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Ask most residents of the San Francisco Bay area what comes to mind when they think of the seaside town of Half Moon Bay and they will say pumpkins. Agriculture is still a vital component of the economy of this quiet Pacific coast town about 20 miles south of San Francisco, and it annually vies for top honors for growing the nation’s biggest pumpkins. Needless to say, Halloween is a special time here.
But fine dining and wine in a luxury setting with beautiful views of the Pacific swells? That was hard to come by until the Ritz-Carlton chain opened a golf and spa resort here in the late 1990s. Think St. Andrew’s on the California coast. I don’t golf, but my mother loves dining in the resort’s outstanding Navio restaurant, and I love the drive through the mountains and along the coast to get there from San Francisco.
At a recent lunch, we snagged a table with a view of the rollers. The fog was beginning to break (at 1 p.m. in the afternoon—you have to love the fog to live here!). I ordered a bottle made by one of California’s Sauvignon Blanc pioneers, Matanzas Creek. The wine was fruity and fresh, with flavors of quince and ripe honeydew melon, with hints of honeysuckle and glazed citrus.
It is made from the Sauvignon Musqué clone, which delivers rich and balanced flavors under the strong rays of the California sun. With its creamy finish, this wine was an excellent match for my dish of pesto tagliatelle with grilled salmon. I rated it 88 points, non-blind, and it cost $45 on the wine list. You can buy it at retail for about $19 a bottle.
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