The Hedonistic Taster: Silver Mountain Vineyards

The Hedonistic Taster

 Silver Mountains Vineyards – Santa Cruz Mountains, CA.

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne + Champagne  ML

LM Archer Tastevin

“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

The Hedonistic Taster provides an intimate format for sharing industry trade sample tasting notes with readers, typically Burgundy, bubbles and small-lot, artisan wines from emerging wine regions.

The title derives from the term “hedonistic tasting” coined by the legendary Burgundian vigneron, Henri Jayer, who believed that wine was not just a beverage, but a source of pleasure.

Disclaimer: No compensation is received; all opinions expressed are that of the author.


Top L to R: Jerold O'Brien, proprietor and founder of Silver Mountain Vineyards explains his organic farming practices; talking sandstone soils of the San Andreas fault; rainwater collected from his extensive rainwater collection system; views from the deck at Silver Mountain Vineyards; 2nd pruning. Images: ©L.M. Archer

Jerold O’Brien is used to shaking things up on Silver Mountain Vineyards

Nestled at 2,100 feet amidst a quietly spectacular redwood forest, Silver Mountain Vineyards sports vistas spanning Monterey Bay to San Francisco Bay.  The nonconformist and former air force pilot/silver speculator founded Silver Mountain Vineyards in 1979.

His winery sits atop the sandstone-laden San Andreas Fault, within view of the  North Pacific plate. O’Brien’s unfortunate proximity to both fault lines proved fateful when he lost the first winery and three years of production in the 1989 earthquake.

Rebuilding post-earthquake allowed O’Brien the opportunity to implement sustainable designs that support his tenant “to respect Mother Earth and set an example on how to save the planet.” Silver Mountain Vineyards now boasts one of the largest solar arrays in the Santa Cruz Mountains, an extensive rain water-collection system, shaded area to reduce storage, and an artificial cave for barrel storage. O’Brien contends it may be the most sustainable winery in the area.

O’Brien insists upon practicing organic farming, earning CCOF certification in 1991 for his efforts.

Today, Silver Mountain Vineyards produces award-winning estate and single-vineyard sourced, small-lot Burgundy-inspired wines – plus private, premium label winemaking for a few high-quality wine growers in the region.

Wine:  Silver Mountain Vineyards Tondrés Grapefield Chardonnay – Santa Lucia Highlands

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  13.5%

Suggested Retail: $34 SOLD OUT


Robe:  Clear, gold robe.                                          

Nose:  Delicate melba toast, butterscotch aromas.

Palate: Medium body, lush, golden apple bouche.

Wine:  Silver Mountain Vineyards Tondrés Grapefield Pinot Noir – Santa Lucia Highlands

Vintage: 2010 

Alcohol:  14.1%

Suggested Retail: $44 (Link)

Link to Producer Specs


Robe:  Deep purple-raspberry robe.

Nose:  Bramble berry nose.

Palate: Light body, dark berry – raspberry, blackberry, blueberry bouche. Acids, tannins, finish +.

Wine: Silver Mountain Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2012

Alcohol:  13.3%

Suggested Retail: $44 SOLD OUT


Robe:  Deep garnet robe.

Nose:  Forest floor, dark berry, truffle, barnyard notes.

Palate: Black fruit, bramble, black cherry bouche. Light/medium body, acids, tannins, finish +.


Silver Mountain Vineyards 2010 Méthode Champenoise Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine.

Wine: Silver Mountain Vineyards 2010 Méthode Champenoise Pinot Noir Sparkling 

Vintage: 2010

Alcohol:  12.5%


Producer Specs: Once-in-a-decade wine, sourced from Mun’s Vineyard. The winemaker produces only enough to disgorge 20+ cases each year for 8 years, starting in 2015.


Robe:  Clear pêche robe, pinhead beading, diffuse mousse.

Nose:  Brioche, salmonberry, stone fruit on the nose.

Palate: Light body, bright acids, creamy bouche. Unicorn wine, representative of the Santa Cruz Mountains – complex, earthy, ethereal. A rare find, indeed.


More about Silver Mountain Vineyards here.

More The Hedonistic Taster here.


Copyrighted 2018-2019  L.M. Archer | All Rights Reserved.

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