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A Santa Cruz stop...

Saturday we had some free time and a party to be at in Ben Lomond, so we decided wine tasting in the Santa Cruz mountains would be a good way to kill an afternoon.

I believe both of our stops were Friday ScruzCon stops, but since kproche and I both missed the Friday tastings last year I can't be sure.

We hadn't been to Bonny Doon in months, so it was a good place to start. Saturday was a Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers' Association passport day, so things were busy but not quite as crowded as we expected.

They've expanded the tasting room, adding another two tasting bars. They were tasting 8 wines, including the new release Le Cigare Volant which needs a lot more time in the bottle. The new Ca'del Solo Malvasia Bianca is true-to-form; a wildly fruity dry wine that hints at being sweeter than it is. The real standout, though, is a new sweet-ish Moscato di Asti, the il Circo "il Giocoliere." When mixed with their "Book of Love" Framboise it makes the most delightful Kir Royale.

Still having some spare time, we stopped at Hallcrest Vineyards on the way back in. Hallcrest produces wine under their own label and also under the "Organic Wine Works" 100% certified organic label. I've got mixed feelings about their wines. Some of it is "Scary Organic Wine." I really disliked several of their whites, but their Gewürztraminer is really nice, just a hint of sweetness and nicely acidic. They do a very light Pinot Noir, with only slightly more tannins than a really heavy blush wine. One of their organics, a red blend called "Clos du Jeannine" is a great bargain, and a nice little red. Their organic cabernet sauvignon is decent, and pretty nicely priced. Some of the other reds were just plain strange.