Old Friends and New Friends

Old Friends and New Friends

This past weekend, I went to visit an old friend that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Now, it just so happens that this friend also owns Loma Prieta Winery in the Santa Cruz mountains. Here is where I ask myself (as a wine lover… nay… passionate wine adorer), what has taken so long for me to visit my friend’s winery?


As I climbed the winding Summit Road leading to the winery, I saw the earth fall away in my rear view mirror. I pulled up to Loma Prieta Winery, which is perched about 2700 feet in elevation. At once, I was mesmerized by the almost panoramic view from San Jose in the north to Monterey in the south to the Pacific Ocean in the west!

Loma Prieta Winery has earned the moniker as the “Largest Producer of Pinotage in North America.” Pinotage is a red varietal that is South Africa’s signature variety. It was bred there in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut. It typically produces deep red varietal wines with smoky, bramble and earthy flavors, sometimes with notes of bananas and tropical fruit. Not only was I looking forward to reconnecting with my old friend, I was looking forward to making a new friend…with pinotage!

I love wine tasting! I love wine tasting because I can never predict my experience with certainty, even with wineries I have visited many times. On this day, I met my new friend, pinotage, and it is a friendship that will last. Here’s the surprise! On the tasting menu, along with the pinotage, was a pinot noir.

Now, I’ve had numerous pinots. I’ve tasted pinots from the Santa Lucia Highlands, Anderson Valley, Russian River Valley, and the Willamette Valley. This pinot blew me away! It had the aroma of my grandmother’s kitchen during the holidays with smells strawberry jam and strawberry rhubarb pie. The scent of strawberry rhubarb pie gives way to the tart taste of strawberry rhubarb pie with a graham cracker crust!

Yes, in the midst of reconnecting with my old friend who owned the winery, I met a new friend in pinotage and was floored by the appearance of an unexpected old friend in pinot noir!

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