Hallcrest Vineyards

dining hillPinot Noir 2008—A Lovely Libation

There are Pinots and then there are Pinots. When John Schumacher, winemaker and owner of Hallcrest Vineyards, makes a Pinot Noir, the result is usually a knock-your-socks-off wine. And the 2008 Pinot ($48) most certainly falls into that category.

A good California Pinot Noir tends to be more fruit forward than earthy, and this delectable wine is awash with red fruit. Enticing aromas of cherries, strawberries and ripe plums greet the nose with lots of clove, vanilla and caramel as well. And with that impressive first sip —smoke, spice and pomegranate are all captured intriguingly in this nectar. This is a perfect wine to pair with all kinds of meat, especially rich white meats such as pork and veal. But in spite of the fact that this is a big-gun wine, it is very food friendly and can be paired with a hearty plate of pasta or an assortment of cheeses. Well, I happen to think just about everything goes with cheese—and chocolate!

The 2008 Pinot Noir grapes come from Vista Del Mare Vineyards in Scotts Valley. Located at an elevation that gives this delicate grape the right amount of sun during the day and cooling ocean weather later in the day, by the time harvest comes around, some perfect fruit is ready to be picked. This wine won a silver medal in the 2011 Santa Cruz Mountains Commercial Wine Competition—and the 2006 Pinot Noir entered that same year won a silver medal as well.

For those who prefer everything to be organic, Schumacher and his wife Lorraine also own and operate The Organic Wine Works, so when you visit the tasting room, you might as well try some of those wines as well. Take your own picnic and make an afternoon of it.

Hallcrest Vineyards/Organic Wine Works, 379 Felton Empire Road, Felton, 335-4441. Hallcrestvineyards.com. Open daily noon to 5 p.m. from spring to fall. Tasting fee: $7. 

Annieglass Wine & Food Events

The Annieglass showroom in Watsonville is putting on a series of food and wine events throughout the summer months. This is not only your golden opportunity to take a tour and see how the famous Annieglass is made, but also to taste some splendid offerings as well. June 30 will feature Serendipity Spreads; July 7 Storrs Winery; July 14 Chocolate Visions; July 21 Odonata Wines. The Pours & Tours are ongoing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday—with tours at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and award-winning local wines for purchase and tasting from noon to 4:30 p.m. (There is a fee for tasting.)

Annieglass, 310 Harvest Drive, Watsonville. Reservations for tours: 761-2041 ext. 21 or [email protected] Walk-ins welcome.

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