Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dry Creek General Store Healdsburg

When in Rome, do as the Romans do! When in Healdsburg, go to the Dry Creek General Store! It's a must! It's located at 3495 Dry Creek Road.

 They serve breakfast items, house baked goods and cold and hot sandwiches at lunch. There's even a summer BBQ menu at times.

This old store established in 1881 is notorious for using local farm fresh vegetables, serving artisanal meats, cheeses, crackers, jams, and hand made treats. There's even an old bar that serves drinks!

The Bar

Dry Creek General Store has a nice selection of wine perfect for pairing with your picnic  when you head out to the local wineries. 

Fabulous cheese display!

Many items to pick up as a gift or just for yourself!

We ate right in the store while browsing their cookbooks. I bought Recipes from an Italian Summer because it was the summer and the recipes looked easy. Have I used it yet? UMMM! No, but it sure is pretty to look at on the wrought-iron counter stand!


Friday, June 28, 2013

#Kastania the LAST Winery of the Last Summer Series #13

Might There Be Just One More Winery?

After leaving the Alexander Valley that late July morning, we headed back to San Francisco for one last night  in California. Driving down the 101 toward San Fran and leaving the wine country is bittersweet because you're leaving all that great wine, but going to a fabulous, diverse city that I love.

We begin to wonder if there might be just one more winery we could stop at that we've never been to and guess what? On the left side of the road we saw a winery sign that may have said "last winery before San Francisco!" I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure that's what I thought! Haha! So we pulled over quickly, turned up this hill and sure enough, there was

Their tasting room!
This vineyard is a very small family owned vineyard on property that dates back to the 1860's. The Smith's (Linda and Hoot) inspiration came from a viticulture class that they took in 1994 and their love of red wine became a dream come true in 1997with their first harvest. The whole family ( and a very sweet one) takes part in the production of their award winning wines. They only produce 800-1000 cases a year and are known for their fabulous Pinot Noir and I must say it is fabulous. 

Notice the owl-Hoot's logo!

This is one bottle we bought while visiting their tasting room. The 2009 Kastania Proprietor's Reserve Pinot Noir Estate Grown ($45) has a "luscious nose of earthy ripe cherry and chocolate. Intense flavors of ripe plum and Bing cherry are interspersed with cedar, sassafras and tea leaves. Complex tannins combined with fresh fruit and a bright acidity make this wine a great candidate for aging." Ours is still aging!
Here's a pic of the grapes in July just beginning to turn that beautiful dark color for making  Pinot Noir wines that are recognized for year after year. You can actually see the 101 from the vineyard.

Goodbye Sonoma! Hello San Francisco!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#HannaWinery Last Summer Series #12

It was a sad day the morning we packed the car with our luggage and left No Name Resort in Alexander Valley! We had been there ten days and I wasn't ready to go back home. Leaving meant no more wine tastings and discoveries of new vineyards. So off we went down the road past Chalk Hill Winery, Lancaster Estates, and numerous others. As luck would have it, we came upon one winery that Don's daughter had visited while we were in Healdsburg grocery shopping one morning during our stay.

 Hanna Winery and Vineyards in the Alexander Valley has a hospitality center on 88 acres. It has a panoramic view of the valley, which is a great place to sit and sip their wines.
Meredith kept telling us how wonderful their wines were and she was right! Once we went and experienced the tasting ourselves, we knew it was a match for us. The wine we bought was a 2009 Hanna Bismark Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($57) which is a blend of 
80 % Cabernet, 11 % Malbec, and 9 % Petit Verdoh. 
It is an  "opaque navy blue with aromas of Abuleita chocolate, rice pudding, concrete, dried sage and boysenberry. Flavors are reminiscent of clove, bittersweet chocolate, cola, and miso. Texturally is is viscous and long with a firm finish." What that says to me is that I love it because anything with an aroma and flavor of chocolate has my full attention!

We also bought a 2011 Elias Chardonnay ($46) for me. It was grown in the Russian River Valley on the Home Ranch and Slusser Ranch (two of their four vineyards for growing).

"Aromatically it is youthful with effusive Honey and toast pears and orange peel notes.  In the mouth it is reminiscent of spicy baked apples and hazel nut with touch of freshly baked bread. Elegantly proportioned and rich without being sweet."

Hanna Winery and Vineyards in Alexander Valley is a beautiful place to visit and a wonderful place to taste wine! 
Enjoy and cheers!

Monday, June 24, 2013

#GFarrellWinery (Gary Farrell Winery) Last Summer Series #11

Don and I were headed down to the coast to Bodega Bay and came across this winery on Westside Road off the 101 near Guerneville. It was a crazy winding road in the Russian River Valley, but very scenic.
We came upon Gary Ferrell Vineyards and Winery and Don said this is a must.
 We felt very welcome after seeing this sign. This wine tasting room is kind of off the beaten path, so if you aren't looking for it and planning to visit you could miss this gem.

You can have a terrace tasting outside with lovely sweeping views of the valley below. It is truly worth doing in the months that aren't cold. They also have a fireside tasting in the winter months. If you want a private tasting, that's available also. Check out their website!
 Here we are taking in the views while tasting their fabulous wines!
I'm sad to say that I can't find the receipt and review what we bought, but that's a good thing too! There's not one bottle of Gary Ferrell left in our wine cellar, which means we drank it all and have to buy more! I can bet you we bought a Chardonnay for me because that is what I was loving then (and still do) ----always looking for the greatest Chardonnay!
So here's one they have now! I can guarantee it's super!
This is the 2011 Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay ($45) released in May 2013 at a production of only 315 cases. The wine "hits the palate with lemongrass, honeysuckle, and  lemon oil".  Can't beat that! We'll be in Healdsburg again in the fall, so I'm headed there first thing. 

We made it to Bodega Bay! What a beautiful sight to see-that Pacific Ocean just right there for all the vineyards to breathe their cool sea breezes! AHHHHH!!!!!

 Enjoy Gary Ferrell wines!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

#EverettRidge Vineyards and Wiinery-Last Summer Series #10

Before we made it to Bodega Bay, Don and I stopped by two wineries, one of which was Everett Ridge Vineyards and Winery. It is the second oldest winery in the Dry Creek Valley.
Here's the pic of what we bought that day in their tasting room. The first is a Diablita 2007 Cole Ranch Red Wine. ($18) Very nice price for a very good wine. It's a Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah blend in a screw-top bottle. Easy!

The second bottle is a Pomo Nation Bi Si 2009 White Blend. It is the first and ONLY 100% native owned label in the country. It runs about $20 a bottle. It's an amazing blend of spices, lemons, and earthiness. 

The last bottle of wine is the Everett Ridge Petite Sirah 2008 Dry Creek Valley Estate ($32). There's nothing little about it though. It's very "masculine and brawny."  Dark in color with aromas of "leather, cigar box, tobacco, and charred oak, with a backdrop of blackberry fruit." 

This tasting room has a beautiful mountain view outside and a big pizza oven alongside places to sit and enjoy your wines.
It was a gorgeous day and here's a close-up of the bottles. Try to order some today. It's great!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

#QuiviraWinery Last Summer Series #9

I could write a lot about Healdsburg! Don has shared this part of Sonoma with me and to him I'm grateful. It's a lovely town. On West Dry Creek Road in the Dry Creek Valley, there is a vineyard and winery named Quivira that truly grows their wines in the vineyard. It is a place that we happened upon and loved it.

 Not only do they grow superb wines, but their one-acre garden is beautiful! You can learn first-hand about their biodynamic farming. They have 120 raised beds overflowing with organic vegetables, a bee hive, a small pond, a chicken coop with many breeds of chickens and even a  rescued baby pig that is all grown up now!
 This path leads to the gardens where you can stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. I can't remember what we bought here, but I can bet you it was a Sauvignon Blanc and a Viognier. They are gone out of our wine cellar, so they must not have stuck around too long.
What I love about this wine ($22) other  than its great taste is the label.  The fig leaf design represents a 130 year old Black Mission Fig tree in the vineyards, namely called Fig Tree Vineyards. This wine has the usual grassiness, but is balanced with pineapple and passion fruit.
This Viognier -Sauvignon Blanc ($32) has a gorgeous, very simple label that looks hand-written! Isn't that nice in this age of emails and texts! Peach and citrus, orange and they say "even creamsicle flows across the palate."

 The flowers are beautiful and I jumped out of the car as we were leaving to take these pics.
And Don says, get in the car honey-we have the wine!

Friday, June 21, 2013

#JarvisWines Dinner at #Abacus #BuonVino

We have eaten at Abacus Restaurant on McKinney Ave twice in a week now! That's pretty good considering I had only been to the bar once for cocktails and lobster shooters! AMAZING! While we were dining last Wednesday we saw in the menu that they were hosting a wine dinner featuring Jarvis Wines from Napa Valley. Don asked me if I wanted to go and of course I didn't even have to think twice about that one! Yes! Yes! Yes!

 So this past Wednesday night we went to the wine dinner. We were greeted with a glass of Taittinger Champagne from France. You must click on the name and enter their site. The intro is a beautifully created video in France with the most gorgeous piano music in the background. I was mesmerized by it! The champagne was just as beautiful to me simply because I love the Chardonnay grape. I'm not sure which one they served us, but it was very nice!

We visited with Gerald Morgan from Buon Vino in Plano. He is a wine concierge delivering wines to your door in Dallas and Collin counties. We have been to his tasting room in Plano a few times for tasting parties. A few of his clients and guests who had signed up at Abacus were among the twenty there for the Jarvis wine dinner.

We made our way to the private dining room, found our assigned seating, sat down and introduced ourselves to everyone. There was one empty seat right beside me. As it turns out, the winemaker from Jarvis Wines, Ted Henry, would be sitting at our table-this just keeps happening to me! How fun is that!

If you visit the Jarvis Wines website and read the "about us", you will find a link to the "team" which includes everyone that has anything to do with the winery. This is a pretty amazing place and fabulous wine! OMG! Ted Henry is the winemaker! I was so quiet because everyone else wanted to ask him a thousand questions. Poor guy! He hardly had time to eat his food pairings and talk about his wine! At the end of the dinner, I told him who I was and asked if I could have a picture taken with him. He was delighted (probably because I hadn't bombarded him with questions.) It was so dark in the room, the pics didn't turn out as I'd like them to, but they'll do!

Now, about Jarvis Wines! This is the menu of wine and food pairings served that evening.
The wines were some of the few best reds I've had from Napa! Here's Buon Vino's menu of prices and points awarded by Wine Enthusiast.

As you can see Jarvis Wines are not cheap, but hey, you get what you pay for right! It's okay to splurge sometimes and we certainly did at this wine tasting. We are leaving for Sonoma in a few days and hope to have time to visit this winery. If not, there's always another trip planned for wine tasting somewhere in the future!

Enjoy Jarvis Wines! You can't go wrong on any of them!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

#FieldStoneWinery #Healdsburg Last Summer Series # 8

Don and I found excellent wines at the next winery, which is between Healdsburg and Calistoga on Hwy 128. We just happen to see the sign and decided to stop by. When you come across a place you don't plan on visiting and just discover it in your travels, then it usually turns out to be awesome!
This is a family-owned winery that began with the grandfather and now the father and son run the winery. The wines are amazing. When we buy a half-case and become wine club members, you know it's really good. They want to remain small in production, but do ship to 24 states. 
Here's their cave and tasting room. 
Sorry the label got a little messed up! UGH!
This is a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard Select ($20) and obviously we haven't opened it yet. It's been too long since I tried it to review it, but if I bought it, it has to be good! This is sold out and the 2011 is too! That speaks volumes!

The 2010 Gew├╝rztraminer Vineyard Select ($19) is also sold out and there isn't  another vintage on their website or anyone else's!

Oh well!

We also bought a 2009 Vineyard Select Chardonnay ($25). They have a 2011, so get that one! I'm sure it's going to be good.

Now, what they do have online, that we don't have anymore because we drank it was a

Both of those wines are award-winning wines and I suggest you purchase them today. They are exceptional. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

#RegusciWinery-Last Summer Series #7

Continuing Napa Valley,  we came upon Schweiger Vineyards (by accident) and Kelham Vineyards (Don knows Suzanna), but I've already blogged about those. 

We also visited Dean & DeLuca, a deli first started in 1977 in New York's SoHo district. So that makes two I've visited and it never gets old. They have everything you want to eat, drink, or gift! Amazing!

We did find another gem in the hundreds of wineries called Regusci.
I've seen this winery on television on a Napa Bike Wine Tour! It's a rerun, but I love to look at it occasionally and remember being there!
There's a nice picnic area that looks out into the vineyards and they offer tours of the winery. We bought a 2009 Regusci Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) currently not available but try the 2010. I'm sure it's just as good if not better!

We also bought a 2010 Regusci Chardonnay ($36), which is also not available now. You can get their 2011 vintage.

I suggest a visit to this winery. The people are friendly, there are lots of places to sit and enjoy the wines, and what could be better than that!