Thursday, June 30, 2011

Raw Pleasures: Wine & Oyster Festival in Healdsburg

The bivalve, the Mighty Mollusk, a briny kiss from the sea--no matter what you call them Oysters are truly gastronomic gifts and their pleasures are many. Writer M.F.K Fisher was so enchanted, she wrote a whole book about them called Consider the Oyster.

Everyone remembers their first time and if you are an oyster lover it most likely is a moment you will never forget. But not all love affairs start out blissfully. I took me many years to give the oyster a second chance. My first experience was not ideal, as it took pace in a divey Florida restaurant where I was a waitress on the weekends while in college. The main attraction was raw oysters but the oysters they served were not always the best specimens nature had to offer. Couple that with my "uniform" a T-shirt that read "I Eat it Raw"-- and you can begin to get the picture as to why my early oyster encounters were not ideal. I have since learned that oysters from warm waters and dive bars are best to be avoided and have instead developed an abiding love for bivalves from cold Pacific waters and especially for my local favorites from Tomalaes Bay.

If you share a love for the brine and beauty of oysters you should plan to be in Healdsburg on July 16th, 2011 for Vintage Wine Estates Wine and Oyster Event

I can’t wait to go. And you can go too for FREE! Vintage Wine Estates has provided me with two tickets to give away. Here's how to enter: Leave a comment below and tell me-- If you had an Oyster bar what slogan would you put on your T-Shirt? Leave your comment by July 13th. A random drawing will determine the winner who along with a guest will get to slurp and swirl the following pairings:

Pink & Sassy
Wine: 2007 Sonoma Coast Vineyards Blanc de Noirs Sea Fog Cuvee
Oyster: Golden Nugget   Mignonette: Sassy Pink

Fresh Kiss
Wine: 2010 Windsor Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley
Oyster: Miyagi   Mignonette: Classic Rice Wine

Purely Naked
Wine: 2010 Sonoma Coast Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Laguna Vista
Oyster: Golden Nugget   Mignonette: Naked

Tropical Thrill
Wine: 2009 Windsor Sonoma Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Oyster: Golden Nugget   Mignonette: Mango Chutney

Sweet Finale
Wine: 2009 Windsor Vineyards Muscat Canelli
Oyster: 2 Golden Nuggets   Mignonette: Naked and Mango Chutney

All pairings will be complemented by baguettes and cheese, plus music by B Rooster Blues Duo.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Vintage Wine Estates Tasting Room
308B Center St (on the Plaza)
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recap: Taste Of Mendocino

When is the last time you attended a wine tasting where you could actually buy the wine you liked on the spot, attend a farmers market at the same time, and watch circus acrobatics? My guess is never. But I did all that and more at the extrodinary Taste of Mendocino event at Fort Mason in San Francisco yesterday.

My palate was expanded, my imagination captured, my wallet was opened, and my mind was blown. Mendocino... who knew? Well I do now.

In addition to all the wine to taste, there was live music, flying acts by the Flynn Creek Circus, beer from Mendocino brewers, art, and a mini farmers market featuring chocloates, handmade soaps, sea salt and exotic seaweed too.

I plan to visit Mendocino wine land in person soon and make a full report on my findings. So stay tuned.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mendocino Wine Country: Wine She Wrote

Mention Mendocino and most people will conjure thoughts of quaint B&B’s on the remote northern coast of California, or perhaps the popular TV series Murder She Wrote, since the fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine, was actually filmed in Mendocino. If the series was still being filmed today, I expect it could now be called Wine She Wrote or better yet, Wine She Drank. Mendocino County is now home to over 12 AVA’s with over 90 wineries and hundreds of grape growers.

Mendocino Wine County is a perfect example of a great wine tourism destination. It’s more than just wine, the great local food, crafts and personalities give the region it it’s unique flavor.

It’s been a while since I’ve ventured up to Mendocino and I’m long overdue for a visit. But if you live in the Bay Area and can’t make it to Mendocino, no problem, Mendocino is coming to you this Monday, June 13, at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco from 5-7pm. It will be like stepping into the Star Trek Teleporter, but with out the messy rearrangement of your molecules.

The Taste of Mendocino will feature 60 wineries, local restaurants, organic beer-makers, artisan olive oil producers, cheese makers and ranchers as well as great artists from Mendocino. Plus you will be able to buy products too! This is a pretty great idea, since usually tastings are just that. Tasting only. But now you can buy what you like on the spot.

Yes I know it’s on a Monday evening, but so what? How do you ever expect to live long and prosper if you stay in on Monday nights? So get it in gear and get yourself a ticket to The Taste of Mendocino now.

Tickets are just $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Ticket Link:

Taste of Mendocino
Monday, June 13, 2011
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Twitter: @TasteofMendo


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