WineCountry.com

May 2002

Mumm Cuvee
Mustard Festival Photo Finish
April in Carneros
The Land and the Wine Between Napa and Sonoma
Battle of the Appellations Winners
Congratulations to Silver Mountain Vineyards and Lake Sonoma Winery
Dining Recommendation
It Doesn't Get Better Than Lunch at Piccolino's
Tasting Room Recommendation
Ravenswood - So Much More Than Zin
Lodging Recommendation
Gaige House Inn
Events for May
WineCountry.com Info

From all of us at FreeRun - Thank you for using our sites!
MontereyMendocinoNapaValleySanta Barbara
Santa CruzSonomaWineCountryDrinkwine

Spotlight

Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery
Exclusive Discount Offer!

Niebaum-Coppola Estate WineryFrancis and Eleanor Coppola invite you to visit one of the premiere California wineries, the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery located on the historic Inglenook Estate. For more than 100 years, the Inglenook property in Rutherford has produced some of Californiašs greatest vintages and charmed visitors with its timeless beauty. Francis Coppola, the director/producer of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now, bought a portion of the property in 1975 to make wine for his family and friends. Charmed by Inglenook and the Napa Valley landscape, Francis purchased the remainder of the historic property in 1995 and restored the Inglenook Chateau, once again bringing prestige to the landmark winery.

Come and see that we have a lot more to offer than just great wine. Visit us in-person at Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery in Rutherford or visit us online at www.niebaum-coppola.com. Wešre offering all first-time web shoppers a 15% discount on all online purchases made from now until May 31, 2002. Simply enter the coupon code FRA02 before you begin your online shopping. Questions: service@ffcnotes.com.


Spotlight

The Inn of Imagination
"A Bed & Breakfast Experience"

The Inn of Imagination - A Bed and Breakfast ExperienceImagination: "The act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality".

It is this power not to accept reality as a fait accomli but to continue to invent new worlds that we celebrate at our Inn. Within, are rooms dedicated to Imagineers that have created new and fanciful worlds.

  • Lewis Carroll: Decorated in period pieces his room is awash in deep purples and gold. The private bathroom captures Alice's descent into Wonderland.
  • Jimmy Buffett: An oversize suite with four poster bamboo bed, blue and green hardwood floor and "Caribbean" bathroom.
  • Dr. Seuss: His bright and whimsical room features classic 1950šs furniture, collection of his "secret art" and many details of Seussian fancy..

The inn is on the National Historic Register as a classic example of the Spanish Revival period.

Visit us at www.innofimagination.com or email us at info@innofimagination.com


Spotlight

WINE TASTING ON THE HIGH SEAS
"Wine Country Like You've Never Seen Before!"

WINE TASTING ON THE HIGH SEAS - Wine Country Like You've Never Seen Before!

Cruise exotic locales, sip exquisite wines, dine on gourmet food, and learn from some of the world's foremost Wine and Food experts at prices rarely seen!! These one-of-a-kind travel programs creatively combine luxury travel, fine wine and cuisine with the best value and the most amenities the industry has to offer.

David Berkley, White House Wine Consultant, hosts the 7-day France River Cruise aboard the Princesse de Provence, a deluxe Peter Deilmann vessel accommodating only 140 guests, October 12, 2002. Group members will receive two private wine seminars, cocktail parties, and a special wine country event! In addition, there is an early booking discount if booked by 5/31/02! Prices start at $1,780 per person.

TraVent/Fine Wine Travel Programs also include: Tahiti and Bora Bora, Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia, Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica, and more. Call (888) 208-8338 or visit www.FineWineTravel.com and Register to WIN A FREE TRIP!

Mumm Cuvee

Mustard Festival Photo Finish

The Napa Valley Mustard Festival is an annual event dedicated to raise awareness and promote the region during the non-peak season, when mustard is abundant and the valley is a beautiful yellow. Throughout the months of January, February and March the Mustard Festival is packed with events and celebrations bringing in tourists and locals alike. The final event of the Mustard Festival is the Photo Finish, which was held at Mumm Cuvee Napa Valley. Wineries and restaurants throughout the valley showcased their fabulous treats while onlookers took in the remarkable photos submitted by amateurs as well as professional photographers.

"The ninth annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival Photography Contest celebrates mustard in bloom, Napa Valley's star attraction in late winter/early spring. Wild mustard blooms, depending upon the whim of Mother Nature, from about mid-January through March each year. Brilliant seas of gold blanket hillsides, valleys, and vineyards during this sensational season. Dormant grapevines punctuate the gilded froth in rows and patterns, creating spectacular scenes and attracting artists from far and wide."

The Photo Finish is truly a glamorous party to wrap-up the Mustard Season. With jazz throughout the galleries, delicious food and wine, and stunning artwork all around, the evening ends perfectly with gift prizes and dancing under the stars.

If you are looking to plan your next Wine Country experience during the beautiful Mustard Season, be sure to stay throughout the Photo Finish, where you might be able to take a little of the Wine Country home with you.

Visit the Mustard Festival: www.mustardfestival.com

April in Carneros

The Land and the Wine Between Napa and Sonoma

While planning your next spring vacation, consider doing what one group of touring cyclists from Orlando, Florida did - bicycle your way through "April in Carneros!" "April in Carneros" is a spring celebration of wine, food and entertainment where proceeds benefit Vine Village; an organization dedicated to providing for the special needs of people with developmental disabilities.

The Carneros Appellation is the land between Napa and Sonoma which provides a specific microclimate and was the first American Vinticultural appellation to be defined according to climate rather than along political lines. The Carneros region "is characterized by a long, moderately cool growing season tempered by the maritime breezes and lingering fog off the San Pablo Bay just to the south."

Throughout the weekend, fifteen wineries and one distillery showcased some of their most treasured vintages, including new and rare releases. In addition, all of the participants created their own signature event, which included music, picnics, fine catering and art displays.

Also available for the $10 fee, which included a commemorative logo glass, was a fabulous barrel tasting and specialized tour throughout the vineyards and wineries. A few of the wineries that made it onto the WineCountry.com favorite list were, Bouchaine Vineyards, Buena Vista Carneros Estate, and Cline Cellars. The weather for this event was a perfect spring day - making it great for a bicycle tour or simply a causal drive. (Source: Domaine Carneros www.domaine.com)

Visit April In Carneros: www.carneroswineries.org/aic.html

Battle of the Appellations Winners

Congratulations to Silver Mountain Vineyards and Lake Sonoma Winery

Congratulations to Silver Mountain Vineyards and Lake Sonoma Winery, the latest winners of Battle of the Appellations!

Our latest Battle of the Appellations contest was held at Mixx, a chef-owned restaurant in Santa Rosa, CA. The chef, Dan Berman, prepared two incredible dishes for our tasting panel. To be paired with white wine was Alaskan halibut with English pea puree, leeks, baby carrots and crispy potatoes; and garnished with basil oil and red and green sweet pepper oils. The red wine pairing was Liberty duck breast with morel mushrooms, red and green lentils, roasted chippolini onions, Applewood smoked bacon and red wine foie gras butter sauce.

The true essence of the Battle of the Appellations contest is to take a fabulous tasting wine and pair it with delicious food to truly test the complexities of the wine and its ability to pair with various flavors and textures. The atmosphere and ambiance at Mixx was the perfect setting for this contest.

The red wine winner was the Silver Mountain Vineyards 1997 Alloy. This is a Central Coast, Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cab Franc, which sells for about $20 a bottle. The BOA tasting panel appreciated the fragrant nose, spicy flavor and full body of the wine. This Alloy was delicious on its own, but truly shined when paired with the variety of the flavors in the duck breast dish. This Alloy worked well because it did not overpower the flavors of the food, but rather enhanced the mix of textures and zest of the dish, and finished smoothly.

The white wine winner was the Lake Sonoma 2000 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, which sells for about $15.00. "Four separate vineyards contributed to the final blend of this wine; Westside Farms and K-1 Vineyard, both on the banks of the Russian River, Bertozzi Vineyard on the Russian River in Redwood Valley of Mendocino County and the Laughlin Vineyard north of Guernville. The K-1 and Westside Farms vineyards are representative of Russian River Chardonnay; big tropical fruit flavors with notes of apple and citrus. The warmer conditions of the Bertozzi Vineyard adds richness while the Laughlin Vineyard adds a floral spicy note to the mix." The BOA panel valued the fruity nose that was reminiscent of apple, pear, and lemon. The flavor was complex and lively and when tasted independently of the food stood strong. Paired with the halibut the wine worked well with the various flavors of the dish and a mutual enhancement of both the wine and food was present.


Thank you to all the participants:

  • Hanzell
  • Goosecross Cellars
  • Armida
  • Smith and Hook
  • Quivira
  • Casa Nuestra
  • Curtis
  • Clos du Bois
  • Firestone
  • Buena Vista

Visit Silver Mountain Vineyards: www.silvermountainvineyards.com

Visit Lake Sonoma Winery at: www.lakesonomawinery.net


Dining Recommendation

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than Lunch at Piccolino's

What could be better than a beautiful spring day in downtown Napa? Lunch at Piccolino's Italian Café! We chose this restaurant as a dining recommendation because it is truly one of our favorite places to eat in Napa. We love the wonderful ambiance, the warm and beautiful decor, friendly service, entertainment and great Italian food. You feel as if you are stepping into Italy!

For starters our server brought us some delicious warm rosemary bread with olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar; this with a great Italian wine served by the glass, a Stella Pinot Grigio, gave us a good start to peruse the tantalizing menu. (Visit their menu online at: http://piccolinoscafe.com/ )

With so many choices we decided to try a couple of appetizers; calamari, deep fried and served with cocktail sauce and caper aioli, and a wonderful mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette blended with the perfect amount of gorgonzola cheese. The homemade clam chowder sounded too good to pass up, so we sampled a bowl, which was delicious with the rosemary bread.

For an entrée, we had Piccolino's Famous Lasagna. This is prepared with a
light ricotta cheese with a sweet bolognese sauce. This favorite of many is now a favorite of mine. Excellent!

For desert, last but not least a Tiramisu. This creamy marscarpone cheese blended with amaretto and espresso, sandwiched in rum-soaked ladyfingers was wonderful.

Both inside and outside seating is available. On this breezy afternoon we chose a table inside by a window to enjoy the décor and to people watch as locals scurried about.

Food isn't the only thing that sizzles at Piccolino's Italian Cafe! Check them out on a Friday and Saturday night! Coming soon is Frederick NightHawk with his gifted and wonderfully expressive voice. NightHawk accompanies himself with keyboard and has a sound somewhere between Doctor John and Van Morrison. Enjoy his contemporary renditions and his own compositions.

Also amongst the regulars are:
• Bobby Simmons - A great Entertainer
• Helen Mead - Wonderful Vocalist
• John Turk - Keyboards and "jazzy" Jazz
• Steve Belini - Accordionist

Or if you are looking for a good ravioli on a Wednesday night check out Piccolino's Wednesday Night Ravioli Festival. Give yourself a treat after shopping! Featuring four kinds of Ravioli (even Duck) and live music.

Piccolino's is proud to bring you a taste of "Old World Family Cooking" to enjoy with your friends and family. We know that we enjoyed it and we're certain you will too.

Visit Picolino's at: www.piccolinoscafe.com


Tasting Room Recommendation

Ravenswood - So Much More Than Zin

Although famous for their meal-friendly California Zinfandel, Ravenswood offers complex and delicious wines, specifically Zinfandels, from very specialized areas and vineyards. "Wine production at Ravenswood is presently in the 400,000 case range, most of which is red and robust. Zinfandel, Ravenswood's most renowned variety, comprises 70% of total production. The remaining 30% consists of blended and unblended variations on the traditional Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc), as well as their own experiments with Gewurztraminer (early and late harvests), Petite Sirah, and Muscat. Ravenswood also produces small quantities of Chardonnay."

"Ravenswood's hand-crafted releases possess a unique vintage and vineyard identity in addition to an intense and powerful character with which the winery has come to be associated. These attributes arise from what can only be called stubborn and impractical Old World enological practices." Ravenswood wines ferment in small wooden tanks, and rely upon wild, natural yeasts. Grape stems are occasionally added for structure, and the "cap" of skins is punched mechanically or by hand three to five times per day. They age the wine in small French oak barrels, fine it gently with egg whites, and eschew filters and centrifuges as much as possible because they believe it tends to diminish flavor.

The resulting wines -- rich, complex, and fully varietal -- are well suited to aging. "They will generally reach their peak in seven to ten years, though most - particularly the Zinfandels - are consumed young and greedily by people who love big, gutsy, unapologetic wines."

Recently a WineCountry.com staff member had the pleasure of visiting the Sonoma winery and experienced the beautiful property that is completely picnic ready and afternoon lounging compatible. The tasting room offers a large spectrum of wines allowing each visitor to be introduced to their specialty Zinfandels, as well as experience the winery's diversity with Merlot, Cabernet and Gewurztaminer.

Be sure to make Ravenswood your next stop while in Sonoma!

Visit Ravenswood at www.ravenswood-wine.com


Lodging Recommendation

Gaige House Inn

The Gaige House Inn is the perfect place to escape the ordinary and find yourself in serenity. The owner and mastermind behind the Gaige House Inn, Ken Burnet, chose to use Asian inspired influences in his design because of the serene feeling it exudes.

Upon entering the Gaige House Inn you will find beautiful picture books, orchids and fine art by Kizito Rwanza. The stage is set for relaxation and comfortable tranquility. Once in the guestroom you will find bedtime story mini-books, lush linens on a four-poster bed and a fireplace. If you are looking for relaxation in the fresh air, a hammock on the creek-side deck with a fountain and palm plants nearby is certainly the place to find it.

Samutra coffee, teas and juice are served in the morning. In the evening you will be met with wine and hors d'oeuvres. The chef at the Gaige House Inn is truly an artist and takes great consideration of the seasons for his daily inspiration. The dining room is adjacent to the kitchen allowing guests to see the chef and staff bustling at work. A WineCountry.com staff member found it an absolute joy to sit and chat with a couple from Chicago while they planned out their vacation in the Wine Country. When asked how the couple found the Gaige House Inn, the couple replied that they researched the Inn on the Internet and were thrilled to find it to be every bit of what they expected and more - absolutely wonderful.

Make your Giage House Inn reservation at: www.gaigehouseinn.com

Events for May

MENDOCINO:

May 19 -- Husch Vineyards Open House
Come to Husch Vineyards during the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and taste our wonderful Pinot Noir! The entire weekend will feature Pinot Noir at various venues around the valley. If you like Pinot Noir this is the place to be! Call for additional information.
Fee: Call Time: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Phone Number: 707-895-WINE

May 12 -- Mother's Day Brunch
Come to the Little River Inn for our Mother's Day Champagne Brunch in the Garden Dining Room. Reservations are required for parties of 5 or more.
Fee: Varies Time: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM Phone Number: 707-937-5942

MONTEREY:

May 18 -- Spring Winemakers' Dinner at Chateau Julien Wine Estates
The winery's garden courtyard offers the ideal setting for this brilliant spring evening in the Valley. Chef Jon Kasky will prepare a delightful spring buffet fresh from his gardens. New Releases, barrel samplings and winemaker "notes" will entice all on upcoming releases and futures. At Chateau Julien, 8940 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel.
Fee: $75.00 Time: Barrel Tasting 7 PM; Dinner 8:00 PM Phone Number: 831-624-2600

May 12 -- Celebration of Chocolate & Wine
Come to the 3rd Annual Mother's Day Celebration of Chocolate & Wine at Hahn Estates, 37700 Foothill Road, Soledad. Featuring Isabella Zanger and her handcrafted chocolates. Call for additional information.
Fee: $5.00 Tasting Fee - Includes logo glass Time: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Phone Number: 831-678-2132

NAPA VALLEY:

May 11 -- Grand Opening Celebration of the New Stonegate Winery
The Grand Opening of the new Stonegate Winery is scheduled for Saturday, May 11! Live music and hors d'oeuvres, visit with Winemaker Gerard Zanzonico and taste barrel samples. Come join the fun. Corner of Dunaweal Lane & Highway 29.
Fee: $10.00 Per Person Time: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Phone Number: 707-942-6500

May 17 -- Merlot in May
Celebrate Merlot in May! Sample an international array of premium Merlot from 100 top-flight producers and importers in a festive vineyard-view setting. Sponsored by Sterling Vineyards & the International Merlot Conference. Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga.
Fee: $25 per person Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm Phone Number: 707-255-7667

SANTA BARBARA:

May 18 - 19 -- California Strawberry Festival
This event serves up delectable strawberry delights, entertainment on two stages, and an award-winning Fine Arts & Crafts Show. Kids especially enjoy the "Strawberryland for Kids" with live music, clowns, hands-on arts & crafts, a petting zoo, puppet shows, jugglers. Located at Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 South Rose Avenue, Oxnard.
Fee: $5.00 - $9.00; kids under age 5 are free Time: 10:00 AM - 6:30 PM Phone Number: 888- 288-9242

Year 'Round -- Guided Hikes at Bacara Resort
1,000 acres of natural terrain backing onto the Los Padres National Forest. Sprawling hills. Breathtaking views. Guided hiking on specially designed trails. 450-acres cultivated to produce avocados and a selection of organic vegetables and fruits for the resort. Ideal for outdoor exercise, nature lectures, picnics or meditation.
Fee: Included with Lodging Accommodations Time: Call Phone Number: 805-968-0100

SANTA CRUZ:

May 11 -- Bonfante Gardens Opening Day
Come to the Grand Opening of Bonfante Gardens Family Theme Park, 3050 Hecker Pass Highway in Gilroy. This is a one-of-a-kind experience combining four unique gardens and amusement rides with the mid-20th century history and agricultural roots of Santa Clara Valley.
Fee: $29.95 Adults; $19.95 Ages 3 - 12 Time: Gates Open at 11:00 AM Phone Number: 408-840-7100

May 24 -- Boardwalk Summer Season Opening Day
Happy 95th Birthday to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! The park is now open daily through Labor Day, September 2nd. Come enjoy the fun rides, games and events!
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Daily Phone Number: 831-423-2053

SONOMA:

May 11 -- White Sale at Valley of the Moon Winery
What could be better than an afternoon at beautiful Valley of the Moon Winery? We will have discounts on selected white wines, food pairings, music and local vendors displaying their products. 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen.
Fee: $5.00 - Includes a logo glass Time: 12 Noon - 4:30 PM Phone Number: 707-996-6941

May 18 -- Mardi Gras- Wine Country Style!
6th Annual "Celebrate Geyserville" - Mardi Gras, Wine Country Style. Silent and live auction, great food, wine and music. This event benefits the Geyserville Schools. At Chateau Souverain Winery, 400 Sourverain Road, Geyserville. Call for ticket information.
Fee: $45.00 Time: 5:00 PM Phone Number: 707-837-7637


WineCountry.com Info

Weather:
For weather predictions, please visit: www.weather.com

Past Newsletters:
www.winecountry.com/newsletters

Subscribe:
If this newsletter has been forwarded to you and you would like to SUBSCRIBE please visit:
www.winecountry.com/forms/news.html

Unsubscribe:
To UNSUBSCRIBE follow this link: www.winecountry.com/forms/unnews.html

Our privacy policy can be found here: winecountry.com/w3c/privacy.html

To Advertise:
For information on advertising in the WineCountry.com Lifestyle Newsletter, please contact Carolyn Lewis at carolyn@freerun.com or 707-857-4100.