Michael Sones is an expert when it comes to making wine.
The former head winemaker at Bargetto Winery now acts as consultant winemaker at prestigious producers in the industry, such as Loma Prieta Winery. Under his own label, Sones Cellars, he’s making some splendid wines, including a 2015 Petite Sirah ($28) with plenty of backbone. It won a gold medal at this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Grapes are harvested from Saveria Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains “in a mild and sheltered valley … and a superb example of the effects of terroir, or unique sense of place,” says Sones. “This vineyard produces a surprisingly elegant Petite with lovely aromas followed by notes of spiced cherry.”
Sones’ Petite Sirah is a full-throttle red with rich fruit, including blackberries and blueberries. Inky-dark and bursting with big flavors, this wine goes well with barbecue. It clocks in at 14.2% alcohol.
When you go to Sones Cellars tasting room, check out his Hedgehog brand. The bottle of Hedgehog wine is endlessly refillable and very reasonably priced. Sones has garnered a hefty collection of hedgehogs … mostly brought in by wine club members.
Santa Cruz Shakespeare supporter Sones, who hails from England, also makes another wine called Sack, and donates a portion of sales to SCS. He explains that Shakespeare extolled the virtues of “sack”—a sweet white wine, nutty and darkened by exposure to air while in the barrel.
Michael and his wife Lois met at sea, and their interesting wine label depicts the bow of a ship with a female masthead holding a bunch of grapes. All she needs by her side is Dionysus.
Sones Cellars, 334-B Ingalls St., Santa Cruz. 420-1552, sonescellars.com.
Downtown Santa Cruz Wine Walk
Organized by the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz, the next Wine Walk will take place Sunday, May 12, from 3-6 p.m.. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 day-of. Check in at Soif on Walnut Avenue and you’ll get a map of all the locations hosting wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Visit downtownsantacruz.com for more info.