Monterey County Events Newsletter
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IN THIS ISSUE:
If you are visiting the Monterey area in August, here are a few recommendations for interesting things to see and do. For a complete list of Monterey Events visit:
August 3 - 6 -- 20th Anniversary Steinbeck Festival
August 12 -- Monterey County Winemakers Celebration
There are so many events to choose from - we encourage you to pick your favorites from the full list at: http://www.gomonterey.com/events.html
WineCountry.com Lifestyle News
Welcome to WineCountry.com Lifestyle News!
The following is a sample of WineCountry.com Lifestyle News. This replaces the Sonoma County newsletter. You will automatically receive WineCountry.com Lifestyle News from now on. If you do not wish to receive future issues of WineCountry.com Lifestyle News, follow the instructions below on how to Unsubscribe.***************************************
IN THIS ISSUE:
After the special "2000" Crystal Flutes from Tiffany are finally put away as commemoratives, and after we all recover financially from the ghastly amount we spent on bubbly over the past New Years festivities…A toast is again in order!… to the world's most glamorous drink: Champagne!
Believe it or not folks, the upcoming 2001 New Year is the real dawning of the 21st century and signifies for all of us lovers of bubbly an even more opportune time to toast! Since the Roman calendar has no year Zero, the official Millennium is now just five months away! Before we head out to our local wine shop, or e-tailor to stock up however, let's examine yet once again, this most glamorous of beverages and why, through the centuries, it still remains the toast of the town! First of all let's get one thing clear… "If it's not FROM CHAMPAGNE, it's not REAL CHAMPAGNE." This pretty much sums it up! If it is "Sparkling Wine," make sure it is from a reputable New World proprietor (In California, I like Iron Horse, S. Anderson, Mumm, and Domaine Carneros). You see, it goes way back to the late 1700's when a French Monk named Dom Perignon "accidentally" discovered the secrets to producing what we now know today as Champagne. This all happened near the city of Reims, in the district of Champagne, known to produce some of the best wine grapes with desirable characteristics of intense fruitiness coupled with high acidity. What evolved from that region are the world's top houses of bubbly, and the evolution of a gastronomic phenomenon!
For those of us who have always enjoyed a glass or two of Champagne or Sparkling Wine ONLY at special occasions, SHAME ON YOU! This is honestly one of the most "pairable" wines with food available on the market! You can just about enjoy it with any type of food, in any setting, and with anybody (well, that might be pushing it!). Simply put, this is a wine that should be on our dinner tables just as often as that bottle of Chardonnay! Some quick serving suggestions… Fish, ANY type of seafood, pasta, pork, poultry, game meats, salads, puddings, and best of all --CAVIAR!!
It's a beverage of tradition! So, what grapes have continually been used to actually vinify Champagne? Again, we must travel back to the Champagne region of France to look at what has been planted and propagated since at least the mid 18th century. Primarily we see three varietals being used by most Champagne and Sparkling wine houses both in Europe and in the New World. Namely: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and (to a lesser degree) Pinot Meunier. As the great house of Champagne Krug states it: "Chardonnay for the finesse and elegance, Meunier for the fruitiness and bouquet, and Pinot Noir for the fullness and ability to age beautifully". Truly, it all comes down to the quality of the grapes and the percentages of the blend, or shall we say, the Master Blend! Most good houses follow the "Methode Champenoise" tradition as well.
Even through the modern era we have had a fascination with Champagne unlike any other beverage, and usually that fascination transcends to those who actually drink it too! It is quite well known that Marilyn Monroe used to drink her "Red"…Piper-Heidsieck…..wherever in the world she would be. It was in fact "her drink of choice", epitomizing the style that was all Marilyn! I once had the opportunity to meet Monsieur Claude Taittinger at a Ritz Carlton tasting in San Francisco, and I personally had the chance to ask him why it is that Champagne has always been the preferred beverage of "the toast", especially with the dawning of the New Millennium. He said in his most appropriate French accent:
"It's the bubbles, they literally carry you to heaven!"
I'd say that we all deserve such a toast! Cheers to the REAL MILLENNIUM, 2001!!!
(This is not a paid for advertisement)
My friends from France told me that I would feel a bit as if I was in a Paris bistro with a California flair when I tried Bouchon and they were right. Loud tourists at the bustling bar mingling with the local vintners. Some discussing wine futures and some the next days plans. Everyone swirling or sipping, most coming off a long hot day of wine tasting and some needing a Martini chaser. Several people had told me that "Jay" makes the best martini in town and I can certainly attest to the fact that he looks good doing it.
There are bistro style small tables in the bar area and white linen cloths in the dining room. It's 8 PM on a Wednesday and all the tables are full. I am tempted by the oyster bar with its six types of oyster being offered tonight, so I sit at one of the small tables in the bar and order one of each. There are Elkhorn, Hammersly Bay, Steamboat, Blue Points, Delaware Bay and Wellfleets. What a treat. Sheryl my server explains that the left side of my plate represents the West Coast and the right side the East. I gleefully cross the country without even having to ask for more Mignonette sauce or explain to anyone what that is.
The big clock behind the bar strikes ten and people are still pouring in. I decide to skip the authentically presented Steak Frites being shared and recommended by my neighboring diners and choose a beautifully served bowl of organic local berries with honey Sabayon for my grand finale. Satiated and content I wander out into a quintessentially balmy northern California evening as Paris slowly fades away and the small town of Yountville, California slips back into focus.
When purchasing wines from tasting rooms, always take care to protect them from heat. If you are travelling by car, place the wines on the floor of the "back seat" area - Never in the trunk! If possible, cover the bottles with something protective or insulating: a reflective sunscreen, or even a blanket. Most tasting rooms sell Styrofoam bottle packs which do an excellent job of protecting wines from both heat and breakage. During your travels and upon reaching your destination, check the capsules and corks to determine if any expansion and/or leakage of the wine has occurred.
It always seems to me that you either think about wine as just a liquid in a bottle - precious or otherwise - or you have that other sort of feeling about it. That sort of a feeling that is all mixed up with the romance and the ritual of it all. A wine becomes connected in your memory to a particular place or person and you never drink it again without that memory being part of the experience.
You choose wine to drink with friends, or to share with a lover. The wine you will serve at your daughters wedding will always remind you of that event. For you perhaps there is a memory of that very particular wine you drank in a café in Venice, or Seville. The wine can transport you. Memory made tangible. I drink Vinho Verde and remember more sharply the summer I spent in a tiny town in Northern Portugal. In Greece I drank an icy cold white wine, almost bitter, that was the perfect thing to have when you came back to your table, hot and breathless, between dances. I will never be that young again or as absolutely happy as I felt during that time. But I buy that wine once in a while, when that feeling is very far away, and it brings it back a little closer. It makes me glad.
There is a champagne that I buy on very special occasions. Time and circumstance has made it possible for me to buy it more often than I once did, but I do not. It is sacred to those times that are particularly to be celebrated. It is part of what makes those occasions what they are. Wine is part of the fabric of memory in my life. It doesn't always have to be marvelous - there are just as many moments connected to bad choices and disastrous occasions - but, much as we have a musical memory, a collection of songs that instantly remind us of people or places, so I have a memory of wines that can stimulate my senses to remember.
And the best part is, there will be so many more moments and wonderful wines yet to discover.***************************************
We encourage your feedback! Please send your comments to: mailto:editor@GoMonterey.com Suggestions of topics you would like to see in future issues are welcome.
***Win a FREE WineCountry.com Visor!***
The 6th Annual Concerts by the Bay Featuring The Rippingtons + Phil Walker (August 13), and Spyro Gyra + Cerro Negro (August 27th). Location: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa Cannery Row. Featured in an intimate setting directly above the Monterey Bay. Concerts begin at 3pm. Seating begins at 2pm. Fee: $40-General, $50-Preferred. Time: 3:00 PM Phone Number: 831-649-1223. Presented by: Sandy Shore Productions http://www.smoothjazz.com
We have two free tickets available for each of these shows. To win a pair of tickets: 1.) click "Reply" and 2.) in the body of the message type: "Yes! I want to see the RIPPINGTONS on August 13th!" - Or - "Yes, I want to see SPYRO GYRA on August 27th!" One concert entry per person - one pair of tickets per winner. Please respond by 5pm August 4, 2000. We will draw the winners August 7, 2000. Winners will meet our FreeRun representative at the Will Call desk after 1:00pm. THESE DATES ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE. Please do NOT apply if you will not be able to attend on the dates you are applying for. We're sorry, we will not be able to respond to everyone - only the winners will be contacted. FreeRun employees or past employees are not eligible to enter this contest. Good Luck!
For more events in the Monterey area for the rest of 2000, please look through our extensive Events Calendar: http://www.gomonterey.com/events.html
For weather predictions, please visit: http://www.weatherplanner.com
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