Equinox

How many hand crafted, small production, family owned and operated, delicious sparkling wine producers do you know in California? Probably not many! Equinox should be at the top of Santa Cruz tasting rooms to try not just for the wine and sparkling wine but the entertainment.

The self-guided tour of their facility is free. But ask about the guided tour, which is also free, and you’ll be whisked away to the Gyropalette Command Center, also known as the wall adjacent to the “tasting room” bar. Seriously, it’s all done right there. I mean it’s all done right there (first emphasis on “done” but second on “right”). Step across to the bottling line and watch how extra large sparkling corks get squashed into bottles, yes, that is the technical term. Here is an example of how they look before corking, right after, and a cork that has been in bottle for several years.

SparklingCorks

A quick demo of sabering champagne leaves no doubt that the glass breaks. The cork remains with the collar of the bottle, separating from the neck. Probably have to know what you’re doing before trying this yourself.

cork neck

But, back to drinking I mean tasting. The sparkling has just a thick rich hint of dried fruit with very little sugar so absolutely no aftertaste. Their Syrah is a quintessential example of what the cool coastal climate does to this grape. Ripe rich fruit and tight acidity but not a lot of tannins that turn your teeth blue. The Merlot has the full rich cherry berry flavors you crave and the Quattro (four of its best players) is like an elegant velvet drape.

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