Vine & Dine

Martin Ranch Winery

wine glassMuscat 2012

Spring is here, with even warmer weather on the horizon, so what better time than now to enjoy a fruity floral Muscat? Martin Ranch makes a good one. With its musky, dripping-with-honey flavors, sexy sweetness, and the heady orangey perfume it exudes, Muscat is all too easy to quaff. Personally, I think it’s perfect to crack open when friends and family come over as it provides a refreshing change from the everyday Chardonnay. Serve it with cheese, appetizers and other munchies, and, Bob’s your uncle, you’re all ready to impress your guests. It’s also a classic match with chocolate. And it comes with a screw cap, too, which is really convenient.

This delicious 2012 Muscat ($19.95), with grapes harvested from the Santa Clara Valley, is truly a well-made elixir by winery owners Dan and Thérèse Martin. At a private tasting I had last year on their beautiful estate, the Muscat  was one of my favorites. And a visit to the Martins’ property is always such a pleasure. As well as tasting fine wines, it’s a fun upbeat experience. They will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on March 28 and 29 for the Santa Clara Valley Passport weekend. Tickets are $35.

Martin Ranch Winery, 6675 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, 408-842-9197.

Bed and Breakfast

The onset of spring and summer is the time when people start thinking about taking a trip or two. Already eyeing our lovely coast and redwoods—and checking out reasonably priced accommodation—many are now heading to Airbnbs as an alternative to hotels. I came across a lovely Airbnb recently, which stands out for location and owner friendliness. If you have friends and family coming into town and they need an interesting place to stay, then take a look at this Airbnb called Aptos Forest Retreat. It’s a sweet little guest studio with a private entrance, close to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. As well as a choice of delicious breakfast items, guests can also order dinner such as homemade sweet potato frittata, and with wine to go with it. There’s always fruit in the fridge—and couples celebrating an anniversary will find a bottle of Chandon as well. Info:

Cabrillo Stage

I saw the Cabrillo Stage show of “Urinetown” in January—an interesting production with a very talented cast. Last summer’s “Oliver” was absolutely wonderful, and I always appreciate not having to drive over the hill to see quality musicals. So please put Cabrillo Stage’s summer show “Mary Poppins” on your calendars, which will be from Aug. 1-16 at the Crocker Theater in Aptos. “Mid-Life Crisis” will also be playing in August at the Crocker Theater—a very impressive facility with not a bad seat in the house. Info:

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