Spicing up their history lessons, the Morgan Hill Historical Society offers wine-tasting along with free presentations by local speakers at the historical home of Hiram Morgan Hill. I recently made a presentation of vintage photos from our wine region’s past and afterward, was delighted to find Claude Solanas, pouring his Paradise Valley Vineyards.
Paradise Valley, a small section of land at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with its rich soil and temperate climate, is ideal for growing Bordeaux varietals such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Taking advantage of the terroir, he planted French clones which have produced an excellent expression of these two grapes.
I sidled up to the tasting bar, a tongue-and-groove wood plank atop two wine barrels and instep with the historical theme of the venue.
The 2009 Estate Merlot ($18) is reminiscent of a pinot noir with a light body and fruity cranberry flavors. The 2008 Estate Melange ($20), is a spicy blend of 60% cabernet and 40% merlot. With ripe Bing-cherry flavors and a silky finish, the 2007 Estate Cabernet ($21) is a wonderful wine to pair with a grilled, skirt steak or marinated pork loin.
All the Paradise Valley wines have big, tantalizing bouquets and are perfect for aging. Claude says, “We structure our wines so that they are well-balanced and food-friendly.” Visit Claude and taste his delicious wines at the Hiram Morgan Hill house, the first weekend of every month.