Brandon Armitage is one of our best winemakers in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He has a huge following for his wines, particularly his estate Pinot Noirs.
Armitage tends his vines on the old Alfred Hitchcock estate in Scotts Valley, called Heart O’ The Mountain, where he keeps a daily watchful eye on them.
Armitage’s 2018 Heart O’ The Mountain Estate Pinot Noir ($48) is a classic, earthy wine. Enticing aromas of brown sugar, cherries, and tobacco lead to full-on flavors of rich, red fruit with some vanilla and spice. Silky and round with well-balanced tannins and a lingering finish, it’s perfect to enjoy just by itself. For pairing with food, Armitage suggests salmon, chicken, vegetables and cheese. Armitage also makes gorgeous Chardonnay and a delightfully refreshing Rosé of Pinot Noir—one of my favorites.
Armitage has a welcoming tasting room in Aptos Village—nestled between Starbucks and Akira Sushi—with outdoor seating. Check the website for rules and regs before you visit.
Private wine tastings are being held at noon every Saturday on the historic Hitchcock estate vineyard for groups of up to 10 people. Stunning views greet the guest as you begin with a flight of current releases at the outdoor tasting bar. Then visit the cellar for barrel tastings, followed by hors d’oeuvres on the patio. You are welcome to bring your own picnic, too. Cost is $50. Contact Armitage or visit the website for more info and reservations.
Artist Aspen Moon created the intricate artwork labels for many of Armitage’s wines, including the Tiger Element Series of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. The 2018 Estate Pinot depicts the Wood Tiger; the 2018 Estate Reserve Pinot is the Water Tiger.
There will be a total of five tiger labels, each representing one of the five elements—with the last two, Fire and Earth, yet to be finished. Sacred geometry with the Seed of Life is present on all of Armitage’s labels; and the Chinese zodiac sign of the Tiger reflects the year of Brandon Armitage’s birth.
Armitage Tasting Room, 105C Post Office Drive, Aptos. 831-708-2874. armitagewines.com.