Food & Drink

Birichino’s All Natural, Earthy and Rich Grenache 2019

This 2019 Grenache comes with a playful label that lays everything bare

Birichino’s Mr. Natural is just that, produced without any additives so the wine speaks for itself. PHOTO: ALEX KRAUSE

Valentine’s Day is coming right up—and I have a fun wine for you to try.

Well, the wine is wonderful, but it is the saucy label (by American artist Robert Crumb) that’s the real kick. It depicts a naked man with such a long beard that it covers “the naughty bits,” as Monty Python would say. It’s called Mr. Natural.

Although this is a serious drop of wine—a 2019 Grenache ($32) to be precise—the playful label lays everything bare. The wine is all natural and produced without any additives, preferring instead to let this well-made vino speak for itself.

Grapes are harvested from Besson Vineyards in Gilroy and turned into an earthy rich red by Birichino owners John Locke and Alex Krause, which they are expert at doing.

“Despite the darker color and slightly more brooding continence,” says Locke, “the wine’s telltale perfume suggestive of amaro, and ninja-tannins mark its Besson provenance in spades.”

Birichino Winery Tasting Room, 204 Church St., Santa Cruz. 831-425-4811,

Alfaro’s Pig and Pinot Special with Baker’s Bacon

Most bacon on the market is too fatty and too salty for me. I grew up in England eating lean and delicious rashers (mostly imported from Denmark) in a sandwich with HP sauce (something like A.1. Sauce). Made with soft bread, it’s called a bacon butty. 

Now, just down the road in Marina, fellow Brit Tony Baker is curing his own bacon and selling it from his store and online. Alfaro Family Vineyards has partnered with the now-famous Baker’s Bacon and is running a Pig and Pinot Special through Valentine’s Day. Buy a case of 2018 Heirloom Clones Pinot Noir at the discounted price of $336 (regularly $420) and receive a free package of Baker’s Bacon. The bacon addition is valid for curbside pickup only.

Alfaro Family Vineyards, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos. 831-728-5172, Baker’s Bacon, 445 Reservation Road, Suite G, Marina. 831-250-0606,

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