There’s something of a revolution going on in the East Bay’s sleepy corners; a revolution of wine. The urban winery is alive and well in Oakland, and Cerruti Cellars is brightening up a lonely Jack London Square.
Cerruti is part of the Tudal portfolio, which includes some well known Napa names as well as this fun loving Italian style house. The family has been making wine and growing grapes for four generations, and while the Tudal Winery in St. Helena is going strong, in 2011 another branch of the family was born when Cerruti Cellars opened in a historic building at Jack London Square.
One of the most intriguing things about the winery itself is the historic property. Build int he 20s as a cold storage facility, it has been many things for many years until the winery took over the space. The family kept th historic touches, and walking in the tasting room is walking back in history.
While Tudal has unique signature wines that are appropriate for Napa, Cerutti focuses on fun, Italian style wines with a twist. Tractor Shed Red for example, is named after an antique tractor that decorates the vineyard. This blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Zinfandel is as unique and fun as that old tractor.
Beyond the tractor, I also enjoyed the 2010 Honker Blanc, named for the geese that migrate over the vineyard properties. This Napa Sav Blanc is small production, with green apple, lime, and just a hint of hay. This crisp white is fermented in 100% stainless, and is 45% Sauvignon Musket which gives a fuller body and complexity to the wine that could so easily be simple.
These are just two of the offerings at Cerutti, and are great for your summer BBQ or picnic needs. They are priced ~$15 and are as much fun as the winery!
If you find yourself in Oakland, drop by. I’ve heard tales that they have had the BBQ trucks in the back parking lot, and the wine flowing – you might get lucky! you can’t beat the hospitality; John Tudal, 5th generation wine kid, was a gracious host and an avid entertainer. The stories of growing up on a once rural Alameda island, and playing in the vineyards craft images of a time gone by and one that you are sure to think of sipping these wines!
I look forward to seeing them again and tasting the Tudal portfolio soon.
Go give him a wave in Oakland!