What’s New in Old Town Newhall? New tasting rooms and longtime favorites make Main Street the place to be

by | Nov 18, 2016 | Eve's Wine 101, Food & Wine

Old Town Newhall is abuzz with new developments in wine, cheese and everything delicious!  Check out what’s new on Main Street:
Fans of the wildly popular Garagiste Festivals will be happy to learn that Doug Minnick, the festival’s co-founder, along with Scott Page-Pagter of local favorite Pagter Brothers Winery, have been working diligently to construct a winery tasting room near the corner of 8th and Main streets.  The yet-to-be named tasting room will have the same fun, no-snobs-allowed atmosphere found at The Garagiste Festivals.
“Some wineries are the playthings of rich folks.  Not this one,” reads the Facebook page of Minnick’s own winery, Hoi Polloi.
Sourced from top vineyards in Paso Robles, the Santa Rita Hills and Sonoma, Minnick’s wine is handmade in extremely small lots by three working stiffs, barrel by barrel.  Hoi Polloi produces Syrah, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Rosé – so far. The other two working stiffs are fellow winemakers Ted Behlendorf and Dan Erland Andersen.
Pagter Brothers Winery, founded by Scott and his brother Gib, made the decision to create their own wine at the Pulchella custom crush facility in 2013.
“Twenty years of passionate wine drinking (research), 10 years of previous winemaking experience, and now our fourth legitimate harvest have brought us to this place,” Pagter said.  “We are a boutique winery sourcing our grapes from select vineyards in Paso Robles and Santa Barbara, making small-batch, very specialized barrels of exceptional wine.”
Pagter’s wine is multi-award winning and received a rating of 92 in Wine Enthusiast this year.
“We’re super excited to be bringing our wines to the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Minnick.  “Between Hoi Polloi and Pagter Brothers, our customers will be able to take a virtual trip of the best vineyards in the state right in their own backyard. It’s gonna be fun!”
Very near to Southern Smoke BBQ and Brewhouse and Pulchella Winery Tasting Room will be the Newhall Press Room.  Not a place for journalists to hang out – though I’m sure we will – this new shop is dedicated to bringing Santa Claritans all things made via a press: cheese, coffee and wine.  I’ve been chatting with one of the owners, Don MacNeil, who is the cousin of The Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil.  He may have alluded to a “book signing involving Karen MacNeil early next year.”
Pulchella Winery and Tasting Room winemakers Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper were knee deep in grapes as deadline loomed.  I did learn, however, that several of their wines have been awarded top scores from Wine Enthusiast – six wines received scores ranging from 91 to 94 points!  My favorite thing about our local winery is that members taste for free, and they have killer pickup parties right here in town; no road trip necessary.
Lastly, for those tapped into the local wine scene, social media rumors are abound about a possible brewery adjacent to the Laemmle Theatre building set for Lyons and Main.  It’s my understanding, however, that the drawing that spurred the whispers was merely meant to show us what could go in that space.  If it were up to me, it’s time we had a distillery to add to the array of tasting opportunities!  Wine, beer, chocolate, cheese and distilled spirits should do it!
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years.  She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email [email protected] to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column.  You can also seek her marketing advice via [email protected]