A spur of the moment detour ended up with a wonderful winery find. My husband and I were at the Camarillo outlets shopping for some incidentals for my daughter’s upcoming wedding when we decided to end our day with a stop to the Cantara Cellars.
Mike Brown, winemaker/owner has been making wine since 2005. With his wife Chris they started making wine at their residence in Moorpark. Naming the winery Cantara seemed appropriate because the name refers to the section of the planned development their home is located in.
Mike was not a newbie to wine industry; he grew up in Lodi, where his family roots go back to 1847. Today his parents grow 28 acres of Chardonnay on the farm that his grandfather started.
Mike and Chris’ career change was precipitated by their concern with where their life would take them after they retire. Like many they wanted some certainty for their future. Mike an Engineer by trade was turning 50 and wondered where his career would take him. Knowing his family grew Chardonnay what better way to start in the wine business than making wine from family grapes. The Brown’s first wine was of course was a Chardonnay.
Cantara Cellars wine tasting room is located in an industrial park in Camarillo. The tasting room is very welcoming as are the wines. Mike has a lighter style of making wine. The wines have a more feminine quality to them and are very flavorful. Except for one of their Tempranillos, Amador County, all the grapes are sourced from Lodi.
Mike took us into the back for a barrel tasting. We got to sample the 2015 Syrah, Malbec and Petite Syrah. I especially liked the Syrah and Malbec.
We tasted through most of Cantara’s portfolio but I will list just those that stood out on this particular visit.
2014 Chardonnay, Ruth’s Vineyard, a vineyard named after Mike’s mother is a very crisp refreshing wine. The wine is created in a Burgundian style and aged in air permeable totes. There is a predominate flavor of pears.
2013 GSM, which is focused on Grenache, is a very lively and peppery lighter bodied wine displaying red fruit.
2012 Intrepid is a well-integrated blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which is aged for 3 years. The wine is bright and balanced with nice florals on the nose and raspberry flavors.
2012 Franknvine is the most complex and full-bodied wine I sampled at Cantara Cellars. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Old Vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Malbec. The wine is aged for 3 years.
2010 Amador Tempranillo is aged for three years. With the grapes coming from the Sierra Foothills, this is a lighter Tempranillo yet it comes across as a full-bodied wine. This was one of my favorites
Cantara Cellars is part of the Ventura County Winery Association. They are less than 10 minutes from the Camarillo Outlets so if you find yourself bored with shopping and want to do something different; this winery is the perfect diversion.
126 Wood Road, Suite 104
Camarillo, CA 93010
Phone: (805) 484-9600