Never tasted Charbono? Fortino Winery makes a good one.
They also produce more unusual wines such as Carignan, Maribella (Fortino’s house red blend), and Montonico—a dessert wine aged for 24 years in oak barrels. Or there’s a wonderful sparkling wine infused with almond oils; and their fruit wines—blackberry, pomegranate, raspberry, and apricot—are brimming with fruity goodness.
Fortino’s 2018 Santa Clara Valley Charbono ($48)—a silver medal winner in the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition—has abundant flavors of roasted plums, red cherries and cloves. “It’s a full-bodied, bold and powerful red wine that is rare to California with only 100 acres in the United States,” says owner and winemaker Gino Fortino. This easy-drinking wine pairs with many different foods, especially grilled steak or prime rib. Grapes are grown on Fortino’s San Martin estate and aged in French oak barrels.
The Fortino family goes all-out to make the tasting-room experience a good one. This family-run winery, in business since 1970, has Austin Fortino as wine club director, and Nicolas Fortino as assistant winemaker.
Due to ever-changing Covid-19 rules, check online for opening times.
Fortino Winery, 4525 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy. 408-842-330, fortinowinery.com.
Calling All Coffee Lovers
I love a good cup of coffee! And let’s thank our lucky stars that we have so many excellent coffee shops in the Santa Cruz area. Local Verve Coffee is one of my favorites. From small beginnings they have expanded to many outlying areas. Japan chose Verve to serve its coffee at main locations, including downtown Tokyo and Shinjuku Station—the world’s busiest railway station.
Steeped Coffee also originated in Santa Cruz, and specializes in a single-serve coffee bag with a variety of blends. All you need to do is add water. Their Sunrise Blend is a delicious early-morning brew, and an easy wake-up call when you’re in a hurry for that first shot of caffeine. There’s an excellent decaf called Eventide, too—prepared with a Swiss water process. And all Steeped Coffee’s bags are nitro sealed.