Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

For 30 years, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard was located at one of the oldest continuously operated vineyards in California, originally established in 1863 as the Jarvis Brothers Vineyard. Ken Burnap started the winery in 1975, setting out to make the finest Pinot Noir possible in California. Ken had done years of research into what conditions were necessary to produce good Pinot Noir, and the Santa Cruz Mountains region ended up being his final choice as the area with the greatest potential for excellent wines. The first release under the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard label was the highly regarded 1975 vintage.

In 1979 Ken hired Jeff Emery for part-time cellar work and vineyard tending while Jeff was working on a degree at UCSC. By the time he graduated (in geology) he was hopelessly seduced by the joys of growing grapes and making wine and couldn’t possibly look for a real job. A wonderful apprenticeship and collaboration was established between Ken and Jeff. By the time Ken retired in 2002 Jeff had fully taken over the day-to-day business operations and the winemaking. In the summer of 2004, Ken sold the vineyard property on Jarvis Road, and the winemaking operations for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard moved with Jeff to a new location, to its present location on the west side of the City of Santa Cruz. Jeff Emery practices a natural approach to vineyard management and winemaking. His vineyards are farmed both sustainably and organically, with minimal yields, wild yest ferments, and use of neutral oak. The resulting wines have achieved a wonderful balance of acidity, flavor and low alcohol.

 

 

Mendocino Grenache

Made from vines that are over 100 years old from the McDowell Valley Vineyard in Mendocino. These gnarly old vines produce small quantities of grapes loaded with character. Wild ferments, neutral oak and careful selection produces a wine with complex spice, texture and flavor. Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards achieved balance over 40 years ago.

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Price: Fl $200, 3cs $176
 
Bailey's Branciforte Ridge Pinot Noir

This is a Pinot Noir Vineyard located in the Vine Hill area near our old Estate Winery location on Jarvis Road. It was planted in 1999 and consists of Dijon clones 667 and 115. It is meticulously tended and is a showcase vineyard for showing off Pinot Noir cultivation in the Santa Cruz Mountains at its best. The Vineyard is at a high enough elevation (around 1,200 feet) to be out of the fog on most days but is low enough to have very cool nights from the Pacific Ocean. These conditions produce a very intense wine with great depth of flavors and the ability to age beautifully for at least two decades from the vintage. Our 2012 has incredible depth and density compared to Pinot Noirs from other regions. There is a very rich and deep fruit component along with a lot of the earth and spice of the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation Pinots. This wine is big and powerful but it also has elegance and complexity in its youth that comes from a perfectly farmed vineyard. Wild ferments, neutral oak, meticulous winemaking lead to achieved balance!

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Price: Fl $256, 3cs $240
 
Branciforte Creek Pinot Noir

Branciforte Creek Vineyard is located on Jarvis Road in the Vine Hill area of the Santa Cruz Mountains, just a mile away from our well-known Estate Vineyard on the same road. The vines were planted in 1988 in a site that originally had grapes since 1863. This vineyard has low yields of very flavorful fruit year after year. This vineyard represents the best of “old school” Pinot Noir, before all of those cola-cherry focused “modern” clones became so popular. This vineyard is Pommard Clone, a clone that results in a more traditional, Burgundian take on the variety. You don’t just get lots of cherry/berry fruit – you get all kinds of intriguing back flavors and aromas. Things like dried leaves, damp earth, warming spices and fennel can be found in nuances layers behind and around the fruit. Wild ferments, neutral oak, meticulous winemaking has helped this wine achieve balance.

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Price: Fl $360, 2cs $320
 
Cabernet Sauvignon

This vineyard is a perfect example of a rough and rugged mountain vineyard that produces wine with tons of character. It was planted in 1981 on a very steep hillside on the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains a little northeast of Monte Bello Ridge. It is an old fashioned vineyard with head-trained vines with no trellis wires. The site is too steep to have wires and for use of tractors. The vineyard is dry farmed using organic viticulture and is low yielding. This is a rugged and feisty "old school" Cabernet Sauvignon, to drink now, or to age gracefully in the cellar for many years. 14% alcohol only 247 cases produced.

Reviews:

"From a vineyard planted in 1981 in the hills above what became Silicon Valley, this shows soy sauce, sesame, black olive, dill, beef jerky and the darkest of black fruits on the nose. The palate continues the Asian flavor theme, with teriyaki, Chinese five spice and hoisin sauce as well as blueberry paste, dusty leather and crushed rocks, framed by strong structure and bright acidity. Drink 2017–2027." ~ 93, "Cellar Selection," Wine Enthusiast December 2015

Price: Fl $360, 3cs $336