Last weekend, with some good friends visiting from France, we decided to taste some local wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Our first stop was the roomy Cinnabar tasting room in the quaint village of Saratoga.
One of the best wines we tasted was the 2007 Cinnabar Rosé Paso Robles, a 100% Valdiguié wine from the French Camp Vineyards in Paso Robles. Valdiguié is a not particularly well-renowned red varietal that originates from the South of France and has been known as Gamay Beaujolais or Napa Gamay in California. According to the Cinnabar winery website, “Valdiguie is well served by the growing conditions of French Camp Vineyards. The arid climate buffers vines from rot and mildew while the high elevation intensifies the fruitiness of the grapes and brightens their acidity.”. The wine is lightly filtered and bottled with screw cap closures to retain freshness. In the glass, it displayed an eye-catching salmon-pink color and a nose of red berries, citrus and a touch of honey. The palate was dry and crisp but with a pleasant glycerin feel. Overall, I would have easily mistaken it for a Côtes de Provence.
The other wines we tasted were pretty good too and remarkably affordable:
2006 Cinnabar Mercury Rising Blanc: aromatic nose, crisp, medium-bodied on the palate, creamy mouthfeel, herbs and bitter orange peel on the finish.
2005 Cinnabar Mercury Rising: black color, red fruit on the nose, good acidity, well crafted.
2005 Cinnabar Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley: ripe fruit on the nose, full bodied, well balanced, although 15% alcohol.
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