By Jessica Yadegaran
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 at 11:48 am in Corkheads.
The Lockheed fire didn’t keep my fiance and I away from a solid weekend of tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains a few weeks ago. It was so good that the reduced word count on newspaper stories in these troubled times didn’t allow me to include my final stop at Soquel Vineyards in today’s story “Carve your own trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains.”
So I’m doing it here. Twin brothers Peter and Paul Bargetto, along with their partner, Jon Morgan, are the triple-threat winemaking team at the relatively new space, which weaves the Bargetto’s Italian heritage and rich family winemaking history into every inch of the space (Bargetto Winery, also in the Santa Cruz Mountains, was started by Peter and Paul’s grandfather and great uncle in 1933).
Peter works with growers in the vineyards. Paul is the lab rat. And Jon is into yeasts. But they do all consider themselves winemakers.
At nearly 1,000 feet, the winery is set atop a rise just three miles from Soquel, and offers a sweeping view of the Monterey coastline. The estate vineyard is six glorious acres of Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. I tasted the Nebbiolo before it was bottled last week and it was a gorgeous unfiltered and unfined gem reminiscent of orange peels. They’re make about 50 cases that will be released this November.
Of the roughly 150 acres of Nebbiolo planted in California, Soquel’s got about two of them. Why Nebbiolo in Santa Cruz? Well, there’s the Italian heritage thing. But if you read my story, I think it’s more than that. These Santa Cruz mountain men aren’t afraid to experiment. They know the terroir they’re sitting on is capable of so much. Paul Kemp at Loma Prieta is doing elegant Pinotage. David Moulton of Burrell School makes unforgettable Cabernet Franc.