Ed Muns showcased his wines at Vino Locale on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf recently, an opportunity for my husband and I to check out the sea lions and try the new-ish wine bar on the water. The best part was tasting the superb wines of Muns Vineyard, including the 2014 Syrah ($30) from Muns’ estate vineyard.
Muns and partner Mary Lindsay not only make wine under their own Muns Vineyard label, but also grow an abundance of grapes for regular customers. Out of several wines I tried at their pop-up tasting, the 2014 Syrah is my favorite. Its stewed plum and blackberry aromas, with notes of pepper, jam and spices, add enormous depth and complexity.
Vino Locale is owned by Debra Szecsei and offers small plates of food and tapas to pair with their ample inventory of wines, many of them local. I recommend the quiche ($9) from Kelly’s French Bakery or the mini chicken empanadas ($10).
Muns Vineyard doesn’t have a tasting room, but their wines are available at various stores in the Santa Cruz area. Muns is a sponsor of the Jazz on the Plazz free summer concerts in downtown Los Gatos, a chance to imbibe good wine while listening to cool vibes.
Muns Vineyard. 408-234-2079, munsvineyard.com; Vino Locale Wine Bar & Bistro, 55 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz. 426-0750, vinolocale.com.
The hot downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Chocolate will be serving up some fabulous cocktails starting July 12. Owner David Jackman is showcasing a dry chocolate martini with an unsweetened cacao-nib-vodka infusion and “a delicious chocolate taste, not bitter and not sweet,” says Jackman. Another nib infusion is the Chocolate-Mint Mojito—just delish! And try the Lilikoi Margarita with passion fruit puree. Jackman also has added burgers to his menu, either vegan or free-range pork on house-made buns and served with organic roasted steak papas (thick-cut potato wedges). And don’t miss Jackman’s ambrosial hot cocoas, perfect for cool Santa Cruz weather.