Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 27th
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dining_odonataMalbec 2008

I first met Denis Hoey, winemaker and owner of Odonata, several years ago when he was just starting out with his own label. At that time it was called Dragonfly, but, due to a trademark issue, the named had to be changed. Continuing with the dragonfly theme, Hoey decided to call his wines Odonata–after an order of insects encompassing the dragonfly and the damselfly. And, it almost goes without saying, the very attractive labels on bottles of Odonata wines have a beautiful dragonfly image.

When I bought a bottle of Malbec, Alta Mesa Vineyard, ($28) from Hoey last month at the tasting room he shares with Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Winery–both wineries are part of the Surf City Vintners collective–he was knee-deep in harvest, and all the hard work that it involves. Working as production manager for Emery’s winery as well as making his own wines keeps very Hoey busy, but this garnered experience over the years really shows in his wines, which only get better and better.

The very complex Malbec has aromatics of citrus zest, lush purple berries and bittersweet chocolate. The mouth-feel is one of candied fruit with a touch of dense chocolate texture, which I absolutely love. This would be a luscious wine to open up on Thanksgiving and share with family and friends–and to give thanks for our abundant harvest as we take sip.

Odonata, 334-A Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 566-5147.

Wine Events
Passport Day comes around every three months, so don’t miss this opportunity to go wine tasting on Saturday, Nov. 20. This is the day when you can visit wineries belonging to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA–providing you have a Passport, which will cost you $40 and can be purchased at any winery. When you visit each winery, you get your Passport (which doesn’t expire) stamped–and with more than 70 wineries belonging to SCMWA, it will take you a long time to fill it up. Passport Day takes place four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November. Info: 685-8464, or or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Vino Tabi is putting on one of the first in a series of food and wine pairings in conjunction with Coastal Catering. Sunday, Nov. 21 from 2-4 p.m. $30. 334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-1809.

Ma Maison’s chef, Lionel Le Morvan, is presenting a wonderful Thanksgiving menu–all ready to pair with some of the 10 local wines this lovely French restaurant carries. Ma Maison, 9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-5566.

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