I headed to Ella’s at the Airport on a very cold night in March to have dinner with a couple of friends.
Dinner outside on the patio was a bit chilly, so we thanked our lucky stars I had brought a hearty wine to share. And this would be an Il Rinnegato 2017 by Dog & Pony ($38)—a very tasty red blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc that is sure to warm the cockles of your heart. For winemaker Michael Simons, this offshoot label (his main label is Comanche Cellars) is doing very well.
With grapes sourced from Monterey and San Benito counties, Simons says that the soul of the Italian renegade lives in this super Tuscan-inspired blend. Enjoy the layers of rich dark fruit, beautiful tannins and hints of leather and spice.
Comanche Cellars/Dog & Pony, 412 Alvarado St., Monterey. 831-747-2244, comanchecellars.com.
Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon (MCAS) is raised in the swift, cold currents of New Zealand’s Southern Alps —in water so pure you can drink it. These salmon thrive in the cold glacial water that flows from surrounding mountains directly and are raised under environmentally sustainable farming practices. They are free of antibiotics, vaccines and pesticides. MCAS—rich in Omega-3—is imported by John Battendieri of Santa Cruz Fish Co. based in Moss Landing. Battendieri has been involved in the food industry for decades, and knows a good product when he sees it.
Heavily involved in local fundraising, especially as a founding member of the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group, he is donating 5% of sales of MCAS to Jacob’s Heart and the Teen Kitchen Project—both of which are connected to the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group. Battendieri has launched a new online shop selling MCAS, so it makes it very easy to get some. The choices are many—sides, fillets, lox, hot smoked, and three flavors of burgers—all made exclusively with MCAS, which has been green-rated by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch as “Best Choice.”
Visit santacruzfishco.com for more info.