Friday, July 24, 2009

Castillo’s Hillside Shire Winery

It is a rare occasion that I am shocked by a glass of wine, but that was indeed the case when drinking the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from a new boutique winery called Castillo’s Hillside Shire Winery. It has a wonderful fruit forward raspberry and blackberry flavor with a hint of chocolate, earth and spice. The structure is medium and not overly tannic, somewhat similar to cabernet sauvignon from the Alexander Valley. Perhaps my expectations were low, but I was happily surprised.

Castillo’s Hillside Shire Winery is a family affair, with their three children actively involved in all aspects of the winery. Current offerings include:

2007 Syrah $30
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon $40
2007 Merlot $32
2007 Red Table Wine $22 (also very enjoyable)
2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon $72
2007 Estate Petite Sirah $42

Not typical Joe Plonk pricing, but not unforgivable either on the $40 cabernet or the $22 malbec based red table wine. There is also 2008 Chardonnay and 2008 Sangiovese in the barrel. The wines are currently available only through the winery and at local restaurants. Fuzia Restaurant in Morgan Hill is where I tried their wine. Opened to the public in March 2009, this winery is one of several promising wineries in the South County region (Morgan Hill, Gilroy, San Martin). Other notables include Clos LaChance, Mann Cellars, Solis Winery, and newcomer Jason Stephens.

Dave Tong has already done a nice review of the winery, and how they came into being. In short, Jess and Roni Joe Castillo wanted to build their dream house outside Morgan Hill, but their building plans were constantly denied due to the California Williamson Act which prevents construction of anything over 2,500 square feet since the land wasn’t used for agriculture. The Castillo’s planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah grapes on 70% of the land, thereby allowing them to build their dream house and start the winery.

Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Best, Joe Plonk

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