Featured Winery: Aver Family Vineyards
By Mary Orlinmorlin@bayareanewsgroup.com
POSTED: 01/27/2015 12:00:00 PM PST0 COMMENTS
UPDATED: 01/30/2015 12:15:30 PM PST
Follow the road signs for the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, and you will pass Clos LaChance, Jason-Stephens, Kirigin Cellars and others. But one puzzling sign leads you straight into a residential neighborhood in Gilroy. There’s really a winery here?
The sight of vineyards is reassuring. Ah, this must be the place. Wait, we’re pulling into someone’s driveway? Welcome to Aver Family Vineyards, aka John and Carolyn Aver’s home. There’s a small casita to the right of the driveway that looks like a tasting room — but no, a sign points behind the big house, and it leads you to mom, manning the sign-in table.
“Hi, I’m Susan,” she says. “My son is the grape grower and winemaker.”
When have you ever been greeted warmly by the winemaker’s mother? Turns out the whole family lives here — the casita is Susan Aver’s home; the winemaker’s family has the big house and, twice a month, John Aver turns his backyard veranda into a wine-tasting room. The gregarious Aver invites you to sip at the bar, made of empty wine barrels turned on their heads, and offers chocolate bites with two of the four pours — a sweet lesson on food and wine pairing. And he’ll answer every question you can muster.
This is the epitome of a small, homegrown winery. The vineyards surrounding the house include grenache, syrah, petite sirah and cabernet sauvignon. Aver takes his grapes to a custom crush facility, where he works with winemaker Kian Tavakoli, to make about 2,000 cases per year. Our favorite wine of the day is the 2011 Hope ($40), a Rhone blend that includes grenache, syrah, petite sirah, carignane and mourvedre. Aver pairs Hope with dark chocolate-chipotle almonds, a perfect match for the rich, bright red and black fruit and the smoky, spicy notes in this complex wine.
Plan to spend some time here on a beautiful wine country afternoon. The Aver motto is “where friends become family” — and they mean it.
The details: Open first and third weekends of the month from noon to 4 p.m. Tasting fee of $10 can be applied to bottle purchase. 2900 Soma Way, Gilroy; www.averfamilyvineyards.com.
The sips: 2013 Exuberant ($30) is a crisp, unoaked chardonnay with caramel notes. The 2011 Faith ($39) petite sirah and syrah blend has lots of black pepper and blackberry aromas.
— M. Orlin, Staff