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Apr 21st
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Wine Reviews

Dining - Wine Reviews

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2012

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2012

Ventana Vineyards’ wines are pretty well known on the Central Coast—their wines can be found all over. And with a brand new label, they are easy to spot on wine store shelves.

The labels are designed to tell the story of Spanish explorer, Gaspar de Portola, who came ashore in Big Sur in 1769. He proceeded inland through what is now called the Ventana Wilderness and looked upon the fertile Salinas Valley through a gap formed in the Arroyo Seco Canyon. The explorer called the gap ‘La Ventana,’ the Spanish word for window. These easy-to-read new labels show exactly what the wine is—in this case an estate-grown Chardonnay, 2012 vintage from Arroyo Seco Vineyards in Monterey, and all sustainably produced.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Villa del Monte Winery

Villa del Monte Winery

Pinot Noir Reserve 2011. Wine Events.

During Restaurant Week at the beginning of October, when participating restaurants offer three courses for $25, I met up with a couple of friends at Booka for dinner. One of my friends particularly wanted to go to this fairly new Aptos restaurant because her son is a chef there.

I took along a bottle of Villa del Monte Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, Santa Cruz Mountains William Vincent Vineyard to share. We all had different appetizers and main courses, but the very drinkable Pinot paired nicely with everything. My friends also ordered cocktails from the bar, but I wanted to simply enjoy the well-made Pinot. Smooth and silky, it’s bursting with red fruit and characteristic earthiness. Aromas of spice, leather and caramel and some vanilla and spice in the mouth add to the overall pleasure of drinking this impressive wine ($34). We all loved it.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Martin Ranch Winery Zinfandel 2009

Martin Ranch Winery Zinfandel 2009

As we head into fall weather, it is good to stock up one’s wine rack—or cellar, if you have one—with a few robust red wines that will warm the cockles.

Martin Ranch Winery’s 2009 Zinfandel is a hearty two-vineyard blend from the Santa Clara Valley that is perfect to open up as the evening’s chill sets in. This particular wine—under their J.D. Hurley label—can be found all over in markets and liquor stores for around $18. With hints of blackberry jam on the nose and flavors of dark fruit, black licorice and spice, it’s a good pairing with barbecue and pizza. Barrel aged for about 20 months, this blend of 78 percent Zinfandel, 8 percent Petit Sirah and 14 percent Carignane is a full-bodied wine that’s ready to drink now.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Bargetto Chardonnay 2011 + Local Wine Events

Bargetto Chardonnay 2011 + Local Wine Events

Bargetto Winery produces a multitude of good wines—from high priced to very reasonable. I found a Central Coast 2011 Chardonnay in New Leaf for $13.99 (regularly $15)—a pretty good deal for this lovely wine.

A lighter style of Chardonnay, this vibrant straw-colored wine is aged in stainless steel tanks to maintain the true flavors and acidity of the fruit. With a soupçon of lemony zest on the tongue and aromas of citrus on the nose, the wine is very refreshing and bright. The winery suggests pairing it with fish, sushi and Thai food, and I also like this wine with some zesty cheese.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Festive Times

Festive Times

Exploring the local food and wine scene

Silver Mountain Winery’s Harvest Festival
Mole & Mariachi Festival
Farm-to-Table Dinner at Chaminade
Santa Clara Valley Fall Passport Weekend
Hotel Paradox Features Flamenco Guitar Wednesdays

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2011

Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2011

Located in the northern region of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Lucia Highlands Vineyard is in a prime grape-growing region. Its proximity to the cool maritime influences of the Monterey Bay allows the fruit to ripen slowly, producing a luscious Chardonnay with intense tropical fruit flavors.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Galante Family Winery Kick Ass Cabernet 2009

Galante Family Winery Kick Ass Cabernet 2009

Jack Galante wears a cowboy hat, boots and jeans, and looks every inch like he’s right off the range, which is not surprising since a cowboy theme features in everything his winery has to do with wine. I first met him at a wine-tasting event at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands last year, and we had a long chat about his winery and estate wines.

Galante is an affable guy who wants everybody to have fun when they visit his winery. He calls his wine club the “Galante Wine Gang” and his membership tiers “Foreman,” “Trail Boss” and “Wrangler” so I’m sure you get the picture. Wine club membership in the Wrangler category includes one complimentary ticket to the Annual Wine Gang Muster and barbecue at his ranch in the Carmel hills.

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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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