Salamandre Wine Cellars
Food & Drink

Salamandre Wine Cellars’ Nature-Inspired Pinot

A 2013 Pinot Noir from an invitation-only tasting room

Salamandre Wine Cellars takes its inspiration from the winemaker’s affinity for the endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander. PHOTO: WELLS SHOEMAKER

Nestled in the tall redwoods near the Aptos Post Office is Salamandre Wine Cellars, where you can taste Wells Shoemaker’s beautiful wines—but it’s by invitation only.

Shoemaker doesn’t have a tasting room, so you have to contact the winemaker and pediatrician to set a time. He’s been making wine for 30 years with dermatologist Dave South, and they certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to the intricacies of the grape.

Take their 2013 Meadowridge Pinot Noir ($30)—a well-made, voluptuous red that Shoemaker says has matured into a fragrant and beautiful wine that he, “would happily serve to any visitor from Burgundy.” Its tantalizing red-fruit flavors of strawberry, tart cherry and pomegranate, plus earthy aromas of leather, spice and clove, are all captured in a bottle for you to enjoy. Shoemaker says this Pinot works with almost any meal, but a good pairing, he suggests, is with salmon, lemon slices and fresh dill.

Situated in the sunny climes of Corralitos, Meadowridge Vineyard was established in 2001 and gets the right amount of heat and cool for the delicate Pinot Noir grape.

And why Salamanders? “Aptos is the last, lonely refuge of the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander,” says Shoemaker. He calls them slithering crusaders of the marsh, and happens to love these little creatures. He feels it’s only right to protect them.

Salamandre wines are sold at local restaurants and markets, and you can contact Shoemaker about his next tasting at [email protected]

Salamandre Wine Cellars, 108 Don Carlos Drive, Aptos. 685-0321, salamandrewine.com.

Cheese-Making Class at Love Apple Farm

Ever thought about making your own cheese? If so, then Love Apple Farm will show you how. The next class is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25. The workshop will focus on three basic soft cheeses that are easy to recreate at home—and taste a lot better than store-bought stuff.

Email [email protected] or visit growbetterveggies.com. $99.

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