2022 Wine & Food Affair: From Tacos to Truffles

Dry Creek Valley, part of the 2022 Wine & Fod Affair

Dry Creek Valley

We’re thrilled to start planning for the 2022 Wine & Food Affair on November 5th and 6th, and we encourage you to do the same. That weekend, around 50 Sonoma County wineries will welcome Foodies, Cooks, and Wine Lovers (or people who are all three) to come taste their wines.  Better yet, each winery will also feature a special dish to sample along with the perfect wine. This is a great opportunity to revisit excellent wineries in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. A happy development for 2022 is that the old event structure has returned: you do not have to make reservations in advance at each of the wineries you want to visit.

Longboard Vineyards, one of the wineries at the 2022 Wine & Food Affair

Longboard Vineyards

You’ll also find a broad selection of wines to enjoy that weekend such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.  Food pairings with those wines at the 2022 Wine & Food Affair will include Midwest Sloppy Joes (at Kokomo Wines), Fancy Loaded Tater Tots (Bowman Cellars), Mashed Potato Martini Bar (Notre Vue Estate Winery and Vineyards), Sauvignon Blanc Braised Sausage and Peppers (Roth Estate), Carnitas Tacos (VML Winery), Ribeye Tacos with Corn Salsa (deLorimier Winery), Chili with Cheddar Cornbread (Trattore Farms), Lasagna (Colagrossi Wines), and Wood-Fired Pizza (Longboard Vineyards).
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2022 Taste of Mount Veeder: Next Stop, Yountville

Taste of Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignons

Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignons

Distract yourself from the heat and imagine yourself at the 2022 Taste of Mount Veeder event on Sunday, September 18th.  This walk-around wine tasting event showcases 30 wineries, including several that aren’t normally open to the public, and doesn’t even start until 4 pm.  Attendees can also bid on Silent Auction items between sips of wines and nibbles of food pairings.  There are still tickets available, and this event has moved to a new location this year due to increasing popularity.  For 2022, festivities will be held between 4 and 7 pm on the garden lawn at Domaine Chandon in Yountville.

Fontanella Family Winery, a 2022 Taste of Mount Veeder participant

Fontanella Family Winery

As you can probably tell, we encourage people to attend this event because we always find wines we love and recommend at each year’s tasting.   Our favorite Mount Veeder Chardonnays have included wines from Fontanella Family Winery, Godspeed Vineyards, Mayacamas Vineyards and Mi Sueño Winery.  We’ve also consistently enjoyed Cabernet Sauvignons from Anthem Winery & Vineyards, Brandlin Estate, Hess Persson Estates, Pilcrow, Random Ridge, Robert Craig Winery and Vinoce.  We’re also fans of the “Trinity Blanc” white wine blend from Progeny, “Cheval” Cabernet Franc from Yates Family Vineyard, and the Mondeuse, Malbec, and Tribidrag wines from Lagier Meredith.
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Mother’s Day Brunch in Napa Valley – 2022 Suggestions

Time for Mother's Day Brunch in Napa ValleyDo you want to take Mom out for a special Mother’s Day Brunch in Napa Valley but haven’t been able to look into it yet?  If so, we’re here with details for what’s on the menu at some of the best restaurants across Napa Valley.  Whether you’re looking for an all-you-can-eat buffet, a Prix Fixe menu, or if you prefer to order à la carte, there’s a Mother’s Day Brunch option that’s bound to be perfect.  Please keep reading and follow the links below to online menus to help you prepare for May 8, 2022.

If you’re looking for typical Brunch options such as Mimosas, Oysters, Bagel & Lox, Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, Caesar Salad, Chilaquiles, or even Chicken and Waffles, you’re going to find it.  But, since it’s Mother’s Day Brunch in Napa Valley, your restaurant’s menu choices could also include Burrata, Dungeness Crab Louie, Lobster Benedict, Tofu Scramble, Chorizo Omelet, Banana’s Foster French Toast, Chinese Chicken Salad, Margherita Pizza, Duck Leg Sandwich, Croque Madame, Fettucine Bolognese, Heritage St. Louis Ribs or a Grilled Lamb Burger.

Biscuits and Gravy, a Mother's Day Brunch in Napa Valley Menu Option

Buttermilk Biscuit and Sausage Gravy from Evangeline

If you are a Biscuits and Gravy fan, you’ll be able to order them for Mother’s Day Brunch at Celadon, Evangeline, Farmstead, Fumé Bistro and Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar.  Or, if someone in your party is going to need a Cheeseburger, you can find that on the menus at Bank Café and Bar, Boon Fly Café, Brix, Calistoga Inn, Grace’s Table, Harvest Table, Lovina, Napa General Store and Sam’s Social Club.  We strongly suggest you move quickly to make reservations, because Mom deserves that little extra piece of effort and the restaurants are getting booked.
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Hooray for Libraries: The NVWLA Annual Tasting

NVWLA Annual TastingCome celebrate Spring and the joy of Napa Valley wines at a lovely outdoor wine tasting event in two weeks: the Napa Valley Wine Library Association (NVWLA) Annual Tasting.  This relaxing walk-around Tasting will be held under the sheltering oaks of The Grove at Silverado Resort & Spa (1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa) on April 24th between 4 and 6 pm.  For 2022, fifty wineries have been encouraged to pour two wines each, so you can explore many of the varietals and regions of Napa Valley all in one location.  The cost for attending the Tasting is just $25 if you are already a NVWLA member, or you can purchase a ticket and membership at the same time.

Baldacci Vineyards 2011 Black Label

Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

Are you a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon?  If so, you will be able to explore the various terroirs of Napa Valley at the NVWLA Annual Tasting.  Wineries will be sharing wines crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in Calistoga (Barlow Vineyards), Chiles Valley (Castlevale), Coombsville (Scalon Cellars), Diamond Mountain (Vineyard {511}), Howell Mountain (Lamborn Family Vineyards), Mount Veeder (VGS Chateau Potelle), Oak Knoll District (Okapi Wines), Oakville (Groth Vineyards & Winery), Spring Mountain (Terra Valentine), St. Helena (Spottswoode Estate), Stags Leap District (Baldacci Family Vineyards) and Yountville (Rocca Family Vineyards).
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It’s Back! The 2022 bASH Wine and Food Competition

Deconstructed Beef Empanada, an example of what may be at the 2022 bASH

Deconstructed Beef Empanada

We’re excitedly looking forward to the 2022 bASH Wine and Food Competition next Saturday.  If you enjoy awesome wine, food, and wine-and-food pairings then you should buy your tickets soon for bASH on Saturday, April 2. This annual showcase for Napa Valley’s Appellation St. Helena has 19 premium wineries joining forces with local culinary talent to present the best wine and food pairing of the evening. This is the 11th time this delightful event has happened, giving attendees the power to select the winners.  That’s right: if you attend the 2022 bASH, you get to eat, drink AND judge.

Most of the food pairings at the 2022 bASH will come from “Rising Star” students at the Culinary Institute of America. These current and/or recent students will be creating dishes from scratch, specifically designed to complement the wine that they have been matched with.  The picture above is a small bite from the last bASH event.  It is a Deconstructed Beef Empanada, with Rhubarb and Watermelon Rind Pickled Salad, from CIA students Alejandro Baisman and Jacob Hershberger.  The taste was served with Calafia Cellars’ 2016 La Reina (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot blend).

House of Wolves, a 2019 bASH prize winner

“House of Wolves”

The most recent bASH Wine and Food Competition was in 2019, and the audience’s choice for best pairing involving CIA Students was a dish called “House of Wolves.”  The “house” was a delicious Thai Chile-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Yuca Puree on a Parmesan-Sage Crisp, topped with Serrano Relish and Candied Grapefruit from CIA students Jonathan Friedman and Daniel Reyes.  It was paired with Anomaly Vineyards’ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Lodging Spotlight: Brewery Gulch Inn (Mendocino)

Brewery Gulch Inn on the Mendocino Coast

Brewery Gulch Inn

If you are planning your first getaway as the Stay at Home orders are lifting, we’d like to suggest Brewery Gulch Inn on the Mendocino Coast. This Arts & Crafts-style lodge is located on an ocean view blufftop, just one mile south of Mendocino Village. It also borders 48,000 acres of unoccupied meadows and redwoods of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest so the scenery is amazing. Within the Inn you’ll find cozy and well-appointed rooms, gracious hospitality and impressive culinary skills. Over the past few years their accolades have included being on the lists of “100 Best Hotels in the World” and “Top 10 Resort Hotels in California” by Travel & Leisure and “Top 50 Hotels in the World” in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

Phillips Hill Winery

L’Air de Mer Pinot Noir
at Phillips Hill Winery

Mendocino County is a delightful travel destination, and offers many options for regional exploration. About 45 minutes away from the Inn is Anderson Valley, home of Baxter Winery, Drew Family Wines, Lula Cellars, Phillips Hill Winery, Roederer Estate and more. Fort Bragg is about 20 minutes north of the Inn, with craft breweries, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, the Skunk Train and Glass Beach. Or, on your way to Fort Bragg you can detour to Noyo Harbor, offering a fishing store, boat rentals, and several fresh seafood eateries.

Mendocino Village itself is less than 5 minutes away, with quaint shops, restored New England-style Victorians, excellent restaurants, and walking trails that offer incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.
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California Rosé Wines: The Ones You Should Try

California Rosé Wines

California Rosé Wines

It may not really feel like it yet, but it’s definitely Spring and that means it’s time for California Rosé wines. We have always been fond of excellent wines crafted from Pinot Noir grapes, including Rosés, but there are also a lot of great Rosés made from other varietals as well. If you are a Rosé fan, and would like to try some new wines, we thought we’d offer suggestions based on our recent personal favorites to help narrow the field. Keep reading, and we’ll tell you about some of our favorites so you can do some exploration and tasting for yourself.

This is actually a great time to be purchasing wines directly from the folks that make them. Some wineries have just released their new 2019 Rosé wines (Timbre, Trombetta). A few of the wineries that usually sell out of their popular Rosés quickly still have some in stock (Auteur, Robert Sinskey Vineyards). Other wineries, luckily, still have some Rosés available that have won accolades in ratings and wine competitions (Balletto, Pennyroyal Farm). And of course, this is a great time to be supporting  small, family-owned businesses by purchasing their products.

Long Meadow Ranch 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir

Long Meadow Ranch 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir

We have personally enjoyed a lot of excellent California Rosés recently and they come from all over the State. Our suggestions below include wines from Mendocino County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Monterey County, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara County, and more. Please consider these wines (and wineries) as you plan your future brunches, dinners, or home-curated wine tasting experiences. Most of these wines appear to be available for sale on the wineries’ websites, and many currently have discounts on wines and/or shipping fees. For example, Graziano Family of Wines’ Rosé is on sale for $72 a case, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars is offering $1 shipping, and Long Meadow Ranch is offering free shipping.
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