Bonny Doon wines in a charming tasting room/cafe
I enjoyed a great tasting of syrahs along with excellent casual food at Cigare Volant, the cafe attached to the Bonny Doon Vineyards tasting room in Santa Cruz. The open, hip space (don't be fooled by the whimsy of the Monty Pythonesque graphics favored by winemaker Randall Graham--these are serious, well-made wines) is in the back of a new industrial-style building (address is confusing; older, low-slung building contains the offices, not the tasting room).
My main complaint about tasting (esp. reds) in tasting rooms is that I want to know how different wines pair with food--great trend with restaurants like Incanto that offer wines by the taste as well as the glass, with identifying labels attached to the stem of the glass. The small, frequently-changing menu in the cafe goes beautifully with the wines--they recommend pairings but will do alternative glasses and flights upon request. We had a small pizza with house-made salumi, brocollini, pecorino fresco and something else wonderful that slipped out of memory in the swirl of the glass, along with tastes of three reds--the eponymous Cigare Volant, a nebbiolo and some of the last of their Piemonte-inspired Imagine. Salumi was superb, pizza was fabulous--similar in style to, but better than, Pizzaiolo's. Caught a whiff of the duck bacon on the alternative pizza delivered to another happy patron and wished I could return for dinner. Friendly, knowledgeable but unstuffy staff, bar looks onto the pizza assembly area with a view of the open-fired oven.
Website is amusing but user-unfriendly: