As a steward of the retail wine industry, I often find myself daydreaming about inching closer and closer to the source of my means.  Whether distilling or winemaking, I oft fantasize of working in a vineyard, harvesting and observing the grapes evolving over time.  There’s a certain level of fulfillment that I envision would come from watching someone enjoy the “fruits” of my labors.  Cary Quintana of Cary Q Wines embodies my passion and beliefs when it comes to this topic. 

Cary Quintana, of Cuban descent, was born and raised in Miami, Florida.  While working in the marketing industry, she chose to follow her passion and opened a small boutique wine shop focusing on a more esoteric selection.  Her business model was to shine a light on smaller producers that never gained traction at larger retail shops; a philosophy I also share, and which led me to her wines.  After the market crashed, Cary found herself in Northern California.  The winemaking bug took hold and Cary fell down the proverbial rabbit hole.  After several years of helping with harvest and developing sourcing relationships, Cary Q Wines was born. 

Cary’s focus is on minimal intervention and organic practices.  She wants you to taste a true representation of the terroir and the grape variety.  With grapes coming from Phil Coturri and Ann Kraemer, it’s smart to practice the “less is more” method.  I found myself drawn to her wines as the blends piqued my interest.  Her style of wine which leans to Rhone blends is a bit off the beaten path when most people think of California wine.  She also produces a 100% Graciano (Mostly found in Rioja, Spain) Rosé, which I hope to try at some point.  Let’s get down to the two wines that you can now purchase from Baytowne Wine & Spirits. 

Cary Q Wines, Based On A True Story Shake Ridge Ranch Amador County (2018)

Consisting of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, this blend was handpicked and sorted, 20% whole cluster, co-fermented, native fermentation, and aged seven months in neutral French Oak.  This wine is fresh and vibrant, with tart cherry right from the start.  Medium to full-bodied, it has an unexpected depth of flavor.  Although fruit-forward, there are complex layers of tertiary notes; leather, baking spices, and tobacco.  This GSM can be enjoyed now or over the next several years.  90 cases produced. 

Cary Q Wines, Hey Pretty! Shake Ridge Ranch Amador County (2019)

Bringing France and Spain together, this wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Tempranillo.  Hey Pretty follows in line with the same methods of True Story.  This wine is a floral bomb that lingers in your nose.  A bouquet of fresh wildflowers transports you to a country meadow.  On the palate, the Grenache, Mourvèdre and Tempranillo work harmoniously to provide balance.  Red fruit, leather, herbs and violets, “These are a few of my favorite things.”  As Cary has stated, she let the grapes do the talking; the oak brought the varieties together without leaving behind much of a trace.  This wine specifically stood out for me as I love floral and acidic wines.  I believe this wine has the complexity and acidity to hold up for the next decade, and I’m excited to see how it evolves.  85 cases produced.