.Silver Mountain Vineyards’ 2012 Pinot Noir is One of the Region’s Best

Made from Santa Lucia Highlands’ Tondré Grapefield grapes, the acclaimed Pinot has aged divinely—grab a bottle while you can

Silver Mountain owner Jerold O’Brien has been making wine for over four decades.  After serving in the United States Air Force, he entered the wine business. To say that O’Brien knows how to make excellent wine would be an understatement. When we recently visited him at his 2,100-foot-high estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, he and his rambunctious dog Cooper came to greet us.

O’Brien’s 2012 Tondré Grapefield Pinot Noir ($50) is a dynamic force. Lush, velvety and chock-full of red fruits, this 2012 Pinot has aged exquisitely. Grapes hail from the much-respected Tondré Grapefield in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Started by Tondré Alarid in the 1950s, it is now run by his son Joe, who strives to grow premium fruit with “distinctively intense flavor.”

Silver Mountain’s wines are in high demand, so if the Pinot Noir is sold out, try the 2013 Alloy ($40), which won Best in California Bordeaux Blend at the California State Fair in July.

O’Brien now has one of the largest solar arrays in the area—a “Triple Green Canopy” that reduces energy requirements, saves resources and collects rainwater. It makes Silver Mountain entirely energy self-sufficient—a sustainable philosophy that O’Brien has always practiced. 

Silver Mountain Vineyards Winery, 269 Silver Mountain Drive, Los Gatos. The tasting room: 328D Ingalls St., Santa Cruz. 408-353-2278. silvermtn.com.

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Bell’s Cookies

I ordered a box of Bell’s Cookies recently. Made in Seattle but delivered all over, they’re top-notch and delicious. “If you’re looking for a ho-hum oatmeal raisin or soft vanilla cookie, you’re not going to find it at Bell’s Cookie Co.,” says the company. “Instead, think Columbian Corn, Red Velvet and Lemon Blueberry Shortbread.” Also available are classic favorites such as Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chunk and more. Oh, and they sell cookie dough by the pint! bellscookieco.com.

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