Vine & Dine

Loma Prieta’s Pinotage

wine glassAlthough drinking alone is not half as much fun as drinking with others, after a busy day of dashing around, I came home and poured myself a glass or two of Loma Prieta’s Pinotage 2010 (saving a bit for my husband). There’s something about taking that first sip of a worthy wine that gives one an all-over glow.

Relaxing with a glassful of this inky fruit, I inhaled the voluptuous aromas of smoky blueberry, pomegranate and plum before tasting the earthy wine’s rich flavors of ripe red berries, brown sugar, dates and walnuts.

Pinotage is a red wine grape that hails from South Africa and is the country’s signature grape. I remember first tasting it in the Stellenbosch wine region not that far from Cape Town. This particular Pinotage is made with grapes from Sierra Ridge Vineyard in Amador County, and usually sells for $45 a bottle, but it’s now on sale until the end of July for $25 and is expected to sell out. Should this be the case, you can always try Loma Prieta’s seven or eight other Pinotage wines, many of which won double gold, platinum and best of class awards.

Why so much Pinotage? Loma Prieta is, according to the vintners, “the only winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains growing Pinotage, and the only winery in the U.S. currently making a portfolio of designates from this little-known-grape.” Pinotage is a rare grape in California, with only about 25 acres planted.

A trip to Loma Prieta Winery is well worth a visit, and not just for the Pinotage. Situated at about 2,600 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains, it is like being on top of the world—and the view of the Monterey Bay is spectacular. The winery has just added a telescope, so that’s your opportunity right there to get more than a bird’s eye view of the panorama below.


Loma Prieta Winery, 26985 Loma Prieta Way, Los Gatos. (408) 353-2950. Open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. lomaprietawinery.com.  The winery suggests that you follow the directions on their website to the tasting room.

Grab Your Passport

Passport Day comes around every three months, and the next one is Saturday, July 19. It’s the day when you can visit participating wineries belonging to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA) and taste for free–providing you have a Passport, which will cost you $45, and can be purchased at any winery. Passport Day takes place four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November. Of course, you can still visit various wineries if you are not participating in Passport and simply pay the tasting fee at each winery. INFO: 685-8464, or scmwa.com or [email protected]

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