.A Sparkling Pinot Noir that Pairs Well

On a recent bright fall day, a group of us from Good Times went on a fun wine-tasting trip. We were driven around the Santa Cruz Mountains in a comfortable bus by Seth Kinman of Mountains to the Bay Wine Tours.

We started at Alfaro Family Vineyards in Corralitos—a beautiful winery with a splendid tasting room and lots of tables outside to gather with friends. A warm welcome always awaits from Richard Alfaro and his certified-sommelier wife Mary Kay Alfaro. A visit to Alfaro, in fact, is always an upbeat and pleasurable experience.

We started with a 2014 Cremant de Corralitos Sparkling Pinot Noir ($48), a beautiful zesty sparkler with a gorgeous rose-petal color that I fell in love with immediately. “Enhanced notes of fresh-baked bread and crisp green apple make this a refreshing go-to wine,” say the Alfaros, “perfect as an aperitif.” They suggest pairing it with fish and seafood—especially lobster—poultry, pasta, risotto, egg dishes, and “anything spicy or salty.”

Sparkling wines are not just for celebration—they are meant to be enjoyed anytime. But how perfect to crack open a bottle to ring in the New Year?

Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos, 728-5172. alfarowine.com.

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Aptos Natural Foods

Aptos Natural Foods has a new owner. Gene “Dario” Dickinson took over the reins recently and a grand re-opening was held in mid-November, with samples of drinks and food items. On a cold and rainy day, some hot Traditional Golden Milk—a delicious mix of turmeric, dates and herbs—tasted wonderful. Visit gaiaherbs.com for more info. Next I tried SoloCoco—very healthy handcrafted coconut oil from the Dominican Republic; then products by Organic India, which ethically purchases herbs from farmers in India for their organic teas. As the rain poured down, I sipped a sample of Blue Lotus Chai, and especially loved the Turmeric & Maca. Local healthy drinks company La Vie attended with their energy-boosting samples—just what I needed on a cold day. Inside the store, I was impressed with Thomas Sage playing the didgeridoo—and he’s not even from Australia!


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