Chill 07.08.21

That a husband and wife run a winery in Monterey County may not be news. However, that they are stationed in Castroville and produce wine not only from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, but Grenache, Mourvédre and Syrah as well makes Flywheel a unique player in an otherwise saturated local market.

No one is mad about a local saturation of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but winemaker Scott Shapley and his wife, Laura Hoover, offer adventurous palates an avenue through red wine. Flywheel uses grapes exclusively from the Chalone appellation near Pinnacles National Park.

Of the three, Grenache offers the simplest path over to their idea of The New. Shapley describes it as similar to Pinot Noir’s leather and flowery notes, but Grenache distinguishes itself with a dominant flavor closer to strawberry than cherry. Shapley likes to pair it with rotisserie chicken or ratatouille.

Syrah carries a spicier tone that; he recommends pairing it with spicy Middle Eastern or Indian dishes. Mourvédre is a bit more daring. Shapely says the robust flavor profile is “meaty, gamey” with notes of cool, bright fruit. His pairing for Mourvédre is a little more specific but he swears by it: blue cheese and sausage-stuffed mushrooms with fennel.

Flywheel has been around since 2012 but stationed in Castroville since 2018. Tastings are offered by appointment and bottles can be found at Nielsen Brothers and Toro Sushi in Carmel, as well as Big Sur Bakery.

FLYWHEEL WINES, Castroville. Tasting by appointment. (415) 515-2081,

Christopher Neely covers a mixed beat that includes the environment, water politics, and Monterey County's Board of Supervisors. He began at the Weekly in 2021 after five years on the City Hall beat in Austin, TX.

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