It’s not every day that a wine scores top-of-the-line awards—100 points at the California State Fair and a double gold medal. This is Bottle Jack Cellars’ fabulous Syrah-Grenache 2014, a luscious blend of 89.4 percent Syrah and 10.6 percent Grenache. Kudos go to owner and winemaker John Ritchey for this outstanding elixir awash with blackberry, red cherry, white pepper, cedar, and dark chocolate.
We headed to Bottle Jack’s tasting room on the edge of Santa Cruz—up a bucolic winding road surrounded by redwoods. Word has spread about Ritchey’s wonderful wines, and the tasting room was busy on a Sunday afternoon. I was impressed with every wine Ritchey poured for us, but I fell madly in love with the Syrah-Grenache ($35). Grapes for this wine were harvested in the Santa Cruz Mountains and aged in oak barrels for 30 months, resulting in what Ritchey calls “a fierce and unique wine from this region.” Ritchey and his wife Katharine are a team in the business and are truly dedicated to making superb wines.
The good news is that Ritchey is now sharing space in Silver Mountain Vineyards’ tasting room in the Swift Street Courtyard complex in Santa Cruz—open every weekend. Check the website for opening times of both locations.
Some Bottle Jack wines are available at Cantine Winepub in Aptos Village. Try Bottle Jack’s beautiful Viognier paired with Arugula Salad ($9) and Cantine’s fingerling potatoes with chimichurri ($8)—a tasty trio of food and wine.
Bottle Jack Cellars, 1088 La Madrona Drive, Santa Cruz, 227-2288. bottlejackwines.com.
Wrights Station Celebrates Father’s Day
Celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, June 17 at Wrights Station Vineyards with live music by local musician Asher and tasty bivalves by Bill the Oysterman. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery, 24250 Loma Prieta Ave., Los Gatos, 408-560-9343. wrightsstation.com.
Forks. Corks. Action!
The Hyatt Carmel Highlands is celebrating its 101st anniversary with a series of “Forks. Corks. Action!” winemaker dinners. The next one is Thursday, June 21. It’s a four-course dinner paired with ZD Wines. Cost is $130 per person inclusive, and reservations are required. For more information visit highlandsinn.hyatt.com.