Food; Wine; Home @ 07 Mar 2011 04:14 pm by Christina Waters
Here is something rococo—and delicious—we sampled last week from the hand of Cellar Door chef Jarod Ottley. A froth of tender local squid, accompanied by pink grapefruit and pea sprouts dotted a long mound of quinoa. Brilliant crimson beet puree accompanied and a slick of rich date confit provided the sweet visual accent.
A lot going on. All of it good. We partnered our meal last week with glasses of never-better Nebbiolo and Cigare 2006, from the oeno-mind of Randall Grahm. And yes, Cellar Door service is outstanding.
Food; Wine; Home @ 21 Oct 2010 04:51 pm by Christina Waters
The lovely Pino Alto dining room at Cabrillo’s historic Sesnon House, formed a graceful backdrop for some cool jazz and exciting food and wine pairings last Wednesday evening.The highlights for me were the elegant sounds of Hot Club Pacific trio (who also hold down the house at Soif each Monday night), and the well-trained students from Mike Wille’s advanced culinary class, who served, cleared endless dishes and stemware, and served some more throughout the evening. The evening, this year’s version of the recent “Dare to Pair” wine & food event, marked the mid-term exam of Wille’s young team.
Another highlight was an engaging match of (more…)
Wine; Home @ 13 Oct 2010 12:23 pm by Christina Waters
Last Friday I watched one of many busy forklifts in the immediate vicinity of Kelly’s, gently placing its load of pinot gris grapes down at the front door of Pelican Ranch Winery.
Offered a taste, I savored the robust sweetness of this future 2010 vintage, grapes freshly picked out at vineyards near the Mission San Antonio. One of the best flavors of fall in our next of the woods. Freshly-harvested wine grapes.
Wine @ 07 Oct 2010 12:18 pm by Christina Waters
That rich, sweet, musky aroma you smell this week is wine grapes overflowing their fermenting bins all over the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Why not visit some small wineries and see how the crush of 2010 is going?
This weekend, October 16 and 17, the Summit Harvest Festival opens the tasting room doors of Burrell School, Hunter Hill, Loma Prieta and Poetic Cellars — come taste wines, savor special harvest decor and some treats involving pears, apples and pumpkins as you talk with winemakers about their new harvest of grapes.
Wine @ 04 Oct 2010 01:13 pm by Christina Waters
A ruby rosé Kalmuck Zweigelt 2009 made the perfect partner for a hearty plate of duck sausage, sauteed napa cabbage and roasted figs at Soif last Sunday, part of the special Octoberfest menu at the popular downtown boite, er, Weinstube.
Wine @ 28 Sep 2010 04:03 pm by Christina Waters
Bonny Doon Vineyard will host a special dinner to commemorate the recent bottling of the 25th vintage of Le Cigare Volant. Taking place on Friday, October 15, at the Cellar Door Café in Santa Cruz, the menu will include retrospective wine flights of library wines and unreleased vintages of the flagship southern Rhône-style blend. This is a rare chance to taste the most consistently laudable wine made by BDV, introduced and deconstructed by the winemaker himself.
Winemaker and President-for-Life Randall Grahm will host the evening’s celebration. Cellar Door Executive Chef Charlie Parker will create the food pairings to complement these rare vintages.
October 15 – 6pm, $125 per person, ($100 for Club Members) multi-course dinner including wines, Le Cigare Volant flights include a splash of the 1991 (!) and each are matched with such dishes as:
Foie gras torchon with grapes, (more…)
Food; Wine; Home @ 26 Sep 2010 04:06 pm by Christina Waters
Report from the Vineyards: Yes, it’s true that wild man winemaker Richard Alfaro has cut his locks — “I donated a 15-inch pony tail to Locks of Love,” he revealed a few days ago. (You can see why I didn’t pry any further.) Alfaro also says he’s experiencing a “reverse Samson” effect from the hair cut: “my strength has doubled and my six-pack abs have returned.”
Alfaro officially started the harvest of 2010 as of September 27 - “bins are being cleaned and loaded on the trailer for delivery…. winery equipment is being sanitized….. lab work has started…the phone is ringing off the hook with fresh information from my growers…the fridge is stocked with beer and the margaritas are being mixed!!!!” Alfaro says he expects to pick until the end of November. “The fruit is late but WONDERFUL” he added. Most of his Corralitos and south appellation colleagues are ready to begin their harvests too — “the action is started.”
I chatted last week with Peter Rinaldi, a third-generation Santa Cruzan who’s about to open Rocco’s at 503 Water Street. Why am I telling you this? Because Rocco’s is the new Italian-influenced dining place occupying the site of the late Limoncello, that’s why.
We’re happy to know that there will soon be a fresh new restaurant in this familiar old location, and Rinaldi — who also manages next-door Callahan’s — said that he wants to make sure the restaurant is casual, inviting and uses as many local purveyors as possible. Stay tuned! . . . .
And Chris leVeque tells me that his long-awaited El Salchichero house of artisan charcuterie is moving along — the interior tilework is, in a word, awesome. But he’s thinking that perhaps Thanksgiving might be a more realistic opening date than Halloween. Stay hungry!. . . .
Wine; Home @ 16 Sep 2010 11:55 am by Christina Waters
It’s the first Santa Cruz Mountain pinot noir from the 2008 vintage I’ve tasted, and now I know why this beautiful creation from Thomas Fogarty Winery took a gold at the recent SF Chronicle competition.
This full-throated wine is loaded with complex aromatic information, and the flavors just go on and on. Dark plums and tamarind, an undercurrent of licorice and bay leaves, a suggestion of tangerine peel and black pepper — all of these gorgeous notes are delivered by a prime 14.1% alcohol content. Enough to carry the experience, yet definitely not engaged in the fruit bomb California stereotype.
Within reach too, at under $22 a bottle. Try Shoppers and New Leaf, but definitely try this lovely pinot noir.
Wine; Home @ 18 Aug 2010 10:38 am by Christina Waters
From Loma Prieta Winery comes a statuesque red wine made from rarely-encountered Pinotage grapes, grown in the Sierra foothills.
The locally-made Pinotage — a varietal usually associated with South Africa and produced in only a handful of North American vineyards—is an opulent tipple indeed, offering enough tannic structure to handle its profusion of cassis, ripe plum, black pepper and sassafras. We loved this wine with bolognese and Italian sausage, but on second thought this out-sized wine cries out for steak.
Wine consultant Laura Ness sums it up as, “Pinot Noir on steroids.” This is a good thing.
Exotic and accessible, the Loma Prieta Pinotage 2008 is available at the mountaintop winery, and at Vinocruz ($45).
Wine; Home @ 11 Aug 2010 12:13 pm by Christina Waters
There are always many good reasons to visit Soif Wine Bar. This superb and supple 2007 estate Syrah from Peay Vineyards is now among those reasons.
Loaded with leather, a central core of robust red meat and soft peppers, this big, beautiful wine floats a hint of roses and fennel in both nose and finish. Extreme persistence highlights this creation of celebrated winemaker Vanessa Wong, and the name “les Titans” derives from some large-scale redwoods on the Sonoma vineyard’s property.
The Peay “Les Titans” syrah is easily one of the finest California syrahs I’ve tasted. Now at Soif. Go there and sample.