Fine wines

BOUTIQUE FEEL Bill Corneth and Amanda Turner in front of the water feature in the courtyard, which leads into the tasting room at Jason Stephens Winery in Gilroy.Photo: Bev Stenehjem

I was anxious to see Janu and Jason Goelz’s brand new tasting room, inside The Stomping Ground, an ambitious and exciting venture between the Goelz’ and Tim Slater, owner of Sarah’s Vineyard. A three-year plan for the venue includes several other boutique wineries, a brewery and a distillery—along with upscale eateries. I passed through a courtyard with tables and a water feature as I made my way into the eclectic tasting room.

Instead of the usual adjectives to describe each wine, the extensive menu only lists the percentages of the various grapes contained in each wine. Bill Corneth, pouring wines that day, explained, “We don’t try to tell you what you’re going to taste because we don’t want you to feel like you’ve done something wrong if you don’t taste what you think you should.” Bill poured the first wine, a Pixalated Rose, a blend of grenache, mourvedre and pinot noir grapes. It is a dry rose, with a creamy mouthfeel—a pretty aperitif for the holidays.  

The 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a juicy bing cherry of a wine with a long, smooth finish. It’s 80 percent cabernet—blended along with four other varietals. Thoughts of pairing this wine with a rib eye steak drizzled with melted blue cheese crossed my mind.

I tend to like wines with a little age on them so really enjoyed the 2011 Estate Merlot. This is a rich, full-bodied wine with complex flavors of dark fruits and well-structured tannins, making it an age-worthy wine. Purchasing two bottles before I left, I’ll have one bottle at this year’s holiday and save the other for next year.

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