When I entered the code into the gated community key pad en route to the vineyard, I was a bit jealous. After all, I had lived in a homeowner association-governed condo, and we weren’t allowed to leave a towel hanging over the back fence, let alone open and operate a winery on premises and invite the public over for sips.
Wino? Wine, Yes!
But I wasn’t entering any ordinary gated community. This is ruggedly individualistic Trabuco Canyon, and the winery at the end of the road, Hamilton Oaks, is close enough to Cook’s Corner that the aurally gifted may hear the distant purr of combusted exhaust through aftermarket pipes.
Vino + views = Serenity Now!
According to their site, the winery represents owner and winemaker Ron Tamez’s dream of working out of his backyard, which seems underwhelming until you note that he produces 70 cases a year of award winning French oak-aged Cab out of his yard while the rest of us harvest the occasional mutant zucchini or perform pool water Ph tests after team parties.
A port in every girl.
Although most of the grapes he uses are brought in from elsewhere, his 100 percent Estate Cab will be ready in limited quantities in August. The vines for that fruit can be seen through the tasting room skylight on the hill in back.
Tamez’s award-winning varietals can be found in such wine-centric haunts as Tradition by Pascal and Trabuco Oaks Steak House.
Robert Tamez in the tasting room.
The kitschy tasting room is manned by Tamez’s friendly brother Robert. The wines, mostly red, are surprising in their assertiveness. I tried a smoky Syrah, a peppery Zin, a chocolate-tinged Barbera and a smooth port with a toasted filbert finish. If this is juice cleansing, I’m in!
Hamilton Oaks Vineyard 31111 Hamilton Trail, Trabuco Canyon, 92679. (949)459-6913. Please call for an appointment.www.hamiltonoaksvineyard.com
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