Every time I drive past the little red schoolhouse on Summit Road in Los Gatos, I think of the story behind it. When Dave Moulton, owner and winemaker at Burrell School, started in the wine business back in the early ’70s, his wife Anne could not believe that they were actually going to live in the old – make that “historic” – schoolhouse. Even with all the history behind it (it was built in 1890), to be living and working from this spot seemed a bit inconvenient, to say the least. But fast forward to today. Burrell School is one of the best-known wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation – and Dave is hailed for producing some of the best local wines on the market.
It was difficult to choose a particular wine to write about, as Moulton makes so many. I’m so familiar with the picture of the Burrell Schoolhouse on every bottle that I was quite surprised when I saw a very different portrayal. Right there on the store’s shelf was a bottle of Burrell School wine that caught my eye. This label with a “Dancing Schoolhouse” is “a tribute to the collective energy” of the former students at the old schoolhouse. I had to find out who did this rendition. Jude Bischoff is the artist.
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Clara Valley (about $30) is a luscious wine that’s ready to enjoy now. A nose of ripe red fruit and dark raisins makes this spicy wine a good match with pasta, steak or a plate of cheese.
Burrell School features all kinds of wine-related events – including winemaker dinners and wine tasting in various locations. One wonderful dinner I attended some years ago at Burrell School was one of those magic evenings that you always remember. I went from Santa Cruz in a limo, provided by our local ABC Limousine service, to a superb wine dinner – with each course matched with Burrell School’s lovely wines. This warm balmy evening was even more enhanced with a perfect sunset – giving a golden glow to Moulton’s vines as far as the eye could see. That event took place on Moulton’s deck, which has now been expanded and the tasting room redone. I’m glad they still have the old school blackboard in the tasting room that says in chalk letters, “I promise to sip my wine” in about a dozen different languages.
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery, 24060 Summit Road, Los Gatos, (408) 353-6290. Open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. burrellschool.com.
Shadowbrook continues with its very popular series of Winemaker Wednesdays. Each week from October through April, a different Santa Cruz Mountains appellation wine is spotlighted—with special pricing throughout the week and half off the featured wine on Wednesdays. On these popular Wednesdays, the winemakers of various wineries are at Shadowbrook from 5-8 p.m., and each flight of wine comes with complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
Shadowbrook, 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com.