“Our 2017 Santa Clara Valley Pinot Noir is a spicy fruit pie in a glass,” says Tim Slater, proprietor of Sarah’s Vineyard.
“Cherry and plum flavors jump to the nose and palate,” he says of his luscious Pinot ($30 and available at New Leaf). Rich Bing cherry, plum and herbs come together in an extravaganza that makes a warm glow run through your body when you take the first few sips. And note the earthy underlying savory current of mushroom and soy sauce in this fruit-forward wine. Slater suggests pairing this Pinot with grilled salmon, a simple roast chicken, or a pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin.
As both grower and winemaker, Slater is very much hands-on with the whole process of turning out a good bottle of vino. Estate grown in their Dwarf Oak Vineyard, the grapes are whole-berry fermented in small lots–always using traditional techniques to craft their handmade wines. And with Valentine’s Day coming up, you can’t go wrong with a good bottle of Pinot.
Sarah’s is a lovely place to visit, complete with patio and outdoor areas for use by customers. Check the website for reservations.
Sarah’s Vineyard, 4005 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy. 877-44-PINOT. Open noon-5pm daily. sarahsvineyard.com.
Outdoor Pizza Oven
Always wanted an outdoor pizza oven? Local Aptos-based Talmadge Construction is your go-to company to do the job. Now celebrating 35 years in business, they are aces at planning, remodeling and constructing just about anything in your home.
Talmadge Construction, Inc., 8070 Soquel Drive, Aptos. 689-9133, talmadgeconstruction.com.
Stagnaro’s on the Wharf
One of my favorite spots for taking out-of-town guests is Stagnaro’s on the Municipal Wharf. Not only do you get a dazzling view of Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, but you’re also guaranteed some fresh and tasty seafood in this historic restaurant. Stagnaro’s fish tacos are tasty and filling, not to mention their famous clam chowder. And don’t miss their classic fish and chips–they are just delicious.