Thursday, March 5, 2015     Volume: 29, Issue: 32
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Are vaccinations helpful or harmful?

Of course they’re helpful; anti-vaxxers are putting people in danger.
Of course they’re harmful; there’s a lot of misinformation about vaccines.
I think they’re helpful, but I’m still worried about side effects.
I hear measles is a great way to get ready for bikini season.

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New Times / Hayley's Pick

William James Cellars' 2011 Chardonnay and Claiborne & Churchill's 2007 Nektar Orange Muscat California 
Ice Wine

My favorite Girl Scout cookies are an old staple: Thin Mints, chilled in the freezer. Or, at least I thought they were. After trying a few nibbles of citrusy Girl Scout lemonade cookies with a swallow of vibrant 2011 William James chardonnay, I may be changing my tune once and for all. The Santa Maria area winery just opened a tasting room in Old Town Orcutt in late January and will unfurl a list of other unique pairings this spring ranging from tamales to jerky. I highly suggest you check out Old Orcutt’s quaint, burgeoning downtown, which is truly turning into a wine tasting destination in its own right. Oh, and don’t forget to try the chardonnay-lemonade cookie pairing at home. That is, if you haven’t eaten all your Girl Scout cookies already.

• 2011 William James Cellars' 2011 ChardonnayAbout $27; 130 North Broadway, 
Suite A, Orcutt.

Claiborne & Churchill may have outdone itself during a recent Wine Library Dinner held at the Edna Valley winery. Six elaborate small-plate courses provided by Two Chefs Catering—ranging from pancetta-wrapped salmon to red oak pit roasted quail—were paired with impeccable old and young dry riesling, pinot noir, and, of course, gewurztraminer, for which the winery is known. Although every single bite was worth writing home about (seriously), I was spectacularly struck by the dinner’s finishing 2007 Nektar Orange Muscat California Ice Wine. I am so not a dessert wine person, but I actually had to take this bad boy home. Like consuming fresh honeysuckle while strolling through a zesty orange grove on a balmy afternoon, this wine reminded me of spring, without being too sappy. Pair it with honey-covered nuts, fresh brioche and fig-pear chutney, and you, too, will understand why I fell so madly in love with this slender, orange-hued bottle of magic.

• Claiborne & Churchill's 2007 Nektar Orange Muscat California 
Ice WineAbout $30; 2649 Carpenter Canyon Road, Edna.

Sip, sip, horray! Drink up at hthomas@newtimesslo.com.