Who makes wine from the rare Counoise varietal, you may ask. Megan Bell of Margins Wine, that’s who. With her entrepreneurial business acumen and go-for-it spirit, Bell is a rising star in the world of adventurous winemaking.
As I mentioned in a previous column on Margins, Bell is a no-holds-barred winemaker producing low-intervention wines using grapes from underrepresented regions, vineyards and varietals. And she loves to showcase the vineyards where the grapes came from—in this case, Sattler’s Vineyard in the Santa Clara Valley.
With its spicy character and flavors of anise, strawberries and blueberries, Counoise is an intriguing wine that is not so familiar. Hailing from the Rhône Valley in France, this dark-skinned wine grape is also grown in California, New Jersey and Washington.
Bell’s Counoise ($30) might be sold out on her website, but the good news is that Deer Park Wine & Spirits in Aptos carries it, along with other Margins Wines. Deer Park has an excellent selection of other local wines, imported wines and spirits from all over.
Bell also makes other lesser-known wines, such as Assyrtiko. The last time I had Assyrtiko was on the Greek island of Santorini, where the grape originates. It’s a crisp white wine with thyme, honey and flint flavors. Bell made only a small batch this time, and it quickly sold out, but here’s to her next release! Explore the nearly 20 various wines she makes at marginswine.com.
Deer Park Wine & Spirits, 783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., #27, Aptos, 831-688-1228; deerparkwines.com.
Rooibos Rocks Tea
As a native Brit, I drink a lot of tea, but not all of it with caffeine. I found a delicious caffeine-free tea online called Rooibos Rocks. This natural red tea from South Africa—the only place Rooibos is grown—is 100% organic with no colorants or additives. Hailing from Yorkshire, I also love Yorkshire Tea. Their decaf tea tastes like a regular strong cuppa. rooibosrocks.com and yorkshiretea.com.