Big Basin Vineyards

dining bigRiesling is a much-loved wine in many parts of the world, especially in Germany and France’s Alsace region where many of the best Rieslings come from.

I have tasted it in both those countries, and also in South Africa’s Stellenbosch region, where luscious grapes grow prolifically in a climate much like that of Napa. Riesling also does well in the Barossa Valley in Australia, and Iremember drinking some good ones there as well.

But Bradley Brown of Big Basin Vineyards has made a Riesling par excellence. Heading to Brown’s Boulder Creek vineyards in April for his annual spring release celebration is a treat I look forward to, and I tasted 

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some excellent wines that day, the Riesling 2011 from Wirz Vineyard in Cienga Valley amongst them. A bold aromatic nose is followed by an abundance of crisp fruitiness on the first sip. This delightful refreshing wine is well balanced, has the right amount of acidity, and is not overly sweet.

A friend who had just come back from Asia invited a few women friends over for dinner, preparing a five-course meal that was very much influenced by her trip – with spicy dishes from Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and South Korea. Big Basin’s Riesling ($25) was the perfect pairing for this kind of food, and everybody loved it.

Big Basin Vineyards, 830 Memory Lane, Boulder Creek. Tel: 621-8028. Visits to their estate vineyards are by appointment only or for special events. You can taste their wine at their tasting room at 14598 Big Basin Way, Suite B, Saratoga. (408) 564-7346. bigbasinvineyards.com.

Wine Events 

Capitola Book Café
Capitola Book Café is not only a great place to find an interesting book to buy, it is also a cozy spot to have a glass of wine. Head on over there, buy a glass of wine and a book and you will be supporting area wineries, Capitola Book Café, and authors far and wide all at the same time. Capitola Book Café, along with many other locally run stores, needs our support in today’s economy. Local wines sold at the Book Cafe include Mica Cellars, Ventana Vineyards and Haraszthy Family Cellars – by the glass or by the bottle. Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola, 462-4415, capitolabookcafe.com.

Vintners’ Festival
This is a reminder that this weekend, June 9 and 10, is the Vintners’ Festival at wineries and restaurants in Santa Cruz County. There will be wine, music, food, art and more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (participating restaurants close at 4 p.m.) so check out scmwa.com for more info. Cost: $40 in advance and $45 at the door.

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