Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

California State Fair

Casque Wines: Exceptional Rhone and Bordeaux-Style Wines in Loomis

Today I’d like to tell you about a winery that’s pretty much right in our own backyard (that is, if you live near Sacramento), and a talented winemaker named Kevin Stevenson.

The winery is called Casque Wines, and they are located in Loomis off of Taylor road in their new tasting room. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because they used to share a tasting room with Wise Villas, or maybe because in 2010 they took Best of Show at the California State Fair.

Or perhaps this is the first time you have ever heard of them. Well, I am happy to introduce you. Though there some very good wineries in the Placer area, this one is actually my new favorite. I had the chance to go through their entire portfolio a few months ago at The Grape Days of Summer, and since I love interesting white wines, they had me at Roussanne.

Right now in the Casque tasting room, they are doing a three-year vertical tasting of their Roussanne (pictured above). What is remarkable about this, is that you can really taste the difference in vintages, as well as see the color change. When I first tried the wines, it was very comparable to a tequila tasting, as in tequila the flavor gets more caramel, heavier, and the color darker as it ages.

The same goes for the Casque Roussannes. I find it a little better to try the youngest vintage first, so request to do that if you can. The BF and I walked away with the 2010 (his favorite) and the 2008 (my favorite).

Here are the tasting notes on the wines (provided by the winery):

2008 Roussanne
Our 2008 Roussanne displays a deep, golden straw color in the glass. On the nose, the wine displays classic honeysuckle and apricot notes, with hints of fresh melon and vanilla. In the mouth, the wine is rich and lush, with added notes of peach and crushed nuts. The finish is framed by sweet, but balanced, oak. This rich, full-bodied wine pairs wonderfully with flavorful white meat dishes and stronger cheeses.
2009 Roussanne
Our 2009 Roussanne displays a rich gold color. Classic varietal aromas of apricot, honey and flowers start slowly but open beautifully in the glass. These meld seemlessly into a rich, round palate with some subtle vanilla notes added to the mix, all of which echo on the long, lingering finish. The fruit for our 2009 Roussanne comes from two different vineyard sources. This year’s bottling was fermented in a combination of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels (approximately 75% stainless, 25% oak).2010 Roussanne
Our 2010 Roussanne displays a pale gold color in the glass. On the nose the wine exhibits wonderful aromas of beeswax and melon along with a strong minerality. The mid-palate shows an unexpected lushness, given the wine’s strong minerality, with added notes of peach sherbet and cream. All of the components meld into a long, seamless finish, with subtle hints of vanilla and caramel making an encore appearance.

You can buy wine from Casque here, but I really suggest you go to the winery itself if possible and meet the winemaker (who also happens to sing and play guitar), taste the wines, and chat for a while.

If you’re not into whites, they are making a Malbec I am really digging, and then there is their proprietary wine, Adrian that we both also loved.

And now a great excuse to visit the Casque tasting room this very weekend!!

Holidays in the Hills: Placer County Wine Trail Event on December 10th and 11th from 12-5pm

Admission is Free with Toy Donation:

Bring a new unwrapped child’s toy to donate for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Toy Drive and wine tasting is free for the day! All toys collected will be donated to needy children throughout Placer County. (Otherwise, individual winery tasting fees apply).

Home for the Holidays (Decorations and Prizes):

In honor of our troops coming home and families reuniting for the holidays, each winery will decorate with their interpretation of what it means to be “home for the holidays.” See different displays and enter a drawing for a chance to win a mixed case of Placer County Wines and other prizes.

Participating Wineries:

Bonitata • Casque • Cante Ao Vinho • Ciotti • Cristaldi • Dono dal Cielo • Fawnridge • Fortezza • Green Family • Lone Buffalo • Mt. Vernon • PaZa • Popie • Rancho Roble • Secret Ravine • Viña Castellano • Wise Villa

Here’s what Casque will be doing:

FOOD: FireVine Pizza on Saturday and Sunday: Personal Pizzas made to order ($8 – $10) or bring your own picnic.

MUSIC: By the Fire Pits

Saturday, 12-4pm – Matt Cooksey (new age guitarist)

Saturday, 5-8 pm – Terry Sharp (singer/songwriter guitarist)

Sunday – 4 on 6 (jazz group)

DECOR: Come to see our themed Christmas tree: “Badges of Honor”

DISCOUNTS: Enjoy 10% wine and logoed glass discounts to help you get ready for the holidays. (Wine Club Members receive this discount in addition to their standard discount)

GIFT WRAPPING: Complimentary Gift Wrapping and signing of bottles by the winemaker

LATE HOURS: Join us on Saturday evening from 5 until 8pm for our wine bar and wine flights plus additional music by the fireside.

For more information on the event and other wineries participating, you can go to Placer Wine’s website.

You can find Casque Wines on Facebook here.

Healthier Fare at the California State Fair!

I love going to the California State Fair every year. I visit several times during the duration of the fair, and enjoy the exhibits (especially the California county exhibits), the wine garden, the concerts, and just people watching in general. 🙂

This year, I have changed my focus a little with my side business and this website. I no longer make cakes or sweets or anything that I shouldn’t be eating. Well, anything I shouldn’t be eating I certainly don’t want to try and sell to you.

So now, I want to report more on healthy living… or at least making healthier choices. In this post, I will show you that YES, there are better food choices at the fair. You can make it out alive without having a “deep fried” anything. No one is forcing you to eat a funnel cake, ok? If you are currently on a diet or have been advised by a doctor to stay away from sugar and excess fat, you don’t have to avoid the fair altogether. Read below for some information on vendors I visited that carry lighter food choices!

Check out this chicken and vegetable kabob I got from Jeanne’s Artichoke booth. She is located across from the wine garden area over by the bungee jump. The kabob is just chicken and vegetables and probably about 200 calories. Of wonderful protein and complex carbs!! All delicious fuel for your body. 🙂
Here is a picture of her stand. Look for the big artichoke. Below are other choices at her stand. You can also get a steamed artichoke. Bring your own lemon and pepper or sea salt. I am not kidding. When you are dieting you plan ahead to avoid failure. There are even sandwiches at Jeanne’s (though I avoid anything with bread or processed grains), and those of course are better picks than anything deep fried.

After I obtained my chicken kabob, I headed over to the wine garden to try some award-winning wines and to taste the wine of the day. Tip: Buy a souvenir wine glass for $7 and when you buy a glass of wine you actually get more like a glass and a half. The volunteers at the wine garden are very nice people and a lot of them are pretty knowledgeable about wine without being snooty, so if you are a wine novice, feel free to ask questions and really get dialed in to a wine you like before you buy! 🙂

Also, don’t miss this coming Friday’s (July 29th) wine event at the fair. The Taste and Celebrate the Best wine event (formerly California Grape & Gourmet) is the culmination of the Golden State’s premier wine competition. This special celebration of the State’s world class wine industry will include a tasting of California gold medal winning wines as judged at 2011 California State Fair Wine Competition. Proceeds from the Taste and Celebrate the Best event will benefit the Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship Program. You can buy tickets here. (scroll down to the Taste and Celebrate the Best event).

See the labels above? Those are three wines I tried (not in that order). I ended up buying a glass of Murphy Goode Chardonnay to go with my chicken kabob. So now, my calorie count is at about 400 (with the kabob, wine, and wine tastings). And 400 is a fraction of most foods at the fair. Moving on for dessert!!
Pignotti’s is a booth located in the wine garden that sells cheese and fruit plates. It is owned by Ken and Cathy McKnight. They also sell pasta, but we will avoid pasta won’t we? Yes, we will. I am looking for something light and sweet. Yes, a little fruit plate. Though the feta cheese plate looks awesome and is a great choice as well. I was pretty much ready for dessert so it was melon and grapes for me! Perfect. And now… only up to 525 calories or so.
After my fruit, I was ready to walk around and scope out more choices to write this post. If you go in the main county exhibit hall, you will find this place called Grinders. They have a few different salads you can choose from. Just avoid the “grinders” ;). Think of how you want your abs to look “grinded” or “shredded” and go with a garden or a chef salad. No dressing!! This is again when you bust out the pepper and lemon. Or, you can find a place with a little tabasco sauce or one of the stands that has soy sauce. Anything vingary, but please skip those nasty high fructose dressings. No bueno!!
If you head to the back of the fair behind the wine garden and the exhibit halls, there’s an awesome agriculture exhibit with a lot of hands on garden stuff, plants, fruits, vegetables, and guess what?!? A produce stand where you can buy… omigosh: healthy food! Check it out.
You can buy fruit by the piece or by the basket. There are also items such as carrots, string cheese, and melon in the cooler. I bought some carrots on day two of my visit.
Another place I spotted is this stand that sells char-broiled corn. Now, this is definitely a healthier choice, but I avoid anything with corn at all because corn is a grain, NOT a vegetable. But, it’s definitely a better pick than french fries or the wall of onion rings.
The same stand also sells vegetable kabobs, grilled pineapple (YUM) and fruit cups–awesome!! The stand is located near the kids rides on the way to the livestock area.
More healthy stuff at the fair… not just food, but MOVING! Shake your booty to the blues!
This is the Hiney Blues and Brews stage where Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers (find them on iTunes here) play Fri-Sun from 5-8pm. It’s a real treat for me. And yes, I do love to dance. And so do the people in the pictures! So fun! Also, come out to the fair Blues and Brews stage and get Mick’s cds… he is selling them 3 for $15 ONLY at the fair. He will sign them for you, too! His music just makes me happy and happy = healthy!!
Lastly, I didn’t even mention this, but you can BRING in your own food. Now, how is that for opening up healthier options? This post was done over 2 days, so the kabob/fruit meal was Friday night and on Saturday night I actually brought in my own cooler. Another fair patron asked me about it, and I was surprised she didn’t know about bringing food.
I brought in my own water. My own ice. It was a cooler no bigger than a large purse and I was fine carrying it around because it saved me a ton of money and I could bring in my own “good-for-me” food.
My mini cooler also contained: raw broccoli, red bell peppers, (bought some carrots at the produce stand for fifty cents), some avocado (I had pre-mixed with salt and lime and mashed in a ziploc bag for a quick veggie spread), some Laughing Cow light blue cheese (I dipped my broccoli in that) and some almonds–quick tip with almonds, count out 14 of them and that is about 100 calories! I will be back again a few times this week hopefully and bringing my cooler along. 🙂
The California State Fair runs until July 31st. You can follow them on twitter here and find them on Facebook here. Here is a link to a schedule of the fair’s daily events/activities. To purchase tickets to the fair or for any events, you can go here.

Grab Your Crew for Blues & Brews at the California State Fair!

The BEST California Wines