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Sep 30th
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Wine

Dining - Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine

Vine & Dine

Changes on the Food, Wine and Beer Scene

2013 has been a very eventful year, with more openings and closings than there is space to write about, but here is a partial list:

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Beauregard Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012

Beauregard Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012

Looking for a fabulous wine to spice up your Christmas dinner? Then let me recommend Beauregard Vineyards’ Pinot Noir 2012, Coast Grade Vineyard ‘667’—a simply gorgeous Pinot that will impress any lover of this varietal.

Mouth-watering flavors of dark cherry, strawberry, black tea and Christmas spice (how appropriate!) fill the mouth with pure pleasure.  With its elegant bouquet, medium body and soft tannins, it is a bold and full-bodied wine—and not too fruit-dominated.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Holiday Gifts

Holiday Gifts

Here are a few local gift ideas that can be found easily for those hard-to-by-for folk

Wine makes a wonderful gift for Christmas. One can buy wine in an enormous range of prices, so there is something to suit every budget, for sure.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Guglielmo Winery Sangiovese 2010

Guglielmo Winery Sangiovese 2010

A short drive over Hecker Pass takes us to the rather warmer climes of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy—and to where many wonderful wineries lie, including the splendid Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. A family-run business for close to 90 years, it continues producing fine wine with brothers George, Gene and Gary Guglielmo at the helm.

Guglielmo makes many different wines, but I absolutely love their Sangiovese Private Reserve 2010, Santa Clara County. With aromatic notes of apricot, peach, nectarine and strawberry, and mouth-pleasing flavors of ripe strawberries and vanilla—and with its balanced acidity—it’s a delicious wine to savor on the tongue. At $18 a bottle, it’s a steal, as they say.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Artesana Winery Tannat-Merlot 2011

Artesana Winery Tannat-Merlot 2011

Artesana Winery is a premium winery based in Uruguay which concentrates on Tannat, a red wine grape historically grown in South West France. First introduced by Basque settlers, Tannat is now a prominent grape of Uruguay and plantings are increasing each year. 

Artesana Winery is in the acclaimed Canelones region of Uruguay, a prime location for the Tannat grape. Their artisan wines are made from 100 percent estate-grown grapes and hand-crafted by two women winemakers.

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Dining - Wine Reviews

Twisted Roots Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

Twisted Roots Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary last month and spent the weekend in one of our favorite nearby getaways—Carmel.

This time we stayed in a newly re-opened boutique inn called Vendange, meaning “late harvest” in French, which is very close to the town center—and it could not have been better. The place is spotless, beautifully decorated, comes with a nice breakfast, and offers a wine and cheese tasting every evening.

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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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Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

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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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”