experiences

Wine Tasting in Saratoga, CA

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Wine tasting in downtown Saratoga, CA is a great way to get a taste for the region without having to make a trek into the mountains. When I was out in San Jose last month to visit friends, we were looking for  winery options that were open on a Friday and wouldn’t take more than a few hours.

That’s when we discovered Saratoga. A small town which has a main street with good restaurants, shops, and 3 tasting rooms. Parking in the free public lot at the eastern end of Big Basin Way, we strolled down to the far end to start our tasting adventure at Cinnabar Winery.

Cinnabar Wine Tasting Room Photo courtesy of Cinnabar

Cinnabar offers a pleasant outdoor porch, but we decided to do our tasting in the cozy, and slightly warmer tasting room.

 

Cinnabar Wine Tasting Room Saratoga CA

Tastings are $1o per person for 4 wines, and they’re happy to revisit any that you’re considering purchasing. The wines were decent — we tasted the Incantation Blanc, Mourvedre, Dry Creek Zinfandel and Malbec. I quite liked the Malbec, though it was way overpriced (in my opinion) at $65 a bottle. If you’re local, a wine club membership might make sense as a social investment as they’re open in the evenings and often feature live music and food on the patio. 🙂

Cinnabar Wine Tasting Menu Saratoga CA

 

From there we ambled immediately next door to the Big Basin Vineyards tasting room, whose wines come from the Santa Cruz mountains.

Big Basin Vineyards Saratoga Tasting Room photo courtesy of Big Basin Vineyards

We opted for an outdoor tasting on the patio this time and had our wines poured by someone who had spent the early morning hours harvesting in the vineyard before coming in to the tasting room. 🙂 The tasting here was also $10, but with 5 wines on the menu — a Reisling, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and two delicious Bordeaux style blends.

Big Basin Vineyards Wine Tasting Menu 1 Saratoga CA Big Basin Vineyards Wine Tasting Menu 2 Saratoga CA

These wines weren’t cheap either, but I liked them quite a bit more, the Paderewski GSM and Odeon blends in particular. Unfortunately all the photos I took of the pleasant outdoor patio included my friends who did not wish to appear on the blog, so you’re stuck with a close up of me.

Keri Big Basin Vineyards Wine Tasting

 

The third winery on the street, Michael Martella and Michaud Vineyards, in the same building as Big Basin Vineyards, wasn’t open that Friday afternoon so we headed for a late lunch, choosing Bai Tong, a surprisingly good Thai restaurant with lunch specials.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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