As one of the judges at the Dare to Pair Food & Wine Competition held April 26 at the Surf City Vintners complex on the Westside, I had a hard time choosing a winning dish. All 12 plates of food prepared by students in the Cabrillo College Culinary Program—each paired with a compatible wine—were outstanding.
One of the 12 wines we tasted that day was a Chardonnay 2012 from Stockwell Cellars—a fairly new winery and tasting room on the Westside that is, not surprisingly, garnering some attention. We judges hailed this elegant Chardonnay ($32) as a huge hit that day, and so did the public. It came in second place in the competition. (Visit daretopair.org for complete list of winners.)
An array of apples and pears presents a smooth burst of flavor and well-balanced acidity in this Chardonnay, with some honeydew melon lingering on the palate. Made with grapes from the Santa Cruz Mountains and aged in 50-percent oak barrels and 50-percent stainless steel, this delicious wine is one that will pair up all summer long with fish, pasta, chicken and salads.
Winemaker Eric Stockwell started out making wine as a hobby, but soon went the Full Monty and opened up his own winery. Along with Suzanne Zeber, Stockwell’s partner who co-runs the business, Stockwell is also producing Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Every Friday from 5-9 p.m. is music time in the Cellars, very often with Andy Fuhrman at the helm playing guitar. And to add to these festive Fridays, Gary’s Snappy Dogs offers up some tasty nosh.
1100 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 234.2178. (Entrance on the Ingalls Street side), stockwellcellars.com. Open 5-9 p.m. Fridays and from 2-7 p.m. the first and third Saturday.
Farm to Table Wine Dinner Series at Chaminade
Chaminade will be hosting its eighth annual Farm to Table dinner series—kicking off on June 26 with Martin Ranch Winery, Coke Farm and Black Hen Farm. Always served on Chaminade’s stunning outdoor patio, with its sweeping views of the Monterey Bay, the dinners are wining and dining at its best. A five-course meal with endless local wine is an all-inclusive cost of $110. A reception with wine and passed hors d’oeuvres begins at 6 p.m., with dinner, prepared by Chaminade’s Executive Chef Kirsten Ponza, starting at 6:30 p.m. The next dinners are: July 24 with Storrs Winery and Fiesta Farm; Aug. 21 with Morgan Winery and LeftCoast GrassFed; Sept. 25 with Summit to Sea Wineries and Everett Family Farm; Oct. 30 with Alfaro Winery and Route 1 Farms. Visit chaminade.com for more information.