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May 22nd
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Odonata’s Holiday Bubbles

wine glassSparkling Rose of Sangiovese 2010

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, so it’s time to get out the bunting and plan the festivities. And what could be better than celebrating with a drop of the old bubbly? This is where Odonata Wines comes in. Their pretty pink “sparkler” is fun and festive, and just the perfect upbeat beverage to enjoy at anytime, especially with your red-white-and-blue-themed cuisine. The wine itself is like strawberry-cherry shortcake, says talented winemaker Denis Hoey, and it has a texture and tannin to it that play well with a multitude of foods. So how perfect, then, to bring out the Sparkling Rose of Sangiovese ($28) to go with your backyard barbecue, as well as all the other munchies that abound on the Fourth.

Fruit for this wine is grown in Machado Creek Vineyard in Santa Clara County, where Hoey selects the very best grapes, which shows in the quality of this well-made nectar. With its creamy refined bubbles that dance in the mouth, this rosy-bright sparkler will delight many a tongue on Independence Day.

I first met Hoey about 10 years ago, before he and Claire were married. They now have two children and are doing extremely well with their wines and busy tasting room on Mission Street. Hoey now participates in the popular First Friday Art Tour, and is open every first Friday of the month from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Odonata Wines, 2343 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 566-5147. Odonatawines.com. Odonata is open Friday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and for pizza night on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Contact info: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Slip On, Slip Off

My husband and I just got back from a month in Turkey and Greece, where we did a heck of a lot of walking, especially in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus in Turkey, and up and down the winding streets of Santorini and the mountain town of Arahova, two hours’ drive north of Athens. Just before I left on the trip, I went to the FlipFlop Shop in downtown Santa Cruz, and bought a pair of Sketchers GoWalk shoes, which are light, comfortable and easy to slip on and off. And they’re washable, too.

FlipFlop Shop’s owners are Susi and Marshall Ballard at 1528 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 316-0912. Flipflopshops.com.

International Tasting

It’s always fun to go wine tasting in other countries, if only to try something different. One we visited in Pamukkale, Turkey was quite a big operation called Coskun Sarap Manzeni, which processes Anatolia’s best grapes. We tried some interesting wines, not all of them great. The store also sells a wild assortment of Turkish delight. On the Greek island of Santorini, we drove to a spectacular winery called Domaine Sigalas where we tasted vibrant regional varietals, especially Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano from the island’s unique terroir.

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