Gerry Turgeon has been making award-winning Chardonnay since 1988. Until very recently, his Trout Gulch Vineyards never had a tasting room open to the public. I have seen Turgeon here and there at many wine events such as Passport and the Vintners’ Festival—usually pouring at a restaurant or other location. Now all that has changed since he moved in with the Surf City Vintners. Trout Gulch (named for its location on Trout Gulch Road in Aptos) deserves its own tasting room on Swift Street—and even though it’s not open every weekend, you can easily find their wines at most wine bars, restaurants and in local supermarkets. The Hollins House is one of my favorite places for dinner. It’s elegant and upscale, but at the same time welcoming and comfortable. As much as I go there to enjoy the food, I also look forward to exploring the wine list. The Hollins House totally supports our local wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation and carries close to 30 of their wines. Hollins House manager Anthony Dias shared with me that he’s actually looking for more—always visiting local wineries and trying out their wines.
My goal when I’m eating out in this area is to always drink a local wine. Spotting a Trout Gulch Chardonnay on the wine list, I order that ($10 by the glass). I particularly love this 2007 Trout Gulch La Pecherie Chardonnay with its rich Burgundian flavors and aromas of tropical fruit and spicy oak. It was a lovely pairing with my first course of mussels—and went well with my lamb shank, too.
Turgeon is committed to making “classic” Pinot Noir and Chardonnay—the two wines made by Trout Gulch in the Burgundian style, which Turgeon refers to as “the holiest of grails.” He’s dedicated to farming the finest, highest quality fruit because he believes that “great wine begins in the vineyard.” His wine won two medals in this year’s Santa Cruz Mountains Commercial wine competition—for his 2007 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains (silver), and the 2007 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains (bronze). Turgeon also just bottled a 2007 Bordeaux-style blend—mostly of Santa Cruz Mountains merlot)—that he calls Le Trianon. So we can look forward to seeing that on the market soon as well.
Turgeon’s father, Bernie, wanted to grow world-class Pinot Noir, so he purchased the site of Trout Gulch Vineyards and planted Pinot and Chardonnay in the mid-’80s. He also founded the J. Lohr Winery with his partner Jerry Lohr before that.
“It’s all for him that we made the stellar wines from the property over the years,” says Gerry.
Trout Gulch Vineyards, 427 Swift St., Santa Cruz, 471-2705. troutgulchvineyards.com. Open for the Vintners’ Festival, Passport Day and for special events. Hollins House (at the Pasatiempo Golf Club), 20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz, 459-9177. Call for reservations and to check opening times. pasatiempo.com.