Looking for a terrific Malbec? Then head to Villa del Monte Winery’s tasting room and try the 2013 single-varietal, single-vineyard, 100-percent Malbec from Pedregal Vineyard in San Benito County. Warm weather blesses the Pedregal Vineyard in the Paicines American Viticultural Area (AVA) and helps to create a rich, lush Malbec that is chock-full of red and black fruit, and bursting with flavor.
Gallons of Malbec are imported from carne-loving Argentina, so it’s not surprising that this wine pairs very well with meat. Throw a couple of steaks on the grill and enjoy a locally made Malbec ($34) from Villa del Monte that is deeply concentrated in both color and flavor. Villa del Monte is open only once a month on weekends, but you can try their wines at Shadowbrook’s Wine Wednesday on March 15.
Villa del Monte Winery, 23076 Summit Road, Los Gatos, 408-353-0995 or 888-788-4583. villadelmontewinery.com.
True Olive Connection
Spring is around the corner—the clocks “spring” forward Sunday, March 12—and we tend to turn toward lighter foods, eating less of the heavier stuff we crave in winter, such as meat and starch. My cooking, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, always involves an abundance of olive oil. Having lived in Greece for nearly 13 years, where olive oil is king, I don’t use anything else. Why use bottled dressing on salads, when all you need is EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and good balsamic vinegar? Most Greeks would be horrified at some of the sugary-sweet dressings poured on salads. The True Olive Connection carries an impressive assortment of olive oils and balsamic vinegars from all over the world, and you can try them in the store. While you’re there, check out other interesting items they carry, such as gourmet salts, Olivella body-care products and unique gift items. Co-owner Susan Pappas can also custom-make a gift basket. At a recent wedding reception I went to, all of the guests were given small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar—from True Olive Connection—as parting gifts.
True Olive Connection, 106 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz, and 7960 Soquel Drive, Suite C, Aptos. trueoliveconnection.com.