By Kimberly Horg
A decade ago, a portfolio of handcrafted wines were created for all to enjoy. Originally Cru Wine Company started off with the name Mariposa Wine Company but eventually emerged into Cru. The Cru, Mariposa, and Yosemite View brands, each feature varietals which prosper in its own regions.
Although it is centrally located in Madera, Calif., the grapes are sourced from appellations ranging from Santa Barbara to Napa Valley. Winemaking at Cru is overlooked by winemaker Ken Post.
Post is a California native who began his career in his family’s alfalfa and grain ranch in Paso Robles. Later in life he enrolled in Fresno State’s Enology Viticulture program and started producing wine at Prospero and Oak Hollow Wineries in Madera. After moving to Cru, he learned the art of producing award-winning varietals by embracing California’s premium viticulture areas. Each label that Post makes has its own unique flavor.
“I like to see the vineyard reflected in the final product,” he said. “To get this result, I choose to take a more minimalist approach.” He says every vintage is a little different because Mother Nature never works the same way twice. Thus, every vintage and year is unique in its own way. His personal favorite is the Cru 2010 Santa Maria Pinot Noir and his favorite wine in the winery is barrel 12/76, a 2012 Garey Pinot Noir that will be bottled in September 2013.
Because Post was born in Madrid, it makes perfect sense that Cru has two specialty Spanish varietals, the Mariposa 2012 Albariño and the Mariposa 2010 Tempranillo.
“They tantalize your tastes buds,” Post said.
The Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most popular, mostly because of the flavors and unique tastes. Cru wine company has a friendly staff including Kali Hardcastle, Wine Club manager, who advises guests to come to the tasting room to find out what makes their wine so good.
The winery is open for tastings seven days a week, giving people plenty of opportunity to stop by, drink wine and lounge in the picnic area. Cru Wine Company also offers an educational wine tasting experience. It enjoys showing guests the wine-making process.
“The winery is beautiful. People should check it out and become a part of the Cru family,” Hardcastle said.
Wine club members receive discounts off all three of Cru’s company brands, VIP invitations to events as well as other perks including a special gift with each of three shipments made in February, May and October. It has different memberships to choose from depending on what suits each individual including its Classic Four Bottle Club, All Reds, All Whites or their Eight Bottle Club. Each member has the choice of receiving shipments that are either delivered to his or her home or available for pick-up at the winery.
“I love my club membership because we receive new wines periodically, especially the very refreshing new Pinot Grigio,” Barbara Biddy, Fresno resident and CRU wine club member, said.
According to Hardcastle, Cru strives to deliver quality as well as value to its customers. It has won dozens of awards through the years from all over the state and beyond. Most recently, the Mariposa 2012 Pinot Grigio won Best Pinot Grigio in California, Best White Wine in the Northern Central Coast and the Double Gold winner in the California State Fair.
“We are extremely happy with the success of all of our wines,” she said.
Future plans include the production of a Paso Robles Zinfandel and a Monterey Riesling, one of their first true sweet wines.
The winery is located at 20146 Road 21 in Berenda, Calif. (which is just outside of Madera) and is open every day from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information call (559) 673-6372 or visit cruwinecompany.com
Visit the winery on Sept. 14, 2013 for Cru’s 4th annual Grape Stomp. For tickets and information visit their website.