wine tasting in santa cruz

Today we went wine tasting in Santa Cruz. This might come as a bit of a surprise to those of you who already know that I don’t really like wine. Still, it seemed like something local and fun that we could do to get out on the weekend and breakup the monotony.

If you know anything about American wine, you’re probably wondering, “Why did they go to Santa Cruz instead of Napa Valley? Isn’t Santa Cruz just a bunch of old hippies and surf bums?” Both good questions. To answer the second, Santa Cruz has not only hippies and surfers, but also expensive boutiques and a some wineries (quite a few, acutally). To answer the first, we were too lazy to drive all the way up to Napa. Some day we will.

The place we went to is called “Bonny Doon Winery.” Now, I should say before I go any further that Santa Cruz styles itself as the “anti-Napa,” and proudly flouts conventional wine-making wisdom. Most of this irreverence was lost on me as someone who doesn’t know any of said conventional wisdom. But in any case, we had a lot of fun. The way it’s set up is each week they pick a new selection of wines (seven or so), then you come lean on a bar and a helpful staffer walks you through each one, describing it. They started us with a pink wine that was actually very good called “vin gris de cigare” which means “gray wine of cigar” (tricky, eh?). It’s called cigar because it’s a type taken from a place in france where it’s forbidden by law to land flying saucers (“cigars”) in vineyards. Ha! Very funny, isn’t it? We then went to a sushi white wine, which I also actually liked, then through some darker red, bitter stuff that I can take or leave, eventually finishing with some dessert wines. First, some sparkling red stuff so sweet that it could have come from a coke machine; it was aptly described as “a strawberry nehi spiked with vodka.” Then a rasperry concoction (framboise) that we actually drank out of chocolate cups (themselves aptly called “snobinettes”). We ended up with a bottle each of the pink, the white, and a fancy red.

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