Cat Canyon might well be one of the most familiar, unfamiliar vineyards along California's Central Coast. Travelers moving along US Highway 101 near Los Alamos travel alongside beautiful oak savannas and vineyards planted along rolling hillsides. Vineyards such as Cat Canyon, planted to the east of the highway with an elegant gate far away from the highway, are some 600 to 800 feet higher and deeper into canyons than vineyards to the west, changing climatic conditions and altering aspects of sun, wind and soil.
TAZ sources Chardonnay and Pinot Gris from these vineyards, in specially selected blocks. Soils are generally sandy, typical of benchlands in the area. Block 1A-S is planted to Pinot Gris of clone 146 on Freedom rootstock, producing fruit with crisp acidity and rich flavors of lemon, lime and mineral notes. Rows between vineyards are tilled deeply to keep gophers at bay, a sustainable farming practice requiring more effort, but typical of the care taken to use natural solutions to common farming problems.
Winemaker Natasha Boffman favors Chardonnay planted in three distinct blocks. Block 5F and 4E and 2F show great promise. Block 2F meanders over 30 acres at the highest elevation in the vineyard, producing wines with great viscosity and depth. "Taz" Steinhauer has pronounced fruit from this block, characterized as showing citrus zest, lemon chiffon, laurel and flinty mineral tones, as the "best in the cellar."
Pinot Gris, Chardonnay
Pinot Gris: 146