Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.
With forward aromas of citrus fruit and tropical notes of pineapple, this popular wine sells for $17.99, so the price is right. Hints of lemon zest and rose petals give the 2012 Chardonnay a beautiful nose, followed by rich flavors of green apple and bright lemon.
“Wines of depth and character come from grapes with the same pedigree,” says Trout Gulch’s Gerry Turgeon, who gives each of his wines a French title—le pecherie (the fishing pond) for this Chardonnay. Turgeon suggests pairing it with Dungeness crab—in season right now—as well as salmon, trout, sea bass, scallops and shellfish such as cockles and clams, and pasta.
Trout Gulch wines have been made at Barry Jackson’s Equinox Winery at 427 Swift St. since 2006, and that’s where you’ll find Turgeon pouring for the Passport event on Jan. 17.
Trout Gulch Vineyards, 427 Swift St., Santa Cruz, 471-2705. troutgulchvineyards.com. Open for Passport Day and for special events.
Passport Day comes around every three months, and the next one is Saturday, Jan. 17. It’s the day when you can visit participating wineries belonging to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA) and taste for free—provided you have a Passport, which will cost you $45 and can be purchased at any winery. Passport Day takes place four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November. Of course, you can still visit various wineries if you are not participating in Passport and simply pay the tasting fee at each winery. Info: 685-8464, or scmwa.com or [email protected]
Bruzzone Family Vineyards
Bruzzone Family Vineyards is open for the Passport event on Jan. 17, and it’s an opportunity to try the produce at their country store, called The Barn Swallow, when you visit their beautiful Rancho Don Bosco wine-tasting facility. Pinot Noir jam, olallieberry jam, fresh organic eggs, soy-based scented candles in Chardonnay bottles will all be on sale, and much more. Rancho Don Bosco is open that day for tours, if you’re interested in holding an event there, and there’s lots of parking. You are welcome to take a picnic lunch and enjoy their wine in the garden or vineyard. Bruzzone Family Vineyards will be releasing their 2012 Pinot Noir for the Passport event, with grapes grown on the Rancho Don Bosco property. The only place it can be purchased is at the tasting room. Passports can be purchased at the tasting room—or you can taste without a Passport. Rancho Don Bosco, 1690 Glen Canyon Road, Santa Cruz, 438-3120. Bruzzonefamilyvineyards.com