A good way to experience Twisted Roots’ wine is with a stay at Vendange Inn & Suites in Carmel.
It’s actually California’s first wine-themed inn, and Twisted Roots wine club members get 25 percent off their stay. Vendange General Manager Jonathan Lee came up with the brilliant idea of partnering with local wineries to showcase their wines, and he has named suites and other rooms after them. McIntyre, Ventana, Joullian, Galante, J. Lohr, Manzoni, Dawn’s Dream, Tudor, Holman Ranch, Blair, Cima Collina and Twisted Roots are all featured wineries in Vendange. Selections of these excellent wines await you in each room—should you feel like cracking open a bottle—giving guests an opportunity to taste them all.
If you’re not staying at Vendange, then head to Twisted Roots’ tasting room in Carmel Valley. I especially recommend their 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon—a very robust mouthful of Cab with nuances of vanilla and black currant. Grapes for this wine are harvested in the warm climes of Lodi, resulting in very luscious aromas of warm brambleberry, with black tea and clove on the palate. Its finish of bright cherry fruits makes this a delightful pairing with most foods.
Twisted Roots’ tasting room is a fun place to visit. Connected to the LyonsHead Gallery, which displays an abundance of artwork and nifty things to buy, you can take your glass of wine with you as you meander through. Also, right nextdoor to the tasting room is the well-known Café Rustica, and Twisted Roots’ winemaker Josh Ruiz says that their customers who need sustenance with their wine can order food from the café at lunchtime and have it delivered to the winery’s patio—a pleasant spot to sit on warm days.
Vendange Carmel, 24815 Carpenter St., Carmel, 831-624-5111. vendangecarmel.com.
Twisted Roots Wine, 12 Del Fino Place, Carmel Valley, 831-594-8282. twistedrootsvineyard.com. Open noon to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Wine Bar
Co-owners Christine Shelton-Anderson and her husband Aaron Anderson unveiled their brand-new wine bar in Capitola at the end of March—a beautiful extension of their cozy coffeehouse. I attended the grand opening event – complete with music, food, wine, and the revelation of Zizzo’s “fabulously oversized” mirror ball. Vino Zizzo is your new place to “wine down” at the end of the day. Tapas-style small plates can be ordered to enjoy with your wine.
Brown Ranch Marketplace, 3555 Clares St., Capitola, 477-0680. zizzoscoffee.com.
Maharaja Indian Restaurant
As the lengthy Best Of issue went to press in March, delicious food was delivered to the Good Times offices from Maharaja. We all enjoyed every mouthful of excellent Indian cuisine infused with exotic aromatic spices. Their Chicken Tikka Masala is heavenly.
Maharaja Indian Restaurant, 270 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-2666. maharajasantacruz.com.