Sonoma County Events Newsletter
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IN THIS ISSUE:
From time to time the other folks at Sonoma.com come up with their recommendations, here are 3:
Sonoma County is home to five distinct wine regions: Carneros District, Sonoma Valley, Russian River Area, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley. A person could spend a day exploring each region and still have plenty of reasons to come back again. The County is dotted with over 175 wineries, and while it is possible to visit more than one wine region in a single day, you may find that it is wiser to focus your leisure time in one area at a time. Beau Limousine Tours & Transportation has helped thousands of visitors plan exciting wine tasting tours to Sonoma's wine country. http://www.beaulimousine.com/
Olivet Grange is a charming vacation rental located in the heart of the Russian River Valley between Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. Vineyards and mature gardens surround the three-bedroom Craftsman farmhouse, which sleeps six. Mention Sonoma.com when booking your stay of three nights or more, and you will receive a complimentary gourmet picnic for four, the perfect companion for a day spent enjoying the beautiful Sonoma countryside. http://www.olivetgrange.com/
Come see the exotic alambic brandy stills, smell the seductive aromas of fine brandy as it ages. Explore the sensory experience of rare brandy in the making. Linger in the lovely Visitor Center and take advantage of the retail sales and ongoing tours at the home of RMS rare, mature & special brandies. http://www.rmsbrandy.com/
Sonoma County has many elegant food and wine events every month - but we have SO much more! This month I'm including some of the more unusual events in Sonoma County (there are others! Take your pick: http://www.sonoma.com/events.html)
June 2 - 4 -- Jose Galvan & Flamenco Arts Co.
June 3 -- Annual Black Bart Festival
June 10 - 11 -- Health & Harmony Music & Arts Festival
June 17 - 18 -- Annual Cotati Jazz Festival
June 17 - 18 -- Festival of the Arts in Duncans Mills
June 22 - 25 -- Save Mart/Kragen 350 NASCAR Winston Cup
June 23 - 25 -- Kate Wolf Memorial Festival
June 24 - 25 -- Hot Air Balloon Festival
June 25 -- Polo in the Wine Country
If it's a Friday night and a really great Cioppino is what you are in the mood for then Zin Restaurant in Healdsburg is where you need to be.
Moving slightly away from the traditional presentation this wonderful Blue Plate special is served over a soft polenta with fried calamari and a wonderfully garlicky Rouille.
Choosing from the menu at Zin is always a difficult decision but was made a little easier this visit because the specials sounded so tasty.
Chilled Avocado soup was an excellent beginning and we could not pass up the Mexican Beer Battered Green Beans with Mango-Black Bean dipping sauce as an appetizer. But the piece de resistance was still to come! Grilled Tombo Tuna over Himalayan red rice with a Mango Sambal accompanied by perfectly prepared baby bok choy and a red onion chutney. An innovative combination and indicative of Chef/Owner Jeff Mall's culinary style.
The relaxed atmosphere melds nicely with the busy open kitchen and locals and tourists alike seem to feel right at home. When you visit Healdsburg next be sure to use the more than 48 choices of Zinfandel as an excuse to stop in for some fine food at this great restaurant and Wine Bar. http://www.ZinRestaurant.com
Bon Appetit! The Sonoma.com Gourmand
(This is not a paid for placement review.)
Check out this site for weather predictions, choose the San Francisco area: http://www.weatherplanner.com
If you are sensitive to trees, grasses, weeds and molds, see what might be blooming here around the time of your visit by looking at the web site of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: http://www.aaaai.org/nab/west.stm Select "San Jose (Station 2)," it has more recent data. Use the graph feature at the bottom of that page; input today's date 1999 (i.e. 4-1-99) and you'll get a graph of the last 12 months activity. Click on a bar of the graph to see what was active on that date. Pack tissues ;-)
Well-aged Sonoma County
My wife and I came up here in late September to miss the crowds. I'd heard about this little winery from a friend, he rhapsodized about the wine but had never visited the winery - I was going to have a story to tell!
Not far from Sonoma, no sign at the turnoff. Were we on the right road? The street quickly narrowed and crawled tightly around the mountain. A long way up we came to a tall wooden gate, closed but not locked and a small sign, "By Appointment Only." My wife said, "Let's turn around," but after that drive I wasn't going to give up, heck, they're a winery they love visitors!
We pulled in to the empty parking lot, only one other car. Since all of the doors were locked except one, like Alices in Wonderland we went in and up a winding staircase to a small tasting room.
My "Hello?" brought a young woman from a doorway. She said she was the bookkeeper doing payroll, that since everyone worked the weekend they'd taken Monday off. I begged her to let us look around. Distracted, she looked over her shoulder, said she had to call payroll in at 11; then handing us two wine glasses she grabbed a glass pipe-like thing called a Thief and led us down the stairs, away from the winery and across the parking lot to face the vine-covered Mountain.
It was quiet except for the birds twittering in the bushes and a soft breeze. She faced the mountain and like a priestess raised her arms:
"Two hundred million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the continent and the West Coast of what would become North America was somewhere in Nevada, standing here we would be far underwater, ankle-deep in mud.
"To the west of us is the East Pacific Rise, a spreading ridge where the planet creates new seafloor and pushes it toward Asia and west toward North America. The continent, floating like the foam on your latte is on its own journey southwest. Under Nevada the Pacific Plate seafloor slides under the continent in an offshore trench scraping the seafloor mud up against the continent like scraping mud off your shoe. The Pacific plate is pushed down into the hotter material below, the edges of seafloor and continent melt and bubble up to become the Ancestral Sierra Nevada mountains.
"135 million years ago the edge of the continent was closer to us and much of the ancestral Sierra Nevada's had washed away creating California's Central Valley which was underwater and patrolled by sharks. A new series of mountains began to form this side of the Central Valley becoming the ancestors of the Coast Ranges of California.
"63 million years ago, 2 million years after the asteroid hit the Yucatan which led to the extinction of the large dinosaurs, the continent over-road the spreading ridge here and pushed up a good deal of the substance from the trench. Locally this material is known as the Franciscan Formation.
"30 million years of sun and rain washed away much of these mountains filling the valleys.
"27 million years ago the movement of the San Andrea Fault began and the sliver of North America on the west-side began moving up from Santa Barbara. The continent on the east-side has been sliding south-west over a hot spot that is now a couple miles north of us near Clear Lake. The Pinnacles, now down in Monterey County have been over this spot," she looked at us knowingly - we were not comforted.
"13 million years ago there was extensive volcanism in this area with ash, mud and lava flows. 3.4 million years ago one or more of these ash flows buried the ancestral redwoods of the Petrified Forest which you can visit northwest of here.
"1 million years ago was a period of great mountain building with intense folding and faulting. This mountain was created then."
Walking across the parking lot she waved a hand dismissing the gleaming rows of stainless steel tanks. At a wooden door in the face of the mountainside she pulled out a key and unlocked it.
Leading us into the darkness, a tunnel carved into volcanic ash, the air was moist with the scent of wine-soaked barrels; the sound of water dripping from the forest on the skin of the earth above us echoed.
Approaching a barrel she yanked out the wooden stopper, inserted the glass pipe and pulled out a bright red liquid that she ran into our glasses explaining that it was the fruit of last year's harvest from the Mountain. A moment in time never to be repeated.
Later when we left and slowly wound our way down the mountainside the world around us looked clear and bright and temporary.
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