April 14, 2010

More Love for Santa Cruz Mountain Pinots: 2005 McHenry Pinot Noir Estate Bottle

The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA has a history of producing long-lived, some may say Burgundian-styled, pinot noir over the past few decades. The Santa Cruz Mountains enjoys a proximity to the ocean and the benefits of its coastal climate: warm days, cool nights, coastal fog in the morning, and soft breezes by afternoon to dry the vines without stressing them – all so important to growing premium Pinot Noir. The tradition of world-class pinot noir coming out of the SCM continues today, with some of my favorite producers such as Rhys, Windy Oaks, and McHenry.

2005 McHenry Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains
McHenry Vineyards is a small family operation that produces tiny quantities of top-notch Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz mountains. There were only 150 cases of this 2005. For those looking for value, McHenry is the real deal as these wines are less than $30 from the winery and often can be found at retailers for around $25. But, there's not a lot, so you have to poke around to find some.

The 2005 shows a smoky, dark cherry nose. The palate is full of pomegranate and cranberry fruit with earthy, soft clean flavors. Slight bit of heat the permeates the backside, but otherwise quite fine again. Acid spine that dances on the palate with precision and poise. Another woot! for Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot! One bottle left I'll hate to part with one day...


  1. damn. I really hate that your site doesn't update in my blogroll for some stupid reason. I lose track when things don't jump to the top. I need to find a better system.

    Anyway, looks like you've been busy lately! I wish I could say I found some real Pinot gems for you in Santa Barbara Co., but the time there was so limited that I needed to focus on lamb wines. Consilience Bien Nacido Pinot was pretty solid for you Pinotphiles.

    I've never been south of SFO airport in the Northern part of the state, but there are some many great places in the Santa Cruz Mtns. I think the best course of action is to take a month and meander from Santa Barbara up to Mendocino Co, and everywhere in between (maybe 2 months).

  2. Joe-
    I've never done Santa Cruz Mountains area either. I need to as it is becoming my sweet spot for Cali pinot. Did RRV last summer...as you say, there's too much to visit...I'd love to do that one month meander...awesome idea...how to convince the wife it's a good idea...hmmm.

  3. give the wives a one month meander in Manhattan or something...