Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Fortino Cellars

dining_fortinowineryAlmond-Flavored Champagne

Not that long ago, I was wine tasting with a few friends at some of the wineries over Hecker Pass in the Gilroy area. One of the places where we stopped was Fortino Cellars. They have a lovely tasting room—and our little group was well taken care of and given a tour of the property.

Although we tasted some interesting wines that day, I was really taken with an almond-flavored Champagne they produce—although officially it really should be called sparkling wine. True Champagne comes only from the Champagne region of France—and the top dogs such as Taittinger and Bollinger are pretty expensive. Bollinger, as you may remember, was always drunk by the outrageous duo in the British series “Absolutely Fabulous.” They always referred to it as “Bolly” as in “Got any Bolly, darling?”

Although we don’t have a “Bolly” on our hands here, what we do have is a fun and refreshing Charmat-method sparkling wine—with a dash of almond flavor. At only $16.95 a bottle, this delicious bubbly made by Fortino is certainly well worth the price—and it’s a nice touch of something different. Colombard, an early fruiting white variety of wine grape, with pure almond extract are added to this wine—and the nose has a sensual impact of Amaretto, making this playful bubbly an absolute pleasure to drink. And as the Fourth of July is just around the corner, it’s definitely time to celebrate with something sparkling and fun.

Fortino Cellars also make delicious fruit wines of apricot and pomegranate, as well as a good variety of other wines. Their extensive grounds are used for weddings and corporate events, and Music in the Vineyard happens all through the summer with different groups and dancing.

I got talking to a very nice man at the winery—a customer who apparently goes there often. He had his beautiful vintage Rolls Royce parked in the driveway and offered to take me for a little spin. Things like this happen when you drink Champagne!

Fortino Winery, 4525 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy, (408) 842-3305.

Wine Events

As wonderful as it is to celebrate the Fourth of July in this country, France has its own reason to celebrate in July. And that would be Bastille Day on July 14. The very French restaurant Ma Maison will be putting on a special buffet, and chef Lionel Le Morvan will be cooking up a storm. Imbibe on wine from the restaurant’s extensive list as you listen to the incredible accordion music of The Great Morgani—and think Vive la France.

Ma Maison, 9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 685-5566.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).


Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.


Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.


Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments


Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.


How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management


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


Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.