Friday, March 30, 2018

CA Artisan Cheese Festival  - March 23 - 25, 2018

We have attended this event since the start, 12 years ago. It just keeps getting better and better.

For the first time, this event moved to Santa Rosa. More space, more parking, more central. We think it was a great move.

Friday evening, best bites competition starts it off for us. We had three wines ready to pour and pair. Before the crowds, I headed out to get some photos and taste.

This is such a nice sight, 3 wheels piled high of Pt. Reyes Blue. Love this cheese

Big boy blue has been a favorite in the past. We don't see it often locally, coming from South West Washington.

A new local cheese that has set up at the Barlow. Taken from a traditional English cheese style.
I will be visiting them very soon.
2nd Place by the judges: Sara Payne of Whole Foods Market, Napa
Big McKinley’s Apple Pie Bite with a Kick: Pie Crust Cracker base baked with Apple Crumble Topping, Pink Lady Sliced Apple, Caramel Infused Honey, Wm Cofield Cheesemakers Big McKinley Clothbound, Habanero Honey Drizzle
I liked it but wouldn't have ranked it as high

One of my favorite bites, anything with lemon zest...

I love the signage. The only salad bite of the night.
The Sierra Nevada Bellacapra goat cheese, tasty, firm

The winning bite voted by the judges...
1st Place: Chris Stone of Nugget Market
Bite: Fiscalini Cheese Co. Lionza on a slice of Olympia Provisions Chorizo Salami,
with a brûlée of Kelly's Jelly Marionberry Habanero Jelly

There was even cheese cones

Voted by the guests. I didn't try it because it was dessert. Not good for our wine.
Best Chef: Moustache Baked Goods, Healdsburg
Bite: Earl Grey Financier Bite with Fig & Date Butter and Beehive’s “Teahive” Cheese

Another of my personal fav's, Cousteaux Bakery: Brioche bun with egg salad top with
 Pt. Reyes, so good.

 Cypress Grove is awesome goat cheese producer in Humboldt County, north of us 3 hours. They had brulee cheese, which was really good. We use these cheeses a lot at home and for events.

A la Heart Catering, who did our wedding years ago, had beautiful cheese croquettes. So yummy.

 Another tasting treat although the cheese did not showcase.
 This display was well done. The lemons brought me in and the Rustic Bakery shortbread kept me coming back. Great combo.
 This next one was superb, topped with passionfruit and mint gellee
 Stuffed peppers on a crostini, nice balanced flavors.

Right behind our station and I never got the cheese name but this was a great idea and so good but not so much with wine. Cheese soaked in honey and coated with pistachio nuts. What a fun bite.
  A super great show from the Cheese Mongers! I wish I could have tasted all of the bites with the perfect wine. If you're a fan of cheese, put this event on your calendar for 2019.

Monday, March 12, 2018

March 10th, 2018

CHEESE please

One of our favorite events is the CA Artisan Cheese Festival that takes place in March every year. We pour at a few events including the market. We warmed ourselves up this year by offering a Cheese Evening in our Tasting Room. An incredible tasting of Local and not so local cheeses plus 3 courses of cheese Foods all paired with PMV wines.

 Our first flight of cheese with three wines. 2017 Viognier, 2013 Bohemian Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014 Syrah. The cheeses - Stefano Burrata from So Cal, Cypress Grove fresh Chevre from Humbold and, Valley Ford Hwy 1 Fontina from our neighbors in West Sonoma County.

The best local Burrata I have had. An incredible appetizer with thinly sliced prosciutto, grilled Nightengale Bread and great local Olive Oil dribbled over. I actually like this cheese paired with all 3 wines. Although with the prosciutto plate, the Viognier was the winner.
One of our favorite cheeses from CA. This one has fennel and lavender added.
A story from our past in Los Olivos with a chef who recommended goat cheese and pinot. We weren't so much convinced until we tried his method of warming the cheese in your mouth and adding the pinot. Everyone tried it and was amazed at the combo. It works, try it.

                     A really nice soft cheese with great texture, the Syrah paired well.
Next up, three medium cheeses - Taleggio which is soft but with a big personality, Redwood Hills goat Cheddar which is bright and puckering was described at the table, then Valley Ford's Grazin Girl which is a fairly mild gorganzola style. Wow, what a flight! The wines went best in the line up of service - Taleggio / Viognier - Cheddar / Pinot - Grazin Girl / Syrah.

The course served from this flight was a Taleggio grilled cheese with ham, apple, carmelized onion on Nightengale Spent Grain. OMG, this sandwich is define!!! The Pinot went really well to wash it down.

Nice piece of Talegio from a small Italian producer made from brown swiss cows milk. Nutty goodness.
Gorgonzola style, this local Valley Ford cheese is beautifully textured and not over the top blue. It showed well with the Syrah although when I tried it the next day, I loved it best with our Ruxton Vineyard Pinot, RRV Pinot and the Cab Franc.
 Hard cheese flight - Valley Fords Estero Gold and Estero Reserve, Parmesan regiano from Italy.
All great cheese, rich, bold and tasty.
                                    Just a little piece of parmesan to grate for the course.

 The final course from the hard cheese flight, Risotto with meyer lemon preserve, saffron and parmesan. So good and creamy richness. The regiano was great on top and every bite benefitted. The Viognier and the Pinot were the preferred wines.

This evening was over whelming and delicious. Prepared us for the Artisan Cheese Festival in 2 weeks. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

February 8th, 2018

                       New Year, Motivational Evening with an Executive & Career Coach

This evening was under discussion for months, all it took was three ladies visiting the Tasting Room to make it happen.

On a quiet Sunday in late January, three women visited the Tasting Room on their way home from  an Annual New Year Motivational weekend in Bodega. They tasted and talked about the wonderful weekend they had, showing me pictures of their Vision Boards. The inspiration was instant.

The next day I contacted Marianne Wilman, a friend and Career Coach. We discussed the idea that had been mulled about for years between the two of us. And now we were set - we booked the date within a few minutes and the invitation went out. Within an hour we had attendees.
We were on the right track.

The evening began for 10 women excited to see their 2018 vision on paper. A little group ice breaker and a little wine before we sat at the 12 x 6 foot table in our dining room, barely enough room for all of us. Spreading out papers, scissors, glue, pens and magazines, LOTS of magazines.
The first hour turned fairly quiet as everyone concentrated on their personal vision. A lot of sharing took place of what some were looking for, dollar bills, bicycles, beaches and tigers. Just some of the chatter.
Slowly as people were completing their project, Marianne took the reins to go into a debriefing, reflecting and moving us into action towards our new vision.
Each of us showed and shared what had transpired from a blank canvas.




A great night, highly recommend. I believe we all came together with less of a plan of 2018 and walked away with more inspiration and a sense of community.
This will happen again
If you'd like to book your own group with Marianne and our space. Contact Paul Mathew Vineyards.

February Tradition - Mushroom Foray

For the past decade we have been spending the beginning of the year focusing on our local Mushroom foraging opportunities. And the first Saturday of February is our Annual Wine Club Foray Event.
Driving into Caz sets the tone.

This year, like many, was beautiful. There were record temperatures of 78 and sunny. Pic from the top of Caz taken by one of our foragers.

The day started with our sold out crowd anxious to learn and score the fungi treats of nature.

Back at the Lodge, Mat is busy prepping lunch and Rich is stoking the fire. Crazy at this time of year, it is often warmer outside than in, if you're in the sun!

Our lunch of Beet Salad and Entrée of warm Bread Pudding loaded with Liberty Duck and Wild Mushrooms. Enough to rejuvenate the foragers from a healthy steep hill hike.

And a little Paul Mathew wine. We poured our brand new 2017 Gewurz upon arrival back from hiking and the old and new Pinot's for lunch.

Not a lot found but some lucky hunters went home with a small stash. The idea to come together, enjoy a beautiful winter day, good company and a meal with great wine is our perfect day!

Our spectacular Mushroom specialist, David Campbell gives a debriefing of what was found and what to look for. The edible mushrooms are the most important to understand.

This year with all the incredible warm sunny days, I think the foraging season is coming to a close. We were lucky to squeeze the event in with the lack of rain. Next up, Spring.