Food & Drink

A Luscious, Layered Merlot 2017 from Comanche Cellars

Layers of fruit, complemented by notes of leather, cedar and licorice

The name Comanche Cellars was inspired by owner and winemaker Michael Simons’ beloved childhood horse. PHOTO: COURTESY COMANCHE CELLARS

The next time you’re in Monterey, I suggest you make a stop at Comanche Cellars to try their 2017 Zajak Vineyard Merlot. Not only will you love this wine, you will be happy with the whole tasting room experience. (Check out the video on the winery’s website to see what fun wine tasters are having.) 

Even if owner and winemaker Michael Simons has sold out of this luscious wine, he makes so many other varieties that you won’t fall short by any means. Just last month he released a Négrette, Grenache, Pinot Noir, and a Merlot—a full workload of winemaking.

The 2017 Santa Clara Valley Zajak Vineyard Merlot ($34) has gorgeous layers of fruit, complemented by notes of leather, cedar and licorice. “Dusty sugar on the nose leads to blackberries, dark cherries and blueberries on the palate,” Simons says. I detected aromas of plums and chocolate, too, with smidgeons of cream and coffee flavors. All told, this is an excellent Merlot with low acidity and a combination of rich flavors.

Simons named his winery after his beloved childhood horse Comanche. And Comanche’s intertwined horseshoes are featured on the winery’s every label.

Comanche Cellars, 412 Alvarado St., Monterey. 831-747-2244, comanchecellars.com.

Electric Kettles

Electric kettles are worth their weight in gold. As a Brit, I can’t imagine being without one. Every household in the U.K. has one, and every hotel room, too. One misconception in the U.S. is that an electric kettle is for making tea, but it’s actually just for boiling water. When my Black & Decker kettle lid broke recently, I contacted the company. Voila! They sent me a new kettle. What terrific customer service. 

Toque Blanche, the marvelous kitchen store in downtown Santa Cruz, carries various brands of electric kettles—Chantal, Smeg, Bodum, Capresso and Breville. Stock is low right now due to slow Covid-related deliveries, but they’re expecting more kettles mid-March. And, by the way, the Good Times office has a Smeg—in a lovely minty green color.

Toque Blanche, 1527 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 831-426-1351, toqueblanche.com.

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