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Gilroy wineries

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We're going to be in Gilroy and curious about visiting the local wineries -- concerning the wine itself, of course, but also the whole experience and whatever else one does when visiting a winery.

These were some of the ones we discovered -- does anyone have a recommendation or other tips?

Clos LaChance
Rapazzini
Fortino
Sycamore Creek
Sarah's Vineyard
Jason Stephens
Kirigin Cellars

(No, probably won't make it to Napa or Sonoma...)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I haven't visited this area in ages, but should fix that. Perhaps my favorite among the Hecker Pass wines is Solis (www.soliswinery.com); I've had some very nice Sangiovese from there. Kirigin used to make really rustic style wines very different from other California wineries. I don't know how they are doing now with the newer owners.

    The Garlic Shoppe next to Rapazzini is a fun place to shop; they have some nice garlic salsas there. But I wasn't too impressed with the wine there.

    Have fun!

    Michael

    1. The scene is pretty laid back and informal. I am a club member at Sarah's and they brew some lovely Pinot's and Rhone style Whites. Solis make tasty stuff also and Clo LaChance' Viongier. Take your time and bring a picnic. Gilroy is not known for food.

      5 Replies
      1. re: budnball

        I haven't visited the winery, but I just wanted to add that Sarah's Vineyard makes some outstanding wines especially the chardonnay. The current owner has continued the high quality established by the founders and broadened the portfolio.

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        Sarah's Vineyard
        4005 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks for mentioning the chardonnay. I don't drink chards but many people do and Sarah's gets great reports.

          1. re: budnball

            Last week I tried to make it to Sarah's Vineyard before closing but slid in the door exactly at 5pm. The staffer kindly informed me that it was closing time and said she'd pour one wine for me since I'd made the drive there. I asked for the 2009 Côte de Madone Blanc, Santa Clara Valley, which is the Rhone-style white. I loved it and bought a bottle. I asked if I could have a taste of the Chardonnay while she processed the transaction, and she said she admired my efficiency. I didn't like that particular Central Coast Chardonnay, but it might be a different selection than my earlier experiences. Anyway, I was in and out with two tastes and a purchase in seven minutes flat. I'll definitely be back for a more leisurely visit.

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            Sarah's Vineyard
            4005 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Wow, Melanie, Do you have a Star trek transporter beam somewhere? You seem to get around. If you lean toward whites, the Vionier and the less often available Roussane from Sarah's are always tasty. Also the Granache Rose is a great spring wine.

              1. re: budnball

                Second Sarah's for whites. Jason Stephen's for reds. Both are amazingly good places.

      2. Thank you for all the responses! We are looking forward to checking them out.

        1. Hi Benjamin, have you completed your trip yet? If so, what were your favorites?

          1. We did some tasting at Solis and Sarah's Vineyard today. Solis was the star by far. The best wine we had there was the Fiano. I've never seen or tasted a California Fiano before, and this was spot-on with the flavors I've had from Italian Fianos both in southern Italy and here at home. The Sangiovese Rosato was nice but a bit sweet for my taste.

            The more traditional California red varietals (a Merlot and Meritage) were good but not as distinctive as the Italian varieties. The Sangiovese/Merlot blend was in-between. On this unusually cold and cloudy summer day - the rain hadn't yet come in - the Port made a very nice finish. It's made from Zin and other grapes, not the Portuguese varieties that some other wineries are using now.

            Sarah's Vineyard, just down the street, was unimpressive. Everything we tried was OK, but usually too simple and often too alcoholic. Solis's winemaking is at an entirely higher level of quality for my taste.

            Michael

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            Solis Winery
            3920 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020

            2 Replies
            1. re: mdg

              A wine tasting run today - Solis is still the star. We especially enjoyed the Fiano, Roseo ( rose of Sangiovese - really its own thing) and Seducente. Also tried Jason Stephens (yummy Merlot, the other wines were too alcoholic for me) and Sycamore (everything too alcoholic). The heavy alcohol on the last two wineries was disappointing - seemed if that was turned down a notch or two, they'd have some excellent stuff.

              1. re: JPClose

                I was a club member of both of these wineries and that was my feeling. Way too much alcohol, 15.5-16% in most of their bottles. I stopped membership with them but still like Sarah's Rhone Blends.