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Moonstone Crossing Photos

Moonstone Crossing Review

Region: California

Reviewed: February 17, 2013 by Nora
Published: February 19, 2013

Driving north along the Redwood Coast Highway, most travelers exit at the foggy town of Trinidad to take in the incredible views of Patrick’s Point, lunch on fried oysters or to browse the micro galleries lining the historic fishing village. In the furthest reaches of Northern California, Humboldt County is known for skyscraping Redwoods, rugged beaches and the local bohemian university, Humboldt State. So Moonstone Crossing Winery is a pleasant surprise for tourists and visitors – just as expansive views of the Pacific pop into sight the end of Trinidad village, a sign propped on a car out front announces, “Wine Tasting!” When we visited on a Saturday after Valentine’s Day, everyone seemed to agree and we entered a simple, quaint tasting room packed with guests. Within seconds we were greeted by a warm and friendly proprietress, Sharon Hanks, and soon after had wine glasses warming our wind-chilled fingertips.

Moonstone Crossing Winery, named after a nearby beach where the Little River pours into the Pacific, has been producing wine in Humboldt County since 2005. The owner/operator duo of Don Bremm and Sharon Hanks focus their labors solely on winemaking, choosing to purchase grapes from select vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Amador, Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt counties. The winery offers a striking range of wines from Old Vine Zinfandel to Rhone style blends to classic Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. They have a unique structure for tasting fees and discounts which was explained clearly on beginning our tasting: a $8 tasting fee gives guests their choice of six 1oz pours or twelve ½ oz pours from a selection of over two dozen wines. A purchase of one bottle refunds half a tasting fee ($4) and a two bottle purchase waives or refunds the full $8 fee. I thought this was a fair and reasonable approach, but a bit cumbersome to explain to every guest.

We opted to share a flight of six 1 oz. pours beginning with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc before moving onto a single-varietal Grenache, Barbera, Petite Sirah and a Bordeaux blend called Elysian Fields. Among the other choices were single vineyard Zinfandels from Humboldt and Amador counties, varying vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, a Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet and a couple of atypical offerings such as Nebbiolo and Pinotage, respectively native to northern Italy and South Africa and rarely produced in California. The wines were each distinct from one another and demonstrated characteristics classic to the given varietal, a compliment to the winemaker’s skill. The 2008 Chardonnay was produced in a distinctly un-Napa style, showing no hallmark signs of malolactic fermentation, the winemaking process responsible for buttery Chardonnay, though it’s austerity left us wanting for more fruit. The 2009 Amador County Sauvignon Blanc was far more impressive offering a classic bouquet of kiwi, lemongrass and lime and was bright and lively on the palate. It would be a great white to pair with the bounty of seafood, particularly Humboldt Bay oysters, which are ubiquitous on restaurant menus in the area. The Elysian Fields was our favorite red, full of ripe red fruit and undeniable tannins which left a long lingering and pleasant finish.

The atmosphere of the tasting room is simple and rustic with decoration provided by ample cases of wine in every direction and local artwork adorning the walls. On the day we visited, Sharon had been manning the tasting room solo and when crowds surged in the late afternoon, she pulled long-time regular, Terry, behind the bar to help pour. His face could have been the inspiration for the Gorton Fisherman; friendly with ruddy cheeks and a thick white beard bookending his broad smile; he told us he’d only lived in Trinidad for about 50 years and with a glass of red in his hand, he certainly didn’t seem to mind that a local tasting room had opened up shop in his village. The laid back tasting room welcomes families, but does not offer an outdoor area for kids to play and Fido needs to stay in the car. After visiting Moonstone Crossing, amble up the street to grab a latte at the Beachcomber Café or shop in the local art galleries along the main drag. Of course a trip to Trinidad isn’t complete with a stop at Luffenholtz, Moonstone or Trinidad State Beach; signs direct you immediately after exiting or ask anyone in town. Enjoy!

Address & Contact Information: 529 Trinity St. Trinidad, California 95570. Telephone: 707-845-5492, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Summer: Wed 12:00-7:00, Thurs-Sun 12:00-6:00 and by appt.; Winter: Fri-Sun 12:00-6:00 and by appt..

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