.Alfaro Family Vineyards’ Superb Grüner Veltliner 2019

Never heard of Grüner Veltliner? You’re obviously not Austrian! From Salzburg to Vienna this delicious white wine is grown in a profusion of vineyards in Austria—as well as in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic—and it’s a top seller.

So who makes it here, and where can you buy it? Alfaro Family Vineyards is one of the places. I was there with a friend recently for a tasting, and loved the crisp and zesty Grüner. Winemaker Richard Alfaro made this superb 2019 Grüner Veltliner ($30) from his estate grapes in La Playita Vineyard in Corralitos. His talent for winemaking shines through in every sip. Aged for six months in neutral oak, he produced 75 cases of this dry white wine. So grab your mask and head there for a tasting—they’re open noon-5pm Saturdays by reservation.

Alfaro, who runs the winery with his wife Mary Kay Alfaro, says the medium-bodied Grüner boasts citrusy flavors of lime and grapefruit with savory notes of white pepper. The pale greenish/straw colored Grüner Veltliner is very food friendly, and pairs particularly well with salads, veggie fare, fish, and chicken.

Surrounded by grapevines, the Alfaro tasting room and verdant estate is well worth a visit. And right now, Alfaro’s has some well-priced six-packs on sale.

Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, 420 Hames Road, Watsonville. 831-728-5172. alfarowine.com

Bittersweet Bistro 

I met up with a friend for wine and munchies on Bittersweet’s beautiful outdoor patio—with heaters. The menu has an excellent selection of appetizers and main courses to choose from, and a terrific long list of wines, beers and cocktails. And because indoor service is limited right now, owners Elizabeth and Thomas Vinolus have opened up a mini-market. 

“We’ve turned our dining room into a pantry!” they say. “Come shop for essentials while picking up your to-go order.” They carry rice, beans, fresh and frozen pasta, chicken bone broth, olive oil, crackers, chips and dips, cookies and sweets, coffee, tea and much more.

Bittersweet Bistro, 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos. 831-662-9799. Bittersweetbistro.com.


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