My Legends of Wine Favorites
It sure has been a wonderful past two weeks and another successful Farm-to-Fork celebration here in Sacramento. I feel especially grateful to live here during this time of the year. One of the key events during Farm-to-Fork Week is Legends of Wine, which took place last September 17th on the steps of the Capitol building.
I attended with Andy and I brought my mom with us, who was visiting from Ohio that week. It was a gorgeous, classic Sacramento September night, and we had a great time. We caught up with many industry friends and tasted dozens of labels—some familiar, some not so familiar—but all chosen by wine experts Darrell Corti and David Berkley to be at the present.
As always, I took pictures of my favorites and am presenting them to you here. I am not being compensated for my opinion, I just really like the wines you’re about to see, and I encourage you to try them if you have not already! 🙂
First up is a 2013 Semillon from Andis. If you attended Legends of Wine, you probably tried this wine, because they were one of the first booths of the event near the entrance. It’s a great wine to begin the evening. Bright, fruity and readies the palette for more!
My second favorite from Legends of Wine was the 2013 Séka Hills Viognier (shown below). Speaking of bright and fruity, this wine has the same descriptors. It’s a crisp, flavorful wine straight out of Capay Valley.
Near the Capay Valley lies Esparto and my good friends at Matchbook. Their Rosé of Tempranillo is currently my favorite domestic rosé. It will probably be on my table this Thanksgiving, it goes with almost anything.
Another favorite wine of mine is the 2014 Chenin Blanc from Revolution Wine in Sacramento. Craig Haarmeyer is the winemaker there and is making Chenin cool again. Check out Revolution’s tasting room and restaurant over on 29th and S. In their tasting room, don’t miss their Albariño and Malbec. They are by far my two favorite wines that Craig makes. 🙂
This Vermentino from Lone Acre (Simone Giusto Cellars) was one of Andy’s favorites. Vermentino is one of the most popular white grapes in Italy and is becoming more popular in California. The grape tends to do really well in warmer regions just like Amador! It might be time to roll out the red wines, but keep this one in mind for a starter glass before dinner.
We also liked this rosé by Uvaggio (Lodi). It’s a blend of Primitivo, Barbera and Vermentino, which is like the Italian grape version of The Three Musketeers!
For all you red wine folks, my last choice is Michael David’s Ancient Vine Cinsault. It’s very similar in body/taste to a Pinot Noir (cherry/berry). The Cinsault was planted in all the way back in 1885 by Joseph Spenker, which pretty much qualifies it as ancient vine, as it is Lodi’s oldest producing vineyard. I wish there were more Cinsault planted and produced!
I am already looking forward to next year’s Farm-to-Fork celebration and another Legends of Wine. To keep up with all the delicious Farm-to-Fork events, click here, “like” Farm to Fork on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter here. Cheers! 🙂
Touring and Tasting with Matchbook Wine Company
As a wine writer, I get invited to some of the most interesting events.
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!!”.
Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Piatti Presents Matchbook Wines, Spectacular from Beginning to End!
If you missed Piatti’s last wine dinner for the year featuring Matchbook Wines, I feel really bad for you! It was even more than I thought it would be––even though I knew it would be amazing. Piatti is one of my long time advertisers, and I have always been a fan of their food, but I never knew it could be pulled off like this. This dinner was probably one of the best meals I have eaten there. I think it’s mostly due to Chef Lance Carlini who combines his take on Italian cuisine with Farm to Fork/seasonal and brings it to a whole new level.
And then there were my wonderful table mates. So, at the Piatti wine dinners, patrons are sat 6 to a table, so you prepare to make new fellow loving wine friends–at least for the night! I was lucky enough to sit with Sharon, Tamara, Eduardo, and James and be a fifth wheel. 🙂
We were sat fountain side with illuminated trees surrounding us. We had been welcomed with an opening glass of Matchbook’s Rosé of Tempranillo as John and Lane Giguiere (owners of the winery) were making the rounds and introducing themselves to each table.
Then it was onto the opening dish: A wood fired spot prawn with Grass Valley polenta and a hatch chili chimichurri. It was paired with the wine we were already enjoying: Matchbook’s 2013 Rose of Tempranillo, Dunnigan Hills.
As you can see. the plating was flawless on this dish. My favorite element was the chimichurri (a green sauce made of chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar) which I love on anything from seafood to chicken to beef or pork.
The second course presented to us was a Riverdog Farm Potato Gnocchi served with fall squash, Apple Hill apples, lacinato kale and cream. It was served with the 2012 ‘Arsonist’ Chardonnay, Dunnigan Hills. The upfront nose on the wine revealed aromas of toasty oak, caramel apple and crème brûlée. It was an automatic match with the plump buttery gnocchi and apples in the cream sauce. Gnocchi is the only pasta I even missed post-Paleo, so this was like eating dessert for me! Also, lots of wonderful comments from my table mates––they also loved the squash and apples in the dish. It was the essence of fall! Great pairing, Chef Carlini! 🙂
Then it was time to get serious. The third course presented to us was a Tinto Rey Red Braised Short Rib with Thyme Toasted Mushrooms and fresh Horseradish paired with the 2009 Tinto Rey Red Blend, California. The Tinto Rey is a red wine blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Graciano, Tannat and Cabernet.
So, if you didn’t gather from the course description, the short rib was actually braised in the wine with which it was paired. We didn’t even really need a knife on this one, just a fork to pull apart the meat. Again, the plating was gorgeous and the pairing was genius.
Dessert came soon after that: A Milk Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Hazelnut––topped with Pomegranate arils. It was paired with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County. I boxed up the dessert to take home to Andy, but took full advantage of the Cabernet. 🙂 The Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon has vibrant ripe red fruit characteristics followed by layers of spice and earth and chocolate and that’s enough dessert for me!
I was completely wowed by this wine dinner and I was seated with the best company! Thanks to the marketing and management at Piatti for the great partnership we have had over the years. And thank you, Chef Lance Carlini! Amazing job. 🙂
As of October 25 this year, Matchbook now has a tasting room located in Zamora here. GO VISIT THEM! 🙂
You can learn more about Matchbook Wines here. You can find them on Facebook here and their parent company on twitter here. You can find Piatti on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.
Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Piatti Presents Matchbook on Wednesday, October 8th!
I am very excited to share this event with you put on by my long time advertiser, Piatti Sacramento.
I’ll be attending the dinner and writing about it afterwards. I am really looking forward to the pairing of some of my very favorite wines with food by one of Sacramento’s best chefs, Lance Carlini! If you want to attend, call 916-649-8885. Hurry, space is limited and will sell out!
You can find Matchbook Wines on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Piatti Sacramento is on Facebook here and on Twitter here.