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 ones 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.
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!