Sling & Stone Wines is an up-and-coming winery that is already making high-quality vino and scoring high ratings from Wine Enthusiast. When I tried the 2019 Paloma Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($45), I was impressed by its robust, intriguing and tasty flavors. Awash with dark fruit and aromas of black currant, tobacco, cedar, toast and coffee, it’s also fermented with 4% Viognier “to enhance color and naturally balance the wine’s chemistry.”
This Cab is the result of Francisco (aka Junior) Bañuelos’ hard work and dedication. Bañuelos works for Odonata Wines’ Denis Hoey (read my April 27 column for more on Odonata). In 2014, Hoey happened to stop at the Bañuelos family’s gas station, where Junior worked. Bañuelos expressed his deep interest in winemaking, so Hoey gave him a job—he also offered to teach him the art and science of winemaking.
Eight years later, Bañuelos is producing wine under his own label, Sling & Stone. He still loves working at Odonata, and the learning continues.
Sling & Stone Wines (inside the Odonata tasting room), 645 River Road, Salinas. slingstonewines.com.
Sones Cellars and Tanuki Cider’s Newtown Noir
Robby Honda of Tanuki Cider and Michael Sones of Sones Cellars—both in Santa Cruz—have made a vibrant apple-grape co-ferment of 71% Newtown Pippin apples and 29% Pinot Noir grapes—they call it Newtown Noir. Both the apples and grapes were grown in the Pajaro Valley in Watsonville.
Newtown Noir Open House and Release Party, Sunday, May 8, 2-7pm. HOME, 3101 N. Main St., Soquel. homesoquel.com.
Mother’s Day Reminder: Sunday, May 8
Treat your mother to some local wine, or take her wine tasting. There are so many terrific wineries. Visit scmwa.com for a list. Or, buy her something beautiful and local that she’ll treasure forever, like Annieglass’ sustainable, handcrafted decor. The factory and store are located in Watsonville. annieglass.com.