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Feb 11th
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Birichino

wine glassCinsault 2012

Unlike many local vintners, who have time only on weekends to concentrate on the enology business, John Locke’s life revolves around wine. Locke is the wine director at Soif, the upbeat wine bar and eatery in downtown Santa Cruz, and when it comes to making his own fine nectar, he and his business partner Alex Krause excel. Their Cinsault 2012 ($21 from Soif) is made with premium old-vine grapes from Bechthold Vineyard, which is reputed to be the oldest continuously farmed vineyard in the Lodi AVA.

Often used as a blending grape, the heat-tolerant Cinsault (pronounced SAN-soh) has become one of my new favorite reds. The winemakers say that it’s a surprisingly versatile variety, the product of 126-year-old vines, planted by Joseph Spenker in 1886. “As a component of our rose, it radiates nothing but sunshine, tenderness and light. As a red wine, it reveals added dimensions of rock, earth and deep dark fruit.”

Birichino, meaning naughty or mischievous in Italian, makes around half-a-dozen different varietals, including a fabulous Malvasia Bianca (another personal favorite) and an exotic Muscat Canelli, with aromas of nectarine, honeysuckle and mandarin zest. It is a small-production winery, and doesn’t have a tasting room, so your best bet is to head to Soif, talk to Locke and taste some of his wines right there.


Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant, 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2020. soifwine.com and birichino.com.

Chaminade Farm-to-Table Dinner

The next Farm-to-Table dinner coming up at the beautiful Chaminade Resort & Spa is at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 11. This one will feature Coke Farms and Kathryn Kennedy Winery. Always served outdoors on the terrace, a farm-to-table dinner is a truly delightful wining and dining experience, where executive chef Kirsten Ponza provides culinary wonders, and local farmers and vintners show off their stuff. Tickets are $80, plus tax and gratuity. Treat yourselves and stay overnight at Chaminade. Visit chaminade.com for more information.

Cooking with Friends of Hospice

Friends of Hospice, the volunteer fundraising arm of Hospice of Santa Cruz County, has put out a cookbook of delicious recipes entitled “Cooking with Friends of Hospice,” compiled from the organization’s friends, families and staff. (My recipe for English scones is in there somewhere.) Actually, the cookbook has been out for some time, but I was reminded recently at a Hospice golf fundraiser that it’s still on sale. The cookbook is available from Hospice of Santa Cruz County headquarters, Mint in Scotts Valley, and Shopper’s Corner in Santa Cruz. The cost for the book is $15; for more information visit hospicesantacruz.org.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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