Vine & Dine

Martin Ranch Winery Zinfandel 2009

wine redAs we head into fall weather, it is good to stock up one’s wine rack—or cellar, if you have one—with a few robust red wines that will warm the cockles.

Martin Ranch Winery’s 2009 Zinfandel is a hearty two-vineyard blend from the Santa Clara Valley that is perfect to open up as the evening’s chill sets in. This particular wine—under their J.D. Hurley label—can be found all over in markets and liquor stores for around $18. With hints of blackberry jam on the nose and flavors of dark fruit, black licorice and spice, it’s a good pairing with barbecue and pizza. Barrel aged for about 20 months, this blend of 78 percent Zinfandel, 8 percent Petit Sirah and 14 percent Carignane is a full-bodied wine that’s ready to drink now.

Martin Ranch is a beautiful winery to visit, especially at this time of year when the vineyards are golden. Open every third weekend—including this coming weekend, Oct. 19-20—Thérèse and Dan Martin will throw out the welcome mat and share their many award-winning wines with you.

Martin Ranch Winery, 6675 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, (408) 842-9197.


These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

At a recent party I went to, where a Thai friend of mine had prepared a veritable banquet of her country’s delicious food, I met the owner of West Coast Toffee, Monica Elzalaki, who had brought along several packets for dessert. I brought some home—it keeps really well in the freezer—and just break off a piece when I need a sweet fix. The macadamia is delicious, made with white chocolate, butter and sugar, and smothered in macadamia nuts. Other flavors are a traditional semi-sweet almond, peppermint, cappuccino and a new pumpkin spice with roasted pumpkin seeds. Visit or call 419-3258 for more information.

Local food maven Tabitha Stroup will be introducing her famous Fig & Fennel jam and Forbidden Fruit Marmalade in mid-October, and I just love her Carrot Marmalade with a touch of cardamom, white pepper and pink sea salt. Try these and more of her mouth-watering products from Friend in Cheeses Jam Company—available in many local stores. Visit for more information.

If you’re looking for something tasty to perk up a sandwich—and many other things for that matter—then try Farmhouse Culture’s Smoked Jalapeño sauerkraut. It’s absolutely delicious. All Farmhouse Culture’s varieties of kraut are raw, organic and locally made. Visit

Local bee keeper Scott Delk makes an assortment of flavored honey under his label Delk Bees Honey. My favorite is the coffee flavor. Visit Delk Bees Honey on Facebook. 

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