Eight bottles down with a steady flow of delicious BBQ over an eight hour period. Burgers and portabella mushroom wannables pasted with red pepper maynonnaise capped the night. Coupled with a grilled nectarine feta starter, the meal fit the weather (hot) and Sauvignon blanc perfectly.
We celebrated my future brother in law's 30th birthday today with a family lebanese recipe of chicken & rice. We coated it down with a wonderful bottle of 2005 Pinot Noir from Ojai Vineyards, in the Santa Barbara region.
The boutique winery makes outstanding Syrah and consistently good Pinot, this bottle was no different. Combined with a deliciously flavorful meal, it was an excellent evening. We topped off the celebration with german chocolate cake and crackle cookies, compliments of FestinsBakery.
I love larabars, especially the cashew cookie, which are all natural, raw energy. The chocolate series, called Jocalat, are good b/c they are natural, raw, all organic. But as a true chocolate substitute? No way, it's not even a fair comparison.
Salamandre Wine Cellars was started out of a doctors garage 25 years ago in Aptos CA (in Santa Cruz County). Sourcing grapes from all over California, they make a bunch of white & red single varietals and blends.
We visited Jeff Runquist Wines, which sources grapes from around the state of California but put down permanent roots with a nice tasting room in Amador Valley, directly off Shenadoah Valley Road (E16). Runquist did a nice job with their tasting room (opened in the Spring of '08), its a rectangle bar with tasting space all around, they offer free tastings & serve up cheese plates on the house for every visiting group. In my wine travels around the world, its rare to receive such solid service.
Another work dinner last night, this one at a new restaurant in San Francisco called Anchor & Hope. It's from the same folks that opened & run the Salt House & Town Hall. I love Town Hall but have been disappointed on both occasions that I've visited the Salt House. To top things off, when I arrived at the restaurant at 6:30, in San Francisco I mind you, it was 92 degrees (according to my car).
I spent the last two nights sleeping on the ground, ten yards from the Stanislaus River, drinking some good (and some not so) wine enjoying time “off the grid” with people I love. Not to be sappy because I promise you it was far from that, rather it’s the intimacy with nature and friends that make these weekend’s memorable. I brought six bottles of wine, there was a bottle of Belvedere & two Jamison's, as well as ninety bud light’s for a group of eight people; none of us went thirsty.
Last Thursday, during the Web 2.0 Expo, there was an event called Wine 2.0 held at the Crushpad offices in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. It was hailed as a merging of technology & wine that would showcase both area wineries as well as technology related to the wine industry. While there were plenty of wineries there was a lack of any interesting wine technologies sans Crushpad itself. The event was a lot of fun but it was more of a boozing, singles party than a true wine tasting.
I had a work dinner tonight at Maverick's restaurantin the Mission district of San Francisco. It's classic American faire cuisine with interesting twists in an all natural, organic type of approach to the menu. That's becoming more of the norm rather than just a trend for SF restaurants, hopefully it will catch on across the country. We ordered a bottle of wine, an Italian varietal grown by Palmina, a Santa Barbera county winery (in Lompoc), called Dolcetto.
I'm in Los Angeles for a couple days of meetings and an online local conference. My first night down here we had a work dinner with a prospective (now signed) partner at a restaurant near their office. The restaurant, Devon, is in an old building in Monrovia California. The menu was interesting, they had things like Black Bear Ravioli, Caribou, Quail, Rabbit & Phesant. Their wine menu was very nice, we ordered a bottle of the 2004 (menu listed it as the 2001) Justin Isosceles.