Vino di Nonno – California Red Wine
Nonno’s Italian Cafe is one of the most unpretentious little places on the map of California. It’s also a treasure trove of wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. Situated atop a hill in the beautiful Redwood Estates, it’s an easy drive from Santa Cruz, threading one’s way through majestic redwood trees to Nonno’s bucolic setting. Restaurant owner Ralph di Tullio is passionate about wine, so much so that as well as running his very busy restaurant, he even makes his own wine—Vino di Nonno, a California red wine which sells for $12 at his restaurant. “I buy the components from different Santa Cruz Mountains wineries and we make our own blend,” he says. “This particular one is 65 percent Tempranillo, 33 percent Petite Sirah and 2 percent Viognier. It’s a non-vintage blend of several years,” he adds.
Di Tullio takes great pride in carrying at least one wine from nearly every Santa Cruz Mountains vineyard. “We have 95 percent represented in some form,” he says, rattling off well-known names such as Pelican Ranch, La Honda, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard and one of his new favorites, Odonata. Wine tasting events at Nonno’s are held every Saturday—six wines with hors d’oeuvres for $10—from 3-7 p.m. out in the garden in good weather. The third Wednesday of the month Di Tullio does a wine dinner for $45, by reservation only, with wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains often featured. Sometimes the winemaker comes, too. Tuesday night is family night with all-you-can-eat pizza and salad bar for $10. DiTullio’s garden is an ongoing project. With plenty of space and an abundance of leafy shade, he has put in a bocce ball court for his customers to use at his family-friendly restaurant. “Wine is our life here, so as a result we do a lot of catering for local wineries—and we are the official caterer for the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association,” says Di Tullio, whose delicious barbecue is known far and wide. I used to cook and garden with my grandpa when I was a kid,” says Di Tullio. “Grandpa was from Italy so it’s all a homage to him.”
Nonno’s Italian Café, 21433 Broadway Road, Los Gatos, (408) 353-5633. nonnositalian.com.