Pinot Noir 2011
Birthdays are always fun to celebrate, and it’s also a good time to open a bottle of vino or two. My Greek friend and I took our Russian friend to dinner at Center Street Grill for her birthday, and I brought along a bottle of Bruzzone Family Vineyards’ Pinot for us all to enjoy.
Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. They started out a few years ago by making only Chardonnay, but Pinot Noir was calling to them and they eventually planted this varietal as well. Their 2011 estate Pinot Noir ($40) was hand-harvested in late fall and then aged in French oak barrels. Pinot Noir grapes are difficult enough to grow under the best circumstances, but the long winter and early rains of that year made for a really challenging time, and only a limited quantity of Pinot was produced. I imagine this delicious wine will not be around for long, so I would not waste time in getting some.
Right now, the Bruzzone tasting room is open only on Passport days, which fall on the third Saturday in January, April, July, and November (see scmwa.com for information). The next Passport is July 20 so this is an opportunity to visit the splendid estate of Rancho Don Bosco in Santa Cruz, which belongs to the Bruzzone family, and taste the Bruzzone wines.
Bruzzone Family Vineyards Tasting Room, Rancho Don Bosco, 1690 Glen Canyon Road, Santa Cruz. Or call 332-0909 for a private tasting. Bruzzonevineyards.com.
Windy Oaks Winery Private Tours and Tastings Walking Tours
The wonderful Windy Oaks Vineyard & Winery in Corralitos is now offering private tours and tastings for two to six people, including a walking tour of their vineyards and grounds. For $25 you get a tour and wine tasting plus light snacks, and $35 gives you an additional full glass of wine and a gourmet box lunch on the vineyard ridge.
As well as sampling wines in their tasting room, another good place to try them out is at the lovely little French bistrot Au Midi in Aptos. Chef Muriel Loubiere will be cooking up paella on Wednesday nights and bouillabaisse on Thursday nights throughout the summer, so that’s an opportunity right there. Visit windyoaksestate.com and aumidi.com for more information.
Soif Waiters Race
Why not celebrate Bastille Day by attending Soif Wine Bar’s second annual Waiters Race at Pacific and Walnut avenues in downtown Santa Cruz on July 14. This fun race starts at 1 pm and it’s a benefit for the Second Harvest Food Bank. If you can’t attend the race, you can enjoy a fabulous Bastille Day dinner at Soif for $45 a person. Visit soifwine.com or call 423-3020 for more information.