September 13th, 2008 09:40 EST
Vicky Rantz: Women Winemakers of America
This past weekend I went wine tasting in Solvang, CA as I have many times in the past. It is among my favorite places to taste as it is one of those rare places in which I get to mix business with pleasure by taking along my RV and staying the night at Lake Cachuma.
On this most recent trip I stumbled across a tasting room that I haven`t been to simply because one of the people I was with had a leg injury and couldn`t walk down the stairs of the place we had planned to go. Anyways we entered the busy tasting room and began tasting several wines.
As I progressed down the list of wines several words jumped right off the page that surprised me. It said, "All wines are made by women winemakers." I had never heard of such a thing.
Intrigued as I was, I went to the host to start asking questions. Little did I know that the host was Vicky Rantz, winemaker of Monsoon Cellars. Wow, this was my lucky day! Not only did I get to have a great conversation with Vicky about the Uncorked Wine Shop, I was also able to chat with her about this very unique venture where this wine shop features wines exclusively from women winemakers.
I was impressed with these concepts and wanted to know what was behind the decision to starting a wine shop like this. Vicky told me that it is difficult for any wine maker to introduce their wines to the market, so she and her friends wanted a place where women could be the star and have the spotlight in an industry that is typically dominated by men. I like that idea!
The Uncorked Wine Shop in Solvang also adds one important ingredient to the blend and that is they only feature small production boutique wines like the kind found in the Coastal Vineyards Wine Club. Among their featured winemakers at Uncorked you can find wines from the winemakers of Monsoon, Cold Heaven, Nagy 2 and Stevnot.
Vicky has an interesting story, prior to becoming a winemaker she worked in the healthcare industry until she had an injury that halted her career. During this time off she started attending classes in viticulture at Alan Hancock College and became the first student in 2001 to graduate. Looking to use the knowledge she had gained in school, fate would cross her learning with her passion of wine. Luck came here way when her brother who was the vineyard manager at White Hawk Vineyard in Los Alamos, was able to give her some extra chardonnay grapes. With that she was able to produce 2 barrels of chardonnay wine.
Vicky of Monsoon produces 6 varietals. The first that I would like to tell you about is the 2004 Sangiovese. This is a well balanced wine with a good finish. The wine is deep and dark with aromas of plum and leather. The wine is medium to heavy bodied with supple richness, dark fruit flavors and young soft tannins.
The wine has won several awards in Santa Barbara including 1st place for an exceptional wine for price in Vine Times Magazine in 2007. Oh by the way only 375 cases were produced so now is the time to pick up a bottle of this wine!
The second wine is the Syrah. The 2004 Syrah is complex and well balanced with aromas of clove and black pepper accented by hints of berry jam and tobacco. The smooth texture accompanied by dark red fruit notes and natural acidity leads to an elegant finish. Only 200 cases were produced.
The next time you are in Solvang I highly recommend that you visit the Uncorked Wine Shop located at 467 Alisal Road in Solvang. Your taste buds will have a special treat awaiting them.
Use coupon code (sop) to get a 10% discount at www.cvwine.com
Rocco owns and runs a Bacon of the Month Club called The Bacon Freak Bacon is Meat Candy Club as well as a Wine Club called the Coastal Vineyard Wine Club