Vine & Dine

Ser Wine Company

wine glassI was first introduced to Ser wines when I met up with winemaker Nicole Walsh for a tasting last year.

I wrote then about her unusual Cabernet Pfeffer, which Deluxe Foods of Aptos carries, and now I’m spotlighting her delicious 2013 Chardonnay—a beautifully made wine by a very talented winemaker.

Fruit for this wine comes from the well-known Coastview Vineyard in the Gabilan Mountains of Monterey County—a perfect spot for growing prime Chardonnay grapes. At an elevation of 2,300 feet and with the gritty minerality of granite and limestone soils, Coastview is producing some excellent Chardonnay grapes, and more than a few winemakers are clamoring to get this fine fruit, which is farmed organically.

With stone-fruit notes of peach and apricot, as well as nuances of pear and lime—and a delightful lingering mineral finish, “the wine has a lot in common aroma and flavor-wise with Pouilly Fuisse (white burgundy),” says Walsh. One thing’s for sure, this Chardonnay ($28) will thrill your taste buds with its freshness, soft acidity and not-overly-buttery mouthfeel. It comes with a screw cap, so it’s very convenient, and also perfect for picnics.

In addition to Chardonnay and Cabernet Pfeffer, Walsh also makes Pinot Noir and Sparkling Riesling, all of which you can buy online. I bought the 2013 Chardonnay at New Leaf, which carries an excellent range of local wines, especially the store on the Westside.

And in case you’re wondering, Ser means “to be” in Spanish, and “to have the intrinsic quality, expressing identity or origin.”

Ser Wine Company, or email [email protected], 901-7806.

Fungus Fair 2015

This year’s Fungus Fair promises to be one of the best in quite some time. With all the recent rain, mushrooms have shot up like, well, mushrooms, and the displays of different varieties promises to be nothing short of astonishing. As a mushroom lover—I’m particularly partial to a portobello sandwich with micro-greens and cheese—I’m planning to attend on two days of the three-day affair, as there’s so much going on. On Friday, Jan. 9, Chef Zachary Mazi of the new LionFish catering company is doing a full mushroom-related dinner (what else?!) and tickets are $90.

The Fungus Fair takes place at the Louden Nelson Community Center in downtown Santa Cruz on Jan. 9, 10 and 11. Visit for more information and to make reservations for the dinner.

Center Street Grill Closes

Sadly, Center Street Grill in downtown Santa Cruz has closed. Owners Danny Voutos and Marty Soliz will now focus solely on their other restaurant, Heavenly Roadside Café. Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, it’s a go-to spot in the Scotts Valley area. 1210 Mt. Hermon Road, Scotts Valley, 335-1210.

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