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Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery

Owner(s) Richard Alfaro
Web site www.alfarowine.com
 
Link to this site

Richard Alfaro’s background is in bread making, but he has had a personal interest in wine for over twenty-five years. He founded Alfaro’s Micro-Bakery in Watsonville in 1988 and subsequently sold it to Sarah Lee in 1998 giving him the funds to start a winery. Always a Cabernet and Bordeaux lover, it was in 1996 that he had his Pinot Noir epiphany. He was having dinner in Lake Tahoe with a friend and ordered a 1994 Rex Hill Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. He was taken by the wine and returned to the same restaurant the next evening to confirm his impressions. He ordered another bottle of the same wine and it was even better the second time. Having lived in the Monterey Peninsula, he was familiar with Corralitos and had quite an attraction to the Chardonnay from the Christie Vineyard. He saw the potential of the area for winegrowing and found a 75-acre property in 1998 that was suitable. Today, he has the largest planting of Pinot Noir in the Santa Cruz Mountains (22 acres) and will release 12 different Pinot Noirs from the 2006 vintage. Besides his estate fruit, he sources Pinot Noir from Garys’ Vineyard and Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Franscioni Vineyard in Monterey County, an unnamed vineyard in the Sonoma Coast, Gemelli Vineyard in Cienega Valley and vineyards in Corralitos. Production is about 4,500 cases per year.

Richard produces two lines: Alfaro Family Vineyard wines from estate fruit, and Martin Alfaro wines from purchased fruit. The name Martin comes from Joe Martin who is a partner and winemaker at Alfaro. The wines are sold on the website with limited retail distribution.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Alfaro Family Vineyards Alfaro Family Estate Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 188 cases, $35. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · An impressive wine with attentiongrabbing black cherry and spice flavors, supple tannins, and a finishing presence that keeps returning for an encore. Still showing significant oak imprint at this young age but this will improve over time. A tremendous value and one of my favorites at the Grand Cruz Tasting. Very good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2007 Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery Lindsay Paige Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Bottled a few months ago, unreleased. 10 clones. Aged 20 months in 70% new French oak barrels. · Quite approachable and charming now featuring a crisp core of red cherries and berries with an accent of oak spice. Well-structured with healthy tannins and built for the long haul. Very good. Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery “A” Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.73, 807 cases, $25. 80% sourced from the three estate vineyards (yields 1.5 tons per acre). 50% whole berry fermentation. Aged 16 months in 40% new French oak. A popular restaurant by-the-glass wine. Released April 1, 2009. · Appealing nose of darker fruits, particularly spiced plums. Rich and full-bodied with a deft touch of oak. Nicely balanced with modest tannins and bright acidity. Ready to go and a very good wine for the tab. Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.59, 256 cases, $35. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, whole berry, indigenous fermentation. Aged 15 months in 66% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · A shy but sophisticated nose of hi-tone black cherry and black raspberry fruit with a slight smoky edge. Opens beautifully over time. Tasty, rich black raspberry fruit in a husky style with moderate ripe, dry tannins leading to a lingering and sappy finish. I would cellar this for another year. Very good. Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Alfaro Family Vineyards Alfaro Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Barrel sample. · A bit astringent now and not ready for prime time. Reviewed September 10, 2007 ARTICLE »

2006 Alfaro Family Vineyards Lindsay Paige Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Barrel sample. · Very soft and silky in the mouth with impeccable balance at this point. The fruit is still restrained but the impressive potential is obvious. This vineyard is a superstar. Reviewed September 10, 2007 ARTICLE »

2006 Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery “A” Scarlet Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

$18. 95% Pinot Noir composed of left over lots. · An easy drinker that is light in weight with tasty cherry fruit and a very dry finish. Decent. Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery Lindsey Paige Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.65, 200 cases, $40. Released September 1, 2008. 100% de-stemmed and lightly crushed. 7-day cold soak. Aged 16 months on the lees in 70% new French oak. · Aromas of cherries, vanillin and a hint of oak. Medium-weighted core of cherries and cranberries with a hint of red apple. Juicy and crisp with moderate tannins which could use some more time to soften. Decent (+). Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Alfaro Family Vineyards Lindsay Paige Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Small yields (3/4 ton per acre), 100% destemmed, 19 months in 70% new French oak. · Nice structure and acid backbone with plenty of enticing Pinot fruits, a little earthiness, and fine tannins on the finish. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Alfaro Family Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

14.0% alc., 192 cases, $25. Own-rooted vines planted in 1999. Primarily Wente clone and with a small amount of Muscat clone added for complexity both from a block in the Lindsay Paige Vineyard. 100% ML. · This is a perfectly fine example of Chardonnay with restrained oak notes, spice, minerality and lively acidity. Reviewed September 10, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Alfaro Family Vineyards Alfaro Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 144 cases, $33. Yields were .55 tons/acre. Aged for 15 months in 50% new oak. Clones 113, 114,115, 667, 777 and 828, · Red and blue fruits run throughout with herbal influences and a hint of oak from start to finish. Good acid structure. Reviewed September 10, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Alfaro Family Vineyards Lindsay Paige Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 138 cases, $40. The vineyard, named after Richard’s daughter, is closely planted to a clonal potpourri with 113, 114, 115, 667, 777, 828, 359, 475 and Pommard 4 and 5. Compared to the Alfaro Family Vineyard, the Lindsay Paige Vineyard has different root stocks, better soil, and protection from the afternoon sun. Yields were .75 ton/acre. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 19 months in 66% new oak and released this July. · A spectacular Pinot Noir. Very flashy Pinot fruits on the nose and palate with an appealing earthy edge for good measure. Silky texture in the mouth leading to fine-grained tannins and lip-smacking acidity on the backend. Reviewed September 10, 2007 ARTICLE »