Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Laguna Beach winery

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 at 10:51 am in Uncategorized.

Now that was a vacation. I’ve been out of commission for two weeks. I know, not a good reason to stop blogging. But hey, my palate actually took a break too. I do little wine when I visit my folks in southern California. The bottles of Dariush I give my dad as gifts are always gone by the time I visit, and the Three Buck Trader Joe’s label they buy can only go so far. Plus, there aren’t exactly wineries in Orange County, right? Of course there are! There are  wineries everywhere these days. Denver, upstate New York, Albuquerque, why not Laguna Beach?

I visited the Laguna Canyon Winery on Hwy. 133 (Laguna Canyon Road) with my dad. For those who’ve never been, the narrow, windy road links my idyllic hometown to the major freeways, 5 and 405. It’s mostly peppered with hippie homes and artists’ studios, and now, much to my surprise, a winery.

It’s an urban winery, so they get their grapes from Paso, Napa and Sonoma but crush, press, ferment, oak barrel age, blend and bottle the wines in the same canyon that holds the famed Sawdust Festival and Pageant of the Masters. The tasting room was simple and elegant. The gent who blends the wines is an Italian winemaster by the name of Gianni Seminari. But the style of the wine wasn’t Italian to me. It was very fruit-forward California and French, particularly their Pinot Noir and Bordeaux-style Meritage.

They have a standout Reisling that has a touch of orange muscat and grapes that come from Solano County, and at $16, it’s also one of their affordable buys. I’m also curious about their Late Harvest Cabernet Sauvingnon Partial Ice Wine (the owners are Canadian) that cost $66 and is limited to one per customer. Maybe next time.

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