Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.
The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.
As one of the judges at the Dare to Pair Food & Wine Competition held April 26 at the Surf City Vintners complex on the Westside, I had a hard time choosing a winning dish. All 12 plates of food prepared by students in the Cabrillo College Culinary Program—each paired with a compatible wine—were outstanding.
I recently got together with a group of friends at Cantine Winepub in Aptos, which accommodates groups well with its spacious interior and west-facing wooden deck (with a fire pit), which makes a sunset glass of wine all the more enjoyable. Located in the heart of Aptos Village, Cantine also offers small plates of food, such as bruschetta, marinated kale salad, a cheese tray, and other tasty morsels that are perfect for sharing.
Dinner at Bittersweet Bistro is always a delightful experience. Food, service and ambiance all come together superbly in this well-established restaurant. And expert chef Thomas Vinolus and his wife Elizabeth, co-owners of Bittersweet, work hard to make sure that every customer’s visit is a memorable one.
If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.