Friday, April 14, 2017


April Fools Day was on a Saturday this year. We decided to do a 'backwards' Dinner. Starting at the end and finishing at the beginning.  We were a little uncertain as the theme is very different from our normal. To our surprise, this Event Sold Out quickly.

We started with Dessert from Patisserie Angelica cheesecake and added many sides, as if it were a Cheese Plate. Served with two wines, 2013 Brut Rose' and 2013 Valdiguie.

 The Cheesecake was circled with options to add, Peach Habanero, Plum Chutney, Fig and Orange Spread, Marcona Almonds, Cured Lemon and Candied Walnuts. The idea was to enhance the cheesecake and taste the wine options. Cheesecake doesn't generally go with wine unless it's some type of Port or Dessert Wine. So the plan to influence the flavor to enable the wine to possibilities. The Brut Rose and our 2013 Valdiguie were the best wines options. Almost all liked the Sparkling with many of the enhancers and we had a like for the plum chutney with the Valdiguie. Might not try this one again.

Next up Entrée - Steak au poivre with local black trumpet mushrooms. We put two wines, Mat's pick and my pick.

 A 2009 TnT Pinot Noir and our 2014 Syrah. The group was divided 50/50 although everyone loved both of the wines. The pairing was even steven. I did like the 2009 TnT Pinot with the course which was Mat's wine pick.

Salad Course next - Classic Wedge Salad. We served three wines, Chardonnay, Rose' and Pinot

 The fourth course was the appetizer, Prawn Cocktail which was served with the 2014 Chardonnay and Brut Rose. The crowd was full and kind of overwhelmed by the backwards influence that they had not realized that eating your Entrée so early would leave little room.  I chose the Brut Rose and the 2016 Rose' of Pinot Noir equally.

The table did not look like this at the end of the evening but many April Fools jokes were discussed. It will be many years before we have this first of April fall on a Saturday to entice our Foodie fans to partake.
Next up, April 2nd.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

MARCH Outings so far...

Backyard Restaurant in Forestville does charcuterie....

 The Shuckery in Petaluma, we had oysters, clams and mussels, shrimp and grits, all great. But the blackened Tuna was a stand out...
 Twist Café in Forestville catered our Chamber mixer this month and this Salmon Cheesecake went great with our Brut Rose' and Chardonnay. They also served Coq'au vin which was Fab with Pinot.
A little pre theatre in Santa Rosa at Khoom Lanna...spinach bundles of joy

                              A favorite, they call them summer rolls, with peanut sauce.
                                                                            A lot more March to come, come back soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

 February 2017

Mushroom Foray and Crab Dinner

We usually only do one event per month although a request for a Crab Dinner at the Tasting Room sounded so great, how could we refuse!

Feb. 4th was the Annual Mushroom Foray in Cazadero. We had another sold out crowd. This year we had a couple from Upstate New York, a group from Reno and many from San Francisco and Alameda. So great to have these people make the extra effort to enjoy our event.

We were extremely lucky with the weather, a break from rain made for an ever so delightful hike in the woods. It started raining later in the day when we were done.

 Mat the chef busy in the kitchen preparing lunch for 40. Liberty Duck Confit, black Trumpet Mashed Potatoes,  and Caesar Salad with Nightengale croutons.

The creek under the bridge has never been so full.

 The group gathered around the display of mushrooms listening to David explain the world of mushrooms. What to eat and not and so mush more, the crowd is paying close attention.

Next up, our Crab Dinner

With Dungeness crab being such a local favorite, we eat as much as we can during the short season from late November til the start of Spring. There is so much to do with Crab!

Here we go, 14 people, 15 large crabs and many Paul Mathew wines paired. Let's see what wines were chosen as the best pairing for each course.

Crab Bisque started this evening off. This traditional soup is rich and wonderful. We paired it with three wines, Rose' of Pinot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir...the winner was the chardonnay.

Crab Salad up next, with avacado. We paired this with all white wines, Brut Rose', Gewurz, Chardonnay and Rose' of Pinot Noir. We had a three way tie, between Brut Rose, Gewurz and Chardonnay

Crab Cakes, who doesn't love eating crab that was shelled for you, combined with bell pepper, herbs and spices and lightly pan fried, yes please. And it pairs with all the wines we try, Rose', Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Theb favorite of this evening was Brut Rose'.

         One of our guests thought the Chardonnay was best with every course,
                                                                                                he loves crab with Chardonnay.

Our house hold favorite crab preparation, roast crab. This is the first meal Mat made for me and we continue to enjoy it at the start of every crab season until we need to try a different recipe. We have served this to all our friends and it never siezes to please. Roast crab tossed with garlic, thyme, fennel, chile flakes and olive oil - then baked. Pinot Noir won the best wine pairing.

The chef comes out....

A little heart cookie to finish our February Foodie dinner. All you need is LOVE!

Monday, February 6, 2017

January 2017

 Life is a puzzle

This January Sonoma County has had a lot of rain! The draught is considered over, Tahoe has had a great ski season and it was a perfect month to puzzle.

At the start of the rainy days I was inspired to buy a puzzle for the tasting room, for me and our many visitors. It is so funny to see some people gravitate towards the puzzle and stay longer than anticipated or those who are kinda frighten by the thought of looking at a piece of a board that hasn't found it's place.

It's been clear to me for over twenty years that life is a puzzle. People enter your person puzzle and fit in the story in some sort of way, some easy and some not so. Some predominant and some in the background. I always used to think of life as a path that has short cuts and detours but the end result no matter the length of time to get there was determined at birth. Now a puzzle seems like a better anaology.

Our January puzzle has brought contemplation and distraction during a very difficult start to a new year. I think this year, many puzzles will be pondered over and hopefully sort themselves out with less pain and more joy than is currently appearing.

Bonding over the puzzle has been interesting too. The conversation is different, the temperament is different and the lack of concern of what's going on is definitely different, this is where we can maintain a sense of indifference starring at a world of pieces.
I chose a beautiful serene puzzle of Cinque Terra with it's incredible colorful buildings, boats, skies and sea. Mmmm, maybe this is where I'm supposed to visit next.

Ahhh, completion. Thank you puzzlers, Lets just keep puzzling and drinking wine.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 2016


As soon as we start getting any rain in West Sonoma, we are anxious to see mushrooms growing.

A fair amount of rain is needed to saturate into the very dry ground after months of summer warmth. This has been a great season so far. A few of the recent years the drought has made a huge impact with little mushrooms to be found or picked.

This Fall started well with the porcini's. This is a meaty mushroom and a favorite to many. I find them not as versatile.

After the Porcini season is up and running, we start looking for black trumpets. I find these easy to locate as they are often on the sides of roads and trails and don't take as much scouring the ground. Plus they often appear in beautiful bouquets and large mass. These are wonderful on pizza with just a little herb's and cheese. The less you add the more of the trumpet flavor there is. One of my favorites!

Harder to find and so delicate, the belly button hedgehog's. Another beautiful mushroom with flavor that should not be masked. Great in risotto. Another favorite of mine!!!

The more famous big brother, the Chanterelles. We have had some incredible harvests of white and less of gold. They can grow big enough to a pound in weight. Years passed that we hardly found any, but this 2016 Winter has been very solid so far.

 Once you've recovered from the excitement of finding all these wonderful mushrooms, the hard part comes. Cleaning is a chore. To make it easier, you should remove as much dirt, foliage and leaves as you can while out in the forest. Keep Hedgehogs separate as the teeth are difficult to get dirt out of.
For the black trumpets, we use a salad spinner, soak and spin a few times.

And the best part really is the eating enjoyment but, you need a good chef and worthy recipes.
Risotto's, Lasagna, pizza and potatoes are all perfect vessels to allow the delicate flavors to shine.

Here are a couple

Our Annual mushroom Foray for our wine club is extremely popular, selling out months in advance.
The group has always enjoyed the camaraderie of the hunt as much as the lunch, wine and of course the mushrooms.
Happy hunting, cooking and enjoying.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

December Celebration 2016 - Sunday Dec. 4th

Our 8th Annual Celebration Dinner happens once again with great company, a fabulous pig roast and a lot of magnums of Paul Mathew Wines.

We started this cold evening with 3 magnums, 2 cheeses and hot butternut squash soup.
The magnums were 2007 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, 2002 RRV Pinot and 2006 RRV Pinot.
Guests of the evening were thrilled by the 2007 Chardonnay. A gold rich wine with great creamed corn, buttered nuttiness and wonderful apple flavors. The 2 Pinot's were showing well with many more magnums to come for the evening.

Throughout the year visitors to our tasting room ooh and ahh at our dining room. The tables, the chalk board wall and the art that fills the chalk board by Iva Hladis. We use it often but only our attendees see it in action.

Toma cheese from Pt. Reyes is a favorite. Rich and mild at the same time, perfect to pair with our
wines. We also served ewephoria which is an excellent cheese with Pinot's.

Butternut squash soup with a dribble of truffle olive oil warmed the hands and the tummy.

Guests sat down to our redwood plank tables filled with of glasses and platters of prosciutto and burrata to pair with our 2013 Brut Rose'. The celebrating begins here.

Greens of arugula with hazelnuts and blue cheese

From here we went into 6 magnums from various vintages Chardonnay and mostly Pinot Noir.
Root vegetable salad, cauliflower macNcheese and the high light a whole roasted pig.

The four Pinot's we served from 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 were all sourced from different sites. The 2009 Horseshoe is a show stopper but the 2010 TNT and 2012 Bohemian won out for pairing best with the pork and persimmon agro dolce chutney.
The best shot of the evening....

The end of 2016 is very bitter sweet. The end of Obama era and to the unknown 2017. We celebrated to life, love and enjoying food and wine. We will always have that.

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 2016
CRAB Season in Sonoma County  

We love crab and our season usually starts right around thanksgiving. It is a common tradition for locals to celebrate the first of the crab season for thanksgiving before the turkey. We are right along with this tradition.

There are so many different ways to prepare crab and we love to try them all. Also very fun to pair different wines which we recommend.

Mat's favorite recipe is very popular, roast crab. We'll have it 4 or 5 times in the first few weeks before we start trying other's.

 Chilled crab with delish sauce ( mayo, meyer lemon, lemon zest ) great with Sauvignon blanc and Brut Rose'.
Roast crab ( recipes on the web site ) Crab lightly cooked tossed with chili flakes, garlic, thyme, fennel and olive oil. Pairs really well with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and good Riesling. I would lean towards a pinot that is lighter with less earth notes, higher acid and bright fruits.
 Crab Timbale combines the crab with scallions, jalepeno, red pepper, avocado and mayo. We enjoy the Brut Rose' or Sancerre.

Tortilla chip with crab mix and guacamole paired with Chardonnay.

On this wonderful start to the 2016 season, Mat was invited to go out to off the coast at Bodega to catch crabs. This opportunity is such a thrill hauling the max per person, 10 Dungeness crabs.

A friend purchased an auction item at a local fundraiser for 15 live crabs which we agreed to co host the last Sunday.

What a delicious gift from our ocean.  A very social food, great to pair with many wines and so many great recipes to try. We will continue to search, taste and pair.