California champagne—a delicious sparkling wine
Although we are a couple of weeks into 2013, it doesn’t mean that we should put away the Champagnes and sparkling wines. I love to open up a nice sparkler when friends come to visit, and a drop of bubbly always puts one in a celebratory mood.
For about $20, Kirigin Cellars sparkling wine is a pretty good deal. Naturally fermented—with a secondary fermentation before bottling, it has a touch of finesse present in higher-end sparklers, although it’s somewhat sweet. Made in the Charmat method, which is also used in the crafting of Prosecco, this method forces the second fermentation to happen in a large stainless steel tank rather than in the bottle—as with the traditional méthode champenoise. So if you’re looking for a nice sparkler without breaking the bank, then this one fits the bill. And California certainly tops the list in making Champagne-style bubblies.
Kirigin Cellars was founded in 1916 and is one of California’s oldest wineries. They are particularly famous for a very sexy wine called Vino de Mocha, which I think is a perfect wine to drink on Valentine’s Day. Tasting is always complimentary and they don’t use outside distributors—meaning you can buy their wines only direct from them, but the prices are pretty reasonable because of this. Even better deals can be found if you buy six bottles (30 percent discount), or a case (50 percent discount). And three or more cases will cost you a flat $100 per case.
Kirigin is a lovely winery to visit. Events are held on their sports fields (Dog Lure Coursing will be held in April), and it even has a cricket pitch where games are regularly held in the summer months. You can visit the sports fields and take a picnic, and the entire family is welcome.
Kirigin Cellars, 11550 Watsonville Road, Gilroy. (408) 847-8827. Kirigincellars.com. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Surf City Vintners Wine University
The next Wine University organized by Surf City Vintners on the Westside of Santa Cruz is from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13 in the tasting room of Sones Cellars. Winemaker and owner Michael Sones will conduct this class entitled Wine Tasting 101. These events are fun and informative as you take the opportunity to learn from our local vintners. So get your diploma in sip-ology and sign up! Classes are $30 per person, or $25 if you belong to any of the Surf City wineries. Register at any of the Surf City tasting rooms, or call
(408) 234-2079, or visit surfcityvintners.com.