This feature is the 2nd of a series, on winemakers and what's ahead for wine in 2019.
Jerold O'Brien of Silver Mountain Vineyards, Los Gatos
From the Summit to Sea, Jerold O'Brien has been crafting
Certified Organic wines for over 38 years.
When convenience was king a few decades ago, Jerold took the high road.
Since the beginning of Silver Mountain Vineyards,
he has been a leader in sustainable vineyard practices.
More important to him—even over selling his wines—is stewardship of the earth.
Jerold attended this year's Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento.
In the middle of the big city, his genuine persona and smile shone as he shared with me
about Silver Mountain Winery.
Straddling the Santa Cruz Mountains' Summit, the tasting room, organic vineyards and energy-self-sufficient winemaking site are perched on the ridge. The property offers picnic tables, views, fresh air and nature. It's a calm place to enjoy life, just minutes from the haze of the Silicon Valley.
The "Alloy" is Jerold's signature Bordeaux red wine blend. By far, this is one of my favorite local wines! Comprised of: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdo. The Alloy is always made with these four varietals. Only the percentages change each year to suit the flavor profile Jerold's looking for.
Jerold prefers this Bordeaux blend's subtlety and complexity, vs. a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon which, he shared, can be too big and too heavy. With Cabernet being the front runner in the Alloy blend, I think he's brought out the best of this leaner, mountain grown Cab with the supporting varietals.
For In addition to Chardonnay, Jerold makes a Rose' of Pinot Noir (again, one of my local favorites.) It's crafted in the French Saigne'e Method, which naturally increases the blush Rose' color and strengthens its flavor profile. (For more on Saigne'e, see Wine Folly's article.)
All you canine fans will appreciate Silver Mountain Vineyards' (SMV) dog wines, a line of wines named after the winery's four-pawed companions, Oscar and Spencer. Oscar Wild is a Bordeaux Blend and Spencer's Choice is a Pinot Noir Blend.
While Jerold has been making organic wines for decades, now
more and more Californians and other wine fans are looking for healthier wine options.
The beauty of buying wines from your local vintner is that you can ask questions.
Where were the grapes grown? What farming and production practice are put in place?
A dialogue opens the door to finding wines that suit your style, ecological, and health needs.
And just taste darn good.
Here's to your palate and to organic wines!
For the 1st in my Unified Series, see my chat with Barry Jackson of Equinox Wines, Santa Cruz.
I have a soft spot for Testarossa. It's one of the first wineries on the Santa Clara side of the hill that my husband and I tasted at. That was a while back when our kids were younger, and it was rare that we got time together alone. At the time, Testarossa was offering tastings inside the main area of its winery. They've since expanded, including an industrial cellar-like setting for tasting inside. The outdoor expansion includes a patio tasting area with wine and food service that's fashionable yet has a California-casual feel to it.
Testarossa feels like worlds away, but really is just up the hill from downtown Los Gatos. It's easily within reach of Santa Cruz and San Jose alike. It's a great winery to visit for a tasting and bringing a picnic. But that's just for starters. They offer Artisan Wine & Cheese tastings, salon tastings, live music, and members only events. Check out Wine Bar 107, or contact them for corporate events or private/social occasions and weddings.
I've had a chance to see Testarossa pour and donate wine. They poured at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento this January; as one of the wineries representing the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA! They were at the Silicon Valley Wine Auction, benefiting the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and STEM education.
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