Vine & Dine

Lucia Highlands

wine glassThe Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County is a prime grape-growing region. Its proximity to the cool maritime influences of the Monterey Bay allows fruit to ripen slowly, and, for Lucia Highlands’ 2012 Chardonnay from Kelly’s Vineyard, a luscious wine with intense tropical fruit flavors is the result.

This rich Chardonnay ($25) has concentrated layers of apple, ripe pear and pineapple, and a hint of caramel from its oak aging. I opened up the Chardonnay with a dinner of grilled chicken and potatoes, and it proved to be a lovely pairing. This wine also goes well with pork and pasta dishes, and I would recommend it with some tasty appetizers, such as pâté, shrimp, cheese, and olives.

Vintners Carol and Bret Sisney, who also grow grapes in their vineyards for other wineries, carefully harvest their fruit, gently press it and barrel-ferment it in tight-grain French oak—softening the acidity and creating a wine with character.

Lucia Highlands wine is readily available in local stores, such as The Fish Lady, Deluxe Foods of Aptos and Seascape Foods, and it’s also sold in local restaurants Bittersweet Bistro and the Britannia Arms, as well as Rootstock Wine Bar in Los Gatos.

Lucia Highlands, 1534 River Road, Salinas, 750-8888. luciahighlands.com

Bridal Expo

You don’t have to be making wedding plans to enjoy the 2015 Bridal Expo. Vendors galore gather to showcase their wares, including caterers, florists and more—and local Joyce Anderson, of Joyce Anderson Productions, will be putting on her upbeat Bridal Expo fashion show at noon and 2 p.m. The whole event promises to be fun for all.

Info: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. Admission is $7. Cocoanutgrovesantacruz.com/bridalexpo

The True Olive Connection Opens in Aptos

In addition to the main location on Lincoln Street in downtown Santa Cruz, The True Olive Connection opened a brand new store in Aptos in December. Light, spacious and colorful, it’s the ideal place to hold a private olive oil-tasting party, or take a group of friends to sample oils and vinegars from all around the globe. True Olive also sells an assortment of eclectic foods and spices, such as coconut oil; Italian organic pastas and sauces which are pesticide-free; and a line of jams and mustards by Twins Kitchen, a Santa Cruz-based company which uses fresh, local and organic ingredients. True Olive carries the new hand-crafted Mutari Chocolate—a delicious hot drinking chocolate which is locally made; paraben-free skin and body products such as Olivella, an excellent line of olive-oil-based lotions made in Italy; and OHO skin care products from Spain (for psoriasis, eczema, dry skin conditions, and anti-aging).

The True Olive Connection, 7960 Soquel Drive (Aptos Village Square), Suite C, Aptos (near Au Midi French restaurant), 612-6932. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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