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Jan 31st
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2010 Reserve Chardonnay

wine glassOn a particularly warm late afternoon, a friend came over for a visit and I opened up a Clos LaChance Chardonnay, which is just the ticket to enjoy over a chat – along with some good cheese and crackers.

An upbeat, refreshing wine, this Chardonnay is full of tropical fruit—pineapple, banana and pear—with a flinty mineral finish. Fresh pineapple is a dominant flavor, adding a bright pizzazz to this cool-climate Chard. Fermented and aged sur lie (a French expression meaning the wine is bottled without filtering the yeasty sentiment) in French oak barrels for 10 months, it has a lovely rich mouthfeel, resulting from the expertise of our friends, the Gallic coopers. All the grapes for this 2010 Chardonnay ($22) were grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and hand-picked and hand-sorted. One of the food pairings the winery suggests is with roast chicken with tangerines, but since I didn’t have time to whip that up when my friend arrived, a zesty piece of cheese will do just as well.

Clos LaChance Winery is in the most beautiful setting—the building that houses the tasting room is stunning, and the surrounding grounds are perfect for picnics, weddings and more. There’s a bocce ball court, too, and the tasting room is open daily.

Clos LaChance Winery, 1 Hummingbird Lane, San Martin, (408) 686.1050. Clos.com.

Wine Makes a Great Gift

If you’re scratching your head about what to give your father for Father’s Day, coming up on Sunday, June 15, how about a bottle of wine? A gift certificate for a wine tasting at any local winery makes a good gift, too. Vinocruz carries a huge variety of local wines in every price range, so this is a good place to find something special. To find a list of local wineries, check the website of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association: scmwa.com. Vinocruz is at 725 Front St., Santa Cruz, 426.8466. Vinocruz.com.

Hindquarter Bar & Grille

One of the most popular steak restaurants around, the Hindquarter in Santa Cruz had a ribbon-cutting event in April to celebrate new owners Laurie Stephens, Mark Urban and Sam Yanez. Congratulations to them. The Hindquarter is one of the restaurants participating in the Nickelodeon’s “Date Night Santa Cruz–Dinner and a Movie Special for Two.” Visit thehindquarter.com.

Hollins House Restaurant

The lovely Hollins House has a new manager: Eti Levi-Barkai, who used to run Booka in Aptos. Levi-Barkai has turned things around, and the main dining area has a whole new look and vibe. Hollins House, 20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz, 459.9177. Visit Thehollinshouse.com.

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