Monday, September 07, 2009

Dry Creek Kitchen Chef's Tasting Menu

Once again, our meal at Dry Creek Kitchen was spectacular. The down side was that we felt like we were being rushed through our meal. Courses practically came out on top of each other barely giving us a chance to finish the wine from the previous course.

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Tarts

Preserved Lemon, Dry Creek Olive Oil, Toasted Long Peppercorns
J Sparkling Wine, Russian River Valley, Cuvee 20, Brut NV

Flash Seared Hamachi
Purslane-Radish Salad, Avocado Mousseline, Pickled Local Melons, Kaffir Lime Vinaigrette
Maurison Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, 2007

Toasted Farro "Risotto"
Arugula Pistou, Summer Squash, Pecorino Grand Cru
Mahoney Vineyards Albarino, Carneros, Las Brisas 2007

Crispy Skin Thai Snapper
White Corn Fondue, Olive Oil Poached Sweet 100's, Basil Puree, Heirloom Tomato Consumme
International Sommelier Conspiracy Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 2007

Pan Seared Filet Mignon
Roasted Shallot Compote, Artichoke Barigoule, King Trumpet Mousseline, Truffle-Cognac Jus
Montemaggiore Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, 2006

Dry Creek Kitchen Dessert
It's taken me so long to post this I can't remember what we had. John thinks it was a chocolate-peanut butter thing.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wine Tasting Sunday

We started the day at Mill Creek Winery. We first found Mill Creek thanks to a write up in the Wall Street Journal on Zinfandels. Last time we were here, we tasted all their wines and didn't find one that we didn't we joined their Wine Club. This trip was no different. They are holding 6 bottles to send with your next wine club shipment.
  • 2004 Merlot Reserve, Alexander Valley (only 115 cases produced)
  • 2006 Zinfandel, Beacham-Downey, Dry Creek (the owners are serving this beauty at their son's wedding TODAY!)
  • 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Alexander Valley

We found Sapphire Hill because of a write up in the wine map. It said that if you liked Zinfandel and Pinot Noir that you should check out Sapphire Hill. And the wine map was right! Again, we joined their wine club....what can I say. We found:
  • 2006 Chardonnay, Estate Grown - Russian River Valley (Silver Medal - SF Chronicle; Silver Medal - Orange County Wine Competition)
  • 2005 Pinot Noir, Sapphire Hill Vineyard - Russian River Valley (Gold Medal - Sonoma County Harvest Fair; Highest Rating SF Chronicle Wine Selections)
  • 2004 Pinot Noir, Sapphire Hill Vineyard - Russian River Valley (Double Gold Meda, "Best of Show" Healdsburg Fair; Gold Medal Orange County Wine Competition; Gold Medal Sonoma County Harvest Fair; Silver Medal California State Fair)\
  • 2005 Harlot (Syrah / Zinfandel blend), Russian River Valley (Silver Medal Sonoma County Harvest Fair; Silver Medal Orange County Wine Compeition)
  • 2006 Late Harvest Zinfandel
  • 2004 Bastoney Zinfandel
  • 2000 Winberrie Vineyard Zinfandel - Russian River Valley
  • 20008 Zinfandel, Porky's Patch, Rosenberg Vineyard, Alexander Valley

Ooops...those are just the ones coming home with us! Joanne at Sapphire Hill suggested that we head over to Hudson Street Wineries. Oh, and she introduced us to the owners of Sapphire Hill who are transplanted mid-westerners.

Hudson Street Wineries is a coop wine tasting room. There are wines from 6 wineries available for tasting. We only tasted from 3 of the wineries...and ended up tasting 11 different wines. Four of those wines (*) will be coming home with us...

  • Teira 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek
  • Owl Ridge 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County (*)
  • Grove Street 2007 Chardonnay, Sonoma County
  • 2007 Sadler-Wells Chardonnay, Carneros
  • 2006 Shippey Vineyards Rockin Z Zinfandel
  • 2006 Bluenose Zinfandel, Sonoma County (*)
  • 2005 Bluenose Syrah, Sonoma County
  • Owl Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2004 Owl Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Brigden Vineyard, Sonoma County (*)
  • 2007 Teira Merlot (*)
  • 2007 Burnside Road Merlot, Sonoma County

On our way to find Sapphire Hill, we drove past a winery called "Hauck Cellars." In deference to Cynthia, we went back to find it. And what a gem we found! We tasted 6 wines, loved them all, and joined their wine club. I don't even have the list of what we tasted...but just be warned that they were all fabulous!!

Our last stop of the day was back to Lancaster Estates. (They also produce wine under the name of Roth.) My record keeping has been getting lax. We tasted a Sauvignon Blanc and 3 Cabernet Sauvignons. All wonderful wines...and yes we joined their wine club. We also bought 2 bottles of the Sauvignon Blanc and 3 bottles of their Estate Library Cabernet Sauvignon (2001, 2002, and 2003). The wine club wines will need to be held for 5-10 we needed something to be able to drink now. :)

We are sitting by the pool resting...well John is sleeping and I'm posting. Tonight is dinner at The Dry Creek Kitchen (Charlie Parker restaurant) so we are resting.

Tomorrow we have a reservation for a wine tasting at Verite...then we will head back toward San Jose. We hope to stop by Gloria Ferrar to see if they have any late harvest sparkling wine available. And maybe a stop for a cassoulet in Sonoma CA.

Wine Tasting Saturday

Who knew wine tasting could be sooooo much work! We started the day at A. Rafanelli. We were first introduced to Rafanelli Zinfandels in the late 80s. Yes, think big bold Zins. Rafanelli is a relatively small producer and requires an appointment to taste their wines. We were lucky enough to get one Saturday at 10:15 am. We added some great selections to our cellar:
  • 2006 Rafanelli Merlot
  • 2007 Rafanelli Zinfandel
  • 2006 Rafanelli Cabernet Sauvignon

Next stop...Lambert Bridge. While we've driven past this winery many times we had never stopped. Our friends Randy and Debby told us it was their favorite winery and we now know why. We tasted some great wines:
  • 2007 Viognier, Sonoma County
  • 2007 Viognier, Knights Valley
  • 2007 Zinfandel Maple Vineyards
  • 2006 Petite Sirah
  • 2006 Cabernet Franc
I don't remember what we bought...beyond the Knights Valley Viognier...but we did join their Wine Club...which means we'll be getting 24 bottles of Lambert Bridge wines a year. Woo hoo!

We then went to Geyser Peak. Well, actually we went to Lancaster Estates but that was because I had the days of our appointments mixed up. We are already Geyser Peak Wine Club members but for some reason that didn't stop us from buying more wine. We are coming home with:
  • 2006 Tannat, Alexander Valley
  • 2008 Late Harvest Riesling, Russian River Valley
  • Tawny Port,
  • 2008 River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley
  • 2002 Reserve Shiraz, Sonoma County

So we headed back to the hotel...except there are several wineries with tasting rooms right in downtown Geyserville. It's just a short walk from the Inn. First stop was Meeker. We've loved Meeker wines for a long time...and yes, you can get many of them in Ohio. But there are some that you can't and that's what we were looking for. Stand outs include:

  • Lucas J 2007 Pinot Noir
  • 2003 Tutu Luna (which comes with Martini recipes)
  • 2005 Wine Maker's Zinfandel
  • 2006 Barbera
  • 2002 Petite Verdot
  • 2004 Kelly's Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2005 4 Kings (available in Ohio)
  • Fro Zin (available in Ohio)

Yes...we joined the Meeker Wine Club!

Just around the corner from Meeker is a new winery tasting room called Route 128. I'm not sure what we bought....but it should be arriving in Ohio soon. :) It really is hard to keep track.

Dinner Saturday night was a barbecue hosted by the owners of the Hope-Merrill House Inn in Geyserville. It was a lovely event...the cost of entrance...a bottle of wine to share. We brought a Geyser Peak Syrah that was fabulous with the spectacular barbecue that we had.

Bistro Ralph, Healdsburg, CA

First Friday in Healdsburg! We visited several galleries featuring a variety of interesting artists. It is a surprisingly early event...4 to we went to the Healdsburg Hotel for wine and jazz to kill time before our dinner reservations. I had a glass of the 2006 A. Rafanelli Merlot and I don't remember what John had. A Syrah I think. We then shared a 1/2 bottle of the 2007 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel. Yummy!! A great precursor to our first winery trip on Saturday morning.

Dinner at Bistro Ralph was as good as we remember.
Beef Carpaccio with lemon, capers, and olive oil
Duck breast with polenta
Cheese course for dessert

With dinner we had an Unti Grenache.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Cafe Claude, San Francisco

Had a great dinner with our friends Randy and Debbie at this great little cafe, Cafe Claude. Made friends with the restaurant's wine buyer...always a good thing to do.

Tartare de Thon Rouge ahi tuna, goat cheese, quail egg,garlic croutons
Agneau roasted lamb sirloin with garlic,bread crumbs and emergo beans
Tarte Tatin upside-down apple tart with caramel sauce and whipped cream

Plus a couple of bottles of Chinon “Les Tireaux,” Domaine Olek-Mery, Val de Loire 2001 and a taste of the Chinon “CuvĂ©e Terroir,” Charles Joguet , Val de Loire 2006. Both were excellent!

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