Vine & Dine

McIntyre Vineyards

Wine-1535-mcintyreI recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

All was well when our server opened a bottle of McIntyre Vineyards Chardonnay ($30 in the restaurant). A beautiful, well-structured Chardonnay such as this really added flavor to our evening and harmonized perfectly with the array of fish dishes we selected—and I recommend it as a fail-proof choice the next time you dine at Sanderlings.

Fruit for this wine was grown on the 80-acre McIntyre Estate Vineyard, in the well-known Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, where Chardonnays are prized for their intensity, complexity and balance. This wine has aged well for a 2009 release. McIntyre Vineyards has since released Chardonnays made in other years, the latest being 2013, and now available to try at their tasting room, in Carmel’s Crossroads Shopping Center.

Made by experienced winemaker Steve McIntyre, whose wines have garnered accolades far and wide over the years, and who I was happy to meet pouring several wines at Big Sur Food & Wine Festival some time ago—all of them impressive.

Known for his sustainable winegrowing in the Santa Lucia Highlands, McIntyre also makes wine organically and biodynamically for many other wineries.

As the ocean fog swirled around and thickened, sitting outside became almost surreal—and noticeably quiet, as, approaching 10 o’clock, most of the diners had already gone home. The silence was a pleasant change, and the loveliest dining experience I have had for some time.

McIntyre Vineyards, 169 Crossroads Shopping Center, Carmel, 626-6268.

Sanderlings Restaurant at Seascape Beach Resort, One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos, 662-7120.

Takara Japanese Restaurant

I have always enjoyed Takara Japanese Restaurant in Capitola. Their food is vibrant and fresh, and the restaurant strives to make outstanding authentic dishes that resonate with their home country. Check out their Takara Feast—four courses with many choices, it is plenty of food for two at a mere $30. Happy Hour is from 3-6 p.m. daily—a fine time to try their many different sakes. Takara has a full bar, and they also do party platters to-go. Near Target and the Capitola Mall. 3775 Capitola Road, Capitola, 464-1818.

SWEET SPOT McIntyre Estate Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands during initial bloom, April 2014. PHOTO: MCINTYRE VINEYARDS

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