Vine & Dine

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

wine glassThe 2012 Pinot that winemaker Vann Slatter produced was good, but the 2013 is even better. Not surprisingly, it has become a top seller at the winery. Made entirely from estate fruit and aged for a year on American oak, I think the 750 cases that Slatter made will not be around for very long.

Deep cherry overtones and a spicy bouquet add to the voluptuous earthy flavors of this well-made Pinot 2013 ($40). I also detect more red fruit flavors and aromas—raspberries and strawberries, and perhaps a soupçon of ripe plum. Hunter Hill suggests pairing it with lamb, salmon and other rich foods, but the versatile food-friendly Pinot goes with a tremendous range of fare; everything from hearty roast beef and Yorkshire pudding to a variety plate of cheese and crackers. And let’s not forget chocolate. What could be more decadent than indulging in a glass or two of excellent Pinot and some really good chocolate? Get the chocolate and the Pinot this weekend, put your feet up, and let the world slide by.

Vann’s wife Christine Slatter says the 2013 Pinot was released early, at the beginning of July, because they sold out of the 2012 Pinot. “It was a wonderful crop, beautiful intense fruit, and twice as much as we’ve ever had in a year,” Christine says. “Vann and his Pinot are a great pair,” she says, laughing. “He drinks it, he makes it, it’s the one he loves the most.”  She breathes a sigh of relief that the harvest of all their varietals is over. “All the fruit is in the barrels,” she says, happily. “We’re done!”

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, 7099 Glen Haven Road, Soquel. 465-9294. Open weekends for tasting.

Pelican Ranch Winery

Phil Crews, co-owner of Pelican Ranch Winery with his wife Peggy, is a born educator. As a professor of chemistry at UCSC, getting information to people is his passion, and it’s no different at his tasting room in Capitola. Recently, he was giving out a handy card loaded with wine facts and “did-you-knows.” Phil says “this little gem is guaranteed to impress your fellow wine lovers,” and he cites two examples: Some red grapes can be used to make a white wine; a standard glass of wine (four ounces) contains about 110 calories.

Check if Pelican Ranch has any cards left next time you go to their tasting room. Visit for more information.

Domenico Winery’s Halloween Party

It’s that time of year again when Domenico Winery puts on its annual Fright Night in the cellar. The event takes place from 7:30-11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25 and the cost is $20. Tables and tickets can be reserved in advance, so check the website for more information. 

Domenico Winery, 1697 Industrial Road, San Carlos, 650-593-2335.

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