The next area I wanted to explore for my wine experience is a little closer to home. It's the Santa Cruz mountains, in California (of course), which stretch from Half Moon Bay all the way to the edge of Monterey Bay, where I live! The Santa Cruz mountains are host to over 80 wineries, several of which are smaller boutique vineyards that only produce a few thousand cases per year. The cooler climate, constant fog and ocean breeze serve to produce some excellent wines that aren't too spicy, fruity or warm. Personally, that's exactly how I like 'em. I'm a huge fan of wines that are a little more laid back and don't pack too much of a punch in the first sip.
The wine I tasted from this region is the 2006 Bonny Doon Vineyards Ca' del Solo Sangiovese ($12). It's a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Nero d'Avola, 3% Cinasult and 2% Colorino. The result of this rather eccentric blend is a sweet, jammy wine with a blueberry, red cherry and floral nose with just the slightest scent of roasted walnut. The wine tasted of rich berry fruit, red cherry and a small touch of bell pepper with an acidic finish.
I tried it at a birthday dinner last night with my parents and my older sister with her new fiance! Yep, he finally proposed! About darn time too ;). Anyway, that's why I don't have a picture of the wine bottle. But I have to say ... I do love the whole white-on-white thing that the background's got going on with the pic of this bottle. Anyway, so I tried it with a mushroom and pesto penne with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. I wouldn't say the pairing was the best (the food really called for a Cabernet or Merlot), but it was all right.
Overall, the wine was okay. I've tried other Bonny Doon Vineyards wines that were far better than this one. This one's more of an everyday wine, versus their other higher quality wines. So I wouldn't recommend NOT trying this wine, I just would recommend it not being the only Bonny Doon Vineyards wine that you try. It's good, but it's not great. And there are some Bonny Doon wines that are really, really great. Plus, their Web site is so gosh darn cute! I'd recommend checking it out.