Food & Drink

A Sustainable Cabernet from Kathryn Kennedy Winery

Kathryn Kennedy WineryAlthough Kathryn Kennedy died in August 2009 at the age of 82, her winemaking legacy lives on. Marty Mathis, Kennedy’s son, has been the winemaker at Kathryn Kennedy Winery since 1981, and now runs the business, carrying on a tradition of superb wine-making at the estate winery in Saratoga, and a commitment to “growing and making world-class sustainable wines.”

The Kennedy estate does not have a tasting room—but worry not, their wines are well stocked in local shops and restaurants. A good place to start is with a glass of the Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 at Back Nine Grill & Bar, in the Inn at Pasatiempo on Hwy. 17. When my husband and I had dinner there recently we were impressed with the transformation of the bar area—formerly Peachwood’s Steakhouse and now re-named Back Nine Grill. Imaginatively upgraded and remodeled, Back Nine has a much more modern atmosphere for casual dining than its former iteration, with a new menu by Chef Ben Kralj. Michele Costa, who oversees daily operations, says customers love the welcoming ambiance, either for a quick pop-in for a pint or for a relaxed sit-down meal. Across the main lobby is another completely remodeled space—formerly Peachwood’s main dining area—available for banquets and private parties.

Seeing a Kathryn Kennedy Small Lot Cab on Back Nine’s wine list ($48 bottle, $12.50 glass), I ignored the white-wine-with-fish rule (as I often do) and ordered a glass of the cab to go with the restaurant’s delicious grilled salmon. Distinctive black currant, tobacco, coffee, and vanilla notes give abundant flavor to this elegant wine—with an added dose of terroir and dusty red fruit. My husband opted for a beer with his hefty stack of pork ribs. He really missed out.

Back Nine Grill & Bar, 555 Hwy. 17, Santa Cruz, 423-5000.,

Buttercup Cakes on the Move

Our go-to cupcake store for celebrating birthdays at Good Times is Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting. The delicious bakery is expanding, moving from their small shop on Locust Street into the much bigger space where Noah’s Bagels (1411 Pacific Ave., downtown) was for many years. The grand opening is planned for early January. Until then, get your cupcakes at 109 Locust St., in downtown Santa Cruz. Visit for more info.

FAMILY LEGACY Marty Mathis, winemaker and owner at Kathryn Kennedy Winery in Saratoga.

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