As we plan our holiday festivities, most of us have Champagne on our shopping list. After all, there’s nothing that compares to a fine glass of bubbly to celebrate the festive season. An excellent Champagne (or sparkling wine as it has to be called if it is made outside of the Champagne region of France) is made right here in town by expert winemaker Barry Jackson of Equinox Wine.
Jackson’s Equinox sparkling wine, made in the methode champenoise style, compares very well with many French Champagnes—a true test to Jackson’s expertise. A taste of this delicious nectar reveals a very full texture on the palate with a superb dry finish.
Equinox sparkling wine is made from grapes grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is aged for a minimum of two years “en tirage”—in contact with the spent yeast—and is completely “au natural,” meaning no dosage (sugar syrup) is added to the finished wine. This golden-hued beauty with intense flavors of yeast, honey, citrus and hazelnut, is just perfect for popping open when friends come to visit or to give as a special gift.
You can buy Equinox at the Equinox tasting room on the Westside, or at Deluxe Foods of Aptos, Shopper’s Corner, Vinocruz wine bar in Downtown Santa Cruz, and at some New Leaf stores. It retails for around $40. Not only is this a very fine sparkling wine made with the utmost care, but it’s also good to shop local and support local businesses.
I love to visit Jackson’s tasting room, which is also a working winery piled high with barrels and bottles. Jackson is a mine of information (see below on the next Wine University) and will happily answer any question you have about his wines.
Equinox, 427 Swift St., Unit C, Santa Cruz. 423-3000. equinoxwine.com. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Tasting fee is $5.
Surf City Wine University with Barry Jackson of Equinox
The next class in the series of Wine University events will feature Barry Jackson of Equinox from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. Individual classes are $30 each or $25 for wine club members of any of the Surf City wineries. These classes are fun and interesting, and you will learn a lot about wine and taste it as well. Register at any of the Surf City tasting rooms or call (408) 234-2079. Visit surfcityvintners.com.
Matisse and Merlot—Sip Your Drink While You Dip Your Brush
The first in a series of art and wine classes begins on Dec. 6 in the Cruzio Building in Downtown Santa Cruz. Apron, canvas, easel, palette, paint and paint brushes are all provided, and wine is by cash bar. What fun to drink wine and create your own artwork—and at the same time. Visit MatisseandMerlot.com for more information and to register.