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Jul 30th
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Wine Reviews

Dining - Wine Reviews

Testarossa Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011

Testarossa Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011

The Italian word for “redhead” is Testarossa. Years ago, when the co-founder of Testarossa Vineyards, Rob Jensen, was a university student in Italy, he had very red hair, so he was given the nickname “Testarossa”—now the name of his winery.

Although Jensen’s degree is in electrical engineering, a minor in the Italian language and culture led him to Assisi, a hill town perched on Mount Subasio in central Italy. An interest in winemaking was even more heightened by experiencing the wonderful wines of Italy, and by further trips to Europe’s great wine-growing areas. Rob and his wife Diana founded Testarossa Vineyards in the late ’90s on very historic property—the 19th century Novitiate of Los Gatos, where Jesuit fathers still live to this day.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Burrell School Vineyards

Burrell School Vineyards

Cabernet Franc 2008

Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite wines, and Burrell School makes a good one. The 2008 Cab Franc ($30) is a beautiful wine—made from estate grapes grown in Pichon Vineyard located on Mount Umunhum above Lexington Reservoir. With its aromas of green tea, tobacco and raspberry and lots of big fruit flavors in the mouth, this smooth wine takes Cab Franc to another level.

Along with his wife Anne, winemaker Dave Moulton started in the wine business back in the ’70s, so to say he has a ton of experience under his belt would be an understatement. I see him often at wine events—always cutting a notable figure in brightly colored pants and snazzy jackets. He’s an ebullient, forthright character—and his personality reflects in his wine, too. He makes big bold wines that are not for the weak-kneed.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Rexford Winery Pinot Gris 2010

Rexford Winery Pinot Gris 2010

There’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone. I had been meaning to write about Rexford Winery for some time, and the opportunity arose after a tasting at Kuumbwa Jazz one evening.

My friends and I arrived early at Kuumbwa for a concert of Zimbabwean music with renowned musician Oliver Mtukudzi. Kuumbwa’s events often include diverse ethnic music concerts—with everything from Spanish flamenco to the Tuareg people of Morocco to Pakistani qawwali singers. The setting is cozy and intimate, and there is always plenty to eat and drink throughout every concert. 

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine Summer Hot List

Vine & Dine Summer Hot List

In between wining and dining, I wanted to shed light on five local businesses that have hit my radar this summer.
Chardonnay II Winemaker Sails
Annieglass Platemaker Dinner
Redwood Canopy Tours
Peachy Kleen Chem-Dry
The Buttery
Pelican Ranch Winery

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery

Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Although Windy Oaks is known mostly for its outstanding red wines, they are now producing some excellent whites as well.  Their new release of Sauvignon Blanc sells for a mere $15 around town, but has been spotted at Deluxe Foods of Aptos for only $11.99. If you need a mouthful of something bright and zingy for summer, then this is your answer.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine

Vine & Dine

Pat Paulsen Vineyards Moscato 2012

A very fun wine to try that won’t break the bank is Pat Paulsen Vineyards’ Moscato 2012 (about $15).

This crisp bright wine, which has a slightly sweet finish, is a good sipping wine—or pair it with spicy foods and desserts. It exemplifies the delicious fruit and floral nature of the Muscat family of grapes—and it’s available at It’s Wine Tyme in Capitola Village. Pat Paulsen Vineyards also makes an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc for about $16 which you can try at Vino Prima wine bar at the end of the Municipal Wharf. Pat Paulsen Vineyards’ local contact is Dennis Walker: [email protected] or visit patpaulsenvineyards.com. 

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Beauregard Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

Beauregard Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

Winemaker Ryan Beauregard was raised around the aromas of sandy loam topsoils and fresh dew on the vines. Growing up at the Beauregard Ranch, where his great-grandfather planted the original vineyard in 1949, he remembers playing among the vines and all the different smells he experienced. “To this day, he says, “I can smell a wine in the cellar and know specifically where it came from on the home ranch.”

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