.Nicholson Vineyards’ Terra Cotta Red 2014

The second Aptos Wine Wander was a roaring success last month—and businesses in Aptos Village enjoyed hosting the many wineries taking part in the event. Imagine tasting wine surrounded by leather in a saddle-maker’s store—as was the case when I sampled Nicholson Vineyards’ Terra Cotta 2014 Central Coast. Gravity Saddles, located in the heart of Aptos Village, specializes in handmade saddles, some of which are specifically designed to meet the rider’s needs. After doing the rounds of every winery that day, I went back for more of Nicholson’s Terra Cotta Red ($27)—a delicious blend of 50 percent Sangiovese and 50 percent Syrah.

A lighter-bodied wine with aromatic hints of ripe red fruit, licorice and sweet spice, it has a palate of cocoa, ripe plum, strawberry, spice and a hint of earth. “We make it in honor of my Italian heritage,” says Marguerite Nicholson, who runs the winery with husband Brian Nicholson. “It’s made from two wines that are not often blended, and what we have found is that the crispness of the acidic Sangio brightens a soft Syrah, and the jammy Syrah really softens a crisp Sangio—if that makes sense!”

From now until Aug. 4, Nicholson Vineyards will be open for a Series of Live Music from 3-8 p.m. on Fridays; and on Saturdays, various food trucks will be serving good grub from noon to 5 p.m. And if they haven’t already sold out, you might be lucky enough to get some of Nicholson Vineyards’ exceptional olive oil made from their estate-grown olives.

Nicholson Vineyards also participates in every Passport event—the next one being Saturday, July 21. And you’re welcome to take a picnic.

Nicholson Vineyards, 2800 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos, 724-7071. nicholsonvineyards.com.

Passport Day

The July 21 Passport event is a day when you can visit vineyards, meet winemakers and enjoy a summer tasting of wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Passport Day is on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November and offers an opportunity to visit wineries not usually open to the public. Passports cost $65 and are valid for one year.

Visit scmwa.com for more info.


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