There’s an old British song that goes: “Have some Madeira, m’dear. You really have nothing to fear.”
This song came to mind when I bought a bottle of Quinta Cruz Verdelho. The Verdelho grape, like the famous Madeira, both come from Portugal. Verdelho has been cultivated since about the 1400s in a region of Portugal that makes dry wine—and is also one of the grapes used in the making of Madeira.
It takes somebody like Jeff Emery, a master winemaker better known with his other label – Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard—to want to make something really different. He most certainly likes the challenge of steering away from the usual – preferring to make a wine that’s a step or two from the mainstream—and he started the Quinta Cruz label with this goal in mind.
Emery says that he was “up in the mountains for 33 years and hard to find” before opening his tasting room on the Westside. His wines are remarkable—and always made with great care and precision.
A good wine and a tasty piece of cheese—well, the two go hand in hand, really. I open up the Verdelho ($22) to go with a chunk of Huntsman—a hearty British cheese with Double Gloucester on the outside and Blue Stilton in the middle. It’s delicious stuff. Wonderful flavors of pineapple, peaches and citrus leap from this crisply textured wine, and the sweetness of the Verdelho (Alta Mesa Silvaspoons Vineyard) pairs beautifully with the semi-sharpness of the cheese—a nice contrast.
Although the Quinta Cruz label is quite new and the website is not fully up yet, Emery has already won two bronze medals in the Santa Cruz Mountains Commercial Wine Competition—for his 2006 Concertina, and his 2007 Touriga (both with 81 points).
All that remains to say is I’m glad that Emery came down from the mountain, opened up his tasting room with the Surf City Vintners, and gave us all the opportunity to try his lovely wines.
Santa Cruz Mountain Winery and Quinta Cruz, 334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-6209. scmountainvineyard.com. surfcityvintners.com.
Vinocruz continues with its Wine Down Fridays. Every Friday a glass of wine is offered for $5—a perfect way to “wine down” after work, and a good start to the weekend. Vinocruz stocks about a half dozen wines made by Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard.
Vinocruz, Abbott Square off Cooper Street, 426-VINO (8466). Vinocruz.com.
Most days you can get a glass of selected wine for $5 and some exciting cocktails for the same price. Check out the food specials, too.