A group of friends gathered recently at the Hollins House for dinner. As usual, food and service were excellent in this lovely restaurant. The extensive bar is a good spot to go for a cocktail – and you can always get some appetizers if a hunger pang or two kicks in.
I order a Hess Select Chardonnay 2008 Monterey to sip on before dinner (bottle $30, glass $8) and am delighted by this crisp and refreshing wine. Its vibrant tropical fruit flavors of pineapple, green apple and melon burst out of the glass.
Pinot Noir 2008
Pinot Noir is a sexy wine. With its full-bodied earthy nuances and creamy texture, it’s a perfect wine to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
With this in mind, I take a bottle of Vino Tabi’s gorgeous 2008 Pinot Noir, Lester Family Vineyards, to a special Valentine’s dinner at Center Street Grill—the first in a series of dinners prepared by local chef Jake Gandolfo of Fox TV’s MasterChef cooking show—featuring the controversial Gordon Ramsay.
Every now and then, I write about a very inexpensive wine that deserves a bit of attention. In this case, it’s Delicato Family Vineyards’ 2009 Merlot, which sells for around $6. Actually, I saw it in New Leaf for a bit less than this, so if you’re looking for a nice red that’s not going to break the bank, then you really can’t go wrong.
At a recent concert at The Catalyst, my husband bought a bottle of Delicato to while away the evening – as we got there early to nab a precious table and a couple of chairs.
I tasted this lovely Chardonnay at Paradise Beach Grille in Capitola at the Wine & Crab Taste-Off held last month. (Other participating restaurants in the Taste-Off were Café Cruz, Ma Maison and Sanderlings.) This splendid event is not only a golden opportunity to compare some specially presented crab delicacies—as the restaurants compete for best dish—but also to sample some excellent local wines. This crustacean-centered event takes place every January, and is organized by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association.
About a year ago, I wrote about Barry Jackson’s Cioppino Rosso, a blend of different wines that winemaker Jackson laughingly calls Cioppino because he “throws all the leftovers in a pot.” He’s referring, of course, to his vivacious blend of several wines—just as the cioppino fish stew is a mixture of fish and shellfish thrown into a pot.
Now, on a somewhat more serious note, it’s time to write about Jackson’s Grenache. A majority of Grenache grapes (there is only 4 percent Syrah added), this wine has the typical enticing aromas of earth and stewed fruits.
Malvasia Bianca 2009
“You can’t be too rich, too beautiful or too birichino”–or so says John Locke, wine director at Soif wine bar in downtown Santa Cruz. Locke is also the winemaker of this lovely crisp white wine, and, along with business partner Alex Krause, have bottled something frisky and very drinkable. I thought it the ideal libation to try with some of Soif’s imaginative cuisine.
Meeting up with some friends on a Monday evening at Soif is a delicious way to start the week. Mondays can be a bit flat, but not at Soif. With soft “Gypsy jazz” from Hot Club Pacific playing in the background and plates of scrumptious oysters begging to be devoured, we toasted good times (and Good Times!) with a bottle of Birichino.