WTG is out West in the Bay area for a long weekend. My sister and her husband live out here in Menlo Park and my immediate family decided the Bay area in the Sunshine State is a good place for a family weekend gathering.
Super gracious cousins of ours put a bunch of us up in their spectacular Palo Alto home and the East Coast (parents & I), West Coast (sister & brother in law) & Israel based (brother, sister-in-law & niece) family members are all getting in some good family time.
Today, sunday, Wine Tasting Guy needed a break from the family madness and wanted to put in some professional time. I have heard very good things about the Santa Cruz Mountains based “Four Gates winery”. Given its reasonable proximity to where I’m staying and the winemaker’s warm and gracious personality, I made the 50 minute drive down south to visit Benyomin at his winery.
I first (and I’m embarrassed to say, last) spoke to Benyomin when i had a wine making question related to my garage wine about 1 1/2 years ago. Having never spoken to me before I called him (he lists his phone number on his website) the warm Benyomin spent 45 minutes on the phone with me helping me out with my problem.
On this occasion he remembered me from our one conversation and gladly agreed to host me at his home/winery this afternoon.
I did not bring a camera or notebook (though a camera would have been a good idea) – instead, we simply sat, chatted & sipped his 2005 “MSC” Merlot.
The bottle had been opened up almost 48 hours before my visit yet it showed no signs of oxidation. It had a pretty, floral and what seemed to be plummy nose. The first thing that came to my mind upon tasting the wine was “mouth coating”. Tipping the scales at over 15% alcohol this wine was not bashful. But amazingly, there was no heat – the sensation one gets from an overly alcoholic wine. While this sensation CAN be felt with wines that are even lower in alcohol, it seemed to me that the fruit, acid and body held up to this high alcohol level and the wine was quite nice.
In my little time spent with him Benyomin this afternoon there is truly so much I can write about . Alas, it is time to get back to the family. But I want to say that Benyomin is an amazing man for whom i wish fabulous things. Making only about 400 cases in a remote area in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains, he is living out a fantasy of mine. He works with no distributors and his wines can just about ONLY be bought by calling him. So should you desire an upscale (yet not absurdly priced), well made, organic, kosher California wine – Four Gates is a great bet (if he has any left for you)!
Happy kosher, organic, California, hand made wine tasting!