If you haven’t tasted any of Jeff Emery’s Portuguese varietals, then you should hurry to his tasting room on the Westside. It’s thanks to Emery that we have beautiful wines such as his 2012 Touriga, San Antonio Valley Pierce Ranch ($24)—a blend of Touriga Nacional (64 percent) and Touriga Franca (36 percent).
“We feel that this wine, more than any other in the Quinta Cruz brand, shows off why it is that we focus on these almost-forgotten native varieties of Portugal,” says Emery. “You will find all kinds of aromas and flavors that you probably have never experienced in a wine before.”
Emery says the Touriga offers striking aromas of berry pie in the oven, “all the way down to the warm, fresh bread-dough character, warm butter and hot, juicy berries.” And its subtle floral elements, including rose petals, violets and lavender, will make you want to add this unusual wine to your table over the holidays.
Emery’s other Portuguese wines include Tempranillo, Graciano, Rabelo, Souzão, and Albariño.
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard and Quinta Cruz, 334-A Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-6209. santacruzmountainvineyard.com. Tasting room open daily.
Pacific Coffee Roasting
Co-owners Dena and Tom Hope have filled their cozy Aptos coffee shop with some wonderful goodies for Christmas: namely, all kinds of holiday ceramics—mugs, bowls, plates—along with delicious local chocolates from Ashby Confections; caramels, peppermint bark in beautiful packaging, holiday candies, tea towels, an assortment of loose teas, tea pots, and more. They also carry lovely gift bags for your purchases—some made of canvas—and, of course, freshly roasted coffee. Dena says Tom roasts nearly every day, so it’s nice to purchase coffee right before the holidays.
Pacific Coffee Roasting, 7554 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 685-2520 (in the Aptos Center near Outside-In, Aptos Natural Foods, and Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine).
True Olive Connection
Giving food and wine as gifts at Christmas is a safe bet—who doesn’t love good olive oil and balsamic vinegar?—snd True Olive Connection has an amazing selection. They also carry Greek and California olives, pickles, spices, and more. True Olive has a store in downtown Santa Cruz and another in Aptos. Visit trueoliveconnection.com for more info.