Just past Alladin Nursery on Freedom Boulevard lies a little gem of a winery called El Vaquero. I was very impressed on my first visit there last month for a music event and tasting. Not only were El Vaquero’s wines terrific, but also the musicians were outstanding.
Duncan Shipton was brilliant on guitar (he also teaches guitar), Eva Scow on mandolin was equally talented, and Adam Bolaños Scow, who plays violin in the Santa Cruz Symphony, played breathtaking pieces, including some beautiful Paganini. As the sun was setting, sassy Brazilian singer Claudia Villela also made a guest appearance—adding even more pizzazz to a very entertaining evening.
All the wines I tried at El Vaquero were excellent, but I was particularly smitten with their 2014 Cab Franc, Athena Vineyard in Santa Clara Valley ($35). Its full-bodied rich red fruit and raspberry flavors make it an ideal wine to pair with food.
Bob Prikazsky started El Vaquero with his wife Dean in 2011—and their daughter Alex jumped on board as winemaker in 2015. Running a thriving winery and organizing popular events, they really can’t go wrong.
Local comedian Richard Stockton is now doing comedy nights at El Vaquero—the next one being Saturday, Oct. 3.
El Vaquero’s label depicts a spirit who watches over the estate vineyard. “This apparition of a cowboy, el vaquero, has made himself known on several occasions—believed to have been a shaman who often meditated on the hilltop property overlooking the Monterey Bay in the 1880s,” their website says.
El Vaquero Winery, 2931 Freedom Blvd., Corralitos. 831-607-8118. elvaquerowinery.com.
Wine Tasting in Napa
Before the CZU Lightning Complex fire hit, my husband and I made a couple of trips to Napa. Two places we visited for a flight of wines included lunch, and I highly recommend both. Medlock Ames in Healdsburg served a picnic-style lunch under the shade of their olive trees; Robert Sinskey, which lies on the famed Silverado Trail, prepared a gourmet tasting of small bites paired with their superb wines.