SCM Wine Club Tasting Notes - Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains

SCM Wine Club Tasting Notes

Rich and buttery with bright notes of mountain pear and Fuji apple complemented by a firm, yet supple finish.  From the cool reaches of Pleasant Valley where warm, sunny days turn to fog-filled evenings allowing the wine to achieve incredible balance and varietal expression.   Try it with Monterey Bay Salmon – ooh, la, la!

Technical Sheet PDF Here

Gold Medal Winner2021 Sunset international wine competition

Lifted aromas of alpine strawberries and black cherries meld with a bouquet of coastal garrigue and forest floor. A judicious use of stem inclusion and new French Oak tastefully frame the fruit and speak to La Honda’s pedigree – serious wine and a joy to drink. With some weight and tannin to it but plenty of fruit, the 2019 is a great food wine or a delight on its own. 

Technical Sheet PDF Here

Leather, dried strawberry and peppercorn lead into a nose loaded with chaparral spice of light thyme and sage on this vineyard designate. It’s a bit shy on the palate at first, and then light cranberry and raspberry flavors emerge against the crushed stone and light red-flower flavors.

Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast. 93 points.

From our Gist Ranch Estate, this bottling showcases mountain Pinot Noir with aromatic red fruit and a wild forest spice character.


The Will’s Cabin Estate Vineyard lies some 20 miles south of the winery at elevations reaching over 2300 ft. The north-west facing ridge is heavily fractured Vacqueros sandstone with steep slopes and awesome exposure. A mere 14 miles separates the vineyard and ocean, though it often basks in morning sun as it sits above the morning fog. This is an earlier ripening vineyard that produces wines that are seriously structured with a wild, mountain character that continues to impress us.


Record setting rains replenished our thirsty soils and gave our old vines a much needed reprieve from four drought stressed seasons. The 2017 vintage was another year of record setting heat, continuing our string of record setting temperatures. Luckily, Spring was mild and allowed us to set the best crop we have seen since 2012. A torrid heat spike over the labor day started the growing season with a bang and had us off and running at sprinter’s pace. The weather following was mild and allowed for the latest harvest we have seen in some time. It will go down as a vintage with good yields and potentially great quality.


ACID 5.6

PH 3.57

ALCOHOL % 13.3

It seems every release there is a wine that stands out among the crowd, and this year the Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon is indicating it’s ready to stand out. On the pop there are lovely aromas of eucalyptus, plum flesh, and perfectly ripe red cherries. As you allow the wine time to open in the bottle and glass you are greeted with chocolate (cocoa), tobacco wrapper, sage, thyme and tarragon. Structurally, the wine is present, but certainly not overwhelming. The wine has well integrated tannins, soft acidity, and a finish of mouth-watering caramel. This wine can stand up to a wide array of heavier foods such as roasted red meats, grilled heavier foods, or chiles/stews. Drink now – 2032.

A robust wine with an abundance of bright red fruit flavors, strawberry, pepper, spice and bold tannins. Unfined and unfiltered. 

Clones: 40% Dijon 113, 40% Dijon 114 and 20% Dijon 667 

Aged:  22 Months French Oak (50% New) 

Alcohol:  13.7% 

Medium garnet, the nose reveals dusty cherry, clove, and earth. Medium bodied stuffed with red fruits, the wine is layered with subtle coconut, vanilla crème and toast. Lighter than other vintages, this wine begs for food. Rigatoni bolognese or even roast chicken with shitaake mushrooms love the acidity and balance of this wine.

“Light in the glass, this is a deliciously fresh yet complex bottling, starting with aromas of pomegranate, raspberry, rose petals and sage. It’s quite delicate while refreshing on the palate, zippy with acidity and tense in texture, as waves of strawberry, thyme and sage sail into the finish.”– Matt Kettmann, Wine Enthusiast

Can drink now, and over the next 5 to 7 years.

95 points, Wine Enthusiast
92 points, Purely Domestic Wine Report

Appropriate dark ruby color, with amazing fresh soft red fruit aromas and a hint of cardamom, this Pinot has rich and balanced on the palate featuring cocoa, blackberry, oak, and a killer depth of flavor.

The 2018 harvest started in early September under perfect ripening conditions. Included in the fermentations were 35% whole-cluster to add complexity and vibrancy. There are no “additions” to our winemaking; we employ indigenous yeast during fermentation. When we bottle, there is no fining or filtration, creating a Natural Wine in every aspect.

The wine displays characteristic deep purple color with intriguing ripe and varied aromas of fruit and earth. The palate is rich with a long and lingering finish.

The Regan estate Pinot Noir is produced from the most exquisite of the four clones of Pinot Noir growing in Regan, known as the Mt Eden clone of Pinot Noir. This unique clone was brought to this region directly from Burgundy, France in the late 19th century.

60 cases produced.

Deep garnet red with nose of bright red cherry and sweet oak. On the palate, ripe red bramble fruit, plush and supple tannins, and lively acidity. EB (3/20)

Full technical details can be found Here.

This full bodied Cabernet bursts with bright aromas of deep red cherry, black current jam and ripe plum. The expressive aromas are integrated with earthy spices, cedar, anise, vanilla, rich leather and balanced with a lush texture and refined tannins leading to a long lingering finish. Drink now through 2028.

This Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested on September 20 and September 30, 2017 from Raines Vineyard nestled in the Saratoga foothills above Pierce Road. Steep slopes require the vineyard to be harvested in multiple passes for optimum ripening and intense flavor concentration. Aged for 20 months in 50% new American and 50% in neutral oak barrels. Unfiltered.

The Luchessi vineyard is a perfect example of a rough and rugged mountain vineyard that produces wine with tons of character. It was planted in 1981 on a very steep hillside on the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains a little northeast of Montebello Ridge. It is an old-fashioned vineyard with head-trained vines and no trellis wires. The site is too steep to have wires, as tractors need to be able to cultivate either direction depending on the slope. This vineyard just looks like it has to make wine of character, and it does. Year after year there is an incredible depth of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit.

The lovely garnet pour gives way to aromas of red currants, raspberries, and hints of dark chocolate. Cranberries and bright raspberries dance across your palate, accompanied by a zesty cedar edge that leads into a wonderfully long finish.

13.7% ABV. 105 cases produced.

Winemaking notes:

Aging: The Merlot was picked on September 9 and the Franc on September 29 & October 13. After destemming and transfer to fermenters, all lots received organic nutrients to ensure smooth, native yeast fermentations; the wines were pressed off in 11-13 days. When malolactic fermentation was firmly established, the wines were racked to French oak barrels (Merlot 29% new, Franc 30% new) to finish malolactic and age. Based our blending trials 5 months later, we assembled this 60% Merlot and 40% Franc, and returned to the barrel to integrate and finish 10 months of aging before bottling in August 2017.

The Airplane story: The F6F Hellcat is named for an airplane that our founding winemaker and NASA Test Pilot George Cooper flew when flying for the Ames Research Center. With this plane, George was testing how much dihedral a pilot would desire, accept, or tolerate. Dihedral, the angle between an upwardly inclined aircraft wing and a horizontal line, affects how an airplane flies.

Our Rosé is for the passion of summer and the immediacy of enjoyment! We picked the grapes intentionally for Rosé winemaking – a whole month earlier than our Pinot Noir harvest dates. This method is sometimes referred to as the ‘direct press’ method, which is our strong stylistic choice for Rosé winemaking. This style emphasizes lower alcohol, bright fruit acidity, no residual sugar and a very pale blush of color.

Varietal: Pinot Noir – Dijon Clone 115

Sustainable, organic, dry farming and low yield practices are employed.

Winemaking: Maximizing Rosé characteristics through our stylistic choice of an early harvest date, direct press and fermenting and aging in Stainless Steel tanks. No fining, filtration or other manipulation.

Aging: 6 months Stainless Steel

Harvest Date: September 14th, 2020

Deep garnet red with nose of bright red cherry and sweet oak. On the palate, ripe red bramble fruit, plush and supple tannins, and lively acidity. EB (3/20)

Full technical details can be found Here.

Crisp acidity with hints of pineapple, melon, and lemon zest.

Aged for 11 months in 50% new French oak.  Unfined & unfiltered.  95 cases produced.

Full technical details can be found Here.

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