Why Salamanders on a Wine Bottle?
Tucked into a shaded redwood canyon two miles from the beaches of Aptos, Salamandre Wine Cellars has been crushing small lots of hand selected grapes for a quarter century.
Chardonnays were our passion when we opened our small family winery in 1985, and we remain enchanted with Chardonnay from our original vines in Arroyo Seco. Red wines, however, provide a greater test of creativity in the cellar and offer exceptional versatility on the table. We also find that the wines we stash in our backpacks are invariably red. And, while we are always intrigued by differences between small vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County, it is the people we have met through the grapes and the wine that have made our 25 th anniversary a rolling celebration of the human spirit.
Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir has become consistently popular for us, but we have always enjoyed experimenting with new varieties and new styles…occasionally branching into late harvest indulgences. These explorations always teach us something we wouldn't have learned doing the same thing every year, and sometimes we celebrate with delicious results. We made the shameless original Cardinal Zin in 1987, the uplifting "Temblor" in 1989, the rare Carmine in 1990, and now offer ravishing Primitivo from a precocious vineyard in sunny Southern Monterey County. Entering the new millennium, we released the Coyote Cuvee, a blend of the revered Bordeaux varieties, and then the Aussie-inspired Newt South Wells. Winemaker Wells Shoemaker and partner Dave South use intensive traditional methods by choice - and, yes, by necessity.
Because of our small scale (in truth, lizards have scales but salamanders don't) our wines are hard to find East of the Santa Cruz Mountain ridge line. We do host periodic Open Houses, for which you'll need a invitation and directions.
tired of crushing? Go catch a few waves
We don't enter as many contests as we used to, although we are very proud of our annual successes in the Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Competition. The ribbons are great for PR and occasionally relevant to your personal enjoyment at the table. We like them for the ego boost, but mostly, they make a perfect screen for the work of the busy little spiders in the Western corner of the barrel room.