Travieso Winery is an award-winning winery along the Campbell Wine Trail producing wines that regularly earn 90+ points by Robert Parker. Not only do they produce an excellent selection of wines but the names and labels also provide intellectual stimulation!
As with many local wineries, Travieso got their start making wine at home. Founders Ray Sliter and Mats Hagstrom started producing wine in Ray’s living room in 2000. Ray is a marine geologist and Mats is a doctor. By 2003 they teamed up with John Pinder at his small winery in Campbell. By 2005 Travieso was a fully bonded winery. They work closely with premium vineyards around California and focus on quality wine production using 30 to 50 percent new French Oak barrels to age the wine for 2 – 3 years.
A Chris Blum designed labels are the first striking feature you notice with Travieso wines. Each artistic label is themed around the characters from Mexican folklore. Not only are many monsters of folklore on the label, but the bottle itself is a monster, weighing significantly more than most wine bottles you will experience. In fact, this writer has poured Travieso wines at several tastings, and the bottle weighs as much when empty, as many wine bottles do full.
The 2005 “Amaranta” Syrah uses grapes from the Kirks’ Fairview Ranch vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands. The nose is bursting with dark fruit, blackberry and wonderful chocolate. It has a full-bodied texture and well balanced. It has received 92 points from Robert Parker. Amaranta is a character in a play about the Mexico Day of the Dead rituals. Death has commanded her to weave her own funeral shroud and, once finished, Death will take her away.
The 2005 “El Chupacabras” is a blend of 78% Syrah and 17% Grenache from Santa Barbara, plus 5% Viognier from Dry Creek Valley. This complex Rhone blend has a pleasant nose of smoky caramel and blueberry with notes of herbs and spices. The good balance is attributed to the Mourvedre and co-fermented Viognier. On the palate, you will still experience the same dark fruits, pepper, spice, smoke and meaty flavors. It is aged for 2 years in 33% new French oak. “El Chupacabras” means “The Goat-Sucker” in Spanish.
The 2005 “El Ray” Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Louvau Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley has smoky cedar aromas that open up on the palate to deliver dark fruit including cherry, blueberry and blackberry with cassis and spice.
Travieso Winery is located at 165 Cristich Lane in Campbell. Two special tasting events are coming up. On Saturday, January 16 they will open up the tasting room for the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation Passport Saturday. On March 3, Ray Sliter will be pouring Travieso wines at the UNWINED Wine Bar at 6946 Almaden Expressway in San Jose.
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