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COPIA, The American Center for Wine, Food and
A Taste of Sonoma – In Napa!
Copia, the Roman goddess of abundance, is the chosen symbol of COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts. This cultural museum and educational center features a variety of changing exhibits of contemporary art, photography, design and artifacts related to food, wine and the arts.
WineCountry.com staff members recently visited COPIA on a wintry, January day. A warm welcome always awaits you at COPIA as you enter through the spectacular glass-fronted atrium lobby to view the many ongoing and special events.
We started with the Orientation Tour and viewed several exhibits. The Return Engagement exhibit offered a refreshing look at art pieces created from recycled materials. A large glass man made of recycled bottles; a group of fun loving robots fashioned from various pots, utensils, rivets, coffee pots, steamers and other metal materials; a sea horse formed of cheese graters and held together with spoons, forks and knives; the lovely Rhinestone Cowgirl, a fabulous cow sculpture all decked out in floral rhinestones, and so much more!
Mangia, Mangia!, an intriguing exhibit of black and white photographs by a New York photographer, Lynn Bianchi’s, gives a new perspective on eating habits, self-image and self-consciousness.
On this day a special Taste of Sonoma event focused on the wines of Sonoma County. This premiere appellation was presented in Sonoma Appellations - an exploration of the viticultural richness of Sonoma County. Sonoma County has phenomenal geographic diversity, resulting in each viticultural region having a unique growing environment and therefore producing wines unique to that region. Examples included the dramatic and cooler Sonoma Coast and Carneros regions producing varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while warmer inland regions like Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley produce more dark red wines - Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
An interesting comparison between Napa and Sonoma counties involves acreage and wine: Sonoma County has 1,050,000 acres with 58,665 acres planted in grapes, and 191 wineries. Napa County has 500,000 acres with 22,000 acres planted in grapes, and 238 wineries.
At the Taste of COPIA Luncheon – Wine of Sonoma, we had the outstanding experience of pairing Sonoma County wines with a delicious, savory lunch prepared by COPIA chefs. Three wines from Chalk Hill Estates, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay and a Merlot, were elegantly presented and described by the Estate Sommelier, Yves Sauboua. The wines were tasted with a variety of dishes to understand how different foods will change the character and taste of wines.
The menu included a starter plate of camembert cheese, crab salad, and smoked salmon. This was followed by a COPIA garden salad with fresh thyme and shallot vinaigrette, a most scrumptious main dish of Wild Mushroom and Vella Dry Jack Risotto, and dessert of Flying Goat Cheese Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce. An extremely well-presented food and wine education program which also served as an educational and entertaining lunch --- just another wonderful day at COPIA!
On your next visit to the Napa Valley make sure you visit COPIA – A fabulous experience. www.copia.org
Conference Center, Group Retreat and Resort
The fabulous Mayacamas Ranch is set on 80 acres in the hills overlooking the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, just 5 minutes from downtown Calistoga and 20 minutes from Santa Rosa. Offering breathtaking vistas, professional meeting facilities, diverse activities and world-class cuisine, Mayacamas Ranch is the perfect venue for conferences, events, workshops and weddings.
Recently a winecountry.com staff member attended an Open House at the Ranch. The day included a Parelli Natural Horsemanship demonstration, gourmet refreshments and an exciting exhibit of Chinese Naïve (Peasant) Art. These diverse activities are just a sampling of what can be found at the Mayacamas Ranch.
The Natural Horsemanship demonstrations were held by Parelli instructor, Julie Cross. This completely natural way of communicating with horses is amazing to watch, and extraordinary to learn. A variety of Natural Horsemanship clinics, lessons, and "horse time-shares" are offered at the ranch. Trail and arena riding, designed to introduce enthusiasts to the concept of Natural Horsemanship, is also available. Overnight accommodations are available for you and your horse with advanced reservations.
One of the largest publicly displayed collections of Chinese Naïve Art paintings in North America is housed at Mayacamas Ranch. The collection features 50 paintings from more than 30 artists. You’ll find these paintings in guest rooms and in common areas throughout the property. Mayacamas Ranch proprietors Laurie Windham and Ken Orton, originally became intrigued with this type of art while on their honeymoon in China. Check out their website to learn more about this unique and colorful art.
Mayacamas Ranch operates as either an exclusive or semi-exclusive use facility. Larger groups can rent the entire ranch for overnight visits, meetings, weddings and events. Or, smaller groups may occupy separate sections of the ranch at the same time. Companies and organizations use the ranch for conferences, off-site meetings and parties. The ranch is a full-service facility complete with professional kitchen, gourmet chefs and staff, several dining rooms and large meeting rooms. The guestrooms are gracious. Recreation facilities at the ranch include a hilltop pool and spa, hiking trails, a small lake and gardens.
Let the sophisticated yet rustic Mayacamas Ranch
provide the venue for your corporate retreat, vacation getaway,
or idyllic wedding high in the Mayacamas Mountains!
Battle of the Appellations
Sassafras Restaurant hosts our January Battle of the Appellations!
Each quarter, WineCountry.com's editorial staff, plus invited guests, gather at a top restaurant to judge a group of wines matched with two dishes prepared by the restaurant's chef. Selected wineries are invited to submit two wines they think will best showcase the two dishes. The WineCountry.com panel evaluates the pairings during two rounds of blind food-and-wine tastings, identifying the wines that pair best with each dish. A guest expert in food-and-wine pairing is on hand to comment on the various combinations.
The January 2003 Battle of the Appellations was hosted by Sassafras Restaurant & Wine Bar in Santa Rosa, CA. Chef Scott Snyder created both of the evening's exquisite dishes: a delicious appetizer of Sea Scallops with truffle butter, mushrooms, and fried grits and the main entree of Roast Breast and Potted Leg of Duck with figs, olives, and pumpkin spoonbread.
"Cheers" to Great wine, great food, and delicious competition!
Click here to read more about Battle of the Appellations and find out who won the January 2003 event!
Date: January 16, 2003
Location: Sassafras Restaurant & Wine Bar, Santa Rosa, Ca
Featured Menu Items:
Brannan’s Grill – Elegant Dining Experience in Calistoga
Looking for a superb dining experience in Calistoga? Great food, exciting décor, intimate and romantic? Brannan’s Grill is an outstanding choice. Open for lunch and dinner and featuring "New-American" cuisine, this inviting restaurant is located on a convenient corner in one of the oldest stone buildings in downtown Calistoga. Recently a WineCountry.com staff member experienced a wonderful dinner at Brannan’s and reports the following.
The soft lighting, fabulous artwork and large "fold-away" windows that open out onto the sidewalk create dazzling ambiance. Just a few years ago the building was beautifully renovated and restored to expose the original, cedar paneling and hand forged iron support structure for the roof, along with the massive 27-foot Brunswick bar. The striking antique bar and fieldstone fireplace combine to make the perfect setting for a memorable dining event.
To get a real idea of the restaurant's diversity, Manager David Keegan recommended we try samplings of the menu. We let him choose the food and the wine. Wow, what a fabulous experience! The new Executive Chef, Allen Routt, is brilliant. First we were served fried Oysters on the Half Shell topped with crème and caviar, perfectly paired with a crisp, fruity St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc. Next, a delicious Fire Roasted Bell Pepper soup, absolutely wonderful, served with Wild Horse Pinot Noir. This soup will make your taste buds go wild! Next a tender Steak Tartare with Dijon vinaigrette served in a cup of crispy chips and flawlessly paired with a Pinot Noir from Wild Horse. The salad was a Trio of Baby Greens with sherry ginger vinaigrette. All the starters were excellent.
For entrées we were served an amazing Crispy Skin Rockfish with Homemade Sun Dried Tomato Ravioli matched with Frank Family Vineyard Chardonnay, and an absolutely delightful, beautifully presented and tender Grilled Magret of Liberty Duck served with ragout of fingerling potato and Jerusalem artichoke in a rhubarb demi sauce. Another mouth-watering entrée was the evening's Special - Lamb with Tender Mushrooms and Potatoes, which harmonized perfectly with a luscious Judd Hill Merlot.
The entrée was followed by a tart and refreshing Lemon Sorbet and then dessert… a melt in your mouth, soft cream Chevre Cheesecake with roasted pear, late harvest Riesling sauce, and candied pecan. Absolutely scrumptious!
The service throughout our meal was extraordinary, and combined with all the exceptional food, made for an unforgettable and outstanding evening. This WineCountry.com staffer highly recommends you visit Brannan's Grill - you will not be disappointed.
Tasting Room Recommendation
Salvestrin Estate Vineyard and Winery
If you want to escape the crowds and taste award winning Cabernet in the Napa Valley, be sure to stop at Salvestrin Estate Vineyard and Winery. Recently a WineCountry.com staff member had the opportunity to visit this small, intimate winery in St. Helena and taste some of their excellent wine.
To fully appreciate the Salvestrin Winery is to know a little history about the Salvestrin Family. In 1910 Italian grape grower and winemaker John Salvestrin emigrated to the US in 1927 and settled in California's Napa Valley. In 1932, John and his wife Emma purchased the historic Crane ranch in St. Helena, beginning a lineage of three generations of Salvestrins who have continued to farm the property's vines, some of which actually date back to the 1860s. Following generations of Salvestrin have built a winery of beautiful redwood, designed to facilitate the hand-crafted production of their estate-grown wines.
Salvestrin Winery is open for private tastings by appointment. When you arrive you will most likely be greeted by the tasting room manager, Shannon Salvestrin. The relaxed and charming tasting room is located on the second floor of the winery with views of the beautiful Napa Valley. You can also enjoy the spacious outdoor patio area, a lovely way to spend an afternoon enjoying the beauty of the wine country while savoring Salvestrin's award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. Make sure you taste the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon, this "full-throttle" Cabernet received 91 points from the Wine Spectator. It boasts a beautiful dark red-scarlet color, complex aromas with ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit. All of Salvestrin's wine is estate grown and bottled.
Need a place to stay? Why not stay right on the Salvestrin estate at their Sunny Acres Bed & Breakfast. A charming Victorian-era home nestled in the vineyards and right next to the winery. The innkeepers, Ed and Susanne Salvestrin, surely will have many stories to tell about the history of the estate and their wines.
Add Salvestrin to your list of wineries to visit. Just call 707- 963-5105 for an appointment.
Salvestrin Estate Vineyard and Winery is located just South of downtown St. Helena, at 397 Main Street, right off Hwy 29.
Milliken Creek Inn – Where rejuvenation begins …
On a cold and rainy January night checking into the Milliken Creek Inn was like sinking gratefully into a warm tub. The lobby area is warm and inviting, relaxing music plays quietly in the background and a welcoming fire crackles in the fireplace. The staff is welcoming and professional, and the attention to small details is evident right away. Even before you see your room you just have that feeling you won’t be disappointed.
The décor has been described as having an American theme that blends British Campaign influences with a relaxed Wine Country attitude. Room amenities include fireplaces, views, decks, king size beds, whirlpool tubs, Italian linens, luxurious bath products, internet access, TV’s and DVD players and even a pillow menu. Candles are lit in the room when you return from an evening out and in the morning a French country breakfast is served throughout the property wherever you choose, or even in bed. A generous wine and cheese tasting featuring local wineries is accompanied by live jazz most late afternoons. A selection of Port and truffles awaits your late night foraging.
Milliken Creek also offers guests the chance to "relax and renew" with their thoughtful selection of holistic aromatherapy spa treatments, including Four Hands Massage, The Milliken Trio, Thai Massage, Smoothing Stones, and, their most popular, Couples Massage. Private yoga sessions are also available. One can enjoy a wonderful massage while watching the Napa River meander by, then wander the beautiful grounds or venture out into a world of wine nearby.
Situated at the foot of the world-famous, winery-lined Silverado Trail along the banks of the Napa River, this luxury inn-retreat is just minutes from COPIA, The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, renowned restaurants, shopping, cycling, ballooning and places of historic interest. Milliken Creek Inn is an excellent choice of accommodations for the discerning traveler looking for something just a little bit different in the Wine Country.
Events for February
February 8 - 9 -- Red Wine &
February 22 -- MWA Cioppino Feed & Auction
For a complete calendar of events in the Mendocino Region, visit: http://mendocino.winecountry.com/events.html
February 3 - 9 -- Pebble Beach National
February 14 - 16 -- Passport Weekend
For a complete calendar of events in the Monterey Region, visit: http://monterey.winecountry.com/events.html
February 8 -- Napa
Valley Symphony Benefit Auction
For a complete calendar of events in the
Napa Valley Region, visit: http://www.napavalley.com/events.html
SAN LUIS OBISPO:
February 14 -- Valentines Dinner
February 15 -- Hilltop Lover's Dinner
For a complete calendar of events in the San Luis Obispo Region, visit: http://sanluisobispo.winecountry.com/events.html
February 14 -- Gainey Vineyard
Valentine's Winemaker Dinner
February 28 -- Chocolate by Candlelight
For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Barbara Region, visit: http://santabarbara.winecountry.com/events.html
February 20 -- The Varietals of
California at Clos LaChance
February 25 -- Ultimate Winemakers Dinner
For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Cruz Region, visit: http://santacruz.winecountry.com/events.html
February 15 -- Gloria
Ferrer Presents Eric Symons
February 21 -- An Intimate Vintners &
For a complete calendar of events
in the Sonoma Region, visit: http://www.sonoma.com/events.html
Win a Taste of Sonoma!
Wine and Dine your way though the world-class wine growing region of Sonoma!!
Win $100 in dining certificates to Tastings Restaurant and Wine Bar, $100 in dining certificates to Restaurant Charcuterie, and a Premium Tasting for Two, including gorgeous Reidel Locals Logo glasses, at Locals - a collective tasting room.
No purchase necessary. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Only one entry per person permitted. Winner will be selected April 7, 2002 by random drawing. Winner will be notified by email. Employees of FreeRun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.
Visit Tastings Restaurant and Wine Bar at:
• Monterey • Napa
Valley • San Luis
Obispo • Santa Barbara
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Photography © courtesy of Nicholas Elias