Vine & Dine

Osocalis’ Rare Alambic Brandy

It’s around this time of year that I usually write about sparkling wine—we all love a glass of bubbly to start off the New Year, after all. So I headed to Deer Park Wine & Spirits in Aptos to sift through their fine selection of locally made wines, but opted for an Osocalis brandy instead: a Rare Alambic ($48 for 750 ml.).

Opening up the Osocalis reveals beautiful aromas of carefully blended varietals, followed by rich, luscious fruit flavors. Osocalis, the American Indian word for Soquel (where the brandy is produced), is superbly made in the style of Old-World brandies, using a small antique alambic Charentais still imported from Cognac in France.

We have Jeff Emery and Dan Farver to thank for the delicious end product. Emery, who also owns and operates Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard—his tasting room is on the Westside—and Farver go to great lengths to produce superior brandy, using the finest quality California fruit available. Farber, who heads up the production team and has studied in Cognac and other brandy-producing regions, is the founder of Osocalis distillery, and has been involved in brandy production since the ’80s.

In addition to Rare Alambic, Osocalis has a line of XO, Heritage, and Apple brandies. All can be purchased at local liquor stores, or at the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard tasting room. 334A Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-6209. Visit osocalis.com, or call 477-1718.

Local, Travel-Friendly Snacks

In a recent Good Times issue, I mentioned my November trip to Panama and Costa Rica, and I want to add something about the healthy snacks my husband and I took with us. In these days of down-to-the-bone travel, where little food or none at all is served on most airlines, it pays to take a few good munchies along to help stave off hunger pangs. Sadly, many airlines worldwide have had to cut back on food service, so that one can fly on a six-hour journey—from San Francisco to Miami, for example—with nary a packet of peanuts served. And food available for purchase does not usually fall into the “very healthy” category.

Locally made SunRidge Farms’ snack packets are ideal to carry with you on trips because they are all sealed and stay very fresh. I have several favorites that I usually take with me: Deluxe Trail Mix, Marcona Almonds, All Natural Peanut Butter Power Chews, and my favorite, Coconut Mango Pomegranate Chews. SunRidge has a plethora of different products—many organic and non-GMO—and they are always coming out with new ones. Try their Sea Salt & Turbinado Dark Chocolate Almonds, and Sea Salt & Apple Cider Vinegar Almonds, both delicious. SunRidge Farms is a local company based in Royal Oaks. Visit sunridgefarms.com for more information.

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