Wife and I are going to San Jose tomorrow for a show and thought we’d spend the day there (I wanted to check out the Winchester Mystery House ). We’re driving from her parents’ house in San Mateo. What are some good wineries we might be able to check out either on the way, maybe ones that do white wines well?
There really isn’t anything in the stretch between San Mateo and San Jose unless you take the ultra scenic route. Hwy 92 West to Hwy 35 South (Skyline Blvd). Set your GPS on Thomas Fogarty Winery.
Not a whole lot directly between San Mateo and San Jose, although a friend of mine has a small winery worth checking out right in San Jose - Coterie Cellars. They’ll be open tomorrow afternoon. Domenico Winery in San Carlos is not far from the 101 freeway in San Carlos and they should also be open tomorrow. Waxwing Wine Cellars nearby in Belmont is very good, but they’ll require an appointment. If you want to drive farther, I’d suggest Ridge Vineyards above Cupertino and Thomas Fogarty Winery on Skyline Blvd. above Woodside, but either would be a lengthy detour off the direct route between San Mateo and San Jose.
I second the Fogarty suggestion. Then drive down the mountain to Saratoga and taste thru the local wineries there before driving the 5 miles back to San jose
Forgot about all the tasting rooms in Saratoga - Big Basin, Michael Martella / Michaud, Ser / Silvertip would all be worth checking out, and there are a number of others too. Still a detour from the direct route but not as far out of the way as driving up to Ridge or Thomas Fogarty - either of those would take a lot of extra time, so it depends on your agenda.
They wanted to try white wines. That’s why I suggested something else. Ridge has 40 wines, the only whites are two Chardonnays.
I would do reds, just thought because my wife doesn’t like reds that much we’d go somewhere she can try stuff she might like.
What about Mount Eden Vineyards? It’s close to San Jose and they are well known for their chardonnays as well as their pinots and cabs.
Mount Eden is also a bit of a detour, and more importantly, it’s very unlikely that Brian could get an appointment to taste there just a day ahead.
Ridge, if you have the time. The view up there can be nice too. If the weather cooperates, bring a picnic lunch.
J Lohr has a winery and tasting room in downtown San Jose. Their vineyards are in Monterey and Paso Robles. For whites they make Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Viognier and Riesling. In Los Gatos there is Testarossa. They specialize in Burgundian varieties from vineyards all over California.
Both of these wineries are easy to find.
I don’t think reservations are required but it’s better to check first.
I completely forgot the Rabbit’s Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale. It’s the best meadery in Santa Clara county.
Testarossa in Los Gatos does mostly Central Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
There are more wineries South of San Jose in the Morgan Hill/Gilroy area that are closer together and open on weekends. Sarah’s, Aver Family, and Jason Stephens are three of my faves. Driving up into the hills for Ridge and Fogarty is also a good bet. A good scary drive is Skyline drive from San Mateo south to Saratoga. You will pass Ridge and Fogarty (and Rhys tho they don’t have an open tasting room) and then after a gnarly switchback road shared with cyclists, drop into the lovey town of Saratoga with a few Tasting rooms. This time of year, the road is usually wet because the tree canopy but you can get fabulous views.
Coterie in San Jose. Very easy to get to, lovely tasting room with great staff. I really admire the wines they’re making there - balanced, pure, clean and a very (very!) good value.