Vine & Dine

Shale Canyon Wines

Wine-1542Robust Cabernet Franc 2011 from shale-and loam-rich soil

A wine-pairing dinner at Ristorante Casa Nostra in Ben Lomond introduced me to the big bold wines of Shale Canyon. Such events are a delightful way to try different wines and meet the winemaker—and get to know a restaurant more. I was impressed with both wine and food.

The Cabernet Franc 2011 ($30) is a whopping mouthful of robust red wine. Grapes are harvested in Arroyo Seco in Monterey County where the shale and loam soils of the Shale Canyon area provide mineral-rich drainage, and the climate has the right amount of warmth to ripen the fruit perfectly.

Ebullient winemaker Ken Gallegos showcased five wines at Casa Nostra. I particularly loved the Cab Franc, served with a well-prepared gnocchi Bolognese—a delicious pairing. Dark berry fruit with a touch of black pepper, firm tannins and a touch of smoke add to the 100-percent-Cab’s mystique. I’m so glad that Shale Canyon opened a tasting room in Carmel not that long ago, and is now part of the Carmel Wine Walk.

The restaurant’s next winemaker dinner is 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, with five courses paired with five wines by Burrell School Vineyards & Winery. Cost is $65 per person.

Shale Canyon Wines tasting room is on San Carlos Street (between Ocean and 7th), Carmel. 625-WINE, Open noon to 6 p.m. daily.
Ristorante Casa Nostra is at 9217 Hwy. 9, Ben Lomond. 609-6132,

Farm to Table Dinner at Chaminade

The season’s last Farm to Table dinner at Chaminade Resort & Spa takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, and will feature organic food by Route 1 Farms and the superb wines of Alfaro Winery. The all-inclusive price of $110 includes “endless wine and an ambiance nowhere like it.” Dinners are served on one of Chaminade’s beautiful outdoor patios overlooking the Monterey Bay. Visit for more info.

New Craft Cocktail Menu at Sanderlings

Lindsay Eshelman, cocktail program director at Seascape Beach Resort, invites the thirsty to come try her new cocktail blends. Fresh libations such as the Castroville Collins and Hibiscus Fields Forever are waiting to tantalize the palate. Consider joining the Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and enjoy 50 percent off select appetizers as well as draft beers, select wines and well drinks.

Sanderlings, Seascape Beach Resort, 1 Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos. 662-7120,


Annieglass on Santana Row in San Jose is hosting a Fall Fashion Trunk Show from 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, featuring two incredible designers: Uno de 50 and Ellen Brook.

JUST RIPE Robust Cab Franc grapes from Arroyo Seco power Shale Canyon’s 2011 vintage .

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