Do you have that one place you drive by frequently and keep saying, we’ll stop next time? It’s not as though you have a compelling reason for the drive by. It just happens. Well, I can happily cross one of those “next time” places off my list because I finally made the stop. And, ironically enough, this time it took a cross-country flight to do it. But it was well worth it.
We can find any reason to celebrate with a bottle of wine. Today, we acknowledge Ferragosto, a national holiday in Italy that marks the start of its vacation period, spawns an array of local festivals, and sends Italians flocking to the beaches and mountains to celebrate. So, for this, we honor our Italian brethren and open something from Italy.
Getting to know French wine is kind of like dating. In the beginning, making the right choice amongst so many options can be paralyzing. There is anxiety, perplexing decisions, and confusion. I mean, let’s face it, the labels alone on French wine practically need a decoder with their hard-to-pronounce names and lack of grape varietal. But with patience and persistence, the early feelings of trepidation turn into delight and familiarity, albeit challenge can still be ever present. That said, our local neighborhood wine groupies decided it was time to have a love affair with French wine.
Back in early 2010, my husband and I visited Sbragia Family Vineyards, nestled up in a hillside overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. We were visiting on a beautiful spring afternoon and were in awe of the views and beautiful property. We bought wine that day and even though we consumed it long ago, I still have record of it, thanks to my OCD when it comes to wine tracking. But more on that later.
I love wine from Spain. So, when opportunity presents itself to attend an industry wine tasting event featuring everything Spanish, there is no arm twisting necessary, even if it does mean traveling south on treacherous I95 to get to Miami. But that’s what LYFT is for. And, with half-price weekday rides, the plan crumbled together beautifully. It was game on for me and two other passionate wine reviewers.
Ah, Italian wines. Don’t they just conjure up romantic images of rolling vineyards that spread for miles across the countryside, with the soft glow of orange light shimmering through the olive trees at sunset? Or maybe it’s Dean Martin crooning away in a small cafe with tables covered in red and white checkered tablecloths. Whatever the imagery, wine and Italy just go together.
Recently, I was offered a unique invitation to attend an exclusive sake tasting hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in Miami and the Sake Export Association. To be honest, I’ve probably only consumed one or two glasses of sake in my life. I just haven’t known enough about sake, so it has always been outside the periphery of my comfort zone. That said, this rare opportunity could not have come at a better time.
Summer is just around the corner, and we love our wine country weekends for enjoying the long, warm days and mild evenings. One of our all-time favorite wine regions in Northern California for a weekend getaway is the Healdsburg area. Home to Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Russian River Valley, the region is abundant with wineries that showcase a different perspective of this glorious part of the world, and downtown Healdsburg is just about as charming as it gets, with a bevy of boutique hotels and restaurants fit for foodies. Here are five wineries along a stretch of 14 miles to put on your itinerary.
Last month, I received an e-mail notification from Stryker Sonoma. “After 17 years of successful operations, Stryker Sonoma’s proprietor, Pat Stryker, has sold the Stryker Sonoma winery…So it is with gratitude to you, our loyal customers, that we say goodbye. The property sold this week to Foley Family Wines, and the Stryker Sonoma brand will be discontinued.”