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We are back with our 11th wine podcast and today we visit the Pelican Ranch Winery (http://www.pelicanranch.com). This winery located in Santa Cruz, California is our first visit to a truly ‘virtual’ establishment, as they do not own any vineyards. Rather, owner Phil Crews purchases grapes from all over California and makes wine from within this quaint shopping center. Don’t fret about the lack of vineyards though, as Phil makes an amazing variety of wines with very small lots, making these wines all that more special. (Who else is going to have a bottle of Pelican Ranch Winery in your hometown?) Brought back by listener feedback, here are the time codes to help your ease your navigation:
00:00 Scott Sigler Intro
00:13 Pelican Ranch Winery Introduction
03:08 Interview with Owner Phil Crews
10:58 Pelican Ranch Winery Background
14:58 2004 Chardonnay, Los Carneros, Mitsuko’s Vineyard
19:46 2003 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Bay Laurel Vineyards
22:35 2004 Pinot Gris, San Lucas, Valley Vista Vineyard
25:36 2000 Spectrum Rouge, California Red Wine Blend
29:13 2003 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard
32:00 2003 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Remde Vineyard
34:04 2004 Viogneir, Russian River Valley
35:56 Wrap-up and summary of visit
37:53 Accident Hash Promo
37:58 The Sway – Happyman
The pelican ranch Winery is about 31 miles from central San Jose. (Allow at least 45 minutes to an hour to get there however as you traffic on highway 17 can be busy at certain parts of the day). Due to it’s proximity to Santa Cruz, we suggest stopping buy on your way to the local beaches, or take the kids to visit the very interesting The Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory located just down the road. The center has the largest blue whale skeleton on display, anywhere worldwide, Arching 87 feet in length and rising 18 feet above the ground, it is a sight to behold.
The wines that we sample are:
2004 Chardonnay, Los Carneros, Mitsuko’s Vineyard, $21.00
Winmakers Notes: This wine is revered Los Carneros (The Ram in Spanish) sub district of the Napa Valley. It is extremely rich with a beautiful straw-color and generous fruit accompanied by notes of pear and apple. The creamy texture accompanied by vanilla and tasted oak accent a hint of butter from the complete malo-lactic fermentation.
2003 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Bay Laurel Vineyards, $20.00
Winmakers Notes: This wine is from a small vineyard off Summit Road in the Santa Cruz Mountain AVA. The signature of this vineyard mountain apple and flint and the other provides citrus and mineral. The fermentation in 100% new French Oak adds a nice toasty quality and additional complexity has been derived from sur lie aging.
2004 Pinot Gris, San Lucas, Valley Vista Vineyard, $15.00, 70 cases produced
Strong aromas of bananas (yes, Bananas!) complement other scents of dried fruit in this wonderful wine. We both really like this particular wine and Lori contemplates yet another purchase…..
Winemakers Notes: Fruit from this wine was obtained from a Monterey County AVA first planted in the early 1970′s. The warm summer days and cool summer nights, with temperatures that can vary by 60 degrees F, contribute to the signature of this wine – rich tropical aromas and full flavors.
2000 Spectrum Rouge, $18.00
This wine is interesting as it is comprised of three different grapes, each aged separately in different oak barrels for varying lengths of time. This treatment, along with the fining (see below) makes this wine a very delicious chemistry experiment!
Winemakers Notes: We have created a Rhone-Style blend with a California signature. A bold step was taken in the making of this wine as it combines 43% Zinfandel (from Eldorado), 43% Syrah (from Paseo Robles), and 14% Chardonnay (From Dry Creek Valley). This unusual approach has created a wine full of aroma and flavor with a mouth filling tasted. The flavors included pepper and spice from the Zinfandel, berry and cedar from the Syrah, and a hint of apple and vanilla from the Chardonnay. The rich fruit and flavors were retained by minimal treatment including egg white fining, and very light filtration. We find this wine accompanies a variety of foods yet it is also pleasant to drink on its own.
NOTE: Ok – We didn’t know what the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks Egg white fining was and rather than assume you did, we looked it up for you. Enjoy.
Egg White Fining (definition complied from several sources) – Fining red wines with fresh egg whites is a traditional method of modifying the wine’s tannin structure. Egg whites are principally made of the protein albumin. Proteins have a molecular structure that allows them to bind tightly with phenolic compounds, the large group that includes anthocyanins, which give wine its color and tannins, in turn giving wine significant parts of its mouth-feel. Albumin is particularly good at removing astringent tannins without affecting other desirable phenolic components. Vegan wines are made without animal by products as part of the fining process. (For more information on this, please see Wine Definitions.)
2003 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, $26.00 140 cases produced
Intense flavors pack a punch both in the mouth and the nose. A more complex wine than the others at this winery, not for your faint of heart!
Winemakers Notes: This AVA, above the Salinas Valley floor, has a microclimate allowing long “hang times” to intensify flavors of Pinot Noir grapes. After crush there was a four-day maceration prior to fermentation. The contact between the cap and juice involved hand punch-down to insure gentle treatment during the extended fermentation. The wine was finished by a single careful rack and bottled unfiltered. We are pleased with its style – an overall bold character with flavors of fig, vibrant plum, raspberry and violet. It is deep in color and has a velvety feel on the palate. Additional complexity is derived from the vineyard location consisting of gently sloping, decomposed granite soils. Our first vintage from this vineyard was the 1998 release, whose structure remains intense (ask for library samples). We believe this wine will further evolve and gain complexity during extended cellaring.
2003 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Remde Vineyard, $25.00 116 cases produced
Enjoyable, but may need more time to age.
Winemakers Notes: This is our second wine from the beautiful Remde Vineyard located high (550′) above the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. A very gentle process was used in the making of this wine. After fermentation, the juice was lightly pressed and then transferred to French Oak. It was not disturbed until the final winemaking steps, which consisted of bottling it unfiltered. Sediment will develop over time but it will not detract from the wine’s traditional style – cherry and floral aromas with hints of strawberry and violets. The acid level, including pH is ideal, and will allow the many layers present to further evolve during cellaring.
2004 Viognier, Russian River Valley $25.00 46 cases produced
Our favorite! The best of lot. Great intense aromas, fruity but not sweet. Given that only 46 cases were produced, hurry up and get a bottle before they are all gone!
Winemakers Notes: Wine rich in style with apricot peach, pineapple, and other tropical fruit aromas. An extended maceration period was allowed after crushing and prior to pressing. Barrel aged for 6 months in French oak and 100% malolactic fermentation.
Pelican Ranch Winery
402 Ingalls Street #21
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 426-6911
Tasting is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12-5PM
That’s all for today, as always, please let us know if you like what you hear, have suggestions, or would like us to review a particular winery. You can drop us a line at email@example.com