Salamandre Wine Cellars

Owner(s) Wells Shoemaker, Dave South
Web site
Link to this site

Owner and winemaker Wells Shoemaker is a pediatrician with an interest in fine wine. When he began Salamandre in 1985 with partner Dave South, his focus was Chardonnay from small vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Arroyo Seco. He has since delved into a number of red varieties including Merlot and Pinot Noir. His wines are sensibly priced for as he says, "Don't pay ridiculous dollars for Ego Noir that's still trying to draft on Sideways."

Tucked into a shaded redwood canyon two miles from the beaches of Aptos, Salamandre Wine Cellars crafts wines with old fashioned hand labor. Because of Salamandre's small scale, the wines are hard to find East of the Santa Cruz Mountain ridge line. Shoemaker has written and lectured on the physiological effects of phenols and alcohol in wine (The French Paradox and Beyond, Perdue, Shoemaker and Marton, Renaissance Press, 1992).

The wines are produced in very small quantities and are sold through a mailing list and on the website. The winery is not open to the public but periodic open houses and invitational tastings are held at the winery which is carved into the hillside next to Shoemaker's home. A newsletter on various topics of great interest is published three times a year.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Salamandre Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $32. · Moderately deep purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of dark berries, fresh picked plums and spice. The aromas are captivating. My notes say WOW on entry. Really delicious, moderately intense flavors of dark berries, black cherries and plum with a hint of spice. The fruit reaches every nook and cranny in the mouth, expanding to finish with unbelievable length and aromatic focus. A complete, harmonious wine of exceptional quality and sure to be one of my All Americans for 2013. (Not listed on website so call or email to order) Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Salamandre Meadowridge Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., $34. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Gracefully perfumed with aromas of black cherry, raspberry and new oak. The flavors echo the nose with added notes of plum and spice. Complimentary tannins and bright acidity combined with a pleasing and generous finish make for wonderful drinking. Very good. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »

2006 Salamandre Meadowridge Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $37. · Light in color and red-toned. Scents of oak spice, especially vanillin, plus grass, hay, and a hint of alcohol. Cherry-driven flavors with a touch of Asian spice and citrus peel. Light in body, very soft and easy to drink. A simple Pinot Noir. Reviewed March 15, 2009 ARTICLE »

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