A friend was in town (Josie) and she wanted to visit the Ceja tasting salon up the street. I know Javier well and he was there with big smiles as we entered the door. He always makes you feel as though you are family and are coming home. We sat and enjoyed a tasting- we were specific on what we wanted- of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet. They have many other wines for you to try, but we were trying to decide on wine for an upcoming event. The Chardonnay was an immediate hit for both of us, buttery on the nose but not on the tongue. Not too fruity, and not oakey. I might say “well-balanced”. That was a definite yes for us. We moved onto the Pinots, with a selection from both Sonoma and Napa. The Sonoma was big on the nose, very fruity in aroma, and was hearty on the tongue. We both enjoyed it. The one from Carneros was lighter, more subtle, and less inviting. Then we started talking with Javier and ten minutes later returned to the Pinots. Oh my! The Sonoma was still there- hearty and fruity. Yet the Carneros Pinot opened up: the aroma wafted up with bright fruit, and when we took a sip we both experienced an elegance in the wine that wasn’t there initially. Aha! This Pinot was acting coy and shy, but opened up with time. We loved it. The Cabernet was delicious, light on the fruit and light on the palate; not the big Napa Cabernet we often find in the valley. Yet Josie wanted something bigger. ”Delicious,” she said, “but I want something bigger.” So, we settled on the Chardonnay and the Carneros Pinot and continued our search for a Cabernet (more on that later!).
Javier reminded us that the artwork on the wall changed out quarterly and that they offered Salsa lessons and dancing on the weekends- a big draw for Saturday nights when you are looking for something fun to do! And if you’re not familiar with the Ceja family, Javier will fill you in with all the details of this “vineyard worker to vineyard owner” Latino family who welcome you simply with the words: “Mi casa es su casa.” The price on the wines range fro $20 to $50.