Thriving vineyards and popular wineries in Orange County? Hard to believe, but true. The Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery started as a daring dream for famed millionaire developer Richard Moriarty. Today, his goal of producing good wines in the OC has evolved into a dream come true for Moriarty and wine lovers alike.
The Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery is a unique find tucked away on Mesa Drive not far from Jamboree. This coastal gem is available for private parties, as well as corporate and charitable events.
What makes this winery so special? Hmmm, hard to pick any one thing. Let’s start with the surprising memorable wines. While sipping and swirling, it’s hard to believe the wines are from the OC – born and raised! A few highlights:
- 2010 OC Estate Unobtainium: This Meritage uses all five of the Bordeaux grapes: 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot and smaller percentages of the remaining grapes. It gained its unusual name from Moriarty as a nod to naysayers. ‘People always doubted Richard’s ability to grow in Newport,’ Executive Director Justin Myers says. ‘That is where the ‘unobtainable’ came from.’ The wine has an array of wonderful flavors, including rose petals, pepper, cranberry, pomegranate and a finish of cinnamon. The winemaker uses a unique co-fermentation method. ‘We did what we call a cave five blend with all five grapes in it,’ Myers explains. ‘We picked all five of the grapes and tossed them all in together, and all five age together over time. Typically, we age for about 20 months where most winemakers do the blending at bottling time.’ A true delight!
- 2008 Back Bay Cuvee: This Napa Valley Meritage, aged 18 months in American Oak, is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 21% Petit Verdot and 7% Malbec. The wine is wonderfully structured showing a deep ruby color with layers of dark fruit. There are hints of pomegranate, vanilla bean and oak. The finish, long and smooth.
- 2009 OC Red: Another Napa Valley Meritage. It’s a delightful blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The wine is juicy and expansive, offering sweet dark berry flavors lifted by mild tannins. It displays rich fruit aromas and smoaky oak tones. It finishes with an interesting blend of vanilla, tobacco and mild pepper. Memorable!
One of the cost-saving measures the winery employs is purchasing single-year used oak barrels from Napa Valley icon Opus One. This tactic not only provides a significant savings, but adds distinct flavors. Brilliant!
The wines are just part of what makes this oasis so special. The property features an inviting wine cave that houses its barrels, and doubles as a cozy spot to mix and mingle.
While walking the grounds, there are beautiful views of the robust vines. On the upper terrace, guests will find a lively chicken coop. The star attraction: a friendly rooster who clearly enjoys posing for guests. If he could operate a smart phone, he’d no doubt be a shameless selfie king.
The property’s sprawling gardens are whimsical, lush and alluring (like the Back Bay Cuvée). The landscaping is thoughtfully, but not aggressively manicured… think Sonoma versus Napa… Malibu versus Beverly Hills. Mixed into this slice of paradise, two mesmerizing koi ponds. Oh, the serenity!
The foot bridge and stone walkway wind up to a gazebo with lounge chairs and shade trees overlooking the city. Guests are easily transported from Newport Beach to Kauai or maybe a Costa Rican rain forest. Spectacular!
This OC winery is proof that even the most daring dreams are never ‘Unobtainium’.