After brunch at Gayle’s Bakery one recent Saturday, we headed to Pelican Ranch Winery’s tasting room just a few minutes’ drive away in Capitola. Ebullient owner and winemaker Phil Crews greeted us at the door, making us feel like long-lost friends with his gracious hospitality.
We tasted several wines, including a very voluptuous 2016 Santa Cruz Mountains Glen Canyon Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50), but the 2017 Rosé of Zinfandel ($19) jumped out as a delightful elixir for Valentine’s Day. Easy to open with a screw cap, the Rosé of Zinfandel hits the mark like Cupid’s arrow—a magic potion for your romantic dinner at home.
Grapes for this softly crimson Rosé are harvested from Rinaldi Vineyard in Fiddletown, and the result is a seductively ripe juicy wine with an attractive blush color full of blackberry fruit and perfect with many kinds of food, though perfectly enjoyable all by itself. With a harvest date of Oct. 18, 2017, and a release date of Nov. 17 the same year, it was a mighty-quick turnaround to get grape into bottle. With Crews at the helm, anything is possible.
“We used a modified Old-World process to make this blush or vin gris wine,” Crews says on his label. “The pink-juice Gold Country Zinfandel grapes were immediately fermented in small stainless-steel barrels” which produces a nouveau-style wine “rich with strawberry and rose aromas.” Local Café Iveta carries it, and so does Scotts Valley Market.
As well as Rosé, Crews makes Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Torrontes, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cinsault, Pinotage, Syrah, and a delicious dessert wine called Raspberry Heritage that goes gangbusters-well with the mountain of chocolate you have hopefully piled up for Valentine’s Day. With its rich, jammy wild berries, Crews says it demands chocolate accompaniment!
Pelican Ranch Winery, 100 Kennedy Drive #102, Capitola. 426-6911, pelicanranch.com
Valentine’s Dinner at Burrell School
Burrell School Vineyards is putting on a “deliciously romantic” Valentine’s dinner with a seating at 5:30 p.m. and at 7 p.m. on Feb. 14. A five-course meal with wine pairings will be prepared by Chef Nicole Fischer. Cost: $180 per pair. Info: burrellschool.com or contact Kyle Davis at [email protected] for reservations.