Monday, April 26, 2010

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 4: Heading Back to San Francisco

Rodney, Don, John and I drove back to San Francisco on Monday. We got a late start because I HAD to take advantage of the spa at the Healdsburg Inn and had a "little" shopping to do at Xtravaganza on the square. Okay, noon isn't that late.

We decided to drive back through Napa for a change of pace and I wanted to make a stop at the St. Helena Olive Oil Company. On the way across Mark West Road, I suggested a detour to another of our club wineries - Dutch Henry. In addition to their great red wines, we found a wonderful 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and Rose. Both had just been released the day before. Rodney and Don also picked up a great Merlot and the Chafen Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. They promised to share the Chafen with us if we cooked...a small price to pay.

Next stop was the St. Helena Olive Oil Company where we picked up some Rosemary Olive Oil, 19 year old Balsamic Vinegar (see post about Barndiva Sandra's Balsy), Smoked Sea Salt, Hot Pepper Sauce, and Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce. I'm pleased to say that Rodney and Don did even more damage.

Next stop was a recommendation from Elizabeth Wiley at Meadowlark Restaurant. (Wiley has never steered us wrong and this was no exception.) Mustard's Grill is not your typical truck stop. They have their own garden where they grown vegetables and herbs for use in the restaurant. None of us could decide what to have and everything we had was wonderful. I bought the cookbook so be nice and maybe I'll cook for you.

We made one last stop at Chandon for a quick sparkling tasting.

We are already planning on returning for Passport 2011 (April 30 - May 1). If you are interested in joining us, let me know. I'm already looking into our lodging options as we would all like to stay at the same place this time.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Read my review of Barndiva

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OpenTable: Restaurant Reservations. Right this way. Restaurant Reservations Free - Instant - Confirmed

This email was sent to you by: Ann Roberts (info@Noumena.Com) from a reservation made on Message from Sender: I recently dined at Barndiva through a reservation I made on Below summarizes my dining experience. I hope you will find this helpful next time you are deciding where to dine. Feedback on Barndiva
Food Good
Ambiance Very Good
Service Very Good
Overall Very Good
Noise Moderate
Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Notable Wine List

Don't miss out on the cocktail selections! My favorite was Sandra's Balsy (Champagne with 20 year old balsamic vinegar) or the Dealer's Choice. Fascinating selection of liquor and mixers.

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 3 - Winery 6 : Truett-Hurst

Truett-Hurst wasn't on anyone's radar until we had the Zinfandel with dinner Saturday night at Dry Creek Kitchen. After 3 bottles of the Zinfandel, we added Truett-Hurst to our day.

T-H was a great last stop! There was a great local band, lots of wine and food. Okay, I can't find my wine list from that stop so I'm winging it.

T-H was doing a barrel tasting and there was a very nice wine sorbet/ice cream. I think we sent a case home so be very nice to me. :) Of course, the barrel wine won't be bottled until sometime in November/December.

Truett-Hurst was a great place to unwind at the end of a long wine tasting day.

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 3 - Winery 5 : Talty Vineyards and Winery

I had never heard of Talty but two things stood out to me when reading the Passport Brochure...ZINFANDEL and Cherry-Chipotle Lamb Tacos. OMG!! I would go back for the lamb tacos alone!!!

2007 Zinfandel - Dwight Family Vineyard

2007 MacLaren Wine Co. Syrah - Unti Vineyard

2007 Zinfandel - Filice Connolly Vineyard

2006 Zinfandel - Felice Connolly Vineyard

2006 Estate Zinfandel - William Talty Vineyard

2007 Estate Zinfandel - William Talty Vineyard

When we started this adventure, Steve A was NOT a fan of Zinfandel. He changed his tune in Dry Creek!!!

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 3 - Winery 4 : David Caffaro

David Caffaro was doing a Marti Gras theme...we wanted beads.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc
100% Dry Creek

2009 Fresco Rose (Dry Creek)
40% Petite Sirah / 40% Grenache / 20% Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Escuro (Sonoma County)
36% Cabernet Sauvignon / 30% Tannat / 20% Petit Sirah / 14% Petit Verdot

2006 Petite Sirah (North Coast)
30% Dry Creek / 30% Russian River / 40% Lake County

2006 "My Zin" (Sonoma County)
77% Zinfandel / 13% Petite Sirah / 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Zinfandel (Estate Grown)
83% Zinfandel / 17% Cabernet

2007 Block 4 (Estate Grown Field Blend)
50% Zinfandel / 25% Petite Sirah / 5% Peloursin / 5% Carignan / 10% Other varieties

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Dry Creek

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 3 - Winery 3 : Ferrari-Carano

Ferrari-Carano has some of the most beautiful gardens in Dry Creek. They also make wonderful wine and provided some great food pairings. Recipes are available at Ferrari-Carano.

~ In the Tank Room ~
2009 Fume Blanc, Sonoma County
Fresh Pear with Prosciuotto & Mint
Why would anyone use melon???

~ In the First Barrel Room ~
2007 Tre Terre Chardonnay, Russian River
Shrimp BLT

~ In the Second Barrel Room ~
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
Pulled Pork Slider with Cole Slaw

~ In the French Underground Cellar ~
2005 PreVail West Face, Alexander Valley (Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah Blend)
Grilled Flank Steak & Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

2008 Eldorado Noir, Black Muscat Dessert Wine
Eldorado Noir Macerated Cherry & Chocolate Cupcake

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 3 - Winery 2: Fritz

I had put Fritz on my list because I had a nice Fritz Zinfandel at Rue Dumaine one night. However, Fritz gets the Upsell Award for the weekend. We were just going to get a couple of bottles and we ended up with a case. Bob changed my mind with his "special offer."

We also discovered Salt Side Down Chocolates. The chocolate truffle was topped with a dash of salt. You eat the truffle by placing the salt side down on your tongue. A great party game!

Travel Around the World at Fritz Underground Winery!

Hola! Bienvenidos a Mexico!
Fritz 2009 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Fritz 2009 Estate Rose
Smoked Chicken Quesadilla with mango compote

Bonjour! Bienvenue en France!
Fritz 2007 Russian River Reserve Pinot Noir
Brie and Fig Jam Tartlet with Camelized Onions

Hey Y'all! Welcome to the US of A!
Fritz 2006 Estate Zinfandel
Mini Pulled Pork Sandwich with apple cabbage slaw

Que pasa? Bienvenido a Argentina!
Fritz 2006 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Tri-tip skewers with smoked salt and horseradish cream

Hallo! Welcom in Belgle!
Fritz 2007 Estate Late Harvest Zinfandel
Dark Chocolate Truffles with Fleur de sel

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 3 - Winery 1: Frick

We started the second day at Frick Winery. This winery made the list because of the interesting varietals. One of the women working the weekend has a sister who works at the University of Dayton. It is a small world.

The food at Frick was provided by The wine and food pairings were very good!

Grenache Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, Estate, Owl Hill Vineyard
Viognier, Dry Creek Valley, Estate, Gannon Vineyard
Caribbean Crunch, Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Fresh Mango on a Plantain Chip

Cinsaut Rose, Dry Creek Valley
Cambozola Cheese on Fig Bread with Fresh Strawberries

Counoise, Dry Creek Valley, Estate, Owl Hill Vineyard
Grenache, Dry Creek Valley, Conley Vineyard
Saigon Sub - Banh mi - 9-Spice Grilled Pork, Carrots, Daikon, Sweet Chili Mayonnaise and Asian BBQ Drizzle

Carignane, Mendocino County - Old Vines
C2 North Coast Red Rhone Blend
Reuben Nachos - Pastrami, Cave-Aged Gruyere, Savoy Cabbage & Russian Dressing on a Rye Corn Chip

Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, Estate, Owl Hill Vineyard
Cotes-Du-Dry Creek Red Rhone Blend
Calabrian Crostini (Nduja) Spicy Salame Spread from Boccalone Salumeria with Candied Fennel Roo

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 2: The Birthday Dinner

Rodney and I hosted our a birthday dinner at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen. What a spectacular meal!!


Local Sonoma County Greens
Shaved Baby Carrots, Pecorino Grand Cru, Zinfandel Cream

Baby Spinach Salad
Poached Puma Springs Egg, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Carpaccio
Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Mustard Blossoms, Black Hawaiian Sea Salt


Wild Mushroom Veloute
Thyme and Coriander Flan, Black Garlic Paste, Warm Brioche

Dungeness Crab
Avocado Mousseline, Meyer Lemon Gelee, Pickled Fresno Peppers

House Made + Local Charcuterie Platter
Assorted Local Mustards, Marinated Olives, Petit Cornichons


Brown Butter Roasted Alaskan Halibut
Jardinere of Local Baby Vegetables, Artichoke Barigoule, Nicoise Olive

Slow Cooked Guinea Hen
English Pea Mousseline, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Pinot Noir Migonette

Duo of American Duroc Pork: Pan Roasted Loin + Slow Cooked Belly
Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Pickled Cherries, Sauce Charactiere, Winter Truffle Bearnaise

Peppercorn Crusted 'Eye of the Ribeye'
Wild Mushroom and Oxtail Fondue, Sunchoke Mousseline, Pickled Ramps


Meyer Lemon Napoleon
Crispy Meringue, Lemon Sherbet

Coffee Creme Caramel
Buttermilk Beignets, Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Valrhona Chocolate Budino
Guiness Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Ganache, House Made Pretzels


Russian Hill Viognier (3 bottles)
Trois Sauvignon Blanc (1 bottle)
Walter Hansel Pinot Noir (3 bottles)
Truett-Hurst Zinfandel (3 bottles)

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 2 - Winery 5: Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs

Okay, I have to admit that by this point I was pretty worn out. I can't even find the list of wines that we tasted. And I'm sure I didn't have any food because I was trying to save myself for dinner.

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 2 - Winery 4: Mauritson Wines

This was our first visit to Mauritson. I have to admit by the time I got here, I couldn't face eating any food but found some very enjoyable wines. In addition, we enjoyed a little respite sitting in the adirondack chairs on the lawn.

Wine and Food Pairings:
  • 2008 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley
    Panko and Sesame Crusted Wild Shrimp
  • 2007 Rockpile Zinfandel, Rockpile Ridge Vineyard (Wine Enthusiast 90 Points)
    Zinfandel Braised Short Rib Sliders from Painted Hills Natural Beef
  • 2007 Rockpile "Buck Pasture" Red Wine
    Bittersweet Chocolate Caramel Tartlets
And the 2007 Rockpile Syrah, Madrone Spring Vineyard was being poured in the tasting room.

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 2 - Winery 3: A. Rafanelli

Okay, so the third winery on the list is another of our favorites. A. Rafanelli Winery is a very small family owned winery specializing in Dry Creek Zinfandel. As we expected, the place was overrun with passport participants. And I can't even begin to describe how much food there was insanely crazy. Food standout include the estate grown olives (you only got one) and the chocolates...which of course pair nicely with the Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Merlot we tasted.

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 2 - Winery 2: Lambert Bridge

John and I learned about Lambert Bridge from our friends Randy and Debbie who live in Oakland, CA. Lambert Bridge is another one of those great finds that we stumbled across. Of course, we joined their wine club too!

The passport weekend tasting included:
  • 2008 Bevill Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley
  • Panko Encrusted Deep Fried Oysters Shooter with a Spicy Remolode
  • 2007 Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
    Pulled Pork Slider Topped with a Tangy Coleslaw and BBQ Sauce
  • 2006 Merlot, Sonoma County
    Indian Spiced Lamb Sliders with Yogurt Harissa Sauce
John and I snuck down to the VIP area (since we couldn't take 10 other people with us) to taste the 2008 Bevill Vineyard Viognier paired with Raw Oysters. Oh my!

Dry Creek Passport Weekend - Day 2 - Winery 1: Mill Creek

Dry Creek Valley Passport Weekend features over 40 Dry Creek wineries. The weekend includes wine, food, music, and barrel tastings.

The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley™ celebrated Passport to Dry Creek Valley's™ 20th Anniversary this year! Dry Creek Valley went all out for an exclusive weekend of new wine releases, a bounty of food from local chefs as well as live music and much, much more.
46 wineries in picturesque Dry Creek Valley come together only once a year to celebrate their amazing wines paired with mouthwatering cuisine. We had the opportunity to meet the winemakers and mingle with the top-chefs from Sonoma County's world-famous restaurants. Wineries went with entertainment, belly dancers, circus troupes, live music and much more. This was not your typical wine tasting event. Mill Creek Winery was our starting location for the weekend.

John and I first found Mill Creek thanks to a Wall Street Journal article on small, unknown Zinfandel wine makers. We were impressed on our first visit and not only bought the Zin but we bought a little of everything. Oh, and of course, we joined their wine club.

I can't say enough about the friendliness of the people we met at Mill Creek. Bruce and his team were extremely helpful before we even arrived helping me ensure that I was able to buy tickets early as a wine club member. Dan was great fun to talk with as we waited for the event to begin. The Mill Creek theme was the Hollywood After Party.

We tasted the 2008 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 Estate Reserve Chardonnay, 2005 Estate Merlot, 2006 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, 2004 AV Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Left of Starboard (Port), and the 2005 Reflections Meritage.
The wines were paired with Grilled Lamb, Scalloped Potatoes, and Hollywood Spinach Salad. The "port" was paired with Raspberry Chocolate crepes.

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