Vine & Dine

Cinnabar Winery

wine-1531-pic-cinnabarPinot shows they’re so much more than their famous Mercury Rising

Mention Cinnabar wines to most wine lovers, and they immediately think of their famous Mercury Rising. Mercury is extracted from cinnabar, giving this purple-red wine its catchy name. But there’s much more to Cinnabar Winery—close to two dozen other varietals, including an ultra-smooth 2013 Pinot Noir.

The 2013 Pinot ($39) is made with grapes from Lester Family Vineyards—one of the best vineyards around, and overseen by local expert viticulturist Prudy Foxx. One is enticed by aromas of pomegranate, mushroom, clove, and a tiny hint of rose petals before a luscious mouthful of ripe black cherry, baking spice, vanilla, toasted oak, and herbs greet the tongue. All those aromas and flavors come together perfectly in this sumptuous Pinot; accolades are due to winemaker George Troquato, who has been with Cinnabar for almost three decades.

I tasted the 2013 Pinot, along with a few other Cinnabar wines, at one of the Wine Wednesdays at Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos. These every-Wednesday events start up again in the fall and run until May, providing an opportunity to taste wines from all over in one location.

Cinnabar Winery’s tasting room is at 14612 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, 408-867-1012.

Simon Majumdar at Love Apple Farms

I went with a friend to see Simon Majumdar at Love Apple Farms some time ago, and the samples of delicious Indian cuisine he made were amazing. Majumdar, a judge on Iron Chef America and Cuttthroat Kitchen, is upbeat and funny. He hails from Rotherham in England—stone’s throw from my hometown of Sheffield. I bought one of his books, “Eat My Globe,” a collection of rollicking tales of his travels through 30 countries eating a variety of dishes. This time he returns to show us how to make the quintessential cocktails of this life: Martini, Negroni, Manhattan, Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and Hemingway Daquiri. The event is from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8 and tickets are $99. Majumdar will be signing his latest book Fed, White & Blue. Visit for more info.

Tasting Under the Redwoods

This benefit for Valley Churches United Missions will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9 at Roaring Camp’s Bret Harte Hall in Felton, and features a plethora of restaurants. Wineries include Battle Mountain, Bonny Doon, Bruzzone, Hallcrest, Hunter Hill, Zayante, and more. Tickets are $40.

California Beer Festival

Don’t miss the fifth annual California Beer Festival—a three-day event with craft beer, live music, and a ton of good food. This family-friendly event takes place Aug. 7-9 in Aptos Village Park. Friday is Brew with a View, with a craft beer and food-pairing competition. Saturday is Craft Beer Heaven with more than 80 craft beers, and Sunday is Hamburger and Hops with lots of good burgers and, of course, beer. Space is limited so get your tickets now. Visit for more info.

PINOT RISING Most people know about Cinnabar’s spectacular Mercury Rising, but their 2013 Pinot Noir deserves just as much attention.


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