Rabelo Dessert Wine 2007
When Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard makes wine, he goes all out to make sure it is the very best product in every way. He is a talented and dedicated winemaker who likes a challenge—and he gravitates toward the more adventurous wines.
His Quinta Cruz label was born out of the desire to make unusual cutting-edge wines, especially those of Portugal.
Take his superior Rabelo, Pierce Ranch ($30 for 750 ml.)—a fabulous Portuguese-style dessert wine that is simply outstanding. Emery named this port-style wine after the rabelo, a traditional boat which transported wines along the Douro River of Portugal. It is a blend of three of the authentic grape varieties originally from this region—Tempranillo 50 percent (Tinta Roriz), Touriga 34 percent, and Tinto Cão 16 percent. This is a lovely wine to serve after dinner, especially over the holidays, or to give as a special gift.
“Our Rabelo was made using historical practices extremely rare for American wines of this type,” says Emery. “There are a few wineries in California using traditional Port varieties, but what makes the Quinta Cruz Rabelo different from other Port-style wines is the use of complex alambic spirits produced from the same grapes that are used for the rest of the Port,” he says. “Quinta Cruz takes early harvest Portuguese varietal grapes and distills the fresh wine in a small alambic still originally made in Cognac. The method used in making Rabelo is the old method that had been the norm in Portugal until the Portuguese government took away the rights of wineries to distill in 1972,” Emery continues. “You might say that Quinta Cruz is helping to keep alive the “old” Port tradition.”
Emery makes a superb variety of wines under his Quinta Cruz label including Verdelho, Tempranillo, Touriga, Graciano and others. As Emery says, “Step out of the mainstream and explore these exciting hidden treasures of the wine world!”
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, 334A Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-6209. SantaCruzMountainVineyard.com. Visit the tasting room Wednesday through Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Bantam—new restaurant on the Westside
Ben Sims, the talented chef who used to cook at Avanti, just opened up his own restaurant on the Westside, and he’s named it Bantam. Sims and his wife Sarah have put their focus on pizza. Ever since Sims worked the wood-fired oven at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, he was destined to operate his own restaurant someday, and now he’s achieved that goal. Pizza and a nice glass of local wine? Sounds great! Bantam, 1010 Fair Ave., Suite J, Santa Cruz, 420-0101.