Food & Drink

Nicholson Vineyards’ Terrific 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel

The makers of this zin also produce a superb olive oil

The 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel from Nicholson Vineyards features jammy fruit flavors along with vanilla and spicy pepper. PHOTO: COURTESY OF NICHOLSON VINEYARDS

When I visited Nicholson Vineyards in mid-March, it was just before the scourge of the new coronavirus closed up many businesses, including all tasting rooms.

I tried a few wines at Nicholson Vineyards that day, including a terrific 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel. Fruit is sourced from Runquist Vineyards in Amador County, where Zinfandel grows well in the volcanic soils of the Sierra Foothills appellation. With its full-on jammy fruit flavors of strawberry, cherry and blackberry, and vanilla and spicy pepper on the palate, this Old Vine Zin ($35) scored a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Other wines made by Nicholson include Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Harvest Blend, Terra Cotta Red, and their own estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Brian and Marguerite Nicholson were busy enough running a real estate appraisal business and raising a family when they opened their winery in 2004, but their passion for making good wine became a prime goal in their lives. Wine cellar operations are led by the talented John Ritchey, who also makes wine under his own label—Bottle Jack Wines.

Superb olive oil is also produced from the Nicholsons’ 3.5 acres of Tuscan olive trees. “In our eyes it is liquid gold,” say the Nicholsons.

Nicholson Vineyards is a delightful spot to visit. Not only do they have a cozy tasting room, but there’s also plenty of space to sit outside—and picnic tables are available on a first-come, first served basis.

Nicholson Vineyards’ events coming up (if we’re out of the coronavirus woods) are Wine Wednesday at Shadowbrook on April 22, Mother’s Day at Nicholson Vineyards on May 9, and a Winemaker’s Dinner on their property on June 1.

As we shelter in place, this is a tough time for everybody. Local wineries and restaurants need our support—now and when the pandemic is over. Many wineries are doing specials such as discounted cases and free shipping. Curbside pickups are the new norm and available at Nicholson Vineyards from noon to 3pm on Saturdays. Their online sales continue.

Nicholson Vineyards, 2800 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos. 724-7071, nicholsonvineyards.com.


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