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Napa Valley Mustard Festival
A Sensational Season of Wine Country Events!
The Mustard Season offers a full palette of food, wine, art, entertainment, and cultural activities staged throughout the world-famous grape growing region from Saturday, February 1, through Saturday, March 29. There is still time to join in the festivities. Below are some of the events yet to come!
Meet world champion mustard makers and taste original mustard recipes by Napa Valley chefs while you enjoy music and Napa Valley vintages throughout the caves at Clos Pegase.
When the doors are opened to the public, you will have the opportunity to vote for your favorite mustard recipe presentations and select the "People's Choice" Mustard Festival Chef of the Year.
Marketplace ~ The Signature Event
Celebrate the mustard season and taste mustards from around the world at The Marketplace, the Napa Valley Mustard Festival's Signature Event, on Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Napa Valley Exposition in Napa. Mustards and an array of gourmet products will be showcased alongside sensational wine country cuisine, world famous wines, hearty craft brews, and fine arts and crafts. The Marketplace will provide you with the opportunity to explore the best of Napa Valley during the most beautiful time of year in the wine country, when the brilliant gold of mustard in bloom carpets hillsides, valleys and vineyards.
Cuvée Napa Photo Finish ~ The Grand Finale Event
Sample delectable offerings of hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and wine. Enjoy jazz and classical music throughout the winery and gather in the gallery to compare and contrast, compliment, and thoroughly enjoy the multitude of entries in the ever-popular photography contest. Take home a framed photograph to keep glorious visions of brilliant green and gold alive until Mustard Season 2004
Tickle Pink Inn at Carmel Highlands
Overlooking the untamed Pacific and the lush Carmel Highlands
Two of WineCountry.com's editorial staff recently had the opportunity to stay at the "Tickle Pink Inn" in Carmel Highlands, the gateway to Big Sur, just a few miles south of Carmel. Here is their story:
Situated atop rugged cliffs, the Tickle Pink Inn provides spectacular views of crashing waves, rock outcrops, misty trees and sunsets. Chatting with other guests, and reading the journal left in the room, it became clear that the Tickle Pink Inn is special place for many couples, young and old, who come year after year to this romantic getaway to invigorate, restore and renew themselves. The views, tranquil setting, gracious service, attention to detail, and quality ambience were mentioned often . No wonder the family-owned Inn, which has operated since the 1950s, has earned the prestigious 4-Diamond AAA rating.
Wine Country Recipe
Ridgeback Shrimp with Roasted Corn
Cakes and Key Lime Soused Mixed Greens
The Geyser Smokehouse is located at the stop sign in the small, pastoral community of Geyserville, in northern Sonoma County. Situated in the Oddfellows’ building, the stamped metal ceiling, bare brick walls, long wood bar, and wooden floors give the distinct impression that nothing has changed since its original erection in 1863 as a stagecoach stop for the nearby geysers. This impression is, however, the result of extensive renovations by Smokehouse owner Bill Weisel. As recognition of modernity, there is a large, high-definition television mounted on the wall at the far end of the bar. On the day our WineCountry staff member visited, patrons were watching the "Geyserville Cam", a videocam located atop the building broadcasting a panoramic view of the main street with special focus on the stop sign. Rumor has it that the stop sign is struck once a week by a truck, and that the locals sit at the bar waiting for the next such event. Money has been known to change hands.
The Geyser Smokehouse offers ample servings of delicious food. The 1/2-pound Geyserburger, and a chicken salad that is as colorful as it is tasty, are of special note. The Buffalo wings demonstrate that in the over two decades since Bill left his CBS News job in N.Y.C. and transplanted west, he hasn’t forgotten that unique spiciness of the original dish.
The main draw for our staffer was the Texas-style barbecue. Items include a wonderfully spiced sausage, succulent baby back ribs, scrumptious pork ribs, beef ribs, tri-tip and a savory smoked chicken. The perfect flavor and textures are imparted by smoking, and the diner may choose between a spicy Central Texas BBQ sauce, or a tamer Kansas City BBQ sauce. Our staffer recommends you order one of the combinations, as none of these items should be missed by the BBQ lover.
A choice of two of the following accompany a barbecue order: rancho beans, a creamy cole slaw, old fashioned potato salad, and our staffers’ favorite, delicious skin-on French fries. The Geyser Smokehouse carries local microbrews, including the wonderful Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale.
If you want a particularly nice bottle of wine to accompany your meal, stop by Locals, a collective tasting room for some of the best local wineries, located right next door. Their staff will help you select a wine particularly suited to the spiciness you are about to encounter.
The next time you’re in Geyserville, be sure to bring your healthy appetite to the Geyser Smokehouse. You won’t be sorry!
Geyser Smokehouse can be found on the Internet
Wine Tasting Recommendation
Recently a WineCountry.com staff member visited an inviting old farmhouse, known as Folie à Deux Winery, up on a hill just 2 miles north of downtown St. Helena on Hwy 29. Here’s what she had to say about her experience.
Award winning wines, a fun and friendly staff, spectacular views, hidden caves and much, much more abounds at Folie à Deux Winery in the Napa Valley.
Folie à Deux Winery was founded by two psychiatric professionals fulfilling their dreams to start a winery and it was jokingly suggested that the couple was exhibiting the classic symptoms of Folie à Deux. Folie à Deux is a psychiatric term used to describe the sharing of fantasies by two close friends. The couple could not imagine a more appropriate name.
There are many ways to enjoy wine tasting at Folie à Deux. Learn about the different varieties while sipping away at the bar in the tasting room and enjoy the warm surroundings of this charming old farmhouse and friendly tasting room staff. A tasting is $5.00 per person. This includes the five wines chosen for the day.
An extensive tour of the winery and hidden caves are available by appointment. You will actually get to taste wines right out of the barrels before the wine is ready for release! This tour which includes your glass is $10.00 per person.
Planning on a picnic lunch? Bring your lunch to Folie à Deux and enjoy the scenic surroundings in their picnic area. Tables are available for your use 10:00am to 5:00pm every day. Just add a bottle of Folie a Deux wine and you are all set to enjoy your lunch overlooking the picturesque vineyards and the hills of St Helena.
For all the Zin lovers out there, Folie à Deux has seven different Zinfandels to choose from. Grown in the Gold Country in Amador County these vines come from the oldest known Zinfandel vineyard. The staff is happy to tell you about these old vines, some dating as far back as 1868. The award winning 1999 Sangiovese is rich, full bodied and truly Italian in character with a firm structure. You can also enjoy several other wines; a sparkling Napa Valley Brut as well as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Syrah, and more!
Folie à Deux invites you to join them in the caves for a Zinfandel Blending Seminar and Luncheon where they will be making five different blends from a single vineyard of Old Vine Zins. March 8th and March 22nd. Tickets are limited. Call Dave Foster at 707-963-1160 for information.
Experience the fantasy and take the time to visit Folie à Deux. Their tasting room is open 7 days a week from 10-5. http://www.folieadeux.com
Wine Country Lodging Recommendation
The Ambrose Bierce House, an intimate and charming Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn conveniently located in the quaint, quiet little town of St. Helena, was originally built in 1872.
Recently a WineCountry.com couple stayed at the Ambrose Bierce House and they found that the owner/innkeepers John and Lisa Runnells are big on hospitality. When you arrive just sit on the front porch swing built for two and watch the world go by, or lounge in the turn-of-the-century cozy parlor and enjoy a lovely afternoon of great wine, cheese and conversation with your hosts and other guests. John and Lisa are very passionate about their homemade food and wine, and they should be; John’s the gourmet cook and winemaker! You’ll surely want to take home some of their special wine to remember your experience with them.
This romantic inn has three lovely rooms, one is a suite. The entire inn is furnished with authentic, period antiques and old world charm. Soft pastel colors and a warm inviting décor in each room take you back to a slower time and place. All the rooms at the Ambrose Bierce House come with a romantic, luxurious private bath and shower, with two in mind. The suite has an ample bedroom and a lovely adjoining sitting room that could accommodate an additional person.
A full gourmet champagne breakfast is served every morning, complete with Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, or stuffed French toast, fresh fruits, home-baked breads and croissants, a selection of premium teas, coffee, fresh juice and of course, champagne.
Looking for things to do or perhaps a superb restaurant? Just ask Lisa! She’ll even make your reservations. One of the nice things about staying at Ambrose Bierce House is that you are so close to many of the wonderful things the Wine Country has to offer - fabulous restaurants, some of the best wineries in the world and great shops, to name but a few!
Enjoy the romance, the downtown convenience and
great hospitality at the quiet little house on Main Street in
historic St. Helena - Ambrose Bierce House, a charming Wine
Events for March
15 -- Daffodil Wreath Making Workshop
March 27 - 30 -- Redwood
Coast Whale & Jazz Festival
For a complete calendar of events in the Mendocino Region, visit: http://mendocino.winecountry.com/events.html
March 16 -- Carmel Kite Festival
March 30 -- Spring Floral Design Presented
by Chateau Julien
For a complete calendar of events in the Monterey Region, visit: http://monterey.winecountry.com/events.html
March 22 -- Rutherford Hill
Winery Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon
For a complete calendar of events in the
Napa Valley Region, visit: http://www.napavalley.com/events.html
SAN LUIS OBISPO:
7 - 9 -- Central Coast Orchid Show & Sale
March 26 -- Artisan Cheese - Cooking Class
For a complete calendar of events in the San Luis Obispo Region, visit: http://sanluisobispo.winecountry.com/events.html
28 - March 9 -- Santa Barbara International Film Festival
March 31 -- Whale Festival
For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Barbara Region, visit: http://santabarbara.winecountry.com/events.html
9 -- Downtown Santa Cruz Antique Faire
Every Wednesday -- Winemaker Wednesdays
For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Cruz Region, visit: http://santacruz.winecountry.com/events.html
March 15 - 16 -- 13th Annual
Barrel Tasting at Valley of the Moon Winery
February - April -- "Villa Fiore"
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, 2003 by random drawing. Winner will be notified by email. Employees of FreeRun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.
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Photography © courtesy of Nicholas Elias