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Nov 27th
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Fernwood Cellars

dining_fernwoodChardonnay 2008

Who doesn’t love a good Chardonnay? It’s one of those wines that if you don’t know what to order, then Chardonnay is a pretty good bet. It’s a wine that’s on every restaurant’s white wine list—and, from the many inferior Chardonnays out there, when you get a good one, it stands out in a crowd.

Fernwood Cellars’ 2008 estate-grown Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Vanumanutagi (try saying that when you’ve had a few glasses!) Vineyard, sells for $30 a bottle, but it’s worth every penny. Swirl the wine around the glass and inhale the distinct floral aromas of this beautiful wine.

Take a sip and savor the lush, tropical fruit tones and enjoy the overall sensation. Not surprisingly, this wine won a silver medal in last year’s Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA) Commercial Wine Competition.

The Vanumanutagi Vineyard has quite a bit of history behind it. It once belonged to Fanny Stevenson, Robert Louis Stevenson’s widow, and now, several owners later, belongs to Leonard Ware, whose family planted the Vanumanutagi Vineyard and who are the caretakers of the property.

Winemaker and president of Fernwood Cellars, Matt Oetinger, firmly believes that in making great wine there can be no compromises. “My approach has always been about staying in control at every step to produce a product that is exceptional at every sip,” he says. His dedication to his craft shows in every bottle he produces. dining_fern

Oetinger also makes other fine wines including Riesling, Rose, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mirepoix—a French culinary word (pronounced mihr-pwah) for a mixture of veggies used to season sauces and soups, but, in this case, a mixture of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The Petit Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon also won silver medals in the SCMWA wine competition, and the Riesling got a bronze.

My husband and I just returned from five weeks in Europe – visiting five countries and doing some wine tasting along the way, especially in the South of France. I certainly believe that our California Chardonnays, and most wines in general, are just as good as the French counterparts. I was in Germany for a week as well and drank a lot of German wine—mostly provided by our hosts—and we had some really good stuff. In England and Ireland, I stuck to beer.

Fernwood Cellars, 7137 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, (408) 848-0611. Open by invitation only and for special events. Check the website for more information.

Wine Event

Premier Tasting featuring the new winery Mica Cellars and winemaker Mica Raas. 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at Vinocruz, Downtown Santa Cruz on Abbott Square, off Cooper Street. Call 426-8466 or visit

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