birichino-grapes
Dining Reviews

The Interesting History of Birichino’s 2019 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Grapes

Birichino is having a moment, as the winery’s varietals explore ever-more-satisfying creative territory.

Birichino is having a moment, experiencing a much-deserved media barrage as the winery’s varietals explore ever-more-satisfying creative territory. In a moment of kismet, I enjoyed a sneak taste of a spectacular 2019 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains from winemakers Alex Krause and John Locke, just released in very limited bottling.

The grapes hailed from the 1600-foot elevation of Mt. Eden in Saratoga—farmed, Krause explained, “by Peter Martin Ray’s son Peter from one of the remaining parcels of that historic property that remain in the family after they sold most of the land to Mt Eden.” This Chardonnay was made from grapes descended from the original cuttings brought by Paul Masson from his home in Burgundy in the late 19th century. Very light toast, mostly neutral barrels and only 20% new French oak. Stainless steel wintering “to tighten it up and focus it for another six months before bottling unfined and unfiltered.” That’s for all you wine geeks. My sensory impressions of this exciting wine were of its gorgeous clarity (13% alcohol) and refreshing flint and green olive notes. $55, available at the Birichino Tasting Room and birichino.com.

In between making and releasing provocative wines, Birichino winemakers are making time to show their handiwork at Persephone’s first Winemaker Dinner in over a year, June 27 at 5:30pm. Outdoor seating only. Chef Cori is crafting something special to accompany the Birichino wines; e.g., Parmesan Budino with strawberry relish and balsamic reduction paired with the 2020 Cinsault; local squid paired with the complex Malvasia Bianca; duck liver paté with an Old Vine Zinfandel 2018, and seared Liberty duck breast with mushroom risotto paired with Birichino’s Lilo Pinot Noir 2018. And there’s dessert as well, an orange budino with a sparkling Cinsault. Here’s a festive occasion to celebrate the reopening of our region. $150/person, all-inclusive; tickets at persephonerestaurant.com. Persephone, 7945 Soquel Dr., Aptos 831 612-6511.

A Sustainable Kinch

Join Chef David Kinch (Manresa, the Bywater, Mentone) in a hybrid event continuing the Homeless Garden Project’s at-home tasting series, featuring fresh veggies, fresh recipes, and an intimate digital chat from the much-honored three-star Michelin chef himself. This summer’s Sustain in Place event happens on July 17, so you’re getting plenty of advance notice.

Here’s how it will work: you can come to the Homeless Garden Project farm (at Shaffer Road on the Westside of Santa Cruz) on Saturday, July 17, to harvest your own fresh veggies from 11am—4pm. While you’re at the farm, pick up your gift bag with wine and other important ingredients. You can meet chef Kinch and have your purchased copy of Kinch’s new cookbook At Home in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes from a Chef’s Night Off signed at the farm from noon until 1pm. Then the online fun begins for ticket-holders at 6:30pm using the link provided. Kinch will demo and walk us through cooking one of the recipes in the new book, using vegetables grown in the HGP organic garden.

Tickets for video presentation, dinner ingredients and wine for two, $125; cookbook, $35; presentation-only, $25. homelessgardenproject.org.

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