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Dining Reviews

Soif Releases Thanksgiving Six-Pack of Wine Curated to Pair

Wine pairing for holiday appetizers through desert, plus the quest for the best local pumpkin pie continued

PHOTO: JULES HOLDSWORTH

Almost as good as having your own private wine expert is this very timely curation of wines from the oenologists at Soif. Just in time to pair with your Thanksgiving meal is a specially-selected six-pack of wines for your holiday table. And it’s available right this very minute through Nov. 21 (better known as the day before Thanksgiving).

Soif Wine Curator Jon Bates and Retail Shop Manager Alexis Carr both had a hand in this rather exciting suite of wines from French and Italian producers. Reds, whites, plus a special sparkling red wine. The six-pack has been priced at $100, 20 percent off the individual retail prices. Sweet. “We thought about every part of the meal when putting this six-pack together,” says Bates, who believes that Thanksgiving celebration actually starts with the appetizers. “We have chosen wines to pair all the way through dessert, but also made sure we included something for everyone to enjoy.” 

So here’s the menu of special Soif wines: To start: 2015 Jean-François Mérieau Fleuve Blanc Chenin Blanc—Loire Valley; 2017 Château Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle—Bordeaux; and NV Barbolini Lambrusco di Sorbara Lambrusco—Emilia-Romagna, Italy. 

Then for the turkey and sides: 2015 Domaine Camus-Bruchon & Fils Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir from Burgundy, and a 2015 Domaine du Penlois ”Sous l’aile du Moulin” Moulin-à-Vent Gamay, Beaujolais.

To join dessert: the Soif team suggests a 2016 Domaine de la Pigeade Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Musca from France’s Rhone Valley. The Thanksgiving six-packs are available for purchase at Soif (105 Walnut Ave.) in downtown Santa Cruz. The shop is open Monday from 5-8 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday from noon-8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon-9 p.m. The shop will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

More information soifwine.com, or call the wine shop at 423-2020.

Worst Product of the Week

For $5.99 you can stuff a mattress or create your own bullet-proof vest simply by using the contents of one package of Food for Life Gluten-Free Multi-Seed English Muffins.

The word “inedible” doesn’t do justice to the shocking toughness and blandness of these $1-a-piece miscreants. Incapable of being toasted—after three passes through my toaster the product remained both tough and untoasted—these muffins defy logic as well as good taste. These things will take out an entire row of teeth if you’re not careful. The only reason I purchased this over-priced package of oral outrageousness was because two of my favorite stores were out of the superior and delicious Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Multi-grain English Muffins. So I thought, hey, how much different could these Food for Life muffins be? Night and day, that’s how different. Caveat emptor!

Pumpkin Pie Fieldwork: Part II

From Kelly’s Bakery comes this all-star slice of pumpkin pie ($5 with a generous top-knot of real whipped cream). If this pie were an NBA player it would be the lovechild of Steph Curry and LeBron James. Firm filling with terrific spice balance, extra generosity in spicing spices—cinnamon, allspice, cloves—so that you know you’re having a three-dimensional pumpkin pie experience. The crust is both delicious and tender. I would have been smug and happy to have baked this pie. Just a few more to go!

Avanti Sold!

Paul Geise confirmed the rumor that Westside landmark Ristorante Avanti has indeed been sold.

Paul and Cindy Geise plan to stay onsite until the end of the year while liquor license and escrow details are fine-tuned. “Thirty-one years with this restaurant. It’s bittersweet,” admits the longtime restaurateur, who says Avanti will soon have new local owners.

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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