In the Grimm’s fairy tale the princess Briar Rose was placed under a spell that put her in a deep sleep for 100 years. She lay enchanted in her castle behind a tall hedge of thorns until a fearless prince broke through the entangled garden to make her his love. The resemblances between the fairy tale and Briar Rose Winery are that they both are hidden jewels. When you find them they are enchanting. And like the prince, I have made Briar Rose my love.
I was thrilled to visit the “by appointment only” tasting room and experience the enchantment again. I urge you not to be put off by the “Reservations required” notice. There is nothing intimidating or stuck-up about the winery or its passionate owners, Les and Dorian Linkogle and accommodating staff. This charming, off-the-beaten path winery is something out of Disneyland. REALLY! Its original owner, Beldon Fields, worked for Walt Disney and built replicas of Snow White’s cottages on the property for his wife.
The award-winning 2005 estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon complements the magical ambiance of Briar Rose. The color of this wine is a rich, deep ruby. The bouquet is a complex berry mix blended with ripe black cherries and zesty red plum. The taste is a smooth compilation of lots of ripe fruit with sweet and toasty vanilla and cocoa top notes with a surprisingly long, pleasant slightly peppery finish. This unfiltered wine was aged in French and American oak for 2 years, creating a balanced wine with silky tannins that should age quite well with proper storage.
I was fortunate enough to also taste the Cabernet Sauvignon at an Artisanal Cheese pairing at the winery. There it was matched with an exceptional 10-year aged Hook cheddar by Cheese Impresario, Barrie Lynn. The combination was smooth, yet sharp, creating a long elegant finish for both the wine and cheese.
Briar Rose provides fine tasting tips and education for both novice and expert visitors. There are several tasting menus available for the sit-down wine tastings, which last 45 minutes to an hour. I encourage you to give yourself a treat, make that reservation, and discover the enchantment of Briar Rose Winery for yourself.
2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – $105. Wine club members – $84
Tastings by appointment. Daily 11am-4pm (Winery Closes at 5 pm).