A fellow Brit and good friend, Emma, was in Santa Cruz recently, visiting from London, and it’s always a pleasure to show visitors our wonderful area. Having been to this neck of the woods before, Emma particularly loves Capitola Village, so we headed there for a stroll around and then to Paradise Beach Grille for a glass or two of wine.
Paradise Beach Grille carries quite a few of our local wines and, of course, I always choose local when it’s available. On this particularly warm afternoon, a Clos LaChance Chardonnay is just the ticket. It’s an upbeat refreshing wine, full of tropical fruit, apples and pear flavors with a flinty mineral finish.
Fermented and aged sur lie (soor LEE) in French oak barrels for 10 months, it has a lovely rich mouthfeel—a delicious gift from our friends the Gallic coopers. All the grapes for this 2008 Chardonnay were grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and hand-picked and hand-sorted.
Clos LaChance Winery is in the most beautiful setting. The building that houses the tasting room is stunning, and the surrounding grounds are perfect for picnics, with a bocce ball court, too, and the tasting room is open daily.
Sur lie is the French expression for “on the lees.” Lees is the coarse sediment and grape particles that accumulate during fermentation. Winemakers believe that certain wine—Chardonnay being one of them—benefit from aging sur lie.
Clos LaChance Winery, 1 Hummingbird Lane, San Martin, (408) 686-1050. Clos.com.
Vine Hill Winery Opens New Tasting Room
Congratulations to Vine Hill Winery on the opening of their new tasting room—all set for this coming weekend. Hours are: Saturday, Dec. 3 from noon to 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4 from noon to 5 p.m. Lore James, marketing director of the winery, says that an exciting concept in the newly remodeled spot is that after 5 p.m. the tasting room will become a wine bar where people can sit down and relax with a glass of wine. What a splendid idea! 402 Ingalls St., Suite 21, Santa Cruz, 425-6555. Vinehillwinery.com.
Wine Makes a Great Gift
If you’re scratching your head about what to give your father, brother, uncle—or just about anybody—for Christmas, then how about a bottle of wine. A gift certificate for a wine tasting at any local winery makes a good gift, too. Vinocruz carries a huge variety of local wines in every price range, so this is a good place to find something special. To find a list of local wineries, check the website of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association: scmwa.com. Vinocruz is at 725 Front St., Santa Cruz, 426-8466. Vinocruz.com.