The Santa Cruz Mountains winegrowing area is worthy of the moniker “Pinot Paradise,” but when Robert Bergstrom of Sandar & Hem vineyard has any say within the subject, he’d love to extol the virtues of the realm’s chardonnay.
Sandar & Hem is likely one of the wineries pouring on the Santa Cruz Mountains Grand Tasting Sunday, April 24, at The Mountain Vineyard in Saratoga.
Sandar & Hem is a nod to Bergstrom’s ancestral roots within the Sandar area of Norway, a fjord south of Oslo. Hem was once the circle of relatives title that in some way were given modified to Bergstrom when his nice grandfather emigrated to the U.S.
Bergstrom, who grew up in Napa and has a Ph.D. in biophysics (his father taught chemistry at UC Davis), and his spouse, Recha, who hails from Santa Cruz, have day jobs: She’s a UCSF -trained radiologist and he’s a former McKinsey guide running with small startups within the Bay Space. Each are hooked in to giving again to the group, nevertheless it’s the vineyard that lighting fixtures them up.
Sandar & Hem recently makes vineyard-designate chardonnays from Bald Mountain, Bruzzone, Frances J, Le Boeuf and Mindego Ridge. Bergstrom was conscious about the age-worthiness of Santa Cruz Mountains chardonnays when tasting Mount Eden and Ridge from the Nineteen Nineties, in conjunction with a 60-year-old chardonnay from Martin Ray. Their depth and gear reminded him of the richness of Eighties white Burgundies.
“They have got top acid on the similar time and a spaciousness, such as you’re in a box of vegetation; they’re in reality experiential wines,” Bergstrom says of the Burgundies. “I noticed that Santa Cruz Mountains chards may age like that.”
After receiving a winemaking certificates from UC Davis in 2016, Bergstrom therefore labored a harvest at Rhys after which within the winery and cellar at Mount Eden.
“It was once the chardonnays of Rhys from Horseshoe and Alpine Vineyards that in reality opened my eyes and made me notice this was once a world-class position to supply chardonnay related to, however distinct from, white Burgundy,” he says. “This can be a position the place chardonnay may hit improbable highs with surprising expressions. Those are the wines that driven me to the following degree to discover winemaking within the area.”
Many vineyards have been selected because of their historical past of manufacturing nice wines, however new websites like Deerheart, a pinot noir winery on Alpine Highway close to San Gregorio, have stuck Bergstrom’s consideration. With local weather exchange impacting the place pinot noir can develop, Pescadero is of passion as neatly.
“We adore telling the tale of chardonnay and all its distinctive expressions around the yet-to-be-formalized subregions of the AVA,” says Bergstrom. “We consider that our intense focal point on chardonnay makes us unique as a vineyard within the Santa Cruz Mountains. That mentioned, I like crafting pinot noir.”
Bergstrom additionally makes cabernet sauvignon and grenache from Bates Ranch, a storied winery within the southern a part of the AVA. He’s additionally discovered merlot and cabernet franc within the Los Altos Hills for a Bordeaux taste mix.
Sandar & Hem has vineyards on steep Purissima shale on Mindego Ridge on Alpine Highway), Franciscan shale at Peter Martin Ray in Saratoga, decomposed granite at Le Boeuf close to Santa Cruz, and white Zayante sands at Bald Mountain in Bonny Doon.
“Le Boeuf was once planted in 1974 on St. George Rootstock, and we’ve got rebudded part of it over to heritage clones because of intense Eutypa,” Bergstrom says of the fungus that reasons grapevine dieback.
“Each Mindego Ridge and Deerheart Winery have the very uncommon clone 943 with tiny berries and intense colour and taste,” he provides. “Bald Mountain is own-rooted, and Peter Martin Ray is planted to Mount Eden cuttings originating from L. a. Questa winery in Woodside, which was once planted with picket from Chateau Margaux.”
Having the appropriate other folks in the ones vineyards is significant, says Bergstrom. “We paintings with the incredible Prudy Foxx and Ken Swegles at a number of of our websites, each absolutely devoted to the area and true viticultural excellence.”
Tickets to Sunday’s Grand Tasting are $68 ($20 for designated drivers) at https://winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/occasions.