.Brandon Armitage, Pinot Extraordinaire

When it comes to Pinot Noir, expert winemaker Brandon Armitage makes some of the best. If you’re a Pinot lover, I highly recommend you stop off at the tasting room, where only Pinot is sold, and try the ones made by Armitage. The tasting room is right next to Starbucks in Aptos Village.

Armitage’s Pinot Noir 2014 ($48) is a Pinot extraordinaire. Grapes are harvested from the Heart O’ the Mountain estate in Scotts Valley, a premium grape-growing property where famous movie director Alfred Hitchcock once had a home. Starting with a harvest of fine fruit is key to producing excellent Pinot—and, with Armitage’s winemaking expertise, the result is a superb Pinot with flavors of vanilla, caramel, spice and clove. Aromas of cherry, strawberry, clove and leather round out the wine’s warm layer of characteristic earthiness.

An acquaintance stopped me in a store recently and asked if I’d tried Armitage Wines’ Pinots, saying how much he loves them. We ended up talking for 20 minutes about premium local wines.

Just as Armitage is dedicated to making wine, tasting room manager Jeanne Earley has her own thing going with the grape. Not wanting to waste anything from the production process, she has saved the must (freshly pressed grape juice that contains the skins, seeds and stems of the fruit) from fermentations to make wine grape flour and wine grape jellies from both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit, both of which are for sale only at Armitage Wines. Gift baskets are also available at Armitage tasting room for about $150, containing wine, grape jellies, wine charms, a copper wine stopper, wine bottle marker, and Brix chocolate.

Armitage Wines, 105c Post Office Drive, Aptos, 708-2874. armitagewines.com.

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Los Gatos Wine Walk

An opportunity to try Armitage Wines will be at the downtown Los Gatos Wine Walk from 1:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Many of our wonderful local wineries will be pouring that day in an “open house atmosphere.” Tickets are $50 and include a souvenir wine glass. Visit losgatoschamber.com or call 408-354-9300.

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