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Napa Sonoma Magazine
Summer / Fall 2006

Got Caviar?

Kindle your romantic senses with a caviar and wine pairing

By Kathleen Thompson Hill

While some Napa and Sonoma county wineries tempt visitors with handmade cheese, chocolates, or hand-cured olives paired with their vintages, others have taken an even more elegant route to stir visitors’ gustatory and romantic senses. You can now enjoy the delectable taste of caviar with your wines.

In the cool, lush Carneros region straddling the Napa-Sonoma county line, two sparkling wine purveyors are serving caviar with their sumptuous vintages. At Domaine Carneros, visitors can sit at French café tables inside next to the fireplace or out on the patio and indulge in elegant noshes of Czar Nicoulai California-farmed caviar with crème fraîche, lemon, crackers, and toast points ($26.50 for one ounce) while sipping the winery’s sparkling and still wines. Up the road in Sonoma, Gloria Ferrer—whose bubbly has a definite Spanish flare, thanks to Catalan owners José and Gloria Ferrer—
offers five flavors of California caviar, ranging from truffled tiger eye, beet and saffron, ginger whitefish, and wasabi whitefish ($19.95 for two ounces) to California Estate Osetra ($49.95 for one ounce). Visitors can purchase Monet crackers on the spot ($2.50) and have their own private caviar picnic on the patio.

Over in the Napa Valley, Alexis Swanson, of Rutherford’s Swanson Vineyards, offers wine tastings with Terra olive oil potato chips, dime-size dollops of crème fraîche, and California osetra caviar. A long way from her grandfather’s Swanson TV Dinners, Alexis’s elegant salon, decorated in coral and with 17 Ira Yeager paintings, oozes the elegant romance of the wine country. If you enjoy the caviar, you can even purchase a two-ounce tin for a mere $130 (or the current market price). Bon appétit!

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