Sunday, 21 February 2010
You don't have to travel to the Napa Valley for the best of California wine. About 20 minutes south of San Jose and an hour south of San Francisco, there is lovely vineyard tucked away in the countryside - the Guglielmo Winery. Family owned and operated since 1925, this Morgan Hill based winery is now being run by third generation brothers, George E, Gene and Gary. It's a real family affair and each of the brothers specializes in a different area; in university one studied wine making, one marketing and one finance, making them the perfect family winery team.
Whether you enjoy white wine, red wine or Port, this is definitely the place to go for inventive flavours and a great day out. Tastings cost only $10 and include several reds and whites. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and clearly love their work. The atmosphere was so convivial I felt more like I was in a friendly local pub or wine bar than in a winery. We met some really interesting people and learned a lot about some really delicious wines. There is also a wonderful gift shop with lots of interesting wine-related gifts and accessories.
Guglielmo Winery holds lots of special events including a quarterly "Cork Equity' event. The vintner blends the leftover wines from several different grapes into a delicious blend and offers it for sale at $5 per bottle. The only catch is you have to bottle and label it yourself. Based on the number of folks we saw having fun doing just that, this is really no hardship at all. Indeed it is such an enjoyable process that these 'Cork Equity' days have become incredibly busy - so much so that the vintner actually makes sure he has extra wine for leftovers and blending. I tasted this Cork Equity blend and I was blown away by its wonderful balance of flavours.
I can understand why Guglielmo's blends taste delicious - because the single grape varieties we tasted were also extremely good. I particularly enjoyed the Petite Syrah 2007 (which goes on sale in March) and by their Sangiovese. Their 'Tré' line of wines are excellent too - particularly the Chardonnay and the Merlot. We were also delighted by their delicious ports. Emile's Port is a lighter, fruitier wine which would be lovely with almonds or tapas and their Eredita Port -made with Portuguese grapes grown at the winery - is a more traditional full bodied dessert wine.
If you find yourself in the Santa Clara area, I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful winery. It's a great day out in some beautiful surroundings and if you are anything like me you will definitely want to bring some of their delicious wines home with you. I only wish I lived closer!
Our tasting at the Guglielmo Winery was complimentary however I was not asked to write this piece which contains my honest personal opinion.