What a Difference Two Weeks Can Make: Remembering the 2012 A Wine & Food Affair

The Greeter at Robert Young Estate Winery

The Greeter at Robert Young Estate Winery

What a difference two weeks can make.  It’s been raining on and off all weekend in Napa Valley, and it’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were enjoying 70 degree weather at the 14th Annual A Wine & Food Affair, tasting fantastic wine and food all along The Wine Road.

Have you heard of this event?   At A Wine & Food Affair, each participating winery prepares a special recipe to pair with one of their wines.  During the weekend’s festivities you can visit the wineries, taste the food/wine pairings, try other wines from the wineries, and then take home a cookbook (included in your ticket price) that has all of the recipes in it. So, on November 3rd and 4th we were driving around Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys and completely forgetting Thanksgiving was just around the corner.

Keep reading, and we’ll tell you about some of our favorite experiences over that weekend.  We’ll let you know which wines we enjoyed the most and recommend you seek out, and which food items warrant searching for the recipe (the Tasting Along the Wine Road, Volume 14 cookbook can also be purchased separately).   

Favorite Wine and Food Destinations at the 2012 A Wine & Food Affair

Acorn Winery – We’re huge fans of Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar, and during the event they were serving Duck Chilaquiles with Cherry-Guajillo Chile Sauce, a unique and flavorful combination.  From the winery, we were particularly impressed by their 2009 Sangiovese and their 2008 Medley (33% Zinfandel, 31% Cabernet Franc, 23% Syrah, 3% Cinsault, 2% Muscats, 1% Merlot, 1% Blue Portuguese, and 6% “other varieties”). 

Davis Family Vineyards – There are so many wines to enjoy here, including the 2009 Cuvée Luke (Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier), 2009 Estate Grown Chardonnay, 2010 Estate Grown Soul Patch Pinot Noir, and the 2009 Estate Grown Syrah.  The Harvest Ribollita from Zazu was also delicious.

Dutcher Crossing Winery – The Honey Harvest Tomato Bisque from Preferred Sonoma Caterers was one of our favorite dishes all day, with or without the paired 2009 Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  We also enjoyed starting with the 2010 Stuhlmuller Vineyard Chardonnay here.

Kokomo Winery, in a Nutshell

Kokomo Winery, in a Nutshell

Kokomo Winery – As in the past, we enjoyed food here from Jason Denton of Jackson’s Bar and Oven (Osso Buco Stew with Gremolata and Freeze-Dried Corn).  Our favorite wines were the 2009 Malbec and the 2010 Timber Crest Vineyard Primitivo.

Longboard Vineyards – Highlights here were the 2009 Dakine Vineyard Merlot and 2010 Anderson Webber Zinfandel, as well as the Soul Surfer Ribs over Parsnip Purée from Chef Jude Affronti.  We also highly recommend the 2009 RedGrav Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (one of our perennial favorites).

Portalupi Winery – Their 2009 Mendocino County Barbera is well worth a stop at this downtown Healdsburg tasting room.  In addition, we were impressed by the Spinach and Salmon Canneloni from Peloton Catering.

Robert Young Estate Winery  – The Cabernet-Sauvignon based 2008 Scion was a favorite here.  Following the winery’s South African theme for the day, the Boerewors Sausages with Merlot-Caramelized Onions served up by Park Avenue Catering was a different and interesting dish.

Swedish Gravlax at West Wines

Swedish Gravlax at West Wines

West Wines – This was our first trip to this winery, but won’t be anywhere near our last.  We enjoyed the 2007 Chardonnay, the 2008 Crest Cuvée (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec), and both the 2006 and 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserves.  From owner Katarina Bonde herself, the food was a delightful Swedish Gravlax with Mustard Sauce on Brioche Toast Points.

Other Favorite Wines at the 2012 A Wine & Food Affair

Sometimes, we arrived at a winery after the food was gone, or the impact of the wines far outshone the food (at least to us).  Regardless, these wines were standouts for us during the 2012 A Wine & Food Affair:

Hawley Winery – Another impressive collection of wine offerings, and this time we suggest the 2011 Viognier, 2010 Chardonnay, and the 2006 Estate Merlot.

Old World Winery – This is where we enjoyed a 2009 Abourious, our first time tasting a wine made from Abouriou (a rare grape variety indigenous to Southwest France).


The Patio at Ridge Vineyards

The Patio at Ridge Vineyards

Ridge Vineyards – We fell hard for two great Zinfandel blends, the 2010 Lytton Springs [67% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane, and 3% Mataro (Mourvedre)] and the 2010 Geyserville [64% Zinfandel, 20% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet, and 2% Mataro (Mourvedre)].

Other Recipes We Want To Try From the 2012  A Wine & Food Affair

Wine Road, an association of wineries and lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys, presents A Wine & Food Affair each year.  The Tasting Along the Wine Road, Volume 14 cookbook includes recipes from the wineries that participated this year but also includes recipes contributed by the organization’s Lodging Partners.  So, even though we weren’t able to actually taste these items two weeks ago, we’ve already marked pages in the cookbook so we can try these recipes:

Wine Road LogoWine Road holds three annual events each year: Winter Wonderland in January; Barrel Tasting in March; and A Wine & Food Affair in November.  The next Winter Wonderland is scheduled for January 19-20, 2013, and will showcase over 100 wineries focusing on one varietal each, offering new releases, library wines, and vineyard designated wines.  You can read more about the event, and purchase tickets, here.


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