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We at WineCountry.com have gathered for you fabulous ideas for a spring Wine Country getaway, with each suggestion inspired by a unique experience. We invite you to explore the small wonders of Sonoma County such as Chateau Souverain, Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa, Sonoma Coast Villa, Lake Sonoma Winery and much, much more. We also have included in this issue the latest winners from our wine and food-pairing contest, Battle of the Appellations. Brix restaurant in Yountville, CA prepared delicious menu items that truly showed off some of the best wines in California.
As always, we invite you to explore all that the Wine Country has to offer, as the possibilities are endless! The Wine Country embraces new travelers, and for those on a returning journey, we're positive the Wine Country will entice you all over again!
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Embraced by some of the northern California's most beautiful shoreline, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest protected marine areas in the world. Millions of visitors are drawn to the otters, harbor seals, and birds that splash along the beaches. Besides the beautiful beaches, many sports lovers visit Monterey for SEA OTTER CLASSIC BIKE RACE being held on March 21-24, 2002.
Incredible travel deals can also be had during March in Monterey. The winter special rates can be found at the Cypress Gardens Resort Inn. Built on the site of a former tree nursery, the Cypress Gardens Resort Inn sits under the ancient oaks and classic Monterey cypresses.
The Cypress Gardens Resort Inn features the largest heated hotel pool and spa in Monterey and was refurbished in 2001 with all new furniture, carpets, draperies, and appliances. A complementary deluxe continental buffet breakfast is served fireside in an intimate dining room. Reserve your room today online. You may also call toll free at 877-922-1150. Plan your late-winter visit before all the tourists return in the spring!
More Than Delicious Wines
Chateau Souverain, located in the Sonoma County Alexander Valley, is not only in a beautiful location to produce phenomenal wines, but ideal for a beautiful escape. Dating back to 1944, Chateau Souverain set the stage for today's premier wines, but the charm of the estate and the exceptional meals prepared at Café at the Winery complete the picture.
When visiting the Wine Country of Sonoma County, it would be an injustice to not spend time at Chateau Souverain. While you taste the superior wines offered in the tasting room, you are free to look about the various wine accessories for sale, and venture outside onto the patio to enjoy the sun and early spring breeze.
Recently, a WineCountry.com staff member had the opportunity to visit Chateau Souverain to learn the history of the winery and experience some of what makes the winery unique. Chateau Souverain truly feels as though you've stepped away from the mundane and entered a world of beauty that is so far from home - when actually, it's just a short drive north from San Francisco along Hwy 101. A WineCountry.com favorite, their 1999 Alexander Valley Syrah was the perfect finishing detail to taking in the view and wandering about the estate.
Café at the Winery, the onsite restaurant, prepares beautiful meals that perfectly compliment the wine and the environment. For any Wine Country trip it would be ideal to visit Chateau Souverain, taste your favorite varietal with your favorite companion on the sunny patio, and conclude your visit with a fabulous dinner at the Café.
Visit Chateau Souverain: www.chateausouverain.com
Spirits in Stone
Off the Beaten Path and Well Worth the Visit
Located in St. Helena, California Spirits In Stone is one of three Spirits In Stone Shona sculpture galleries. These galleries showcase traditional Zimbabwe Shona sculptures that are not much different from the sculptures of 1,000 years ago. The Zimbabwe Shona Sculpture project, the pulse behind the galleries, is dedicated to promoting the incredible works of the Shona community, while educating people about the culture, its ancient history, and enlightening them to the contemporary ways of the Zimbabwe life, which is home to the Shona sculptors.
While visiting the gallery it is easy to become captivated by each sculpture and curious about the story each piece has to tell. The individual sculptures beg to be touched and held with each piece showing off its precise lines and craft. The Shona sculptors begin by exploring the raw stone with hatchets and then discover its shape with rudimentary chisels. To polish the shape that has been created, the sculptors use sand and beeswax, and then finally heat the sculptures on a fire to capture the beauty of the stone's intrinsic colors.
An education is unavoidable when visiting Spirits In Stone. The sculptures represent a rich history that showcases the culture's values, traditions and beliefs. Understanding the influences of elders, tribal-like stories and the current political situation provides any visitor a degree of insight and an appreciation for Shona sculptors.
A visit to one of the Spirits In Stone galleries will enrich any Wine Country visit and allow you to bring home a memorable conversation piece that would compliment any room.
Visit Spirits In Stone at: www.spiritsinstone.com
Tasting Room Recommendation - Lake Sonoma Winery
Planning Your Wedding or a Special Event? - Look No Further
Lake Sonoma Winery, located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County offers so much more than exceptional views and atmosphere - it offers both those characteristics along with incredible customer service, a handsome showcase of fine wines, and an opportunity to plan a memorable and stunningly beautiful event.
WineCountry.com recommends Lake Sonoma Winery as this month's tasting room pick. On a recent spring-like day, members of the WineCountry.com staff had the opportunity to visit the property and experience all the best the winery has to offer. The afternoon visit started off with a glass of their tasty sparkling wine and a tour of the facility. The winery is ideal for weddings and special events with an area for a private tasting, and a large and fantastic patio perfect for outdoor dining. Throughout the tour we were guided by winemaker, Chris Wills, who demonstrated the depth of care and love the winery has for their guests and their wine.
A unique feature to the winery, making it all that more appealing for weddings and special events, is the winery chef, Robin Lehnhoff, who prepared an absolutely exquisite lunch for our visit that complimented and showcased Lake Sonoma wines very well. Robin is available to cater events at the winery ranging in course size and group size, tailoring to the needs of the specific event.
Lake Sonoma Winery is a must see stop during your visit to Sonoma County. The winery is just ten minutes from its namesake and captures both, beautiful scenery and fine wine.
Visit Lake Sonoma Winery: www.lakesonomawinery.com
Sonoma Coast Villa and Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa
Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa
Spring is just around the corner, and what could be nicer than a stroll on a virtually deserted beach in the early morning sunshine? Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa makes it easy for that leisurely walk to relaxation.
Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa is conveniently located outside the town of Bodega Bay on the Northern California coast. At the lodge you will find yourself surrounded by natural beauty allowing a feeling of peace, quiet and relaxation to take hold. During a recent stay a member of the WineCountry.com staff enjoyed an oversized and comfortably appointed room with high ceilings, a private balcony overlooking the grounds with the Pacific Ocean beyond, and even a cozy fireplace to snuggle up to after that morning ramble on the beach.
A world class golf course is nearby for that amateur in you. For those that want to be pampered, a luxurious spa and the highly acclaimed restaurant, The Duck Club, are right on the property.
Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa has so much at your fingertips, there is little need to go far from your guestroom for any reason
which is just the way we like it!
Visit Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa at: www.bodegabaylodge.com
Sonoma Coast Villa
A WineCountry.com staff member shares a recent visit at the Sonoma Coast Villa: "As soon as we turned off Highway 1 into the driveway of the Sonoma Coast Villa, we entered another world, one of beauty and tranquility. The Villa, located five miles east of Bodega Bay is a bed and breakfast country estate very much in the Mediterranean style. It consists of terraced gardens, red tile roofs, terra cotta stucco and a columned veranda.
We entered through the lobby, and to the right, down the stairs, is the dining room. It is there where they serve weekend dinners. We also enjoyed an excellent breakfast while observing the koi in a pond nestled between the dining room and lobby. Above the lobby is a lovely reading and observation room with panoramic views of the surrounding, rolling hills.
We stayed in one of the newer rooms just added to the Villa; as with their other rooms, it was spacious, well appointed, and included a fireplace, a large shower and double-sized jetted tub. To further our sense of tranquility and solitude, the room included its own small courtyard complete with a beautiful fountain, free of disturbances and everyday humdrum. Sonoma Coast Villa is detail oriented and centered on their guests' satisfaction."
Visit Sonoma Coast Villa at: www.sonomacoastvilla.com
Battle of the Appellations Winners
Featuring Brix Restaurant of Napa Valley
Congratulations to Beringer Vineyards Knights Valley, Bonny Doon, Lake Sonoma Winery and Ledson Winery!
WineCountry.com cannot share enough praises about Brix restaurant located in Yountville, California. With an attentive and prompt wait staff, the head chef, Michael Patton, prepared a fabulous menu for our latest Battle of the Appellations contest. WineCountry.com highly recommends our readers experience the lovely surroundings and delicious menu at Brix during their next Wine Country visit. Thank you Brix! www.brix.com
Now, on with the winners! Brix prepared two dishes from their menu as well as two dessert compliments, the winners for each pairing are:
- Best Pairing with the Grilled Oysters Wrapped in Pancetta with Aged Balsamic and Rosemary Butter is Beringer 1999 Knights Valley Alluvium Blanc. This Beringer wine is comprised of the classic white Bordeaux varietals, Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, and is combined with Chardonnay and Viognier. The aromas and flavors of citrus, and spice held up well with the food, complimenting the flavors and textures of the grilled oysters. This strong white is closely tied to the soil in which the grapes are grown, providing its namesake, Alluvium - which is a unique expression of the Knights Valley.
Visit Beringer at : www.beringer.com
- Best Pairing with the Spicy Ahi Tuna and Asparagus Tempura "Futomaki" Roll with Organic Garden Sprout Salad is Bonny Doon 2000 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. In true form to the unique Bonny Doon reputation, this wine has a very particular nose of green apple and light floral. It's clean flavor and acidic balance worked exceptionally well with the ahi, balancing the diverse and rich flavors of the dish - a Brix signature. This wine would also compliment sushi and other similarly prepared dishes.
Visit Bonny Doon Vineyards at: www.bonnydoonvineyard.com
- Best Pairing with the Decadence Cake - Earl Grey Infused is Lake Sonoma Winery 1999 Zinfandel Port. This Zinfandel Port is produced in a traditional method of arrested fermentation. The fruity nose is a strong indicator of the delicious berry fruit flavor. Paired with the decadence cake, the wine brought out the layers of flavors in the cake while not overpowering the palate.
Visit Lake Sonoma Winery at: www.lakesonomawinery.com
- Best Pairing with the Tangerine Sorbet is Ledson Winery 2000 Orange Muscat. The light and fruity nose of orange blossoms was an obvious marker to the robust fruity, citrus and melon flavors. This wine is perfect with a light dessert.
Visit Ledson Winery at: www.ledson.com
Thank you to all wineries that participated in the March Battle of the Appellations Contest:
Goosecross Cellars - www.goosecross.com
Hanna Winery - www.hannawinery.com
Preston Vineyards - www.prestonvineyards.com
J Wine - www.jwine.com
Casa Nuestra - www.casanuestra.com
Quivira - www.quivirawine.com
Chateau Souverain - www.chateausouverain.com
Events for March
March 8 -- Night at the Opera VI
The 6th Annual Opera Fresca potpourri night benefits the Mendocino Presbyterian Church Historical Preservation Fund. Opera arias, duets and ensembles sing with piano accompaniment in Sanctuary. Elegant dessert reception following at adjacent Preston Hall. At the Mendocino Presbyterian Church.
Fee: Call Time: 8:00 PM Phone Number: 707-937-3646
March 16 - 17 -- Fort Bragg Whale Festival
This festival celebrates gray whales during their winter migration south to their mating and calving lagoons in Mexico. Excellent whale watching opportunities and lighthouse tours. Call for exact location information.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Call Phone Number: 800-726-2780
March 1 - 3 -- Dixieland Monterey Festival
Dixieland Monterey celebrates the roots of Traditional Jazz, Swing and Ragtime and is held each year at the Doubletree Hotel and the Monterey Conference Center located near Fisherman's Wharf off of Del Monte. This year's festival begins Friday at 3 PM; Saturday from 10 AM to 11 PM; and Sunday from 9 AM to 3:30 PM.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Varies - See Description Phone Number: 831-443-5260
March 21 - 24 -- Sea Otter Classic
This is the unabashed celebration of the bicycle! The Mercury Sea Otter Classic is run by cyclists with families. We know that combining the two sometimes requires something extra, and so we have created a range of activities designed to please all members of the family for the entire weekend. Call for event schedules and information.
Fee: Varies Time: Varies Phone Number: 650-367-7797
March 15 -- The Awards
Napa Valley Mustard Festival World Wide Mustard Competition Awards Ceremony and Napa Valley Mustard Festival Rising Star Chef Competition. Meet world champion mustard makers and taste the original mustard recipes of Napa Valley chefs at The Awards. At Clos Pegase Winery, 1060 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga.
Fee: Call Time: 7:00 PM Phone Number: 707-938-1133
Every Saturday and Sunday morning -- Merryvale's Weekend Wine Seminars
Recommended by Sunset magazine, Merryvale's wine seminars are a fun way to learn about balance in wine while mapping your own palate. Held in the winery's beautiful 'Cask Room'. Includes a tour of the historic winery. Reservations required. (Must be over 21 years of age.)
Fee: $10.00 (Free to Club Members!) Time: 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM Phone Number: 800-326-6069 x 439
March 8 - 9 -- World of Pinot Noir
More than 60 of the world's greatest Pinot Noir producers will gather at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach for two days of education, fellowship, tastings and fun in an informal and intimate setting. Inspired by California's South Central Coast vintners, the World of Pinot Noir brings together international wine producers, providing an educational setting in which to further the enjoyment of Pinot Noir. Area wineries will separately be hosting special Saturday evening dinners featuring Pinot Noir. Attendance is extremely limited. Call for reservations.
Fee: Varies - Call Time: Varies - Call Phone Number: 805-489-1758
March 15 - 17 -- Taste of Solvang
"Taste of Solvang" is the 10th Annual Weekend Food Festival which includes a Dessert Reception, Walking Smørgaasbord, and Wine & Cheese Tasting. Live entertainment throughout the Danish Village. Limited ticket sales (has sold out previously so call early!).
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Daily Phone Number: 805-688-6144
March 10 -- Jazz on the Wharf
Live jazz by is even better with the backdrop of the scenic Santa Cruz Wharf! Pete Escovedo graces the wharf stage with other top jazz musicians performing in popular wharf restaurants. Special events for the kids, too! Held on the Santa Cruz Wharf.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM Phone Number: 831-420-5273
March 24 -- Concertante from New York
CONCERTANTE was founded in 1995 to specialize in performing chamber music for five or more players. These Julliard and Curtis Music School graduates, as solo performers, have graced the premiere stages of the world from New York's Carnegie Hall to London's Royal Festival Hall. At Le Petit Trianon Theater, 72 North Fifth Street, San Jose.
Fee: $15.00 - $25.00 Time: 7:00 PM Phone Number: 408-286-5111
March 10 -- Riedel Tasting Seminar
Join us at Arrowood Winery for a Riedel Tasting Seminar. Sample Arrowood wines while experiencing the increased flavor profiles through crystal glasses designed for each specific wine variety. Following the seminar you will sip, mingle and snack on hors 'd oeuvres prepared by a local chef. Wine Club Members $85; General Admission $100. Limited seating. Call for reservations.
Fee: Varies - See Description Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Phone Number: 707-938-5170
March 22 -- Meet the Masters with Jerry Comfort at Chateau Souverain
Our "Meet the Master" series continues as Beringer Blass Wine Estates Culinary Director Jerry Comfort shares his critically acclaimed food and wine pairing philosophy. Guests will enjoy a three-course meal paired with Chateau Souverain's award winning wines. Call for reservations.
Fee: Vine & Dine Club Members $60; General Admission $75 Time: 6:00 PM Phone Number: 707-433-3141
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