2018 Taste of Mount Veeder: A Celebration of Mountain Fruit

Robert Craig Winery to be at 2018 Taste of Mount Veeder

Robert Craig just a Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

Mark your calendars and prep your tastebuds because the 2018 Taste of Mount Veeder walk-around wine tasting is just a few weeks away, between 1 and 4 pm on Saturday, August 4th. You shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to taste and enjoy wines from 25 Mount Veeder wineries, including several that aren’t normally open to the public, all conveniently gathered together for you at The Hess Collection (4411 Redwood Road, Napa).

Now in its 19th year, the Taste of Mount Veeder will showcase the amazing wines from this appellation accompanied by small bites from the Hess Collection culinary team, live music from The Hummingbirdz and a Silent Auction.  General Admission is going to be $150 per person at the door but if you move quickly you may still be able to purchase Special Advance Tickets for $125 each. For more details, and to purchase tickets, please go here.

2018 Taste of Mount Veeder wine tastingOn the southwestern side of Napa Valley, Mount Veeder is an appellation where richly intense, age-worthy wines have been produced since the 1860’s. The white wines made from grapes grown here display luscious stone fruit, hints of citrus, and herbal aromas and flavors.  Mount Veeder red wines typically exhibit dark fruit flavors of blackberry or raspberry, sweet herbal notes and deep stony minerality with forest flora aromatics.  You may already be aware of how excellent the Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons are from this region, but this Tasting can help you discover outstanding premium wines crafted from other varietals such as Pinot Gris, Monteuse and Malbec.
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Winery Spotlight: Ehlers Estate (in Napa Valley)


Ehlers Estate in St. Helena

Ehlers Estate Petit Verdot

Ehlers Estate is a winery located in the northern part of Napa Valley’s St. Helena appellation that crafts all of its premium wines from estate fruit: they don’t buy any grapes, and they don’t sell any grapes. There’s also a lovely foundation story here about how the original 42-acre property was established in 1885, then broken into smaller parcels over time and separated into different individual owners’ hands, until new owners were able to reconstruct the entire original property. This is also one of the few wineries in Napa Valley where you can find an outstanding Petit Verdot wine.

Ehlers Estate – The Story

The Stone Barn at Ehlers Estate

The Stone Barn at Ehlers Estate

Grapes have been grown in the Ehlers Estate vineyard since the mid-1800s. Originally founded by Bernard Ehlers in 1885, the original property began its journey with a 10-acre vineyard, followed by the establishment of an olive grove, and then the completion of the beautiful stone barn which now serves as the winery building. Ehlers Estate has had several successive owners since then and the original 42 acres were carved into smaller lots. In the 1980’s, French entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jean and Sylviane Leducq began purchasing separate lots, eventually building a contiguous wine estate which now encompasses the original 42 acres.

The winery estate is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and is farmed with strict organic farming practices certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). The vineyard and cellar teams share a non-interventionist winemaking philosophy which has at its core the belief that terroir defines a wine.

100 % of the proceeds from the sale of Ehlers Estate wines are returned to the Leducq Foundation to support international cardiovascular and neurovascular research. The Leducq Foundation was founded by Jean and Silviane Leducq, recognized by the French Government in 1996, and Ms. Leducq was a French Legion of Honor recipient in 2009 in recognition of her generosity and leadership of the foundation.
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ZD Wines: The Big Five-Oh Deserves a Bash

ZD Wines 50th Anniversary Gold StandardThree generations of the deLeuze family own and operate ZD Wines in Napa Valley and when the grapes are harvested this fall, it will be ZD’s 50th harvest. So, they are planning to celebrate five decades of award-winning wine in style and you can benefit from their efforts as well. The family is currently making improvements to their hospitality center including a remodel of their Vineyard View Room and Deck. Soon, new sliding glass doors will provide unobstructed views of the valley floor and visitors will also have open views of the barrel room.

The deLeuzes are also planning an entire evening of festivities on September 8 at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia (500 1st Street, Napa). The ZD Wines 50th Anniversary Bash runs from 6 pm to 10 pm featuring guest chefs, food and wine pairings, and plenty of rare, limited and library wine selections from ZD Wines. The event will also feature the much-anticipated unveiling of a 50th Anniversary Cuvée Sparkling Wine, the first ever produced by ZD.

CIA at Copia

CIA at Copia

Tickets for the 50th anniversary celebration are $150 per person, but you should move quickly as this event will sell out. Attendees will also be able to enjoy live entertainment and participate in a fundraising silent auction benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Napa Valley. You can buy your tickets here, but ZD First Taste Wine Club members should contact the winery at 800-487-7757 to get information on how to obtain a discount. On-site parking will be available that night at CIA at Copia, although the use of taxis, private car services, app-based transportation options, or your own personal Designated Driver are always encouraged.
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Blackjack! 21 Downtown Napa Happy Hour Options

"El Diablo" at Charlie Palmer Steak, a downtown Napa Happy Hour option

“El Diablo” at Charlie Palmer Steak

Are you looking for a good Downtown Napa Happy Hour but aren’t sure where to go?  Well, brace yourself, because downtown Napa has 21 Happy Hour destinations to choose from. All of these are on the western side of the Napa River, between Caymus Street and 5th Street. You may even want to gather some friends and start a Progressive Happy Hour one night. Your group can easily enjoy Pizza, Nachos, and/or Fried Calamari at reduced prices along with great drink discounts. Or, since this is Napa Valley you will also find Dolmas, Lobster Corn Dogs, Chicken Empanadas and Smoked Duck Sliders on those Happy Hour menus.

Guinness at Bounty Hunter, downtown Napa Happy Hour special

Guinness at Bounty Hunter

Looking for drink specials?  Depending on what you’re thirsty for, you’ll find downtown Napa Happy Hour prices starting at $3 for Beer, with discounts on everything from Napa Smith Pilsner (Napa Valley Bistro) to Guinness (Bounty Hunter) to Craft Beers brewed by the house (Napa Palisades Saloon). Prices for selected glasses of Wine start at $5 (Ca’ Momi Osteria), or you can swing by Velo Pizzeria on Tuesdays when all bottles are 40% off.

If you’re in a cocktail mood, Well Drinks start at $5 at Ristorante Alegria or you can explore the standards with a Martini from Torc ($7), a Margarita from Don Perico ($4.50) or a Moscow Mule at either Mercantile Social or Mercantile Terrace at the Andaz Hotel ($7 on Mondays). Other options include Pisco Sours at Napkins ($7), Harvest Punch at Basalt ($9), or an “El Diablo” with Tequila, Mezcal, Crème de Cassis, Ginger, Lime and Spicy Bitters at Charlie Palmer Steak ($7).

Carnitas Tacos at Gran/Eléctrica, a downtown Napa Happy Hour option

Carnitas Tacos at Gran/Eléctrica

To go with your drink, you may want to start with Buffalo Wings at Downtown Joe’s ($8), Carnitas Tacos at Gran/Eléctrica ($7) or Chili and Cheddar Fries at Norman Rose Tavern ($9). Then you can move on to other downtown Napa Happy Hour Appetizers such as Tempura Green Beans at Eiko’s ($5), Macaroni and Cheese at Grace’s Table ($5), Turkish Meatballs at Tarla Mediterranean Grill ($9), Mushroom Flatbread at Carpe Diem ($9) or Short Rib Sliders with Horseradish Cream at Celadon ($10).
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2018 Taste of Howell Mountain: 23rd Time’s The Charm

View from Robert Craig Winery, a 2018 Taste of Howell Mountain participant

View from Robert Craig Winery on Howell Mountain

Celebrate the end of Spring at the 2018 Taste of Howell Mountain, a Wine Tasting and Auction event in upper Napa Valley on Saturday, June 16th. This is one party you should definitely RSVP for because the festivities include premium wines from the Howell Mountain appellation along with delicious food, live entertainment, and both Silent and Live Auctions. We’re talking about wineries such as Arkenstone Vineyards, Black Sears, Davis Estates, Dunn Vineyards, Lamborn Family Vineyards and Robert Craig Winery, all pouring tastes alongside the host winery Charles Krug Winery (2800 Main Street, St. Helena). 

Taco Addiction, a food provider at 2018 Taste of Howell Mountain

Taco Addiction

Between noon and 3 pm at the 2018 Taste of Howell Mountain you’ll enjoy a Walk-Around Wine Tasting, Food Pairings, Prizes, a Silent Auction and Live Music from The Hummingbirdz. Something new for 2018 is that the culinary treats will be courtesy of popular local food trucks Ring of Fire, Taco Addiction and Crossroad Chicken.  Then, from 3 pm to 5 pm you can sit and enjoy even more Howell Mountain wine as you watch (and hopefully participate in) an active and festive Live Auction.

Rosé of Peloursin from Retro Cellars , a 2018 Taste of Howell Mountain participant

Rosé of Peloursin from Retro Cellars

Howell Mountain is well known for its incredible Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll find many wines crafted from that varietal. But, there’s more to Howell Mountain than just Cabernet and in prior years we’ve particularly enjoyed the Arkenstone Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Robert Craig Winery Merlot, Bravante Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Black Sears Zinfandel and Retro Cellars Petite Sirah. We’ve also been big fans of Rosés from KrisTodd Vineyards, Lamborn Family Vineyards, Retro Cellars and Robert Craig Winery.

Tickets for the 2018 Taste of Howell Mountain are $150 per person or $1750 for a table for ten. This is the 23rd annual event and once again this year’s proceeds will help benefit the Howell Mountain Education Foundation. Last year, the Howell Mountain Vintners and Growers Association (HMVGA) was able to donate over $61,000 to the Foundation. But, you should move quickly because this event will definitely sell out so just click here.
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A Rosé With Purpose: Helping Wine Country Wildfire Recovery

If you’re looking for an easy way to help the ongoing wine country wildfire recovery in Napa County, Sonoma County, Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, we have the perfect opportunity for you to consider: the 2017 Hi No Tori Rosé.

2017 Hi No Tori Rosé

2017 Hi No Tori Rosé

Kanpai Wines has just released their first wine: the 2017 Hi No Tori Rosé. It is a Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by famed winemaker Steve Matthiasson from grapes grown on Meadowbrook Farm in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. We recently had the opportunity to taste the wine ourselves and found it to be delicious! The wine has strawberry, ripe cherries, juicy watermelon and a slightly tart plum finish on the palate, all structured within vibrant acidity, and bright mixed red berries and a hint of mint on the nose. This is a Rosé made in the Provencal style with an abv (alcohol by volume) of just 12.5%.  Only 600 cases were produced and the wine retails for $25 per bottle.  Given its structure, the Hi No Tori Rosé will pair with a variety of foods – we personally enjoyed it with a Wild Fennel Braised Pork Shoulder. We recommend that you don’t serve this wine too cold as its beautiful aromatics and nuances of flavor will be lost. So, please take this wine out of your wine cooler or refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving.
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V2V Turns XX: 2018 Vineyard to Vintner Weekend

Steltzner 2014 SLD Cabernet SauvignonCabernet Sauvignon fans take heed because the 2018 Vineyard to Vintner (also known as V2V), Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District’s annual celebration, is all set for the last weekend in April.  This is the 20th year for this very popular Food and Wine Weekend and the tickets are selling fast.  Saturday of that weekend offers a passport-style Open House event at wineries throughout the district and on Sunday the wineries all gather at Regusci Winery for a Farm-to-Table lunch which includes a sneak preview of the upcoming 2015 vintage release.

On April 28, from 10 am to 4 pm on April 28, you can enjoy Open House celebrations at any of sixteen Stags Leap District wineries including historic properties such as Chimney Rock WineryClos Du ValPine Ridge VineyardsShafer VineyardsSilverado Vineyards and Stags’ Leap Winery.  This is also a rare chance to visit wineries only open to the public once a year (during V2V) such as Ilsley Vineyards, Lindstrom Wines and Malk Family Vineyards.

Excellent Chardonnay, Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc from Stags Leap District

Excellent Chardonnay, Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc from Stags Leap District

The internationally famous Stags Leap District produces Cabernet Sauvignon wines critically acclaimed for their lush fruit and soft tannins with complex layers of flavor. Although over 80% of the grapevines here are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, we have found plenty of other stellar wines in the area.  Some of our favorites at prior Vineyard to Vintner (v2v) events were the Taylor Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Pine Ridge Vineyards Le Petit Clos Chardonnay, Regusci Winery Mary’s Cuvée Chardonnay, Malk Family Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir,  Chimney Rock Winery Cabernet Franc, Clos Du Val Cabernet Franc, Stags’ Leap Winery Twelve Falls Red Wine Blend and Steltzner Vineyards Malbec.

The 2018 Vineyard to Vintner District-wide event will provide everyone a chance to explore winery caves, savor special barrel tastings, and enjoy food and wine pairings not available to the general public.  Keep reading and we’ll give you some more details about this fun and enjoyable weekend.

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