Grapes are harvested from Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards in Saratoga for the luxurious 2016 Chardonnay ($45). A beautiful wine redolent with velvet undertones, it comes with more oak and hazelnut than crisp apple. Aromas of cream, toast, and a smidgeon of pear offer clues of what’s to come—a superb Chardonnay by Brandon Armitage of Armitage Wines.
Armitage is a busy man. Not only does he have his own label, Armitage Wines, but he also owns the prestigious Heart O’ the Mountain label—known for producing ultra-premium Pinot Noir—and manages the lush vineyards on the Brassfield family’s Heart O’ the Mountain estate in Scotts Valley. Once home to world-renowned film director Alfred Hitchcock, Heart O’ the Mountain is where famous movie stars were entertained back in the day, and the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco were wined and dined.
It’s on this historic property, not usually open to the public, where Armitage is holding a farm-to-table dinner at 6 p.m. on Bastille Day, July 14. Hollins House Executive Chef John Paul Lechtenberg will feature the bounty of local farms and fresh-catch fish from local waters, with an appetizer hour of fine cheeses and hors d’oeuvres by chef Tabitha Stroup. It will all be paired with Armitage Wines, with music accompaniment from the Drool Pigs. Tickets are $130 all inclusive, and they’re sure to go fast. The event is a benefit for a Tara Redwood School fund.
“It’s what I love to do,” says Armitage of his passion for making wine. “My business philosophy is to mesh the energy of the wine components in a symbiotic relationship that expresses the character of the wine in its purest form.”
When Armitage opened his welcoming tasting room some years ago in Aptos Village, he was producing only Pinot Noir, and stunning Pinots they are. When I visited a couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to find out he’s now also making a fine Chardonnay. Tasting room manager Jeanne Earley will be glad to pour you some when you stop by.
Armitage Tasting Room, 105c Post Office Drive, Aptos, 708-2874. armitagewines.com.