Vine & Dine

Ser Wine Company’s Pfeffer

wine glassI am actually drinking a glass of Ser Wine Company’s 2012 Cabernet Pfeffer as I’m writing this.

First of all, it’s a Cabernet Pfeffer—a variety of grape not seen on most stores’ shelves. It was nearly brought to extinction in the 1800s in France by the destructive phylloxera louse, so we should be thankful that it’s still around at all, and that fine winemakers like Nicole Walsh have the knowledge and passion to make it.

As director of viticulture and winemaking for Bonny Doon Vineyard for 14 years, Walsh has gained a wealth of experience in assisting winemaker Randall Grahm in turning out some fine wines. Walsh acknowledges Grahm as a leader in the field of enology and says she has benefited greatly from working with him. And now, she is not wasting a minute in presenting her own wines to us, including the Cabernet Pfeffer ($35). Pfeffer, meaning “pepper” in German, is a fitting name for the peppery aromas and flavors in this gorgeous earthy wine.

Ser means “to be” in Spanish—and “to have the intrinsic quality, expressing identity or origin.”

“My winemaking philosophy involves minimal intervention,” Walsh informs us on her label, “allowing the wine to express itself and where it comes from.” In this case, the grapes are harvested from Wirtz Vineyard in Cienega Valley in San Benito County. With fewer than 12 acres farmed in California, I’m certain that the 50 cases of Cabernet Pfeffer that Walsh produced will not be around for long.
Walsh is a forward-thinking winemaker, so please read more about her and other varietals she makes on her website,, or email [email protected], 901-7806.

Harvest Celebration and Bottling Extravaganza

Nicholson Vineyards in Aptos is hosting a fun party from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6. If you like barbecued tri-tip and chicken with all the fixings, plus tasting all the new fall releases as well, this event is for you. Tickets are $45 ($25 for wine club members). Call 724-7071 or email [email protected] Reservations are required.

Last Call: Farm to Table Dinners at Chaminade

There are just two more of Chaminade’s wonderful Farm to Table dinners before the summer season ends. Mark your calendars for Sept. 12, which features the wines of Morgan Winery and the superb produce of Route 1 Farms; and Oct. 10, which will showcase an assortment of wines from Summit to Sea wineries and tasty natural chicken from Fiesta Farm. All dinners start at 6 p.m. and are held on Chaminade’s beautiful terrace overlooking the Monterey Bay. The August Farm to Table dinner sold out, so don’t hesitate to sign up. Visit for information.

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