June/July 2018 95
sangiovese, served in a tiny, exceedingly genial tasting room. The
affordable prices belie the wines’ quality. www.traviesowinery.com;
open Saturdays, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Tasting fee: $10.
LOS GATOS AND SARATOGA
Add wine tasting to the allure of small, quaint downtown Saratoga,
with a string of tasting rooms along Big Basin Way serving
as satellites of wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains that find it
convenient to host tasters here rather than require them to drive
twisty mountain roads. Cinnabar Winery is a local operation
now run by the adult children of late founder Tom Mudd, a
research scientist, wine aficionado and wealthy heir of a mining
fortune. The attractive tasting room and front patio are ideal for
sipping tasty pinot noir and chardonnay from the Santa Cruz
Mountains. Snacks for sale and live music on Sundays add to
the appeal. www.cinnabarwinery.com; open Tuesday–Thursday,
noon–6 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, noon–7 p.m.; Sunday, noon–6 p.m..
Tasting fee: $15.
Next door is Big Basin Vineyards, a friendly purveyor of
well-made Rhone-style wines whose mountain vineyards have a
winemaking history going back to the early 1900s. Focused on
sustainable, organic winegrowing, Big Basin operates a lovely
contemporary tasting room with a comfy front patio in Saratoga.
Try the tasty blend of cabernet and syrah and the intriguing syrah
with a touch of viognier. A monthly music and library wine tasting
event is an entertaining must-do. www.bigbasinvineyards.com;
open Monday, Sunday, Thursday, noon–5 p.m., and Friday–Saturday,
noon–7 p.m. Tasting fee: $18.
OWNERS JEFF STRUTHER
(L) AND DAN PETERSON
(R) OF OLD COUNTY
CELLARS SHARES THE
TASTING ROOM WITH
CUVÉE WINE CELLARS
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: EDNA TAKEDA GELLER; COURTESY
OF FLYING SUITCASE; COURTESY OF OLD COUNTY CELLARS