Quinta Cruz, located in Santa Cruz, is the first brand in the nation dedicated to under appreciated varietals that originated in Portugal and Spain.
“Much of the Iberian Peninsula has arguably the most California-like expression of the Mediterranean climate in all of Europe, so it is natural that these varietals can produce spectacular wines here,” said Jeff Emery, owner and winemaker of Quinta Cruz and its sister brand Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. “These wines have flavor and aroma attributes that are unlike the more common varieties in the U.S. wine market.”
With over 30 years of crafting pinot noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Emery traveled to the Iberian Peninsula and his winemaking focus took a different path. He decided American wine lovers needed to know about the fantastic alternatives to the well known varieties from France, Italy and Germany. Very few California vineyard owners were planting these varietals and he took a leap.
Quinta Cruz brand’s two largest production wines are a tempranillo ($18) and a northern Portuguese style blend named “Concertina (($24).”
“I think tempranillo is just as food friendly as pinot noir and is gaining in popularity with American wine drinkers,” he said. “There are many similarities with the winemaking techniques between the two varietals.”
Typically the red grape is thick skinned, moderate in acid and can reach astonishing complexity.
“Concertina” is a blend of tempranillo, touriga and another Portuguese variety that contributes floral attributes and flavors of the more central European grape varieties.