Situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains in what is known as the Vine Hill district, Alberti Vineyard is in a “sweet spot” for growing premium Pinot Noir grapes. “The slope of the vineyard is quite critical,” says owner and winemaker Jim Alberti, adding that their vineyard’s gentle incline allows air to move through it, minimizing frost early in the spring when buds and tender shoot tissues are vulnerable. “The slope also allows the heat of the midsummer day to rise, causing a cooling air flow within the vineyard,” says Alberti. The Alberti Vineyard continues in the tradition of producing an estate-grown and limited estate-bottled Pinot from a spot in the Santa Cruz Mountains only 500 meters from the first-established vineyard in California, says Alberti.

Jim, along with his wife Peggy, is making some outstanding Pinot Noir (around $32)—the only varietal they produce right now—and it’s all handmade and aged in French oak barrels. We had houseguests for 10 days last month—friends who live in the south of Spain and swear by Spanish wines. But I opened up the Alberti Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot 2013 to enjoy with a pot of black beans and ham, served with crusty bread and a green salad, and they loved it. Tending toward the lighter side with an aroma of berries and cherries, it’s an easy-drinking Pinot with a medium mouthfeel that paired well with this simple food. It’s also very flexible and gentle on the palate, so would pair well with everything from a ham sandwich to a hearty steak.

The Albertis don’t have a tasting room, although they do have a wine club, but the good news is that their wine is available at Cantine Winepub, Deluxe Foods of Aptos, Shopper’s Corner, Deer Park Wine & Spirits, and most recently in New Leaf on the Westside and in Capitola. Visit albertivineyard.com for more info.


Motiv Move

LionFish SupperClub will soon have its very own space in which to continue its popular dinner events. Owners Zachary Mazi and Tighe Melville will be cooking at Motiv’s upstairs bar/kitchen on Center Street and operate a Wednesday-Saturday dinner service from 4-10 p.m. There will be a grand opening on Friday, March 4, but in the meantime you can check them out in their new space on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26. Mazi and Melville want to focus on “breathing new life” into the epic Pacific Avenue locale. Visit lionfishsc.com for more info.

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