We paid a visit to some "old friends" yesterday here in Ventura county not far from home down in sunny Oxnard, YES, sunny Oxnard! The fog of yesteryear has become only an occasional memory now that everything seems like a perennial summer these days. I have been following Herzog Wine ever since reading about them in Wine Enthusiast some years ago. They had just broken ground on their new, state of the art 77,000 sqaure foot facility here in Oxnard. Located less than a mile off the Rice ave off ramp from the 101, is one of the biggest wineries in CA if not the country!
HERZOG wine cellars was brought to California by a wine making family hailing from early 19th century Slovenia honing their skills for 8 generations. With master wine maker, Joe Hurliman on board, they are KOSHER wine making "mavens" who have raised the "bar- mitzvah" for kosher wines without peer particularly since coming to the U.S. in 1948. Now you may be thinking, "but this is kosher wine"? Let me tell you in my "perfect grammatical Yiddish,.. this ain't your grand abbes Manischewitz"! This is high end wine making of the finest, and yes, Herzog answers to a "higher authority" with their cutting edge wine making excellence.
We were warmly greeted by Jennifer, one of the cellar associates and sat down to a flight tasting starting with their Chenin Blanc, and progressed to the red line-up, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah but when they brought out their Petite Verdot, we were impressed! It sung on our nose through our palate all the way down to the glorious finish. Now just when you would think that would be the grand finale, we met Ed Blair, their wine cellar tour guide and educator who broke out an encore piece de resistance; their Malbec from Paso Robles that would make any Argentine from Mendoza green with envy, not the over the top, extreme over concentration some Malbec's display but a fruit forward, approachable, melodious 100% California Malbec you don't have to lay down for further development to enjoy.
We were taken on a tour of the facility asking Ed many questions and getting not just answers but a wonderful narrative to this award winning operation and its history. Ed then treated us to yet another encore wine after the tour, the 2015 HERZOG Lineage "Camoflage" Red Wine Blend. Now here is where it gets even more interesting, Ed advised us of a characteristic of this mysterious blend, as we swirl the glass before each taste, a different nuance comes out in the wine with each sip, amazing!
This visit was an afternoon of wine adventure, we had thought of trying to crash the Santa Barbara Opera production of CARMEN in hopes that there might still be some tickets but when meeting Herzog's on site sommelier, Martin Cortez, the time had passed so fast that we realized we made the show at Herzog! We already had lunch so the next time we visit, we hope to take in the Terra Sur Restaurant. This winery is the real deal California Winery experience with the utmost in professional, engaging staff that really know how to focus on the customer and assure them a memorable wine experience.