Vine & Dine

Pelican Ranch Winery

wine glassThe most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

Created by adventurous winemaker Phil Crews, who co-owns Pelican Ranch with his wife Peggy, the Pelican Ranch Cinsault is a welcome deviation from our usual reds, and delicious with roast beef and potatoes. It also pairs well with grilled chicken or pork—and pizza, too.

“This unique wine, even though light in color, has a broad spectrum of aromas and flavors,” says Crews on his website. “In fact, tasting room visitors are often overwhelmed by its powerful layers of boysenberries, cherries, cranberries and spice.”

If you want to try some, Pelican Ranch’s tasting room is open every weekend, including Fridays in the spring and summer.

On July 10 and Sept. 25, Pelican Ranch will be participating in the Friday evening Winemaker Sails on the Chardonnay II. So if you fancy heading out on the briny and tasting excellent wines at the same time, then add these dates to your calendar.

Pelican Ranch Winery, 100 Kennedy Drive, Capitola, 426-6911,

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

Let it be known that 515 Kitchen & Cocktails serves up some seriously fabulous cocktails. My favorite right now is Cruel Bloom. Made with gin by Venus Sprits (with a tasting room set to open on the Westside soon), crème de cassis, fresh lemon juice, and dashes of rose water, all ingredients are strained into an absinthe-rinsed glass—and the result is delicious. Ask bar manager Ethan Samuels to make you one at 515 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Visit for more info.

Joe & Bobby’s Delightful Tea

Samples of Delightful Tea, made by Joe & Bobby, Inc. out of Modesto, recently found their way into Good Times offices. From several different kinds—Cranberry, Lemon, Blueberry, and Hibiscus, I particularly loved the Lemon, with its bright and zingy flavors. All the teas are packed in aluminum bags to retain freshness, and can be served either hot or cold. Delightful Tea also makes organic soy milk—both plain and sweetened—and ready-to-drink tea in plastic bottles, including Ginger Lemon Tea and Honey Hibiscus Flower Tea, which is very refreshing. Visit for more info.

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