When I dropped in at Church Creek Cellars on a warm November Saturday, the parking lot was near full and the place was filled with many happy patrons being served by a welcoming staff. Among them were three gents named Carl, Ray and Rich, who make the wine at Church Creek Cellars.
Here, 21 acres of 21-year-old vines are planted to 11 varieties, much of which is sold to about 10 local wineries. Property owner Carl Borsody made three different rosés this year, from cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sangiovese. He snagged a sample of the former from tank. Pale as dawn from 35 minutes of skin contact, it was pure perfumey deliciousness, brimming with guava, watermelon and peach.
Borsody says yields were really down on the merlot this year, as it was flowering just as May rains hit. He was stoked to be awarded a Double Gold at the Orange County Fair for his 2013 merlot.
Those who crave the abyss of dark tannins will fancy the 2014 petite sirah, swimming in dark cherry and chocolate. The 2016 tempranillo is big-shouldered and smooth as a white T-shirt, but it’s amply packed with roasted plums and a super smooth mouthfeel. The 2017 pinot noir, from 200 vines scattered among a field blend in one corner of the vineyard, packs cranberry and orange peel around a cinnamon stick of tannin that is slowly resolving. They are still hanging fruit for their thoroughly addictive solera-style dessert wine. Patience will be rewarded.
Church Creek Cellars is located at 11495 Center Ave. in Gilroy. For information, visit churchcreekcellars.com.