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May 2001

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  • Newsletter Sponsor: Cypress Gardens Inn
  • Editor's Note: Monterey!
  • New Wine Country Tips: Tasting Seminar
  • Wine Country Recipes: MacCallum House Dining
  • May Events Calendar
  • The May Contest!

Newsletter Sponsor - Cypress Gardens Inn
Built on the site of a former tree nursery, the Cypress Gardens Resort Inn sits under the ancient oaks and classic Monterey cypresses. Having just undergone a ½ million dollar refurbishment, the Cypress Gardens Resort Inn features forty-six rooms with 1 king bed or two queen beds. Every room has a private balcony or courtyard overlooking the largest hotel pool and Jacuzzi in Monterey and some of the most beautiful gardens of any hotel. All new furniture and fixtures have been added including: carpets, Serta 5star mattresses, 25" TV and VCR, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, and hair dryers.

The hotel also has a health club, guest laundry, suites, and meeting rooms. Free Continental Breakfast is served daily. Free Local calls. Free Parking. Free in-room Coffee.

The Hotel is 100% Non-Smoking. Special Aquarium tickets available at the front desk, which give you two days admission for the price of one. "Doorbell Dining" available at the hotel which brings dinner or lunch delivery directly to your guest room from some of Monterey's best restaurants. Order and have brunch in bed; a picnic on one of our lawns; or a romantic dinner on your private balcony.

Visit the hotel's website at Online reservations and price quotes are available. Toll Free Reservations also available by calling: 1-877-922-1150

The hotel is located at 1150 Munras Ave (exit highway 1 at Soledad/Munras exit) just down the street from the Del Monte Shopping Center - directly across the street from the hotel is the Dahvee Park - a 35 acre park with nature trails and bike trails.

Stay at the Cypress Gardens Resort Inn on your next stay in Monterey.

Editor's Notes: Monterey!

The first thing you feel when you arrive in Monterey is that fabulous ocean air. Crisp, moist and fresh. Spring has definitely arrived in Monterey County. The flowers are in full bloom and they are spectacular. The backdrops are the hills, still green from the winter rains, and the ocean so full of life and ever changing.

Visit the many attractions, go on a tour or visit one of the wineries. Now is the time to start planning your getaway to Monterey.

Smith and Hook/Hahn Estates Winery invites you to stop by the tasting room (open daily 11:00-4:00), for a sampling of their award winning wines. They can accommodate weddings in an outdoor setting, small receptions, private, intimate dinners and conferences.

Visit Ventana Vineyards with a picnic lunch and enjoy their beautiful patio. Sign up for their newsletter!

The wines of the Monterey area are fabulous! For a complete list check through the winery list on

While you’re visiting this spectacular coastal area, consider joining a whale watching excursion! Monterey Bay Whale Watch offers a variety of trips year round. There is a "Sightings" link on their home page, with lists of marine mammal sightings in Monterey Bay.

After your day of wine tasting or whale watching, head over to Fabulous Toot’s Lagoon, "a 25 year Carmel tradition!" You can dine on hearty steaks and ribs, delicious fresh seafood, brick oven baked pizza, pastas, and salads.

There is so much to discover in Monterey! Take a stroll along the many beautiful beaches. Visit the historic Cannery Row, one of America's most famous streets, popularized by Nobel and Pulitzer award winning author John Steinbeck. Here, hardworking whalers, fisherman, and cannery owners and workers struggled to enhance their lives and build a thriving industry.

While you are on Cannery Row, a must see is the Monterey Bay Aquarium's newest wing, The Outer Bay.

This unique area is like no other in the world. Come visit!!

We encourage your feedback! Please send your comments to our newsletter editor at Suggestions of topics you would like to see in future issues are welcome.

Have you considered attending a Tasting Seminar? J. Shaw & Company presents:

Wine Education Seminars - A tasting of the best of Sonoma and Northern California wines along with a selection of local cheeses and breads. This two and one-half hour wine tasting and appreciation seminar is designed for beginners and for those who want to expand their wine knowledge. The seminar is conducted on Saturdays in the Solarium of the Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza in downtown Healdsburg.
Fee $75/person.
Reservations and seminar dates call J. Shaw & Company 707-433-1145.

Wine Country Recipes

Our recipe this month comes from: MacCallum House Dining! If you decide to give this recipe a try, let them know how it turned out! MacCallum House -

Duck Breast with Pinot Noir-Wild Berry Sauce
Chef/Owner Alan Kantor, MacCallum House Restaurant

4 servings 4 duck breasts* (6 to 8 ounces each) *We use ducks from Liberty Farm.
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 T. finely chopped sage
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. finely ground black pepper
Fresh berries for garnish
Pinot Noir Wild Berry Sauce
1/2 cup pinot noir
1 cup duck or chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup wild berry vinegar* (see below)

Trim excess fat and skin from the edges of the duck breasts, if necessary. In a shallow dish, stir together the shallots, sage, oil, salt and pepper. Add the duck breasts skin side up, rubbing the marinade evenly over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight, allowing the flavors to infuse the duck meat.

When ready to cook the duck, heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat until very hot. Take duck from marinade, wipe well, and set the breasts skin side up in the pan. Cook, without trying to move the breasts, for 2 minutes. Turn the breasts, reduce heat to medium and cook until the duck fat under the skin is rendered, the skin is crisp and the duck is medium done, 20-25 minutes.Transfer the breasts to a plate and cover to keep warm while finishing the sauce. Pour the fat from the skillet and return the skillet to high heat.

For the sauce, add the wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve flavorful bits stuck to the pan. Add the stock and vinegar, return to a boil, and boil until the mixture is reduced to about 3/4 cup. Keep warm over lot heat.

Slice each breast on the bias and fan the slices on individual plates. Drizzle the pinot noir-wild berry sauce over the duck, garnish with berries, and serve right away.


Wild Berry Vinegar
3 cups wild berries (huckleberries, blackberries or a combination; use cultivated berries if wild berries are not available)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

Combine the berries and honey in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is melted and the berries are soft, about 5 minutes. Let the berry mixture cool for a few minutes.

Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the vinegar, and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a very fine sieve to remove the berry seeds, if you like, making sure to press as much pulp through the sieve as possible. Makes about 3 cups.


Come visit the elegant MacCallum House, Mendocino's largest Bed & Breakfast:

"Everything about the MacCallum House Restaurant and Grey Whale Bar & Cafe is warm and inviting, from the sunny wrap-around porch to the convivial bar and romantic firelit dining rooms. Combining the town's charm, history, local life and flavors into one tasty package, the "Mac" is a great starting point for getting to know Mendocino. An exceptional staff makes you feel as if you've been invited over to dinner by friends." MacCallum House:

May 12 -- "Wild About Mushrooms" Cooking Class at Fetzer Vineyards
Cooking class with John Ash using fresh and dried mushrooms in both savory and sweet dishes. Fetzer Vineyards Visitor Center, Hopland.
Fee: $80 per person
Time: 9am - 1pm
Phone: (800) 846-8637

May 18 - 20 -- Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Weekend
Friday evening: Casual dinner at an Anderson Valley winery ($25.00). Saturday: Join all of the wineries gathered together from 12-4 featuring opportunities to sample special Pinot Noir vintages ($30.00 in advance). Saturday evening dinners ($100.00).
Sunday Open House 11-4 at wineries.
Fee: Various Events: $25.00 - $100.00 each
Time: Various: See Details
Phone: (707)468-9886

May 13 -- A Celebration of Chocolate & Wine
Hahn Estates/Smith & Hook Winery present a very special Mother's Day - Come and enjoy the pairing of fine wines with chocolate creations by chocolatier - IsaBella Zanger.
Hahn Estates/Smith & Hook Winery, 37700 Foothill Rd., Soledad.
Fee: None
Time: 11am to 4pm
Phone: (831) 678-2132

May 19 -- Spring Winemaker Dinner
The winery's garden cobblestone courtyard offers the ideal setting for this brillian spring evening in the Valley. Enjoy new releases, barrel samplings and a delightful spring buffet.
Chateau Julien Wine Estate Carmel
Fee: $75 per person
Time: Barrel Tasting 7pm; Dinner 8pm
Phone: (831) 624-2600

May 5 - 6 -- Calistoga Wineries' Annual Open House
Dutch Henry Winery ( )along with Casa Nuestra ( ) Graeser, Silver Rose, Stonegate, Summers, Vigil, And Zahtila Vineyards are offering free wine tasting, entertainment, food, barrel samples and more! All eight wineries are within minutes of each other. Come, celebrate at the top of the Napa Valley...where visitors are always welcomed.
Fee: Free
Time: 10:00am to 4:30pm, both days
Phone: (888) 224-5879

May 18 -- &Merlot in May" International Merlot Conference
Merlot in May - the most comprehensive consumer tasting of its kind - will expand to include over 100 participating wineries for its second annual event to be held at Sterling Vineyards ( ) in Calistoga. Last year's event was sold out and early registration is encouraged. Call to obtain tickets or more information.
Fee: $25 per person
Time: 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Phone: (707) 255-7667

May 15 & 22 -- Gourmet Cooking Series
Santa Barbara Winery's most popular gourmet series - Chef Charles Fredericks, of bouchon, will provide a memorable wine and food experience. You will learn basic methods to the most current gourmet techniques. Chef Charles will demonstrate how to prepare a multi-course menu with accents on the Spring season using local fresh products. Each class will include a sampling of food paired with wine.
Location: Santa Barbara Winery, 202 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara
Fee: 80.00/personm Wine Club Member 64.00
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Phone: (805) 963-3633 or (800) 225-3633

May 31 - June 2, 2001 -- Hospice du Rhône Celebration
Seminars, tastings, lunches, and dinners. Come for the whole weekend, or just for an afternoon. Many events, including the special one-of-a-kind single barrel auction for benefit of the Paso Robles Hospice. Many unique wine lots will be auctioned at great prices.
Location: Various
Fee: Call
Time: Various
Phone: Vicki Carroll at (805) 784-9543

May 13 -- Mother's Day Brunch at Gloria Ferrer
Enjoy a sparkling wine reception with appetizers on the Vista Terrace followed by a private winery tour. Lunch is a single seating at 12:00 noon. The menu, as always, will be prepared by Wild Thyme, a Food Library. Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves Location: Hwy. 121, Sonoma.
Fee: $50.00 per person ($45.00 under 21yrs), all-inclusive
Time: 12:00 noon seating
Phone: (707) 933-1999 or 996-7256 #239

May 11, 12, 19, 25, 26 -- Rivers - Occidental Choir Concert -
The Occidental Choir Concert invites you to join them on a musical journey down rivers familiar, exotic, mythical, and metaphorical, exploring life, love, enlightenment and even canned goods along the way. Tickets available at the door and in advance.
Locations various: Sebastopol, Occidental, Petaluma, Santa Rosa.
Fee: $12 adults, 18 and under free
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Phone: (707) 547-0204

There are so many events to choose from -- we encourage you to pick your favorites from the full list at:

Enter Our Contest!!
Here is the winner for our April Contest - Best Wine Country Experience - Real or Virtual!

The miles disappear under my convertible's wheels as we leave San Francisco and a 4-1/2 hour flight behind. The morning is beautiful - one of those perfect Wine Country days - the sky is clear, the air rich with scents of autumn. The day is spent meandering through Napa, visiting favorite and yet-to-be-discovered wineries, my handsome friend at my side. We have a late afternoon spa visit in Calistoga, then dinner at Brannan's Grill there, before heading to Santa Rosa, where our B&B awaits.

The next day slips away as we cruise through Sonoma and up 128 to Mendocino (stopping at several favorite wineries, including Navarro). We check into my favorite B&B in Wine Country, the Sea Gull Inn, and walk down to the western end of the peninsula to watch the sun set over the Pacific. The night air is crisp and breezy, and we stroll back to town for a delicious dinner of seafood at the Cafe next door, before retiring to bed. The last day is a lazy drive down the coastal highway until we turn down the Russian River road, which will lead us back to San Francisco, and leave us with many fond memories.

Cheryl Lemanski

Congratulations Cheryl! Enjoy your visit to the Wine Country!!

For this month's contest, we have a Healdsburg Happening!

Two tickets to a JD Shaw's Gourmet Wines Regional Wine Tasting Seminar! At this seminar you will enjoy fine wines, regional cheeses, and breads. Read the details in our Wine Country Tips (above).

And then, practice your new wine and food knowledge and freshly honed tasting skills enjoying Dinner for Two ($100 in Gift Certificates) at Restaurant Charcuterie. Sample menus online!!

To win the Healdsburg Happening, present to us your Creative Flair Menu Contest.

Dress-up your typical everyday meal using your Winecountry-inspired imagination to convey what those dishes would be like while sipping your favorite wine on a clear Summer day among the vineyards of Wine Country. The blanket is laid out. The picnic basket is stocked. And your view is a canopy of vineyards in the valley below. The more enticing and creative, the better!

~ Sample 1 ~
Typical Everyday Meal:
Tuna Salad on White Bread with a soda

WineCountry Dream Meal (What you really want!): Mousse of braised Ahi Tuna on a bed of vine-ripened pear tomatoes and green-leaf lettuce with fresh Pugliese (Italian peasant bread) served with a gently chilled Peju Province 1999 Carnival.

~ Sample 2 ~
Typical Everyday Meal:
Macaroni & Cheese

WineCountry Dream Meal (What you really want!):
Farfelle pasta in a gratin of Mozzarella, Provolone, & Stilton, served with grilled fresh garden vegetables and a nice Stags' Leap Winery 1999 Viognier.

***Please limit your essay to 200 words or less!!!***

The best Creative Flair Menu, to be determined by FreeRun Staff, will win the Healdsburg Happening! (Winning decision is final)! By submitting your suggestion, you are granting FreeRun Technologies the right to include your answer in our newsletters and on our web sites.

And one last thing…. To be eligible for contest, please answer the following question:

What "one-word association" immediately pops into your mind when you hear the words "wine country travel"?

OK, that’s it - your Creative Flair Menu and your One Word Association!!

To enter this contest: 1.) click "Reply" and 2.) in the body of the message pen your story.

Remember - 200 words or less!

One entry per person, please. ***Deadline for response is 8:00 am (Pacific Daylight Saving Time) Friday, May 11, 2001*** Essays may be edited for tone, clarity and length.

We're sorry, we will not be able to respond to everyone - only the winner will be contacted.

The winning suggestion will be published in Lifestyle News, along with the writer's name and state of residence only (email address, physical address, or other personal identifying information will not be published).

Please note: In addition to being emailed to our Newsletter Subscribers, all of our newsletters are also displayed online at:

We reserve the right to use all or part of your submissions anywhere on the Network.


FreeRun employees and their families are not eligible to enter this contest.

Good Luck!

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