Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 17th
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Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

dining savannahPinot Noir 2009

Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs is a very popular dining destination—with four-star American cuisine and a “French Pacific Rim” influence. Friends had told us about it, so we headed there for dinner last month when we were staying close by in the California desert for a few days. I took along a bottle of Savannah-Chanelle Pinot Noir 2009 to write about—and because I love to introduce wines from our Santa Cruz Mountains appellation to out-of-town restaurants.

The sommelier opened up the wine for us and we let it breathe for a bit before taking a sip. The big fruity purple liquid that makes up the 2009 Pinot, Central Coast ($26), is bold and vivacious. Earthy flavors linger on the tongue, along with luscious ripe fruit—cherries and blackberries in particular. It’s actually a blend of two vineyards from the Central Coast region, but it has all the quality and structure of a high-end single vineyard bottling.

Paired with an appetizer of Crisp Fried Oysters, the wine was amazingly good. But it paired even better with my husband’s huge and hearty pork chop, and even went well with my Lake Superior White Fish with lemon caper butter and wilted spinach.

Spencer’s is a restaurant to linger in. Sitting outside in the warm air is a real treat for people from the Santa Cruz area, so we took our time over dinner—sharing some of our wine with the sommelier and the restaurant manager.

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards, 23600 Congress Springs Road, Saratoga. (408) 741-2934. Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wine Events:

Odonata Wines Opens new Tasting Room
Denis Hoey, winemaker and owner of Odonata Wines, is opening his own tasting room at 2343 Mission St., Santa Cruz this weekend, May 5 and 6. “We’re having a big party,” he tells me, “with Nonno’s Restaurant doing the food.” The tasting room is right next door to Companion Bakery, so Hoey could not ask for a better spot. Hoey’s wines are beautifully made, so stop by and try some for yourselves. Info:

Pelican Ranch Winery
The tasting room at Pelican Ranch has new hours for the summer months on Fridays from 3-8 p.m. Each Friday features wine specials, rare and library wines and occasional visits from artists and local food purveyors. May 11 will feature local artist Annette Dion McGowan—on hand to sign her new book “The Art of Tasting Wine.” The book is educational, whimsical and full of original artwork. The tasting room is also open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. 102 Kennedy Drive, Capitola, 426-6911.

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