Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
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Pierce Ranch Vineyards

dining wineAlbariño 2009

Trying a lovely bottle of wine in a new restaurant is always high on my list of things to do. My husband and I spent a night in Carmel at the Hofsas House, a delightful boutique hotel about five minutes’ walk from the center of town, and as we were looking for an interesting place to eat, the hotel recommended Mundaka—an upbeat little tapas restaurant with a terrific vibe.

Mundaka makes authentic Spanish fare with a focus on those splendid little plates of varieties of food called tapas. The restaurant serves fresh, local, organic, sustainable, healthy—you name it—food, which we found totally different and delicious. Flavors like this are not found just anywhere and I can’t wait to go back.

Our wine at the restaurant, Pierce Ranch Vineyards Albariño ($30) from Monterey, was a beautiful pairing with the rich flavors of our several different plates of tapas. Floral and fragrant with scents of ripe peaches, pears and nectarines, it’s fresh and tangy with a rich and crisp palate. This traditional house wine of northwestern Spanish fishing villages is a great match for spicy tapas or the fresh catch of the day. It’s exactly what I’m going to drink the next time I dine at Mundaka.

Albariño is a beautiful grape. It grows well in parts of Spain, particularly in the northwest. It’s not grown abundantly here so it’s wonderful to see that it thrives well in Monterey, and that Pierce Vineyards does such a good job of making this delectable wine.

Pierce Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room, 499 Wave St., Monterey, 372-8900, Mundaka, San Carlos Street between Ocean and 7th Avenue, Carmel, 624-7400,

Wine Events:

Farm to Table Dinner at Chaminade Resort & Spa
The last of this season’s Farm to Table dinners at Chaminade in Santa Cruz on Friday, Oct. 5 will feature the local wines of Summit to Sea—Burrell School Vineyards & Winery; Loma Prieta Winery; Dancing Creek Winery; and Poetic Cellars—for what promises to be a feast par excellence. Info:

Vinocruz Offering Wine Appreciation Class on Sept. 22 and Wine Tasting on Sept. 29
This is a great opportunity to learn all the basics of wine from a certified sommelier in a two-hour class. It promises to be fun and informative, with wine included, from 1-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. On Saturday, Sept. 29 new local wine producer Mikael Wargin of Wargin Wines will be pouring his latest releases. For more info: Vinocruz, 725 Front St., Santa Cruz, 426-8466,

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