A few weeks ago, some friends who live close by invited me over to their house for a light lunch to meet some British folks they do a house exchange with periodically. Since I hail from England myself, they thought it would be nice for me to meet them—and it was.
I had just bought a bottle of Nicholson’s 2008 Estate Chardonnay ($24), Santa Cruz Mountains, and so this would be the perfect libation to have with a variety of cheeses, salad, salami and pickles.
A classic Chardonnay such as this has all the expected aromas of apples, pears and touches of tropical fruit. The buttery flavor also brings out a bit of vanilla and some spicy notes of oak.
Owned by Marguerite and Brian Nicholson, this is a beautiful boutique winery to visit. The Nicholsons, along with winemaker Ian Brand, strive to make unique wines with a fullness and depth characteristic of each variety. Although the winery is located in Aptos, it’s in the sunbelt area where the grapes get that bit of extra warmth needed for ripening.
Nicholson Vineyards is located in the Corralitos foothills at the end of Pleasant Valley Road. It produces limited releases of estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as other noted varietals such as Syrah Grenache, Sangiovese and Zinfandel.
As well as making fine wines, the Nicholsons make a superb olive oil from their estate orchard. It’s available in December, but it sells out pretty quickly, so don’t waste time in getting to the winery.
Nicholson Vineyards, 2800 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos, 724-7071. nicholsonvineyards.com. Open Saturdays noon to 5 p.m. (Call to confirm.)
There is a $10 tasting fee for a flight of six wines. Muns Vineyard Release Party at Vinocruz Don’t miss the Muns Vineyard release party at Vinocruz on Saturday, Dec. 17.
Ed Muns is making some fabulous wines these days and it will be fun to taste what’s new from his backyard. For time and more information contact: Vinocruz, 725 Front St., Santa Cruz, 426-8466. vinocruz.com.
Michael’s on Main
Congratulations are due to Michael Clark—owner of Michael’s on Main. This lively restaurant, known for its delicious cutting-edge comfort food, has just celebrated 10 years in business. Michael’s on Main continues with its Tuesday food and wine pairings, where for $25 an eclectic spread of buffet food—very often with an ethnic theme – is featured along with a different winery every week.
Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel, 479-9777. Michaelsonmain.net.