Vine & Dine

Corralitos Wine Company

dining corralitosRio Del Rhone 2010
At a recent event put on by the Corralitos Wine Company in one of their vineyards next to the Deer Park Shopping Center, I tasted a superb 2010 Rio Del Rhone Rouge ($28) a Rhone-style red wine blend with grapes from Tehama County, and packing some mighty flavor. Beautifully balanced and with lots of dense fruit, this is an easy drinking wine that will pair with many different kinds of food.

The Corralitos Wine Company started as a collaborative effort by a small group of dedicated winemakers, and their passion for making excellent wine is revealed in each hand-crafted bottle. I suggest you stop by the Corralitos Wine Company’s tasting room and try their other wines as well, especially the 2008 Pinot Noir Dijon which won a gold medal in a recent Pinot Noir Shootout. Corralitos Wine Company, 9687 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 709-1500. The tasting room is open from noon to 5 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, and it’s very easy to get to (on the frontage road between Rio Del Mar and Freedom boulevards).

Foxy’s Toffee—Authentic Santa Cruz Almond Toffee
At a recent Art & Wine Festival in Walnut Creek, I was delighted to come across Foxy’s Toffee, a locally made treat made by Kathryn Brubaker. This nutty, crunchy creamy toffee, which comes in dark and milk chocolate, is seriously delicious, and it’s made with the best ingredients—including Guittard chocolate. Brubaker also does deliveries and special orders. Visit or call 325-6139 for online purchasing or for more information.

Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine
Zameen now carries more local wines such as Storrs, Alfaro, Bargetto and Morgan, and also offers five draft beers, including a Lagunitas IPA from Petaluma, as well as bottled beer. So the next time you get your delicious falafel fix, you know what to order.  Owner Ed Watson now operates a food truck as well, so you can find his gyros, salads, wraps and more in various places—as well being available for private hire. Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, 7528 Soquel Drive, Aptos (in the Aptos Center), 688-4465.

Blind Pinot Noir Tasting at Vinocruz
I was invited to be one of the judges for a blind Pinot Noir tasting in May organized by Rob LaRiviere, of Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Tasters, and Steve Principe and Jennifer Walker, the owners of Vinocruz where the event was held. All of the Pinots were high-end local wines, but the scores varied greatly. The winning wine, which garnered the most points from both professional judges and enthusiastic wine tasters, was Hallcrest Vineyards’ 2011 Pinot. Second place was Domaine Eden’s 2010, third was Testarossa’s 2010 and fourth was Armitage 2010. All these lovely wines are available at Vinocruz in Santa Cruz.
Visit for information.

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