Did you know there is an award-winning, 2,500 case winery in Laguna Beach, California? I do now, and so should you. Laguna Canyon Winery is located in a light industrial area right off Laguna Canyon Road, on the right hand side as you’re leaving Laguna for the freeways, or on the left when you’re driving towards the town from the freeways. The sign is located out near the road, so you shouldn’t miss it if you’re driving at a reasonable pace. I was surprised and delighted with this “wine find” and I think you will too.
Twenty-two small lot wines and two very passionate vintners, make this winery VERY special. The wines are smooth, complex, well thought out. Who can resist supporting co-owner Marlowe Huber whose vision of success is showing up every day and enjoying what he does? The question of course is, yes these are exceptional wines, but who makes them? As it turns out, the grapes come from Napa and Sonoma, but the wines are all Laguna hand-crafted. Co-owners Marlowe and Darin Huber are the winemakers. Marlowe told me it’s quite a sight to see a big semi back into the smallish facility and begin unloading grapes. They have a crusher, tanks, barrels, a labeler, and a bottling line. They also have an event room, a wine club, storage facilities, and plans to open a second facility.
As with most successful ventures, with time brings change and expansion. The current tasting room is (and will stay) at 2133 Laguna Canyon Road. The new tasting room will shortly be added to increase visibility and customer outreach at 680 Glenneyre Street in the middle of the Laguna shopping district. The tasting room on Laguna Canyon Road is open Tuesday – Sunday, 11 -6. The Glenneyre tasting room is open daily from 12-8 beginning in August 2010. Be sure and taste the ’06 Russian River appellation Malbec (75 cases, $34.00/bottle), the ’06 Chalk Hill appellation Sangiovese (150 cases, $32.00/bottle), and the ’05 gold medal Paso Cab (250 cases, $25.00/bottle). Expect smooth, complex wine with a gorgeous nose. I think you’ll be buying some of that wine, just as I did.
My Pick to Share and Enjoy:
2006 Malbec - Russian River Valley - $34
This is a 2009 ORANGE COUNTY FAIR WINE COMPETITION MEDAL WINNER. That is no little feat as the OC completion is the largest California wine competition anywhere in the world with over 3,000 entries. One of the traditional Bordeaux varietals, Malbec can be a hit or miss wine for me. It’s either done well, or it’s awful. This one was memorable. According to co-owner Marlowe Huber, “It’s characteristics fall somewhere between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.” With its gorgeous red color, and full-bodied flavors, this Malbec showcases a plum-like flavor with dark berries, and it has a good, but not overwhelming backbone of tannin. Marlow says to enjoy it with Rib-Eye, New York or Prime Rib steak. This makes a great souvenir and a sensual memory of a unique, classy winery located in the middle of a breathtaking community of art, wine and waves.