Russian Ridge Winery has an
attractive little tasting room with a
ucrved bar and some
cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel.
June/July 2018 97
ect owned and run by the crew at Thomas Fogarty
Winery, Lexington makes stunning wines,
with its luscious Bordeaux blend appropriately
named Apex. Roommate Mindego Ridge is also a
well-regarded operation, launched by a high-tech
executive whose winery makes terrific chardonnay
and pinot noir from a breathtakingly lovely
small mountain vineyard whose wines are crafted
by star winemaker Ehren Jordan. www.lexingtonwines.
com, www.mindegoridge.com; open Monday,
Thursday, Sunday, noon–5 p.m. and Friday–Saturday,
noon–7 p.m. Tasting fee: $22.
Conveniently located on a hill overlooking
downtown Los Gatos, Testarossa Winery has a
long history stretching back to the Jesuits. Needing
wine for communion services, the kind fathers
established the Novitiate property in the
1880s, making and selling wine while also training
seminarians like Jerry Brown in his pre-governor
days. The modern era started when a Silicon
Valley couple leased the estate and up-leveled the
winemaking considerably, focusing on chardonnay
and pinot noir from esteemed Central Coast
vineyards. The old, cavernous tasting room is
quite large, but visitors can also venture out to
the patio to sip, sunbathe and sometimes listen to music, with
purchased snacks available. www.testarossa.com; open daily, 11
a.m.–5 p.m. Tasting fee: $10 or $20 depending on the flight.
Down on the main drag in Los Gatos, Left Bend Winery
has become a phenomenon, attracting visitors to the convivial,
informative vino venue. Dedicated to high-quality wines made
by small mountain vineyards, this operation is run by a couple of
cycling pals who love the fruit of the vine. Don’t miss the delightful
syrah/cabernet blend and well-rounded cabernet franc. Being
a geologist, the winemaker half of the pair named Left Bend for a
kink in the nearby San Andreas Fault. Self-serve snacks are available.
www.leftbend.com; open Thursday–Saturday, noon–7 p.m.;
Sunday, noon–4 p.m. Tasting fee: $12.
The mid-Peninsula wine scene has been exploding in recent years,
with a number of small wineries that rely on purchased grapes
setting up shop in cute San Carlos. Remarkably, there are at least
OWNER OF RUSSIAN
eight such wineries in town at present, but not all of them run
wine tastings. However, enough are open to lure the public to this
very urban wine region, with many tempting restaurants in town
that make a nice conclusion to a day of touring, perhaps along
with shopping in some appealing downtown boutiques as well.
One of the pioneers of the town’s urban outfits is Domenico
Winery, located in a spacious warehouse that often serves as a
venue for parties. The owner/winemaker honors his Italian heritage
by making varietals like sangiovese (the grape of Chianti),
nebbiolo (Piedmont), Nero d’Avola (Sicily) and more. Try the
full-bodied primitivo, an ancestor of zinfandel, or an opulent
“super Tuscan” blend. www.domenicowinery.com; open Saturday–
Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Tasting fee: $10.
Another standout destination along this urban wine trail is
Old County Cellars. Like some other local operations, it was
launched after the four founders had success as home winemakers.