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Nov 27th
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Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery

wine glassGrüner Veltliner 2012

Made from the most widely planted grape in Austria, this dry white wine is like a burst of spring with its gorgeous flavors of lime and grapefruit. Aged for six months in stainless steel barrels, 70 cases were produced—and I imagine it’s going fast. La Playita Vineyard, where the grapes are grown, is the only CCOF-certified organic Grüner Veltliner vineyard in California—making this a pretty exceptional wine.

Medium bodied and with an appealing color of pale greenish/straw, it looks very inviting even before taking a sip. But let’s give this solo star a round of applause for its crisp aromas and flavors—and its attention-grabbing name. It’s a wine that’s not found everywhere, so kudos to Alfaro Family Vineyards for giving us this option of trying something different.

This dry Grüner ($30) with its mineral complexity and notes of white pepper, pairs well with herbed chicken and fish, but I like it just by itself to savor all the beautiful nuances of a well-made wine.

I fell in love with this wine the first time I tasted it at the Capitola Art & Wine Festival last September when expert winemaker Richard Alfaro was pouring. Richard and his wife Mary Kay Alfaro, a certified sommelier, will be happy to pour you some when you visit them at their lovely tasting room. Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos, 728-5172.

Center Street Grill opens New Restaurant in Scotts Valley
Center Street Grill, the lovely restaurant in the complex that houses Jewel Theatre Co. and various stores in downtown Santa Cruz, is now operating a sister restaurant in Scotts Valley. The Heavenly Roadside Café recently opened for breakfast and lunch at 1210 Mt. Hermon Road, Scotts Valley, 335-1210.

Venus Venture
Sean and Grace Venus are getting set to open Venus Spirits on the Westside—in the space that used to be Copious Winery. I was sorry to see Copious close its doors, but it’s wonderful that this ample space will soon be utilized. As a lover of gin, I can’t wait to taste the new one made by the Venuses, as well as their fine aged whiskey. Watch the space at 427A Swift Street—we have much to look forward to.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lagunitas beer can be found all over, but have you tried Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Subsitute? It’s a ‘cereal medley’ of barley, rye, wheat, and oats. Full of “complexishness” from the four grains, it’s “joyously dry-hopped” for that big aroma and resinous flavor. It’s obvious that the folks at Lagunitas like to have fun as well as brewing fine ales, and you’ll see that when you check out their website at You can visit them in Petaluma next time you’re in the area. 

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