Monday, April 6, 2015

March 30th and 31st          Two Food and Wine Events

Betty Spaghetti is a new restaurant in our neighborhood. They invited us to do a Winemaker dinner.  What a wonderful opportunity for our friends and neighbors to come out to try a new restaurant and enjoy our wines and local company.

The chef came by the tasting room to preview our wines and discuss menu ideas and wine choices. When the menu was sent over a few days later, the excitement started to build. A line up of course descriptions jumped from the page, burrata and apricot paste, chicken liver pate, rabbit ravioli. It was looking like a very promising evening.

Our joyful guests started with a fresh taste of spring in a glass, 2014 Rose' of Pinot. This was paired with the burrata. Not only an incredible pairing but the apricot paste was amazing. Worthy of jarring up this wonderful paste, sous chef Jenn added some baking spice and chili when preparing. This gave the apricot a nice subtle spiciness that worked so well with our Rose'.

Next up was my personal request to feature an item from their dining room menu, chicken liver pate' which I love. We recently released the 2014 Gewurztraminer which I picked as the pairing wine.
The room awed and oohed as they tasted these two together. It works perfect and you can try this pairing anytime at Betty Spaghetti.

A beautiful treat was the Rabbit Ravioli. One friend told Mat he didn't think we ate fast food.
Mat loves Rabbit! It is tricky to showcase the flavor as well it can be perfect for Pinot, which it was.
A great preparation of braised in pinot rabbit, perfect placed in ravioli's with a jus of mushroom and carrots then sprinkled with parmesan. Wow, they did it, a huge hit with the crowd.
Paired with our 2009 library Pinot from Horseshoe Bend vineyard.

The main course was seared duck breast with our 2012 Ruxton Vineyard Pinot Noir. Always a winner to put these two together, tonight showed true to this.

At this point everyone was content beyond need and the perfect finale came out to send us on our way.

Congratulations to the Betty Team from front of the house to back, A splendid evening was had!

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Willi's Wine Bar - Tasting Tuesday's        March 31st

When Willi's invited us to participate in this 6 week annual event, there was no hesitation. One o our all time favorite Restauranteurs original spot. We booked us and promptly added reservations for after.

The flight of wines was chosen by the GM / Sommelier Anthony. 2014 Gewurztraminer, 2012 RRV Pinot Noir and 2013bCab Franc. I could hardly wait to see what pairings would be.

#1. Curried Calamari Ceviche, mango, avocado salsa
#2. Salt and pepper scallop, suncoke puree and crispy pancetta
#3. Sweet and sour Figs

This set up is offered once a week on Tuesdays from 4pm - 6pm with a different winery and pairing each week. I think it is run for 6 weeks every Spring.

The regular crowd at Willi's are spoiled with this hip cuisine and we recommend for visitors to Sonoma to experience the Starks at their finest. There is something for everyone.

At 6pm, once the pairing and pouring and informing people about we were are, we sat at the bar for a treat of flavors.

Our 1st Foie Gras since the return from the crazy ban, did not disappoint. And we were treated to 2 very special wine options to pair with, both were exceptional.

New favorite dishes of the evening were a scallop dumpling that was wonderful with our Gewurztraminer and a Goat cheese gnocchi with mushrooms. These dishes are both ultimate wine pairing foods, we would have been happy to have 4 wines with each dish.

We ate to our hearts content and enjoyed a pinot flight. Yes, we are still sold on this great Santa Rosa keeper! Obviously if you haven't been, we'll recommend you go. Our dear friend that visits from Las Vegas won't miss it on every Sonoma County trip.     
4404 Old Redwood Hwy
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 Phone number (707) 526-3096    

Saturday, April 4, 2015

March 2015                              Artisan Cheese Festival

We love cheese and we love local. This event is in it's 9th year and it screams both.

Not all the cheese is local but probably 80% or more is. The chef's and cheese mongers are. It attracts people from all over the country and it's right here in Sonoma County where the farms are.

This year Friday evening was all about cheese mongers working with a single cheese. The space was filled with bite size morsels displayed.

Saturday has a full schedule of seminars that take place in the hotel's many conference rooms. We have attended many in the past and this year opted not.

The Grand Tasting on Saturday evening has many Sonoma County and a few Bay area chef's serving a creation that incorporates a cheese. This is the event to enjoy food and wine. Our table was set in the middle of the room, a great spot to recommend people to different tables for wine pairing's. We were pouring Pinot of course but Chardonnay and Cab Franc as well.

Nick's Cove from Tomales Bay served a Lobster Poutine that paired great with our Chardonnay.
Ahwhanee had beef cheeks on a polenta cake that we recommended with our Horseshoe Bend Pinot.
There was a very fun grilled tomato sandwich with cheese soup by the Duck Club in Bodega Bay.
So many incredible ideas you might consider attending next year.

Sunday is the very popular market place where hundreds of people come to taste the individual cheeses and purchase. Many other cheese friendly products are being sampled as well as wines, beer and ciders. Mat takes this event under his wing and I stay in the Tasting Room. He comes home tired and full with many stories of the people he's met from all over the country that have favored our wines and the opportunity they had for the introduction. It is great exposure for us and we love supporting this very cheesy event.

Check the web site for next year. It is a must put on the calendar for March's schedule 2016.