2008 California Red Wine Blend
Once a month I get together with my British group of women friends, and it usually the one who is hosting makes dinner for the group. My friend Joanna has gone on an organic vegan diet so the food she prepared for us all was ultra healthy with spinach from her garden and palm sugar in the dessert instead of white sugar.
I took along a bottle of wine that would easily pair with different kinds of food, including a no-meat meal, and one that most people would enjoy, a Vino Tabi red wine blend ($22). With seven of us for hors d’oeuvres and dinner, everybody got an ample tasting and loved it. And it’s good to introduce wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains to people who don’t know them that well.
This fruit-forward wine is a Bordeaux-style blend of 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Atlas Peak area; 22 percent Cabernet Franc from Mannstand Vineyard in Gilroy; 7.5 percent Petit Verdot from Central Coast; and 0.5 percent Syrah from Santa Cruz Mountains. Created by knowledgeable duo Katie Fox, owner and winemaker of Vino Tabi, and cellar master Dan Santa, this 2008 blend from their harvest grapes was individually fermented and aged with about 30 percent French oak before they blended. An enticing nose of chocolate and blackberry, and then lovely flavors of cherry brandy and a slight touch of licorice with a cocoa powder finish make all come beautifully together in this interesting wine. It sells for $28 at Vino Tabi Winery, but if you shop around you can probably find it for less at places like New Leaf, Vinocruz in downtown Santa Cruz and Deluxe Foods of Aptos.
Vino Tabi, 334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-1809. Vino-tabi-wine.com. Vino Tabi’s tasting room is open weekends, and Friday nights from 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Center Street Grill
Center Street continues with its wine tasting flights on Thursdays, which includes a three-course dinner and jazz for $19.95. Center Street Grill, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz, 423-4745. Thecenterstreetgrill.com.
Dine with the Winemaker
Muns Vineyard will be showcasing their wines at Viva! on Tuesday, Aug. 7. At this lovely restaurant in Los Gatos, you can order dinner off the menu or sit at the bar – and you have the option of purchasing a tasting flight, glass or bottle of the featured wines. Viva! 15970 Los Gatos Blvd., Los Gatos, (408)356-4902. Vivalosgatos.com. Farm to Table Dinner at Chaminade The next Farm to Table dinner is Aug. 10 featuring Black Hen Farm, Seven Cats Farm, and Martin Ranch Winery. Info: chaminade.com/Dining/farm-to-table.asp.