A Redwoods Ride, a Merlot from Santa Cruz, and Pacific Cod Soft Tacos
Updated: Oct 15
I was sad to discover that the usual sponsors of #MerlotME month were opting not to host the event this year. October has always been such a fun look at Merlot for me.
I reached out to a few of my winery contacts and was able to source one Merlot from California and one from Washington. So, you will be seeing those pairings soon. But, before we had sponsors involved, I found two other Merlots that I wanted to share. You will be seeing pairings for Merlots from Donkey & Goat and this one...in addition to Merlots from Goldschmidt and L'Ecole. Stay tuned!
Also, I really miss our live chats, so we will be gathering on X (formerly Twitter) at 8am on Saturday, October 14th. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and be sure to add it to anything you post so we can see it.
Here's the line-up from the Wine Pairing Weekend crew...
American Merlot Meets Kashmiri Food by Keep the Peas
A Redwoods Ride, a Merlot from Santa Cruz, and Pacific Cod Soft Tacos by Culinary Cam (you're here)
Bottom Round Roast with Mushrooms and Merlot by Cooking Chat
Celebrating our Homecoming with L’Ecole Merlot by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Magical Merlot Moments by Avvinare
Marvelous, Magnificent, Merlot by Side Hustle Wino
Merlot and the Common French Fry: Just Do It! by Our Good Life
Pairing Merlot while the kitchen is out of service by My Full Wine Glass
Unveiling the Flavors: Blueberry Tart and L'Ecole Merlot by Exploring the Wine Glass
Vegetarian Italian Fall Fare: Squash Focaccia Wins With Ettore’s Organic Mendocino Merlot by Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley
A Redwood Ride
Santa Cruz holds a special place in my heart...ever since our older son picked UC Santa Cruz as his college. Fiat, Slug!
Jake and I made a run up there to ride through the redwoods of the upper campus with him on one Saturday. Now, I have been getting out on the trails at the Fort Ord National Monument which is practically in our backyard. But riding in the redwoods is a totally different animal. At one point, R looked back and said, "Mom, stay off the ramps. Just stay on the trail," No kidding.
"Oh, hell, no!" escaped my mouth on more than on occasion that day. But I survived.
Then we had lunch at one of R's favorite Brazilian spots and picked up a Santa Cruz Merlot to take home for dinner.
2019 Bargetto Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot
I picked up this bottle in Santa Cruz, actually Soquel, on our way home from the redwoods. Bargetto Winery has been producing wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 1933 and is now in its third generation of Bargettos. Committed to sustainable winegrowing practices, they utilize cover crops, biodiesel, solar-produced electricity, and biological pest control.
A single varietal - made from 100% Merlot - is also a single vineyard wine with all of the grapes coming from the Regan Vineyards in Corralitos. On the nose, aromas of red and black fruits were abundant with more complex notes of a smoky grill and cocoa powder. On the palate, you get the rich fruits without the cloying jamminess.
While this would have been delicious with a steak, I decided to go with some local seafood as a pairing.
Pacific Cod Soft Tacos
Also, on our way back from Santa Cruz, stopped by the Santa Cruz Wharf and pick up some freshly caught, local seafood - Pacific cod. We have plenty of fish markets on our end of the bay, but I love buying from H&H when we are in Santa Cruz.
1 pound Pacific cod, cut into large chunks
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
tortillas (we used street taco sized flour tortillas)
Also needed: gallo pinto
Mix the spices together in small bowl. Pat the fish dry and rub the sides with the spices.
Preheat a skillet. Pour in the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Wait till the oil begin to bubble. Sear the cod on all sides until the surface is nicely browned and it's firm to the touch.
Let everyone assemble their own tacos...with the cod, cotija, salsa, guacamole, and cilantro.
As for the bottle from sponsors, I paired Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Crimini Soft Tacos + 2020 Columbia Valley L'Ecole Merlot and Franks and Beans + 2022 Alexander Valley Chelsea Merlot.
Stay tuned for more Merlot pairings this weekend. Cheers! And the Wine Pairing Weekend group will be back next month. Andrea of The Quirky Cork has levied the prompt of heritage or traditional varieties.