Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 20th
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Zayante Vineyard Zinfandel 2007

wine-ZinPlus Upcoming Wine Events

A couple of friends from Barcelona invited me and my husband and some other people over for paella. They are here for a few weeks and promised they would cook this delicious Spanish dish for me a few times during their stay. Since they were preparing two different kinds of paella—a typical shellfish one and another of chicken and sausage—I knew I would be safe taking a bottle of Zayante Vineyard Zinfandel for us to share. Zayante’s beautiful wines are all estate grown and bottled—and reasonably priced as well. This particular Zin is a mere $13.99 at New Leaf.

To say it was well received would be an understatement. The earthy aromas of plum and strawberry jam, spicy-berry flavors and fine balance of fruit make this a very appealing wine. The whole bottle disappeared before we even started dinner.

A beautiful bucolic spot in Felton is where Greg Nolten and his wife Kathleen Starkey-Nolten and Greg’s mother Marion Nolten, the winery owners, grow their abundant grape crops to make their excellent Zinfandel – and several other varietals as well.

“My mother-in-law is 90 years old and still pours in the tasting room,” says Kathleen. “And she’s way with it at 90.” She also tells me that the 2007 Zinfandel has been well received—and they still have plenty of it left. “It’s a very good estate-bottled wine,” she adds, proudly. “We grow all our own grapes and we’re one of the largest vineyards in the area.”

Zayante Vineyard is open on Passport days and for its annual open house on Saturday and Sunday May 15 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Zayante Vineyard, 420 Old Mount Road, Felton. 335-7992.

Upcoming Wine Events

Passport Day: Saturday, Jan. 16

This is an opportunity to experience wine tasting at many wineries belonging to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA), especially those not usually open to the public. For $40 you can buy a Passport (which doesn’t expire) and get it stamped at each winery you visit. Passport Day takes place four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November. Call 685-8464 (VINE) or or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wine & Crab Taste-Off, Jan. 17

Crab, wonderful crab! It’s the best time of year to enjoy this delicious crustacean. And what better way to indulge than participating in the 7th annual Wine & Crab Taste-Off.  Organized by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, the participating restaurants this year are Michael’s on Main and Café Cruz in Soquel; and Ma Maison and Sanderlings in Aptos. Each crab dish is paired with a local wine – and you get to be a judge by voting which crab dish you like the most. Information from SCMWA as above.

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