Equinox Wine

dining equinoxSparkling Wine for New Year’s Eve

The countdown to the end of 2011 has begun. As we plan our New Year’s Eve 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 going into a brand new year. And it doesn’t have to be French. An excellent Champagne (or sparkling wine as it has to be called if it’s 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, is equal to anything that is made by our Gallic friends. A taste of this delicious nectar reveals a very full texture on the palate but 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 its intense flavors, is just perfect for New Year’s Eve when it’s time to pop the cork and count our blessings as we go into a whole new year.

You can buy Equinox at their tasting room on the Westside, or at Deluxe Foods of Aptos, Shopper’s Corner, Vinocruz wine bar downtown Santa Cruz, and at most 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.

If you head to the Equinox tasting room to try the sparkling wine, you might as well take the opportunity to do a tasting of Jackson’s Bartolo wines as well. His current offerings of Syrah, Grenache, Seta Rosso “Red Silk,” and Cioppino Rosso are very reasonably priced from $18 to $35—and they’re all wonderful.

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.

Wine Events:

If you haven’t made plans yet for New Year’s Eve, then Copious Winery is the place to go. Owners Lance and Brandie Campbell are putting on a Black & White New Year’s Eve celebration with an abundance of fine hors d’oeuvres, music and dancing – and with a champagne and wine toast at midnight. The event starts at 8 p.m. and the cost is $80 per couple. Black and white attire is required and reservations can be made by calling the winery or e-mailing Brandie at [email protected]

Copious Winery, 427 Swift St., Unit A, Santa Cruz, 425-WINE (9463). Copiouswinery.com.

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