Food & Drink

Bottle Jack Winery Proves that Tasty Malbec Doesn’t Always Come From Argentina

Plus, the annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green fundraiser and two Sicilian rosé wines

MALBEC MANIA Bottle Jack Winery’s Malbec has a lingering fruit finish and a velvety soft chocolate finish.

Not all Malbec comes from Argentina, though one might think so with the amount imported of this varietal.

Local winemaker John Ritchey has made a terrific 2017 Malbec ($32) with grapes from Pierce Ranch Vineyards in San Antonio Valley. And it comes with all the aromas and flavors we expect from this solo-star wine. Silky, rich and awash with red and black fruit flavors, its floral notes are balanced by red licorice, chocolate and star anise. Ritchey says it has a long lingering fruit finish and a soft chocolate-velvety texture.

“Pair with slow-roasted meat, barbecued lamb, grilled sausage and onions, garlic-based dishes, yellow curry dishes, lentils, charcuterie—and with Brie, blue cheese, ricotta and pecorino for cheese pairings.”
Or, just drink it by itself!

Ritchey makes a lot of other reds and whites and a tasty port made from 100% Zinfandel.

Bottle Jack Winery has two locations: La Madrona Drive and Ingalls Street—both are in Santa Cruz. For hours and more info visit

Gourmet Grazing on the Green
The annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green fundraiser is Saturday, Oct. 9, noon-4pm. The Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group’s beneficiaries include Jacob’s Heart, Hospice of Santa Cruz County and Katz Cancer Resource Center. Held in beautiful Aptos Village Park with around 45 participating vendors, attendees are guaranteed an afternoon of delicious gourmet food, fabulous wines and craft beer. For tickets and more info visit

Two Sicilian Rosé Wines
Here are two Sicilian wines I recommend that are lovely and inexpensive—produced by two separate outfits under the Disaronno International umbrella. First is a 2020 Corvo Rosé (about $9.99) with flavors of strawberry and pomegranate and a bright finish. The other is a 2020 Duca di Salaparuta Calanica Rosato (about $15.99), a lively and aromatic wine with notes of citrus and white peach. Both wines pair well with appetizers, sushi or grilled fish. For more info on these wines visit or

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