Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 28th
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Vino Tabi

dining_vinotabiPinot 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.

Lester Family Vineyards, located on Pleasant Valley Road in Aptos, is growing some outstanding quality Pinot Noir grapes on their extensive property, and wineries are snapping up Lester Family’s superb grapes as soon as harvest time comes around.

With the wine opened up, my husband and I toast each other and take a first sip. Knowing full well the capabilities of Katie Fox, owner and winemaker at Vino Tabi, it comes as no surprise that the Pinot is lovely. Here’s a wine that is bursting at the seams with flavor. It has a full-throttled nose of pomegranate syrup; and its robust flavors of blackberry liquor and chocolate rhubarb are heaven in the mouth. I took some over to a couple of friends seated at another table for them to try—and they loved it.

Fox, along with wine-making consultant Jeff Ritchey and cellar master Dan Santa, is making some very impressive wines overall, and the Pinot Noir is one of them. Here’s a delicious elixir that is well worth every penny ($44). It’s one of those go-on-and-treat-yourself wines that you’ll be glad you splurged on. And then you should visit Vino Tabi’s tasting room and try some of Fox’s other lovely wines.

Vino Tabi, 334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-1809.

Wine Events
Pleasant Valley Vineyards is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 19 from noon to 4 p.m. with the release of “Seanie Boy”—a very limited “Irish gem.” Corned beef sliders on rye will be the fare, and the fee is $10 for food and for tasting of the new release and other wines.

Pleasant Valley Vineyards, 600 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos,


Skov Winery
Skov Winery is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, March 19 from noon to 4:30 p.m. with a St. Patrick’s Day event featuring

delectable cheeses from the British Isles. Admission is $10, and free for Skov wine club members. Wine club memberships will be available that day—and “the wearing of the green” is recommended.

Skov Winery, 2364 Bean Creek Road, Scotts Valley, 438-4374.

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