Third Party Review: 2010 Left Bend Syrah

Review by Solosyrah Left Bend Winery is the project of winemaker Gary Robinson and his friend Richard Hanke. At the moment, it’s an extremely low production winery. The Santa Cruz Syrah I tasted from the 2010 vintage was just recently released. It’s a very impressive wine. I was concerned that at 14.4% it would be […]

Third Party Review: Left Bend 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Review by Wine Mizer Can anyone discuss the taste of a Cabernet Sauvignon without mentioning cassis? Well, it’s obviously too late for me to do that, so I’ll put off that description for a moment and instead talk balance. Balance as in a wine of balance; a flying Walenda of balance. This is my second […]

Third Party Review: Left Bend 2010 Syrah

Being a wine writer (say those two words fast ten times) has its good moments, and I’m grateful when they happen. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to taste product from wineries that are new to me and otherwise might go inexperienced. Some is good. Some goes unmentioned in my blog. And then – not too often – some send me into a state of wonder and joy. Such is what happened recently when I tasted Left Bend’s 2010 inaugural release of their Syrah.

Fellom Ranch on Montebello Road

This harvest, we are excited to be getting Cabernet Sauvignon from the Fellom Ranch in Cupertino. It’s always fun to discover a new vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a vineyard owner passionate about growing premium fruit.
A small mountain vineyard with stressed vines and concentrated fruit… it’s exactly what we look for to make distinctive, age-worthy Santa Cruz Mountains wine.

Bottling Day

Back in October of 2010, I picked-up my first fruit from Black Ridge Vineyards in Los Gatos and probably dreamed of this day, and now, after three harvests, 27 months in barrel, and a lot of help from friends, the first vintage is ready to bottle.

The winery is in San Martin, California with views to the west of the Santa Cruz Mountains where I source fruit from small mountain vineyards. The name “Left Bend” actually refers to a slight leftward bend in the San Andreas Fault, which helped these mountains form.

Post Harvest Bicycle Ride

The end of harvest came late for me this year. It wasn’t until December 26th when I pumped the late harvest Syrah to barrel. Fifteen tons of fruit, 45 barrels of wine, and one sore back later, it’s now time to move on to other winemaking tasks and fun adventures.
First up is a bike ride in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. Riding is how I got my introduction to the back country roads, steep rugged hillsides, counter-culture lifestyles (as compared to Silicon Valley), and, of course, the intimate vineyards and wineries tucked in various corners of these magical mountains.

Left Bend Whole Cluster Syrah

My friend Richard and I recently picked up a half ton of beautifully ripe Syrah from Ruben Balderas at Black Ridge Vineyards in Los Gatos. Ruben’s crew met me at the vineyard at 7 AM to harvest the grapes in the cool morning air. Black Ridge sits at an elevation of about 1,000 feet and […]

Muns Vineyard – A Mountain Top Pinot and Syrah Paradise

Less than a half hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Los Gatos and Silicon Valley is Muns Vineyard, located high in the Santa Cruz Mountains about 2.5 miles west of the Loma Prieta peak and overlooking Monterey Bay. Muns primarily grows and produces Pinot Noir, but also produces a small amount of Syrah. […]

The Harvest Decision — Is it all about Brix?

Now that we are nearing the end of September, it’s time to start tracking the ripeness of the fruit to decide when to harvest. Earlier in the week I visited Black Ridge Vineyards on Black Road in Los Gatos where I will be buying Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. I also evaluated my backyard vineyard (Monte Roble Vineyard).

Big Basin Vineyards – Harvest Festival

Last weekend, Kristen and I headed to Big Basin Vineyards in Boulder Creek, California to tour their estate vineyards, taste their wines, and learn about what goes into making their award winning Syrahs. This was Big Basin’s Harvest Festival weekend with wine tasting, food pairings, and a live jazz band. Big Basin also offered the opportunity to take a self-guided vineyard tour.