Vine & Dine

Lester Family Vineyards

wine“Redemption” Reserve Pinot Noir 2011

By Josie Cowden When visiting Dan and Pat Lester’s property, one is greeted by acres and acres of glorious vineyards. Around this time of year, grapes not already harvested are heavy and luscious. It’s a beautiful sight to behold and it’s obvious that some outstanding wines are going to be produced from this voluptuous fruit.

At a recent event I attended, Pleasant Valley Vineyards were showcasing their Burgundian wines and Lester wines, and holding a fun party on the Lester estate. One of the wines I tried, a Lester Family Vineyards’ Reserve Pinot Noir 2011 ($54) called “Redemption,” was simply outstanding. Here is a wine that has an abundance of everything that makes up a great Pinot Noir—aromas of red fruits, leather and spices, flavors of cherry, strawberry, vanilla, smoke, plus a beautiful characteristic earthiness.

Handcrafted from nurtured vines of French Dijon clones, this Pinot is cold soaked and fermented whole berry and whole cluster, and aged exclusively in small Seguin Moreau French oak barrels unfiltered and unfined. Produced and bottled by Pleasant Valley Vineyards, this complex wine is quality in a bottle.

Dan Lester not only grows high-end grapes, but he also is a talented artist and has produced the artwork for four different Pinot Noir wine labels made with grapes from his estate. As well as “Redemption,” his artist series includes “Evolution,” “Infinitus” and “Phoenix”—each label a bold statement and a standout work of art.

The “Redemption” wine is available at Pleasant Valley Vineyards, 600 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos, 228-0074.

Vino Tabi Wine Sail on the O’Neill Catamaran

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, Sept. 18 and get ready to head out on the briny and taste the wonderful wines of Vino Tabi Winery. The sailing takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. with Vino Tabi’s expert winemaker Katie Fox. For tickets and more information visit or call 818-3645.

Gourmet Grazing on the Green

The annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green fundraiser takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 21. From its small beginnings 10 years ago, this elegant fundraiser has blossomed into one of the best local food and wine events. Organized by the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group, it gives one an opportunity to taste the wares of many different wineries and restaurants in the bucolic Aptos Village Park. Tickets are $65 or $500 for a group of 10. Last year’s event sold out, so don’t delay in contacting Around 70 vendors will participate this year in this cancer benefit fundraiser.

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