Pinot Noir 2012
The Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County is a prime grape-growing region. Its proximity to the cool maritime influences of the Monterey Bay allows fruit to ripen slowly, and, for Lucia Highlands’ 2012 Chardonnay from Kelly’s Vineyard, a luscious wine with intense tropical fruit flavors is the result.
It’s around this time of year that I usually write about sparkling wine—we all love a glass of bubbly to start off the New Year, after all. So I headed to Deer Park Wine & Spirits in Aptos to sift through their fine selection of locally made wines, but opted for an Osocalis brandy instead: a Rare Alambic ($48 for 750 ml.).
One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.
At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.