This time, it was a media/blogger tour and taste at Matchbook Wine Company in Dunnigan Hills. I was already a major fan of the Matchbook Wine label because of its quality vs. price ratio, so I was delighted to accept the invitation. Plus, I am an ex-employee of Toasted Head (special events sous chef and tasting room associate), so any excuse to head back to those Dunnigan Hills and I am in! :)
I actually managed to be somewhat outgoing (shocker) and met a few of the other writers, and after you read my blathering and reflections on my experience at the oasis just a few miles from the I-5 Zamora exit, you might want to read from their point of view here: Erin at Adventures in Nor Cal and Susan at Finding Our Way Now.
But first, a recap of my experience. It was a Friday night, and quite frankly one of the best happy hours (or two) I have ever spent. Just think of it: The moment Andy and I arrived at the new, beautiful tasting room, we were welcomed with a glass of 2013 Arsonist Chardonnay and introduced to some of the other writers (Lynn of Sacatomato was also there), tasting room associates, and the owners of Matchbook, John and Lane Giguiere.
I have followed the Giguieres for a while now, and have enjoyed their wines on several occasions, so it was nice to officially meet them and spend a bit of time with them instead of exchanging a few sentences here and there when I have met them at fundraisers/various wine tastings.
It was also great to finally see the tasting room (which has been open since October of last year). It’s an oblong shaped space with the tasting bar at one end and a large dining/board meeting table at the other. There is an impressively large chandelier that hangs above an island of items for sale. Out the back doors leads to a patio with a drop-dead stunning view of the vineyard. Nice digs.
One of the most memorable and fun parts of the evening was speeding up and down the hilly vineyards in a golf cart with the winery’s owner John Giguiere at the helm. It was and his wife Lane who lead the tour, which included a tasting in the vineyard (the 2014 Matchbook Rosé of Tempranillo) and a look at some of the farming techniques being used on the grapevines, followed by a barrel tasting of several wines in the Matchbook/Arsonist portfolio.
Inside the barrel room, we tried 2 different wines that are used to make Matchbook’s “The Arsonist” Chardonnay. The first wine was big and buttery and would make even Rombauer and Falcor Chardonnay lovers fall to their knees. The second was a more fruit forward Chardonnay aged in neutral barrels. Together they make a stunning food-friendly wine that would best compliment a cheese plate, a chicken dish, or anything with an Alfredo sauce.
After the barrel tasting, we returned to the tasting room (for more wine tasting, of course!) and enjoyed appetizers provided by Kitchen428 Restaurant and Mojo’s Lounge. We tasted the 2012 Arsonist Red Blend and the Matchbook 2011 Tinto Rey (a blend of Syrah and Tempranillo).
The two aforementioned wine along with most wines in the Matchbook Wine portfolio are so very conducive to enjoying with food—I am pretty sure that’s why I like them so much.
On a side note, you might remember my story on the Matchbook wine dinner held at Piatti late last year. You can find that here. If not, you can find Matchbook on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.
Thanks so much to Matchbook Wine Company for the invitation to explore their wines and their beautiful property. Both Andy and I feel truly blessed to have met with the group. Heaven on Earth, indeed.
There are five wines in the Matchbook portfolio including their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Tinto Rey, Syrah, and Rosé of Tempranillo. You can find most of them in your local supermarket, but I’m going to encourage you to visit the winery and tasting room and figure out which one is your favorite there. Spend an afternoon on the patio with the beautiful view of the vineyards, and please tell John and Lane I said “Hello!!”.
East Bay Vintners Alliance presents the 10th Annual Urban Wine Xperience on Saturday, August 1, 2015, from 1:00-4:00pm.
The event will take place at Market Hall in Jack London Square. More than 20 urban wineries from the EBVA will pour a wide array of white, rose, red and dessert wines for you to taste and enjoy.
In addition, local eateries and food purveyors will team up with the various wineries, creating delicious bites that pair beautifully with the EBVA’s wine portfolio. No need to travel to wine country when you can experience the ultimate wine tasting in your own urban backyard!
Participating wineries include: Aubin Cellars, Carica Wines, Chouinard Vineyard and Winery, Dashe Cellars, Jeff Cohn Cellars, Mead Kitchen, R&B Cellars, Rock Wall Wine Company, Rosenblum Cellars, Stage Left Cellars, Paradox Wines, Urban Legend and Urbano Cellars with more wineries set to join.
Last year’s event was sold out and tickets are expected to go fast for the 10th anniversary event. Tickets are priced at $45 before June 1, and will be $70 at the door. Wine Club members’ tickets are $35 with promo code. Designated drivers receive discounted tickets at $15. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.
New this year for the first time, UWX ticket holders will receive a $5 coupon at the door, applicable to any wine purchase at the event. A portion of the proceeds from wine sales will be donated to the Alameda County Food Bank.
Here’s a little press release from my friends at HALL! We can’t wait to attend the Kathryn Hall Cabernet release party in September! You can read about last year’s party here.
HALL’s Annual Harvest Party Celebrates Release of 97 pt 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet
In addition to the main event, a rare Vertical Tasting hosted by Steve Leveque will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the historic Bergfeld building. The experience will include a tasting flight of Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (vintages 2007 – 2012).
Country music entertainment will be provided and guests will be served farm-to-table bites, western style. Additionally, Kathryn Walt Hall will be available during the event to sign bottles. The Kathryn Hall Release Party takes place on The Great Lawn in St. Helena located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains facing HALL’s Bergfeld Estate vineyard.
Think daytime. Think Texas BBQ. Think Kathryn Hall, Y’ALL. It’s going to be the ultimate harvest showdown with 800 friends set on the Great Lawn at HALL.
Ultimate Harvest Party Shindig: It’s Kathryn Hall Y’ALL
2012 Kathryn Hall Release Party
Saturday, September 12, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m (Vertical Tasting hosted by Steve Leveque)
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. PST (Main Event)
HALL St. Helena
401 St. Helena Hwy. South
St. Helena, CA 94574
Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/1LiII7v.
Prices for the Main Event are $75 for Early Bunny (purchased before Aug. 17) and $90 thereafter including at the door the day of the party. Ticket price for the Vertical Tasting is $200 and includes admission to the Main Event. For more information, please visit www.hallwines.com or follow their social channels on Twitter @hallwines and on Facebook here.
Recently, two of Italy’s leading wineries released their first rosé wines—Mezzacorona from Trento, and Sicily’s Stemmari—each reflecting native varietals and terroir, and Andy and I were fortunate enough to sample them.
Ground pork burgers with an aioli dressing in a red cabbage shell. The meat mixture was a pound of ground pork and 4 ounces ground chorizo.
On the side we had a medley of roasted vegetables roasted in coconut oil.
About the wines:
MEZZACORONA ROSÉ 2014: 100% Lagrein; 12% ABV; $8.99 SRP
Mezzacorona’s Rosé is made from 100% Lagrein grapes, a local variety grown along the Adige Valley north of Trento, where Mezzacorona calls home.
STEMMARI ROSÉ 2014: 100% Nero d’Avola; 12% ABV; $9.99 SRP
The Stemmari Rosé is produced from 100% Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s most famous grape variety, which is cultivated on sandy soils in the Ragusa province.
For more information about Mezzacorona go to www.mezzacorona.it or visit Mezzacorona on Facebook here and follow the brand on Twitter at @MezzacoronaWine. To learn more about Stemmari, go to www.stemmari.it; visit Stemmari on Facebook here and follow the brand on Twitter at @StemmariWine.
Evian, BADOIT, and The St. Regis Monarch Beach present The Santa Monica Grand Tasting! Chef Susan Feniger of Border Grill heads the festivities as a featured chef, along with 100 of LA’s top chefs participating in the kitchen presented by the Santa Monica Whole Foods Market. Participating Chefs include: Raj Dixit of Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern, Tacoteca (Adam Fleischman), Bouchon (David Hands), 9021pho (Kimmy Tang), Fattoria del Vicario (Matt Dhillon), Scratch Bar (Phillip Frankland Lee) , Fiamme Pizza Napoletana (Luke Smith), Q-Catering (Vazgen Ghahremanians), LA Sweet Tooth Confections (Paula Solis/Leslie Z), Chef DJ Seal (DJ Seals), Sugar & Spyked (Tamara Anderson), Chocolatier (Eve Stephens), Ace Culinary Academy School (Cecilia De Castro), My Sweet Beginnings (Tene Harris), Chef Bryan Hill, Hotel Erwin (Adam Steudle), My World On Plate (Keven Lee). Other Participating Brands: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Kerry Gold Cheese & Butter, Choctal, GG’s Toffee, Cutco, Fresh Brothers, Nature’s Bakery, Gourmet Blends, and many more. The event will take place on the Iconic Santa Monica Pier to sample the ultimate in pairing menus, where numerous well-known chefs and restaurants will be featured. This is the first time an event of this caliber will be held on the pier. Guests can enjoy the iconic pier from 7-10 pm as they take a tour through an endless array of scents and tastes that highlight and celebrate the diverse culinary offerings LA has to offer. Free rides offered by Uber.com to event participants and after parties at the Hotel Erwin. For more information on the event, visit their website: http://santamonicagrandtasting.com What: Santa Monica Grand Tasting Why: Supporting the Chill Foundation When: June 13-14 Time: 7PM-10PM Location: Santa Monica Pier
Wine lovers, you won’t want to miss this!
Over 7,000 bottles of wine will be uncorked on NakedWines.com road trip across California, and this coming Wednesday, May 13th, the tour makes a stop right here in Sacramento at the Vizcaya!
More than 30 of your winemakers are hopping on the Naked Tour Bus and roaming around California to share their best wines with all the people (like you!) who funded them.
Every wine you’ll taste was crowd-funded by regular wine drinkers, and the winemakers didn’t pay to attend and share their wines. We recommend going up to a table and asking one of the winemakers to explain it. (They’ll be wearing blue shirts).
Who is behind all of this? 300,000 wine drinkers realized they could get better wines at better prices if they supported winemakers to cut out all the costs you can’t taste, like marketing. They weren’t rich enough to do it alone, so they teamed up and invested people like Ken, Tom and Carmen below.
After winning fifty 90+ scores for his wines at Flora Springs, Heitz and Joseph Phelps in a 4 decade long career making Napa Cab, Ken is finally striking out on his own with a personal range of Napa wines at unbelievable prices. Even reserve barrel-aged Napa Cabs for under $30.
One of our first thousand Angels revealed a hidden talent for making world-class wines in his garage at home. 75,000 Angels teamed up to invest in Tom’s first professional range of wines made with award-winning fruit from Pickberry Vineyards.
Carmen is an amazingly talented winemaker, but she had a hard time getting funding as South Africa’s first black woman to graduate in oenology since Apartheid. Angels saw her qualifications and immediately agreed to fund her personal project in exchange for exclusive access to these delicious treats.
To purchase tickets to the event, you can go here. The Vizcaya is located at 2019 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. The event begins at 6:30pm and goes until 9pm.
I am a fan of trying new things and I love getting surprises in the mail, so when I heard about Send Me Gluten Free, I immediately checked them out!
Send Me Gluten Free is a monthly subscription service that introduces you to new gluten free products. The company was kind enough to send me a sample box (just like I would get if I had a subscription to their service).
I didn’t want to describe/review the individual products I was sent, because they vary so much in individual boxes each month, but I will tell you that I enjoyed everything in the box, and there were even coupons/offers in the box along with the products. I want to thank the people at Send Me Gluten Free, as they must be mind readers!
But, to be honest, they sent me some REALLY addictive (yet organic, non GMO!! stuff), and I’m sure that’s pretty much the norm every month!! Some of these items included: Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter that can substitute peanut butter), Skinnypop popcorn (hello popcorn, I missed you!), some amazing chocolate coated pumpkin seeds called SuperSeedz (probably my fave in the box), and some Alter Eco chocolate. YESSSS!! Box already scarfed down. ;)
Along with the assortment of products, I also received an envelope in the box containing coupons good for gluten free products. I’ll definitely be using the one for SunButter spread.
Soooo, the Send Me Gluten Free subscriptions range from month-to-month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months (the 3, 6, and 12 months are prepaid in advance, and offer discounted rates that increase the discount the longer you commit to the service).
Each month, your box will contain 8-10 new gluten free products. You’ll get both full-size and sample size food, personal care items, supplements and household products that support your gluten free lifestyle. Your chosen subscription will automatically renew, but you can cancel at any time. You box will ship on the first Monday of each month.
Send Me Gluten Free requires all of their brand partners to be certified gluten-free or tested to the FDA standard of less than 20 parts per million.
Would you like to try a sample box from Send Me Gluten Free? You can enter to WIN one by commenting below AND sharing this post on Facebook with your friends. In your comment, please answer these questions: Why did you go gluten free & what is your favorite gluten free snack? Also, let me know in the comments that your shared with your friends and please tag cavegrrl.com when you do. Contest lasts until the end of April, and I will pick a winner at random.
Below is an example of the type of products found in a box, not the actual contents of what the winner will receive. It changes every month, that’s the fun of it!
PS!!: If you decide to subscribe, Cavegrrl.com readers can get a 20% off an subscription length by using discount code BLOG20 at checkout.