Friday, July 22, 2016

Check out Livermore Valley's newest winery, Leisure Street



Leisure Street tasting room opened this past March at 503 Leisure Street which is just off Vasco Road in an industrial zone a stone’s throw from I-580.  The owners are insurance brokers Rick and Kelly Volpatti.  In fact when they decided to open their winery, they moved their insurance offices from downtown Livermore to a site next door to the winery. 

Kelly and Rick have always loved wine and a few years ago Steve Burman of 3 Steves winery suggested that she try to make her own wine.  They jumped at this chance and found that winemakers of Livermore Valley are a family with a passion for making wine that reflects the great style and variety of Livermore Valley.  Several winemakers were there to help her produce her first Chardonnay.  Besides the Steve’s of 3 Steves, she had help from Mark Clarin, the award winning winemaker at McGrail, plus Collin Cranor of Nottingham Cellars and Rhonda Wood of Wood Family.  They all provided her an education in winemaking and in crafting her wines.  They have grown from a half of ton of Chardonnay that first year to 5, 8, 12, and now 18 tons of grapes, resulting in over 1000 cases.  They have also picked up several barrels of wine from the Thomas Coyne Winery estate, especially some of the great Rhone style grapes that Thomas used to produce. 

Now as new winemakers, owning their own insurance brokerage, developing their winemaking skills and building two companies simultaneously, Rick and Steve definitely are not on Leisure Street yet in their careers. 


Their 2013 GSM with 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre, a very nice Rhone style blend wine.  I hope you enjoy the nice blend of fruit on the nose and the palate with cherry and blueberry, combined with the spice of the Syrah and backed up by the earthiness of the Mourvedre.

A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2016 Pairing Competition of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 221, provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.  This event was sold out and 700 attendees got to sample wines and food from local wineries and restaurants.  Judges Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine, culinary instructor and author Linda Carruci and wine writer and educator Fred Swan tasted 18 gourmet food and wine pairings at Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir event. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all 18 pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:
 
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
  • Wedding Cheeks with a Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung )

Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
  • Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
  • Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with a Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues) 
Judges' Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
  • Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to:

Best White Wine Pairing: Longevity Wines and Johnny Garlic’s
  • Longevity Wines 2015 Pinot Blanc, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Phil Long)
  • Won Ton Taco with Ahi Tuna, Mango Jicama Salsa, Wasabi Cream and Eel Sauce (chef: Ulises Rodriguez)

Best Red Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards & Winery and Beets Hospitality Group 
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Mark Clarin)
  • 12-Hour House Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimento Cheese in a Crispy Risotto Shell (chef: Clay Brunton)

Over the following three days wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Most of these events were sell-outs.


A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2016 Pairing Competition of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 221, provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.  This event was sold out and 700 attendees got to sample wines and food from local wineries and restaurants.  Judges Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine, culinary instructor and author Linda Carruci and wine writer and educator Fred Swan tasted 18 gourmet food and wine pairings at Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir event. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all 18 pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:
 
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
  • Wedding Cheeks with a Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung )

Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
  • Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
  • Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with a Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues) 
Judges' Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
  • Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to:

Best White Wine Pairing: Longevity Wines and Johnny Garlic’s
  • Longevity Wines 2015 Pinot Blanc, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Phil Long)
  • Won Ton Taco with Ahi Tuna, Mango Jicama Salsa, Wasabi Cream and Eel Sauce (chef: Ulises Rodriguez)

Best Red Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards & Winery and Beets Hospitality Group 
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Mark Clarin)
  • 12-Hour House Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimento Cheese in a Crispy Risotto Shell (chef: Clay Brunton)

Over the following three days wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Most of these events were sell-outs.


A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2016 Pairing Competition of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 221, provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.  This event was sold out and 700 attendees got to sample wines and food from local wineries and restaurants.  Judges Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine, culinary instructor and author Linda Carruci and wine writer and educator Fred Swan tasted 18 gourmet food and wine pairings at Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir event. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all 18 pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:
 
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
  • Wedding Cheeks with a Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung )

Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
  • Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
  • Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with a Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues) 
Judges' Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
  • Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to:

Best White Wine Pairing: Longevity Wines and Johnny Garlic’s
  • Longevity Wines 2015 Pinot Blanc, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Phil Long)
  • Won Ton Taco with Ahi Tuna, Mango Jicama Salsa, Wasabi Cream and Eel Sauce (chef: Ulises Rodriguez)

Best Red Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards & Winery and Beets Hospitality Group 
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Mark Clarin)
  • 12-Hour House Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimento Cheese in a Crispy Risotto Shell (chef: Clay Brunton)

Over the following three days wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Most of these events were sell-outs.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Santa Cruz Mountains wineries invite wine lovers for Passport in July

Santa Cruz Mountains is a unique treasure in the South Bay with a mixture of wonderful wines and beautiful scenery.  A drive through the mountains on Passport day delivers a relaxing afternoon as you explore the wines in this wild region.  It is home to over fifty great wineries producing legendary wines.  Take a drive through the idyllic Santa Cruz Mountains on Saturday July 16 Noon to 5:00 p.m. to visit some of the small wineries hidden among the trees.  Passport is always a great time to visit Santa Cruz Mountains wineries - from Half Moon Bay to Gilroy - your experience is bound to be unique and memorable. Passport holders will be invited to tour the facilities, meet the winemakers, and sample the fruits of their labors - including special wines poured only for participants in the Passport Program! From mountain top vistas to passing llamas along the winding drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains each winery has a flavor that will leave you wanting more.

Information about Santa Cruz Mountains Passports
  • Passport Days occurs four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November.
  • Wineries generally closed to the public are only open on Passport Days.
  • Passport is your opportunity to meet our legendary Winemakers of the Santa Cruz Mountains and taste some fabulous terroir driven wines.
  • Use the MAP in the Passport as a rough guide only. Please make sure to read the directions for each individual winery.
  • At each winery you visit, a page of your Passport will be given a unique commemorative stamp.
  • You must have your Passport to have your tasting fee waived at each participating winery.
  • Many wineries have limited access and parking. Before hiring a stretch limousine or bus, call the wineries you propose to visit and make arrangements.
  • Passports can be purchased at any participating winery.


For more information, or to order your passport, visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers web site at http://scmwa.com/event/july-2016-passport/  You can also purchase a Passport at any participating winery.

Participating Wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains Alfaro Family Vineyards, Armitage Wines, Bargetto Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Big Basin Vineyards, Bonny Doon Vineyards, Bottle Jack Winery, Bruzzone Family Vineyard, Burrell School Vineyards, Byington Winery, Cinnabar Vineyards, Clos LaChance Wines, Clos Tita Winery, Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Dancing Creek Winery, Domenico Wines, Equinox Wine Cellars, Fellom Ranch Vineyards, House Family Winery, La Honda Winery, La Rusticana Vineyards, Left Bend Winery, Loma Prieta Winery, McHenry Vineyard, Michael Martella Wines, MJA Vineyards, Muccigrosso Vineyards, Muns Vineyard, Naumann Vineyards, Nicholson Vineyards, Odonata, Poetic Cellars, Portola Vineyards, Radonich Brothers Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Roudon-Smith Winery, Russian Ridge Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Sante Arcangeli Family Wines, Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards, Ser, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Silvertip Vineyards, Stockwell Cellars, Storrs Winery, The Mountain Winery, Villa del Monte Winery, Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery, Woodside Vineyards, Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery and Zayante Vineyards.

For directions and to make sure where each winery is pouring for Passport, visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers website.

For more information: 


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Taste of Terroir coming to Livermore Valley Wine Country July 21-24

The premier food and wine affair for Livermore Valley’s, Taste Our Terroir, is returning to Livermore Valley July 21-24 as the historic region celebrates and educates wine lovers about its unique wines.  Over the four days, Livermore Valley wineries will offer several different events, including the popular food and wine pairing competition, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars and vineyard tours.  All event tickets are on sale now at www.LVwine.org.

Taste Our Terroir 2016 will begin Thursday night, July 21, 6-9pm, with the region’s signature event, the annual “Quest for Pairing Excellence” at Casa Real in Pleasanton.  Wine and food judges participate in a blind tasting and present awards to the winning teams.  Be sure to cast your vote for the People's Choice White and Red pairing awards. on.  VIP tickets ($125 until sold out) grant access to the event one hour early. General admission tickets are $85 in advance and $95 after July 10 at www.LVwine.org. This event sells out every year—there will be no tickets available at the door.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Visit https://www.lvwine.org/event-lineup/2248/Taste_Our_Terroir/Lineup.html for tickets and details on all events.

For information:






32nd Annual Winesong coming to Mendocino Coast

Tickets are now on sale for the 32nd Annual Winesong event — a spectacular weekend of award-winning wine, fabulous food, fine art, music, merriment, and charitable giving. Produced by the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, the main event – featuring a grand food and wine tasting and a live and silent auction – takes place at the gorgeous Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on Saturday, September 10th, and on Friday, September 9th, the nearby Little River Inn will host ‘A Pinot Noir Celebration’ showcasing local winemakers. Proceeds from both events go towards supporting the local Mendocino Coast District Hospital that serves so many in the area.

Sponsors are a vital part of any event - they help offset costs of production, provide auction lots, and add value to the attendees’ experience.  Some sponsors have been with Winesong for years, while others are new to the family, but all contribute to helping to raise essential funds for the rural Hospital. This year, there is a wonderful mix of local, national, and international sponsors that will assist in making the 2016 Winesong our best event yet!

The main sponsor, Celebrity Cruises, is proud to support Winesong and the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation for the second year as part of their commitment to enhancing the life of the collective community here in Northern California. Celebrity Cruises is also excited to participate in such a unique food and wine tasting event, as the modern luxury experience they offer on their ships is focused on culinary excellence and an extensive selection of wines and handcrafted cocktails.

A host of additional local and national businesses will also be sponsoring this year’s event, including Harvest Market, North Coast Brewing Company, JetBlue, Mendo Lake Credit Union, The Coast FM – KOZT, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc., Safeway, CalStar, Air Ambulance, and Birchware Compostable Utensils. For further information the 2016 Winesong event sponsors, please visit http://winesong.org/sponsors-2/.

In addition, Winesong recently announced the revered artist and long-time Winesong supporter, the late Lowell Herrero, as this year’s Artist of the Year, and named Grace Family Vineyards as the 2016 Honored Winery.

Further details regarding the Winesong events:

A Pinot Noir Celebration: Meet the Winemakers
Friday, September 9, 2016 | 1 to 4 p.m.
The weekend kicks off with a prestigious Pinot Noir tasting, presented by Winesong and hosted by Little River Inn. Attendees will enjoy Pinot Noir from renowned Anderson Valley, along with wines from other award-winning pinot regions, alongside tastes of Little River Inn’s finest culinary offerings. General Admission Tickets for A Pinot Noir Celebration: Meet the Winemakers are $75 per person.

Wine & Food Grand Tasting in the Gardens
Saturday, September 10, 2016 | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Stroll through the lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens while enjoying vintages poured by world-class wineries from Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, and beyond. You can sample beer, spirits, and food from 50 of Mendocino County’s finest purveyors. The tasting is accented by various musical groups performing a variety of styles including jazz, classical, blues, calypso and folk rock. General Admission Tickets with festival seating at auction and access to wine and food tasting are $150 per person.

Silent & Live Auctions
Saturday, September 10, 2016 | SILENT: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; LIVE: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The centerpiece of Winesong weekend is the Charity Auction, featuring both a silent and live auction.  More than 200 lots will be on offer, featuring spectacular wines from the world’s most prestigious wine producers, rare vintages, large format bottles and special vertical and horizontal collections, as well as original art from acclaimed California artists (including Lowell Herrero) and highly coveted international and domestic vacation packages. Auction Reserve Tickets with assigned seating under the auction tent (w/catered lunch) and access to wine and food tasting are $250 per person.

Tickets to all events are available for purchase at: https://winesong.ejoinme.org/purchase-tickets-winesong-2016.

For further information, please visit http://winesong.org or call (707) 961-4688.

About Winesong & the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation
Winesong is produced by the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Its mission is to help the small rural Hospital provide the best possible medical care to residents as well as the many visitors to the Mendocino Coast. Winesong proceeds have enabled the Hospital to purchase chemotherapy equipment, portable ultrasound machines for the Emergency Room as well as a state-of-the-art Diagnostic Imaging Center, Cardiology Equipment, and most recently, a Bedside Medicine Verification System.