.Lucia Highlands’ Lush Coastal Chardonnay

Located in the prime grape-growing region of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Lucia Highlands Vineyard produces high-quality wines.

Cool maritime influences of the Monterey Bay allow the fruit to ripen slowly, producing a luscious Chardonnay with intense tropical fruit flavors.

Vintners Carol and Bret Sisney, who also grow grapes in their vineyards for other wineries, carefully harvest their fruit, gently press and barrel ferment it in tight-grain French oak, softening the acidity and creating a round, buttery character. The golden-yellow 2016 Chardonnay ($25) is rich and elegant with concentrated layers of apple, ripe pear and pineapple—plus a hint of caramel from oak aging.

Lucia Highlands Vineyard does not have a tasting room, but a tasting of its wines will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 21, at Seascape Sports Club for $20. A plentiful selection of hors d’oeuvres is included in the price.

Seascape Sports Club, 1505 Seascape Blvd., Aptos. 688-1993. Visit luciahighlands.com for more info.

Soif Cocktail Hour

One of the more exciting cocktails I have enjoyed recently was concocted at Soif. Head barman and mixologist Matt Barron blended an outrageously delicious elixir called Rubidus & Rye containing candy cap mushrooms, of all things! It’s a candy cap-infused rye whiskey with demerara, orange and a candy cap “glass,” a concoction almost like toffee brittle. How innovative to use the highly aromatic candy cap in a cocktail. But its intense maple flavor lends itself to exotica, and Barron is an adventurous barman. Next time, I’m going to try the 105 Marie with the splendid locally made Venus Spirits aquavit and added Fresno pepper, lime, tomato, and celery.

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Soif’s inviting bar is ideal for a bite to eat, and my friend and I shared a wonderful dinner of local king salmon with a fresh salad and some French wine. Executive Chef Tom McNary executes his magic in every dish, so we indulged in dessert, of course—a perfectly prepared fruit galette with rhubarb, blueberry and fresh strawberry ice cream.

Soif, 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz. soifwine.com


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