3 Great Wineries from 3 California Counties California has an embarrassingly large number of great wine regions. Here are three to check out. BY TOURING & TASTING
Photos courtesy of Touring & Tasting
A view of Matura | Cunat Family Vineyards.
“ A fully equipped commercial kitchen ensures flawless dining service.”
When most think of California wine, they immediately think of Napa Valley. Napa wines are amazing, sure, but so are the wines throughout the rest of the state. Here's one Napa winery and two from other parts of the Golden State.
Las Positas Vineyards
Founded by Lisa and Lothar Maier in 2006, Las Positas Vineyards produces small-lot estate-grown award-winning wines of exceptional character. The family-owned winery is surrounded by its own vineyards, offering breathtaking views of the Livermore Valley. Complete with a main event room, multi-use dining room, tasting room, vineyard terrace, and quaint cottage, the winery provides a unique venue for weddings, meetings, and other events. A fully equipped commercial kitchen ensures flawless dining service. The popular Evening in the Vineyards concert series is held on the first and third Friday of each month, May through October, with live music, wine, and food.
Fifth generation grape growers Steve and Lori Felten are often asked why they gave their winery the unusual name of Klinker Brick. Klinker bricks (named for the unusual sound they make when banged together) grace many of Lodi’s historical buildings. These highly regarded bricks were chosen by 1920s craftsmen architects for their distinctive qualities including unique shapes and dark, rich color. They are denser and heavier in weight than regular bricks. A rich, deep color, enormous density, and other unique characteristics also help describe the winery’s exceptional lineup of red wines like the Old Vine Zinfandel and Farrah Syrah.
The Feltens’ vineyards are primarily Old Vine Zinfandel, managed in 17 individual vineyard blocks of vines ranging from 40 to 120 years old. The vines are mostly head trained and some dry farmed, yielding an average of 2.0 to 3.5 tons per acre. Some of the oldest vineyards have yields as small as one quarter ton per acre. While there are significant limitations in the quantity of grapes produced, the quality of fruit is exceptional. These outstanding grapes come from several unique vineyards within the Lodi Appellation. Growing the grapes and making spectacular wines from Old Vine Zinfandel is the Feltens’ passion, and it is their mission to make only the finest Zinfandel from some of the oldest vineyards in the world.
In Latin, the name Materra is a rough translation for Mother Earth. It’s quite a fitting name for wines from the 50-acre vineyard purchased by Brian and his brother, John Cunat, along with their family in 2007. Their commitment to agriculture and farming reaches back years earlier to the Midwest, where Brian worked on a farm as a boy. Their passion for wine was inspired by Brian’s wife Miki’s father, Yasuo Obata, founder and chef of the renowned Restaurant Edelheim in Shiogama, Japan. His expertise at pairing the cuisine and wines of France and Germany earned the restaurant international acclaim.
Materra wine is a pure expression of its origin, Mother Earth. Members of the Cunat family assume a variety of roles from vineyard selection to packaging. In addition, they rely on two consulting winemakers, Bruce Regalia and Michael Trujillo, to provide expertise and assure the wines are made to the family’s high standards. Often described as classic and fruit forward, the wines have received their share of accolades, including the 2011 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which received 90 points from Wine & Spirits. The 2011 Right Bank Reserve is a blend of all the standard Bordeaux varietals (Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc) and the winery’s flagship wine. This heartfelt collaborative effort is realized with each new release of Materra wine. Each elegant wine provides an exciting aromatic and flavor profile and may be enjoyed now or cellared for as long as one’s patience prevails.