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Aug 21st
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Local Talk

What’s your take on how we deal with celebrity deaths?

What’s your take on how we deal with celebrity deaths?

We as a society deal with it like it's a personal relative. People are so related to those who are celebrities as if they were our brother and sister. They relate to them because of their past, their livelihood, their whole experience with them.
Krissy Broek
Santa Cruz | Teacher

 

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Opinion

Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun…. and all is not right

Just a few days after the official start of summer, while much of the nation sweltered under a heat wave, the House narrowly passed what was largely regarded as a “landmark” climate change bill. The Waxman-Markey Bill, which would limit carbon dioxide pollution and require the use of renewable energy is due to take effect two and a half years from now—despite what would seem an existential urgency for all humankind in the most dire terms possible.

With their heads in the sand and their sunburned asses in the air, 212 congressmen voted against the bill including 44 Democrats. (Only eight Republican members of the House voted for the bill, but let’s applaud their bravery.) Yet for most climate scientists, the bill is an utterly, undeniably watered down version of what needs to be done—about as effective as fighting a forest fire with a wet towel—and will do little to halt what we are doing to the planet. Nonetheless, it is a start.

Sitting outside in Big Pine near the melt waters of the Palisade Glacier, the Sierra Nevada’s biggest piece of ice, I read the transcripts from the House decision on the Internet. While I read the arguments coming from the floor of the House, I pondered my split second of geologic time on this earth sandwiched between a thin crust separating me from the hot magma below and the thin, delicate atmosphere protecting me from the coldness of space, the searing atomic rays of the sun. I also mused how much the Palisade Glacier has shrunk since first walking on it twenty years ago. At the rate it’s going I’ll be lucky to depart this earth with a shred of ice left.

One thing, though, about the climate change debate stood out loud and clear. Representative Paul Broun of Georgia stated that climate change is nothing but a “hoax perpetrated out of the scientific community.” His remarks were met with a loud applause. This, coming from a state whose capital city gets the not-so-flattering moniker “Hotlanta.” Well, Mr. Broun and others, wait till your Southern climate is more like Panama without the ocean influence. It will come far sooner than you think if MIT scientists are correct in surmising that Illinois will be more like East Texas, New Hampshire like South Carolina. The climate is rapidly sliding south.

Despite the overwhelming consensus among the climate science community that humans have, and are, contributing to climate change, the impulse within the media, within our elected officials, within ourselves even, is to find an ever-dwindling fringe voice of global warming skeptics, or contrarians. The truth, to put it simply, is too much to take—even though we know that many of these climate contrarians are funded directly or indirectly by the oil industry and other carbon-based industries.

But you don’t even need the world’s top climatologists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have been issuing dire warnings that life on earth is being adversely affected by warming for years now, to understand the reality of the situation. Just step outside to witness the rapid melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, small islands being swallowed by rising seas, or the fact that the last nine out of 10 years were the hottest on record since 1860. The harbingers are here and they are way scary.

We need to realize sooner rather than later that the threat from terrorism is nothing in comparison to the global terror of a warming planet. That the real Jihad doesn’t issue forth from a Madrassa or training camp in Pakistan but from a coal-fired smokestack, from the rear of our cars, from our way of life. And by this implication we are all terrorists on a suicide mission, carbon strapped to our bodies like bombs.

James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified in 1988 before congress that he was 99 percent sure that human-induced global climate change was happening. Since then his language and urgency have matched the threats caused by dangerous carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. (If Hansen’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the same scientist who made headlines after he accused the Bush Administration of suppressing scientific research on global warming. “It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States,” he said, regarding the muzzling he has received by his government employer.)

Hansen more recently called on chief fossil fuel executives to be “put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature.” He also called (in a recent New Yorker article) freight trains carrying coal, “death trains.” Our language and consciousness addressing the problem must change too, in accordance with the problem. If we don’t, the next generation will look back on this critical time in our planet’s history and see the Sen. Broun’s, the ExxonMobiles, the Hummer owners, all those who stood by and did nothing, in the same way we look back at Nazi war criminals.

Maybe if the language of global warming were as precise and hardboiled as the facts, we would be more apt to act. Maybe it would be more difficult to create a false sense of security, a protective barrier between the overwhelming scientific evidence and our need to be sheltered from such a dire predicament. There’s simply too much at stake to be in denial. And to those that voted against the climate change bill, applaud yourselves. Each clap is the thunder of global terrorism writ large on our very survival, our precious lives.

With their heads in the sand and their sunburned asses in the air, 212 congressmen voted against the bill including 44 Democrats. (Only eight Republican members of the House voted for the bill, but let’s applaud their bravery.) Yet for most climate scientists, the bill is an utterly, undeniably watered down version of what needs to be done—about as effective as fighting a forest fire with a wet towel—and will do little to halt what we are doing to the planet. Nonetheless, it is a start.

Sitting outside in Big Pine near the melt waters of the Palisade Glacier, the Sierra Nevada’s biggest piece of ice, I read the transcripts from the House decision on the Internet. While I read the arguments coming from the floor of the House, I pondered my split second of geologic time on this earth sandwiched between a thin crust separating me from the hot magma below and the thin, delicate atmosphere protecting me from the coldness of space, the searing atomic rays of the sun. I also mused how much the Palisade Glacier has shrunk since first walking on it twenty years ago. At the rate it’s going I’ll be lucky to depart this earth with a shred of ice left.

One thing, though, about the climate change debate stood out loud and clear. Representative Paul Broun of Georgia stated that climate change is nothing but a “hoax perpetrated out of the scientific community.” His remarks were met with a loud applause. This, coming from a state whose capital city gets the not-so-flattering moniker “Hotlanta.” Well, Mr. Broun and others, wait till your Southern climate is more like Panama without the ocean influence. It will come far sooner than you think if MIT scientists are correct in surmising that Illinois will be more like East Texas, New Hampshire like South Carolina. The climate is rapidly sliding south.

Despite the overwhelming consensus among the climate science community that humans have, and are, contributing to climate change, the impulse within the media, within our elected officials, within ourselves even, is to find an ever-dwindling fringe voice of global warming skeptics, or contrarians. The truth, to put it simply, is too much to take—even though we know that many of these climate contrarians are funded directly or indirectly by the oil industry and other carbon-based industries.

But you don’t even need the world’s top climatologists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have been issuing dire warnings that life on earth is being adversely affected by warming for years now, to understand the reality of the situation. Just step outside to witness the rapid melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, small islands being swallowed by rising seas, or the fact that the last nine out of 10 years were the hottest on record since 1860. The harbingers are here and they are way scary.

We need to realize sooner rather than later that the threat from terrorism is nothing in comparison to the global terror of a warming planet. That the real Jihad doesn’t issue forth from a Madrassa or training camp in Pakistan but from a coal-fired smokestack, from the rear of our cars, from our way of life. And by this implication we are all terrorists on a suicide mission, carbon strapped to our bodies like bombs.

James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified in 1988 before congress that he was 99 percent sure that human-induced global climate change was happening. Since then his language and urgency have matched the threats caused by dangerous carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. (If Hansen’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the same scientist who made headlines after he accused the Bush Administration of suppressing scientific research on global warming. “It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States,” he said, regarding the muzzling he has received by his government employer.)

Hansen more recently called on chief fossil fuel executives to be “put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature.” He also called (in a recent New Yorker article) freight trains carrying coal, “death trains.” Our language and consciousness addressing the problem must change too, in accordance with the problem. If we don’t, the next generation will look back on this critical time in our planet’s history and see the Sen. Broun’s, the ExxonMobiles, the Hummer owners, all those who stood by and did nothing, in the same way we look back at Nazi war criminals.

Maybe if the language of global warming were as precise and hardboiled as the facts, we would be more apt to act. Maybe it would be more difficult to create a false sense of security, a protective barrier between the overwhelming scientific evidence and our need to be sheltered from such a dire predicament. There’s simply too much at stake to be in denial. And to those that voted against the climate change bill, applaud yourselves. Each clap is the thunder of global terrorism writ large on our very survival, our precious lives.

Astrology

Living in the House We all Build week of July 5

Living in the House We all Build week of July 5

Retrograde Jupiter conjuncts (joins) Neptune again this week in Aquarius. We actually have a triple conjunction (Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron), occurring three times along with three eclipses. Three means Ray 3—Divine Intelligence influencing our personal and world affairs. Jupiter/Neptune stimulates imagination, provides inspiration and activates the light of consciousness within humanity. We can also experience illusions and distortion.

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Local Talk

What are your thoughts on public transportation in Santa Cruz?

What are your thoughts on public transportation in Santa Cruz?

Considering the size of the city, we actually have pretty good public transportation. I used to take it all the time. In fact, I was one of the first riders on the first bus that went up to the university.
James Craft
Santa Cruz | Retired

 

 

 

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Opinion

A Deeper Need for the Print Newspaper

A Deeper Need for the Print NewspaperThe story line is a direct one: newspapers are dying. Big city dailies? Dying. Small-town papers? On their way. Free dailies? Hovering over the abyss.  If indeed newspapers are critically ill, their fate has to be one of the most heavily covered stories of this or any century. Did the railroads get this kind of treatment? Did blacksmiths get to read daily about how nobody is any good with an anvil anymore? Were there daily accounts about how nobody wants ice delivered to their door anymore?
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Astrology

U.S. Birthday, Iran’s Revolution, week of July 2-8, 2009

U.S. Birthday, Iran’s Revolution, week of July 2-8, 2009

We bid farewell to Michael Jackson (Virgo Sun, Pisces Moon). Ohm Mani Padme Hum. Saturday is the 233rd birthday of the United States, formed (Declaration of Independence) under the liberating sign of Cancer, Ray 3. The last weeks have seen the esoteric intent of the sign Cancer (Ray 3, our Solar Logos evolves through suffering) emerging. Cancer and Ray 3 create mass movements towards liberty, freedom and release from the past. They produce the illuminating Light of the mind (Ray 3, Intelligence in Action) influencing the demand for freedom. We can apply this to the recent protests (revolution) in Iran as the masses (Cancer) choose democracy and liberty courageously confronting a regressive regime that limits freedom, denies women their human rights and uses coercive religious force. We shall witness in the following weeks the outcome of the many Iranians (75% are under the age of 35) seeking liberation, independence and self-determination amidst violent repercussions. We also witnessed the Aquarian (freedom of speech) influences as the social networks of communication (email, blogs, twitter, etc.) reported the protests to the world. The past is dissolving at a rapid pace, and assisting in this dissolution are three upcoming July/August eclipses signifying even more change (and shocks).

This week, especially Monday, may be difficult for everyone. Tuesday is the Full Moon (15 degrees) lunar eclipse (15 degrees Cancer/Cap). The Soul’s meditative seed thought for Cancer is “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” When the Soul directs our personality we radiate a light that nourishes the entire world. Join us, the NGWS, by reciting the Great Invocation at the full moon. (read more at www.nightlightnews.com)

 


ARIES (March 21-April 20) What is occurring with your finances and resources? Are there difficulties or are you managing well, paying bills on time, tending to needs with ease and organization? And how is the relationship between your work and home life? Are they balanced or is there tension? You will consider with seriousness what roles you play professionally and personally. You will seek to integrate them. A home business would do that. Be home more.

TAURUS (April 21-May 21) In the coming months your mind will expand into an even greater level of information. You will be seeking out and reading about what interest you. For many Taurus this is the safety and care of humanity in the future. There will be a focus on resources and finances in order to create the first foundations of the new culture and civilization. The next month sees all you’ve talked about come to life. We’re following you.

GEMINI (May 22-June 20) It would be good to consider a long trip somewhere important to you – perhaps a school or retreat center, a seminary or college. Wherever it is and whatever you do, the purpose is to find your way through the many and various options offered and to find how to best express yourself with language, ideas and spiritual realities most in your circle of friends do not understand. Someone waits for you.

CANCER (June 21-July 20) You may feel restricted physically within your neighborhood or wherever you find yourself each day. Something ends with someone and something begins with others. Whatever you are doing within a group or community and for the future, know that responsibilities will increase and then accelerate. Tend to your finances with great care. Have you bought gold or silver yet? And listened to solari.com?

LEO (July 21-Aug. 22) Use this time to be even more behind the scenes than you’ve been before. This is a time of rest and relaxation, tending to things at home behind closed doors. It’s also a time of remembering family who now reside in heaven. If there’s great grief the homeopath Ignatia Amara helps the cellular level release sadness that hinders being in the present – which untended grief can do. Something within ends for you. Bid it adieu with gratitude.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Is your mind working overtime, are you verging on being nervous? Are many thoughts flying about like birds at a nest of young ones? Use this time to gather information, create journals or a blog communicating with everyone important to you. Later as the energies calm, you’ll become quiet, serious and solemn, pondering upon the past several months. Decisions become clear and easy and real. There is much work to do as a new future direction has emerged.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) It’s best to tend carefully to your use of money. You may feel it’s unlimited and therefore caution fies away in the wind. You have two choices with your resources – overspending indiscriminately on trinkets or spending on  ‘real goods’ (food, water, vitamins, etc.), silver, gold, art, education, travel, or culture and for those you love. Do not neglect your profession. The world is becoming your home.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Has where you live become somewhat upset and/or disheveled? Are you wondering what the future is concerning your home and family and how you can bring forth order, nurturance and care? Is there some type of wound involved? Do you feel the need to travel somewhere (biological home) and stay there awhile? Things are very unusual and unpredictable, irregular, capricious and at times random. The rules are changed and we’re in in-between times.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 20) The energies that rule you have turned around lodging themselves within your body, heart and mind. You are entering a new level of inner pondering concerning facts in your life. You will ask many questions asked before though on an even deeper level. You may feel you’re alone again in a desert you didn’t create and at times you’ll feel that everything, including your life, is delayed. It’s not … it’s just in hiding (again) in order to create for awhile. You’ll hold on.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 21-Jan. 20)  As a long period of transformation begins in your life, your self-esteem also shifts and changes. Assessing the reality of your life’s responsibilities, you review your resources and finances. Very subtle change is occurring shifting your appearance, how and what you feel, and your ability to interact within relationships. The last is most important. Maintain truthfulness and love in all matters. Don’t be pressured by anyone or anything.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 21-Feb. 18) It may be important to move back into the shadows, stay out of the limelight, retreat a bit and ponder first upon this past year and secondly where you’re heading. Has life become more difficult in some ways and are events less predictable as if the rules have changed? The new rules haven’t been formed yet. This situation will continue. Where is your home?

PISCES (Feb.19-March 20) As each day becomes slower and slower you sense the need for a more contemplative daily life providing time for rest and review before an entirely new reality is offered. What are the most recent questions you’re asking? Do they concern your goals, creativity, and life’s purpose? Sometimes when we’re called to new life endeavors, what we’ve done before is no longer available. It simply disappears. Is this occurring for you?
Opinion

Big Toys, Small Boys

Big Toys, Small Boys

The louder the noise the smaller the equipment

Let’s get one thing priapically straight: Men who ride extremely loud motorcycles have extremely small penises. The louder the bike, the smaller their naughty bit. Though the empirical evidence of such a correlation is scant at best, the phenomena have gone beyond the reaches of urban myth.

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Opinion

Meat-free: The Way to Be?

“You’re saying you never feel like sinking your teeth into a big slab of meat? Don’t your primal instincts ever kick in?”

This was the response I received after trying to explain the dangerous environmental implications of a meat-eating diet to my omnivorous younger sister.

I didn’t bother responding with my opinions on animal-eating instincts because she was missing my point entirely. I wasn’t talking about instinct, desire or human habit. I was presenting a cold, hard case for adopting a vegetarian lifestyle that had nothing to do with personal health, animal rights or other reasons people often associate with vegetarianism.

 

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Opinion

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild

Art Boy and I were cat-free for over two years. We lost our little Zoe when she was only 12, and decided not to torment our surviving cat, Sheena, then 18, with a new kitten. Let her live out her days in peace, that was our motto. Without rambunctious Zoe around, our household felt very old, although our remarkable, people-frendly, tortoiseshell Sheena, even in her dotage, was as lovable as any dozen kittens. (Just ask anyone who ever met her at Open Studios.) We wanted Sheena to live forever, and, as agreeable as ever, she tried her best. But after nearly 20 years in our family, she let us know it was time to let her go.

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Opinion

Your Money Or Your Life

Your Money Or Your Life

As if we didn’t have enough to make us crazy, along comes Michael Moore’s Sicko, to remind us of yet another way in which corrupt U.S. politics of the last 40 years have failed to deliver on the once-cherished American Dream. You remember the American Dream; it used to be in all the movies. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, Liberty and Justice for All. Baseball, apple pie, and a chicken in every pot. (Not to be confused with pot in every chick: that was the Aquarian Dream, but that’s another story.)

The current administration likes to bandy about words like “freedom” and “justice” as if it actually understood what they meant. (As in Operation Iraqi Freedom, code name for war of aggression, a grim piece of Newspeak that would flummox Noah Webster.) In our Constitution, a document ignored at best, but more often subverted by the present regime, laws are enacted to secure the access of we, the people, to what our Founding Fathers considered inalienable rights, among them the right to life and liberty. It’s this primary right, life, that underlies Sicko, the basic condition without which all other rights are moot.

Life can only be sustained by reasonably good health. But the health and welfare of hard-working citizens whose labor fuels the national economy and whose taxes keep politicians in Hummers and junkets to Cancun, the continuing health of we, the people, is not a high priority to our leaders. The health care system is left to privately owned drug companies, hospitals, and so-called health insurers. Their business is profits, not actual care, and nobody needs Moore to tell us what a big, thriving business it is. If you don’t believe it, just try getting sick.

Better yet, don’t get sick. It’s daunting enough trying to arrange basic coverage when you’re perfectly healthy, especially if, like Art Boy and me, you are self-employed and pay for your own insurance. Every year, we go through the same danse macabre. Our insurance company arbitrarily raises its rates. Art Boy sits down with the rate sheet and switches us to whatever plan offers the lowest rate increase, for the least heinous sacrifice of benefits. The company gets wise to our little game (or figures we’re wise to theirs), and, within six months, arbitrarily raises our rates again.

American health care only works as long as you stay healthy. (By “works,” I mean maintains the illusion that the person paying into the system may one day receive quality care and/or financial coverage for the exorbitant sums paid in every month.) Should you be unwise enough to suffer an actual illness or injury, you’ll find out just how uncovered you really are. Moore’s film is full of horror stories about Americans who paid for health insurance all their working lives, only to be denied payment for critical services as soon as they had the nerve to actually need them. How often do you read about fundraisers held for people stricken with catastrophic illness or injury whose families can’t otherwise afford the treatment to keep them alive? Like the bandidos of a thousand westerns, the system demands you choose between your money or your life.

And where is the U. S. government while the health/drug/ medical industry is cheerfully fleecing its citizens? Right where it always is, lining up for its share of the profits. (The present administration just can’t say “no” to a tall, rich and handsome corporation with a big portfolio.) There’s something alarmingly wrong with the moral compass of a government that makes health care a luxury for the few and punishes its own people for getting sick, treating them like guilty schoolchildren trying to get away with something. Maybe they expect us to practice faith-based health care. Or maybe they just don’t give a damn. It’s a big country, so what if a few thousand of us kick off now and then? There’s always more where we came from.

Once upon a time, we Americans were the plucky idealists who invited other, less compassionate nations to send us their tired, their poor, their huddled masses. Now we lag behind the many western nations (Canada, Britain, France, to name a few) that already provide universal health care to their citizens as a matter of common sense: freed from fear of crippling medical debts, people have a chance to fuel the economy with busier, more creative, and longer working lives.

No wonder the whole world is laughing at us. Our politics are ridiculous, our leaders are scoundrels, and we do nothing about it. Maybe we don’t even notice. We live in a culture that keeps us too doped up on American Idol, too plugged in to our iPhones, too paralyzed by crushing debt, and too terrified of everything else to ever poke our collective head out of the foxhole and sneak a peek at the rest of the world. That’s the way our leaders like us: scared, barefoot and ignorant.

Universal health care is possible if we pay attention and demand it: in the media, in the voting booth, in the streets. Until then, other, more enlightened countries will keep sniggering at us behind our backs. If laughter really was the best medicine, we’d all be cured.

 
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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
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Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.