.Left Bend Winery

Cycling and Vino

Winegrower Richard Hanke and winemaker Gary Robinson had a fortuitous meeting whilst cycling around the back roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Finding they shared a passion for local, mountain-grown fruit and structured, age-worthy wines, it eventually led to the formation of Left Bend Winery.

“Our name,” the duo says, “refers to the slight leftward bend in the San Andreas fault, which helped form the Santa Cruz Mountains.”

Hanke and Robinson now make an abundance of different wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, a Cab and Syrah blend, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Carignane, Riesling, and a Sierra Morena red blend.

There’s also a voluptuous ruby-red called Mashup v6 Solera. (Solera: a set of barrels in a winemaking process for aging wine by blending multiple vintages over time – with the introduction of younger fruit-forward wine each year.)

The Mashup ($58) is a standout concoction of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with “rich aromas of cherry, blackberry bramble, currant and plum.” Flavors of sweet tobacco, dried herbs, Earl Grey tea and black cardamom add a ton of pizzazz to this very tasty elixir. “Fine-Grained grippy tannins persist with hints of expressive peppercorn through the finish,” says Left Bend.

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Left Bend Winery, 1020 Mt. Madonna Road, Watsonville, 408-502-9280. Leftbend.com

Celebratory Sparkling Wines

Frank Family Vineyards has two terrific bubblies that will delight any discerning palate – a 2016 Napa Valley Blanc de Blanc Carneros and a 2017 Napa Valley Brut Rosé Carneros, each $60. French imports include J. Laurens la Rose No.7 (about $30), and Cote Mas Brut (about $20). Some of our wonderful local wineries making superb sparkling wines are Equinox, MJA Vineyards, Sarah’s Vineyard, Odonata Wines, Lester Estate Wines, Beauregard Vineyards, Windy Oaks, Ser Winery, and Silver Mountain Vineyards (Silver Mountain’s sparkling wine is available only at the winery).

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