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Sep 17th
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Wine

Dining - Wine Reviews

Foxglove

Foxglove

Chardonnay 2009

The United States is such a geographically diverse country that I never cease to be amazed. Coming from the pint-sized country of England, when I travel the wide-open spaces of the U.S., it always takes my breath away. My husband and I recently did a road trip to Yellowstone—our second time there—taking in Badlands National Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota also. Because we were staying in cabins in the national parks, we took our own wine – as well as an abundance of snack food.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Vino Tabi

Vino Tabi

Pinot Gris

One of the most fun areas to go wine tasting is in the Swift Street complex in Santa Cruz. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners, the place has been a hive of activity.

Vino Tabi, which belongs to the group, is an eclectic winery run by accomplished winemaker Katie Fox, who always offers a warm welcome and is happy to share her knowledge of wine.

 

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

Syrah Rosé 2008

On a recent wine-tasting visit to Hunter Hill, I sample a very unusual Rosé. Darker than most Rosés, this one has a moody hue, almost verging on red. “You have to try this,” says Christine Slatter, owner of Hunter Hill with her winemaker husband, Vann Slatter. “It’s our first Syrah Rosé, says Christine. “And we’re very happy with it.”

I ask Christine why this wine has such a deep ruby color. “Well, in the process [of winemaking] the color is determined by how long you leave it on the skins, and since the crush was late in the evening, we just got tired and left it,” she chuckles. They then realize that they had made a darker-than-usual Rosé, but it turned out really well. “The darker color gives more flavor and intensity to it,” she says. “It’s been a great summer wine.” Although supplies of the Syrah Rosé are running low – Christine tells me that they have only three cases left – Michael’s on Main restaurant in Soquel still has a good supply and you can buy it there by the glass or by the bottle.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Dancing Creek Winery Chardonnay 2009

Dancing Creek Winery Chardonnay 2009

It’s always interesting to come across a brand new winery, and Dancing Creek Winery is one of the latest to open up. Formed very recently by Jim and Robin Boyle, the husband and wife duo were the featured winery at Vinocruz for a tasting one afternoon, and my husband and I went there to try their wines. I tell the Boyles how much I admire the amount of work it takes to get into commercial winemaking. They agree wholeheartedly, but tell me that their winemaking journey has been a labor of love.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2008

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2008

The 2008 Gold Stripe Chardonnay is a take-anywhere, eat-with-everything kind of wine. It’s drinkable, delicious—and very reasonably priced at less than $15. Ventana Vineyards is a successful, popular winery. Their wines are always in demand, they can be found in most wine stores and supermarkets, and the label boasts that they are “The most award-winning vineyard in America.”

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Clos Tita

Clos TitaCabernet “Gironde” 2006
Practically the whole of Santa Cruz knows by now that talented local chef Jake Gandolfo is appearing on the MasterChef cooking show series on Fox TV—on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. until mid-September. By the time this article comes out, he may have proceeded to the next food preparation challenge, or he may have been eliminated. But whatever happens, he’s certainly had his share of 15 minutes of fame—and demand for his cuisine is escalating.
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Dining - Wine Reviews

Otter Cove Wines

Otter Cove WinesGood Bottle of Riesling
Six of us went camping in Big Basin State Park recently. It’s a short drive from Santa Cruz – and there’s nothing like a good dose of fresh air to boost the appetite. And sitting round a campfire under majestic redwoods is simple pleasure at its best. We all gathered on Friday evening and pooled our food and drink for that night’s dinner. I had taken a bottle of Otter Cove Riesling 2007, Santa Lucia Highlands – a nice light wine to go with a late afternoon meal under the redwoods.
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Dining - Wine Reviews

DaVine Cellars

DaVine Cellars

Rosé 2008
A few weeks ago, I wrote about MJA Vineyards and its offshoot—DaVine Cellars. When I went to the Swift Street complex to check out this brand new winery in the area, I bought two bottles—a Cabernet Sauvignon, which I have already written about, and a Rosé. Rosés are making much more of an impact than in days of yesteryear, when a lot of folk would not give them the time of day. Now, Rosés are in demand, especially during warm summer weather.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Zayante’s Chardonnay and Hawgs Seafood Bar

Zayante’s Chardonnay  and Hawgs Seafood Bar A Good Wine and Dine Match
We all know that a good wine pairing for seafood is Chardonnay. When friends my husband and I hadn’t seen for a while suggested we meet up for dinner, Hawgs cropped up as the place to go for good seafood. With the dinner night picked out, we head over to Hawgs, and I take along a bottle of Zayante Vineyard Chardonnay to share.
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Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.