When you go all-out to make a terrific Chardonnay and you win a double gold for your efforts, then you know you have done a good job.
This would be the case for Eric Stockwell, owner and winemaker at Stockwell Cellars. His 2018 Tondre Chardonnay ($35) won double gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition—a prestigious event held annually in January.
A beautiful straw color greets the drinker, along with the fragrance of bright pineapple, poached pear and honey. “This is a dry, oaked wine of medium body, possessing a good backbone of fresh acidity which provides structure prior to the long finish,” says Stockwell. I love the wine’s tropical notes, balanced acidity and lingering flavor of ruby grapefruit. Grapes are from the esteemed Tondre Grapefield in Monterey County.
Every time I go to Stockwell’s industrial-chic tasting room, the place is full of happy imbibers—and there’s always a good vibe going, too. Swag is piled up by the entrance with lots of good buys on T-shirts, hoodies and fleece blankets for the typical Santa Cruz chill.
Stockwell Cellars, 1100 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz. 831-818-9075, stockwellcellars.com.
There’s a Catch
The Santa Clara Marketplace has recently opened up over the hill. It contains a variety of businesses, banks, shops, and restaurants—Whole Foods, Starbucks, Lula’s Chocolates and more to come. A brand-new Pacific Catch fish restaurant just opened its doors there at the end of March, and it’s well worth a visit. With its modern design interior, wonderful service, and a menu of ultra-fresh fish, we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch there.
There’s a fish bar with pokes and ceviches, a taco bar, bowls and greens such as Japanese Wasabi and Hawaiian Teriyaki, and fresh-catch entrees for every palate. Some choices for meat eaters include Korean barbecue and Wagyu burger, but the main focus is on fish. Margaritas, beer, wine and cocktails abound—and windows open for an inside/outside feel.
Pacific Catch, 3315 Coronado Place, Santa Clara. 669-342-4327, pacificcatch.com.