapple following as a gentle finisher.  Sitting outside in the beautiful California weather is the perfect setting for this excellent wine.

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Isn't the Port a beautiful color?

Gilroy Red – This is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that goes down very smooth.  I think that this is a quintessential table wine for any sort of meal, and a good wine to bring to a dinner party.  Smelling this wine gives hints of leather and blackberries while the taste brings up memories of black cherry with a slight hint of pepper.  This is currently the most popular wine, so get some while it lasts.

2006 Estate Merlot – This Merlot manages to be very smooth without sacrificing anything in the way of flavor.  It has the aroma of plum and tobacco with the flavor of blueberry and light tannins.  It has a beautiful color when held up to the sun, if you can leave enough in your glass to actually look at it.

Along with these wines, TK Winery also makes a wonderful Port wine.  I am generally not a fan of Port; the ruby ports are too sweet and the tawny ports are too strong.  This port is made from Cabernet grapes, rather than the Zinfandel grapes that are normally used.  I do not know enough about Port to say more than “I like it!”  If you get a chance, try the Port before it is gone!Thomas Kruse Winery

Jason-Stephens Winery

Take a drive on Watsonville Road and you will see a winery with palm trees lining the driveway and wildflowers growing between the vines.  You have reached Jason Stephens Winery!  We heard about this winery from family friends and were very happy with our experience there.  It is so nice to see a younger winemaker out on his own and being successful.  Jason Stephens Winery has a modern feel to it compared to other wineries.  The tasting room is the the barrel warehouse which is very clean and open.  Lighter colored walls, open space, and high ceilings make it a nice place to be after all the small and cramped tasting rooms.

2007 Estate Chardonnay – This was a nice complex Chardonnay that managed to be very fruit forward while still being oaked.  It smelled of pears and tasted smooth and fruity without being buttery.

2006 Merlot – This was my favorite wine of the ones that we tasted.  It was much more flavorful and complex than other Merlots I have tasted.  It had a good amount of tannins but still was able to be extremely smooth drinking.  I smelled tobacco and berries and tasted earth and more berries.  Now let me say that this is definitely not a fruity wine.  It is still a good strong Merlot for all the berries I tasted and smelled.

2006 Dorcich Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – There were 2 Cabs to taste and this one was our favorite of the two.  This wine had a very dark color, a beautiful purple-red that you would expect from a Syrah.  When I first saw the color of the wine I thought, Ohhhhhhh pretty!  In this wine I smelled cherries and black pepper and tasted smooth tannins and cherries again.  I am not a huge Cab fan, so they have to be extremely smooth for me to be able to enjoy a whole glass.  With this Cab, I could enjoy a whole bottle!  If Jack didn’t drink it first, that is. 

The vines and flowers