My husband and I ran into Martin Ranch Winery owners Dan and Thérèse Martin at a dinner where their wine was being poured. The Martins shared a few insights into growing grapes, harvest and wine production—all of which is a ton of work and can be very stressful.
One of the Martin Ranch wines we tasted under their J.D. Hurley label was the 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon, a terrific, robust red with an abundance of ripe cherry and plum evolving into a “full, round middle”—and which the Martins say is kissed with soft, balanced tannins. It pairs nicely with all grilled meats, so it’s handy to keep this wine in stock to serve with holiday fare. The full-bodied Cab gained 95 points, a gold medal and best of class of region at the 2017 California State Fair.
Martin Ranch wines and their J.D. Hurley label wines can be found all over, and Deer Park Wine & Spirits in Aptos sells this Cab for about $25. If you’re looking for an up-front, fruit-forward red wine with a big structure, then this one fits the bill.
Martin Ranch Winery, 6675 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, 408-842-9197. martinranchwinery.com
WineBox—A Container Hotel in Chile
When my husband and I were exploring the wine country in Chile a couple of years ago, we came across a forward-thinking winemaker called Grant Phelps. Phelps, who hails from New Zealand and now calls Chile home, lives in the port city of Valparaiso. He came up with the brilliant idea of building “a haven for winos ‘apart hotel’”—a “WineBox” made completely out of recycled containers, which he salvaged right there from the port.
“When finished,” says Phelps, “this badass building made of boxes will boast a wine bar and wine shop … along with an amazing 360-degree rooftop view.”
Check out the website and video at purplemouthed.com—you’ll be amazed. It may make you want to head straight to the vibrant cosmopolitan city of Valparaiso, which is an easy drive from Santiago, Chile’s capital city. You can also find WineBox Valparaiso on Facebook.