Lester Estate Wines’ Deer Park Ranch property is a stunning place to visit. I took a friend there recently—a last hurrah to taste wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains before she moved to Santa Barbara.
Lester is extremely careful regarding the protocols of the coronavirus. Glasses are brought to your table in a special carrier, and visitors are well separated. My friend and I settled onto comfortable couch-like seating under the shade of a garden umbrella. With an abundance of cushions surrounding us, we could have happily lingered in this cozy spot until way beyond sunset.
The 2017 Syrah called SCMSTRONG (Santa Cruz Mountains Strong) is a very special wine produced by Pat Lester (founder of Lester Estate Wines with her late husband Dan Lester) and talented winemaker John Benedetti, who also makes wine under his own label, Sante Arcangeli Family Wines. As well as the SCMSTRONG, Benedetti makes other wines for Lester Estate, including the outstanding “Mercurio” Pinot Noir.
Made solely to help support local restaurants during the Covid-19 crisis, the 2017 SCMSTRONG Syrah ($25 at Lester Estate) is brimming with dark fruit and peppery/earthy flavors.
“We love our local community,” say Lester and Benedetti on their SCMSTRONG label. “Enjoy this wine and toast your friends and neighbors. We’ll get through this together.”
Lester Estate Wines donated all of the SCMSTRONG wines made—the Syrah and also a 2018 Pinot Noir—as a precious gift to folks in the restaurant business who are suffering monetarily during these hard times of the coronavirus, followed by recent fires. About 50 cases were distributed to Persephone, Home, Café Sparrow, Cantine, Seabright Social, Vinocruz and other local eateries at no cost to them. “It helped restaurants get back on their feet and recoup some of their losses,” says Keiki McKay, project manager for Lester Estate.
Kudos are due to Lester Estate Wines and John Benedetti for their exceptional generosity.
Lester Estate Wines, 1950 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos. 831-728-3793, deerparkranch.com.
Sante Arcangeli Family Wines Aptos Tasting Lounge, 154 Aptos Village Way, Aptos. Open for outdoor tasting 2-6pm Fridays; noon-6pm Saturdays and Sundays. 831-207-6048, santewinery.com.