Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

dining sacannah-chanellePinot Noir 2010—Big and Bold

The big fruity purple liquid that makes up the 2010 Pinot, Central Coast ($26), is bold and vivacious. Earthy flavors linger on the tongue, along with luscious ripe fruit—cherries and blackberries in particular. It’s actually a blend of two vineyards from the Central Coast region, but this lovely Pinot made by Savannah-Chanelle has all the quality and structure of a high-end single vineyard bottling.

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards has quite a history. In 1892 French immigrant Pierre Pourroy established the winery high above the Santa Clara Valley (in what is now known as Silicon Valley). The estate sits on 58 acres of prime property, and Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Chardonnay are all farmed on the site. The Zinfandel plantings date back to 1910, and the Cabernet Franc plantings are California’s oldest, dating back to 1920.

Purchased in 1996 by Michael and Kelly Ballard, they renamed the business after their two daughters, Savannah and Chanel. But they quickly had to add two letters to Chanel as the famous French fashion house with the same name threatened to sue them.

Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains high above Silicon Valley, the winery is a beautiful place to visit. Situated in a rustic barn-like structure, the tasting room offers the visitor a fine range of wines and a treasure trove of things to buy.

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards, 23600 Congress Springs Road, Saratoga. (408) 741-2934. savannahchanelle.com. Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pinot Paradise

The annual extravaganza for Pinot Noir lovers is on March 22, 23 and 24. This very popular event is put on by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA).

Friday, March 22 is a Technical Session on Minerality at the beautiful Mountain Winery in Saratoga, followed by a Winemaker Dinner in the evening; Saturday, March 23 is Pathway to Pinot Paradise—an opportunity to go barrel tasting with a self-guided tour to many of the wineries participating in the event, and a Winemaker Dinner at Shadowbrook Restaurant in the evening. On Sunday, March 24 head to Villa Ragusa in historic downtown Campbell for two Grand Cruz Wine & Food Tastings from noon to 2 p.m. (VIP); and 2-5 p.m. Around 30 wineries from the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation will be pouring their best Pinot Noirs, with many upscale restaurants providing an abundance of delicious food, so you can expect some tasty bites to go along with the Pinot. If you love Pinot Noir, this is an event not to be missed. Visit scmwa.com or call 685-VINE (8463) for tickets and information.

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