I know, what a surprise. While I support the wineries of Napa Valley and Sonoma County, which are practically in my backyard, I am really happy to find a winery right here in Berkeley, CA. Two Mile Wines is a local collective of wine aficionados who craft their wines in a small warehouse in Berkeley with fruit sourced from Sonoma, Napa, Livermore and the Central Coast.
Berkeley, CA has a reputation of being a “foodie” city, thanks in part to Alice Waters, organic farmer's markets, Berkeley Bowl and the divine restaurants of the Krikorian Empire (Sea Salt, Lalimes, T-Rex) and now we have our own winery to match. According to Justin Bramwell, one of the collective members, and today's spokesperson, Two Mile Wines want to produce food-friendly wines that are fruit forward and well-balanced. The wines also incorporate some local history. In fact, 'Two Mile' refers to the two mile dry zone that existed on the UCBerkeley Campus during the Prohibition era.
I got to try three wines that day even though they produce six.
2006 Dry Creek Syrah $38
The fruit for the Syrah comes from Unti vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma County. Pungent nose of blue fruit, dark red fruit with a bracing note of coffee with a meaty overtone. Gripping tannins which smooth out into a cherry leather finish. Very full-bodied with a strong linger. This was selling right out of the warehouse.
Jacob's Landing 2006 Bordeaux Blend $28
(66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 1%?, from Dickman Ranch in Southern Napa)
The name of this wine comes from Capt. James Jacobs, who 1854 built a small wharf known as Jacob's Landing at what is now known as the Berkeley Marina. Capt. Jacobs was one of the first was first local shippers carrying cargoes across the SF Bay and Jacobs Landing is where it all began. But what about the wine? The nose on this one is pure perfume with floral, herbaceous, eucalyptus notes. The palate is rich with notes of eucalyptus, cherry and spice. This wine might just transport you to a better place...
2006 Livermore Valley Petite Sirah $34
Fruit from the hot Wente Vineyards, close to the 13th hole at the golf course! This has a strong nose of tar with that barnyardy aroma covering red and black fruits with a bit of cocoa. Inky and opaque, very full-bodied and tannic with a spicy steak sauce finish. This was fermented in new American oak and neutral French and the oak is very well-integrated.
The wines I tasted were very full-bodied, fruit forward and strongly tannic, yet elegant with a good balance of the elements. Unfortunately the 2007 Viognier and the 2006 Sangiovese were not available to taste but you can purchase them by becoming a member of their wine club (quantities limited.)
So go explore these bold, locally-crafted wines, learn a little local history, and get a tour of the facility. And if you happen to be in the hood around harvest time stop by and help with the crush. Two Mile Wines wants to be your community winery. Plus, they are real friendly and love to tell you the stories of the wine.
Visit them at : 2816 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 510)868-8713. They are usually open for tastings Saturday afternoons. And, they will give you a discount if you buy a bottle or a case.