Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 20th
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Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery

dining_wineViognier 2010

The grapes for this delightful wine come from the Gimelli Vineyard in Cienega Valley, San Benito County—a great area for producing Viognier. Only recently becoming popular in the United States, it’s a rich white wine that you won’t find on the shelves of every supermarket. Although it’s a bit difficult to partner with food because of its low acid and high alcohol, it’s robust and full-bodied—and actually one of my favorites. I think it’s a terrific wine to pop open when you have a couple of friends over and you just want to drink something other than Chardonnay. Viognier thrives in warm climates and grows well in California’s hot Central Coast areas.

Winemaker extraordinaire and ebullient personality Richard Alfaro has crafted a splendid Viognier here. It’s a luscious full-bodied wine awash with ripe apricots and peaches. Its almost heady aroma of honeysuckle and other spicy floral notes would even sway the devoted red wine drinker into trying some. Alfaro suggests this wine would pair well with Asian dishes, Indian curries, fish, poultry—and fruit desserts. As far as I’m concerned, just pour yourself a glass when you get home from work, put your feet up—and simply enjoy a glass of this excellent wine. This new release sells for about $20, so you’re getting your money’s worth—and then some.

Alfaro’s Winery is open Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. where Alfaro and his sommelier-qualified wife Mary Kay will be waiting to pour you some of their wonderful wines. You can also take a picnic and enjoy looking out on their 38 acres of stunning vineyards—eight of which are now certified organic. If you haven’t visited their tasting room, then that’s a treat in store. You can try the Viognier—and many more of their award-winning wines.

Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos, 728-5172.

La Vita Release at Bargetto Winery: On Sunday, May 22 from 3-5 p.m. Bargetto Winery will hold a release party of its 2007 La Vita, a very special rich and complex wine blend. Part of the proceeds from the sale of this wine (which retails for $60 a bottle) goes to a different nonprofit every year. The Watsonville YMCA is this year’s beneficiary. Be one of the first to taste the 2007 release, and other new wines, while you enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and live music by Beat Street. Tickets are $20 ($15 for wine club members).

Bargetto Winery, 3535 North Main St., Soquel. Info and tickets: 475-2258 x 10. Open daily.

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