On a recent bright fall day, a group of us from Good Times went on a fun wine-tasting trip. We were driven around the Santa Cruz Mountains in a comfortable bus by Seth Kinman of Mountains to the Bay Wine Tours.
We started at Alfaro Family Vineyards in Corralitosâ€”a beautiful winery with a splendid tasting room and lots of tables outside to gather with friends. A warm welcome always awaits from Richard Alfaro and his certified-sommelier wife Mary Kay Alfaro. A visit to Alfaro, in fact, is always an upbeat and pleasurable experience.
We started with a 2014 Cremant de Corralitos Sparkling Pinot Noir ($48), a beautiful zesty sparkler with a gorgeous rose-petal color that I fell in love with immediately. â€œEnhanced notes of fresh-baked bread and crisp green apple make this a refreshing go-to wine,â€ say the Alfaros, â€œperfect as an aperitif.â€ They suggest pairing it with fish and seafoodâ€”especially lobsterâ€”poultry, pasta, risotto, egg dishes, and â€œanything spicy or salty.â€
Sparkling wines are not just for celebrationâ€”they are meant to be enjoyed anytime. But how perfect to crack open a bottle to ring in the New Year?
Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos, 728-5172. alfarowine.com.
Aptos Natural Foods
Aptos Natural Foods has a new owner. Gene â€œDarioâ€ Dickinson took over the reins recently and a grand re-opening was held in mid-November, with samples of drinks and food items. On a cold and rainy day, some hot Traditional Golden Milkâ€”a delicious mix of turmeric, dates and herbsâ€”tasted wonderful. Visit gaiaherbs.com for more info. Next I tried SoloCocoâ€”very healthy handcrafted coconut oil from the Dominican Republic; then products by Organic India, which ethically purchases herbs from farmers in India for their organic teas. As the rain poured down, I sipped a sample of Blue Lotus Chai, and especially loved the Turmeric & Maca. Local healthy drinks company La Vie attended with their energy-boosting samplesâ€”just what I needed on a cold day. Inside the store, I was impressed with Thomas Sage playing the didgeridooâ€”and heâ€™s not even from Australia!