This time we went south on Summit Road, to find two wineries we'd been meaning to explore. Burrell School's old school room sets the backdrop for its educationally themed wines. Then it was up a twisty mountain road to the summit at Loma Prieta. The eponymous winery is a fantastic new construction, with beautiful tasting rooms (and a rather scary easter-themed deer head), and some very pleasant wines. The journey is worth it for the view, which looks though a gap in the mountains all the way across Monterey Bay.
We popped in at old favourites David Bruce (where we got a lesson in how not to rinse out a glass between tastings, along with a couple of bottles of an old favourite) and Byington (where the view and the wines work together so well, and the gardens were showing all the signs of spring). Then it was time for a run through the redwoods and Bonnydoon's new tasting rooms in Santa Cruz. They're not alone - we first tasted at Vino Tabi (with entertaining winery dogs) and then sneaked in at the end of tasting at the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard's Quinta Cruz rooms, where they specialise in Iberian wines.
Finally we settled in at Bonnydoon for a tasting and a quick snack in the winery café. A small girl became fascinated with marypcb's braids, and her mother brought her over to find out more. As we chatted it turned out that she was the Boonydoon founder and winemaker Randall Grahm's partner, and she offered to introduce us to him - as he was having a meal with friends to celebrate his birthday. He was pleased to meet fans of his wines from the other side of the pond, and we chatted to him for a while. It came as something of a surprise when he poured us a glass of his 1992 Syrah, which he said was the best wine he'd ever made - and one that would never be repeated, as it was the last gasp of a field of dying vines.
The dying vines had concentrated everything into one last throw of the dice, and the resulting wine worked wonders, ending up with an excellent mix of flavours unlike anything else I've ever drunk, or can even start to describe. If you ever see a bottle, it's one you need to try. It's the best wine I've ever tasted, and one that let you savour its flavours for a long time.
Many many thanks to Randall for letting us share.