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Collective Tasting Rooms
An Exciting New Way to Taste Wine!
An exciting new way to taste wine has arrived
in both the Napa and Sonoma wine regions, the Collective Tasting
Room. This new breed of cooperative room offers larger collections
of wines like a shop, but is actually many small-production,
artisan wineries under one roof. Staffing is independent and
focused evenly across all wines offered. This approach results
in a comprehensive, instructive and engaging tasting experience,
spanning wines from a variety of microclimates, winemaking styles
and vintages. The difference warrants your attention when you
visit wine country!
A recent visit surveyed two interesting rooms in Napa, and one in Sonoma. If you are new to the Napa Valley, the Wineries of Napa Valley might be a great way to start. Located conveniently in downtown Napa, at the southern end of the valley where many begin their visit, this tasting room also offers Concierge services and is open until 8pm.
Here they pour around 30 wines from 8 wineries
in rotation (about 15 different wines each day), and you will
receive 5 interesting tastes for $5. The room is bright and
clean, with a nice outdoor seating area where you might relax
and enjoy wine by the glass. Food is available nearby, so you
can enjoy the equivalent of a busy day visiting wineries and
a meal, all in one stop.
Both rooms are near the sensational newly re-opened
Opera House and Copia. City parking garages abound, along with
some on-street, 2-hour parking. If you will be arriving later
in the day, the later hours are really a plus to getting your
visit off to a satisfying start.
Traveling north, out of the Napa Valley through Calistoga on Highway 128 (about 1-1/2 hours unless you make other stops!), or just minutes north of Healdsburg off Highway 101 in Sonoma County, is the quaint town of Geyserville. Here LOCALS Tasting Room offers perhaps the most interesting angle to help you survey 50 wines from 7 small-production, artisan wineries; they specialize in tasting by varietal flight.
Whether you are looking for a new favorite Zinfandel or to explore something new, or both, the friendly LOCALS Nouveau Hicks will pour wines to your preference, test it, stretch it, maybe you’ll find something really new and exciting. The Tasting Menu here is organized by grape varietal, allowing you to easily compare wines with similar flavors. The flights of Zinfandel, mostly Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Pinot Noir are extensive, and many unusual varietals are also represented. The presentation style is fun yet informational, and most tasting is complimentary. While in Geyserville, you also might enjoy lunch or dinner at Santi (www.tavernasanti.com), the excellent Italian restaurant which is the talk of the area, and recent winner of an Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator.
The advantages of these rooms are numerous. Time saving. Longer, later hours. Special wines of popular as well as unusual varieties. Most have Wine Clubs, more interesting than most with the exposure to so many different wines. Comparing Napa to Sonoma styles is also fascinating if you explore all three rooms…measure the lighter, elegant, highly filtered Napa wines against the bold, rich character of the minimally processed Sonoma wines.
Whether novice or expert wine connoisseur, we all need more tasting rooms like these. In fact, we will probably see a lot more like them in the future, as this is one of the most agreeable ways to explore and enjoy quality wines. No matter what your experience or interest in great wines of the area is, these rooms deliver the goods to you. Check them out soon!
Article submitted by contributing writer Taylor Poff
Holidays in the Wine Country
A Wonderful Time to Visit!
It is November in the Wine Country. The sky is taking on that crisp, invigorating autumn quality and the sunlight angles in lower each day. The air is heavy with aromas hinting at the promise of yet another extraordinary vintage. Soon the vines will drop their colorful cloaks of golden and amber foliage, leaving bare, gnarled branches that create interesting visual patterns as you drive past vineyard after vineyard.
The change of seasons is undeniably evident throughout the regions, even though the weather remains agreeably mild. Summer is gone and crush is becoming a memory, but winter is still a wonderful time to visit the Wine Country! Tasting rooms are quieter, some with toasty fireplaces and comfy sofas inviting one to linger a while. There are numerous holiday festivities to attend and fantastic deals to be found during the "off season." Hotels, restaurants, and wineries offer gourmet Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, a myriad of celebrations, special topic tastings, "passport weekends," and holiday open houses. Local artists offer handmade gift items at colorful bazaars and craft fairs. So much to see and do!
carefully through this issue of the WineCountry.com Lifestyle
Online newsletter to find information on seasonal events and
promotions, such as the 3rd
Annual Holiday Ball (including an impressive wine auction),
the Sonoma Valley Olive
Festival , and Discover
Winter in the Wine Country. Read about this month's Featured
15th Annual Festival of Lights . Click through to the WineCountry.com
Current Events Calendars for each region to find more festivals
and events, including the Napa
Valley Symphony League's Festival of Trees, the Mendocino
Wine & Mushroom Fest , and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.'s
"Run Forrest Run" 5K Run at Cannery
Row in Monterey. While you're there check out Cannery Row's
84 stores in an "ocean view treasure hunt" for the
perfect holiday gift!
The Wine Country always has something beautiful
and unique to offer, any time of year. Consider the holiday
season…you may find winter to be your favorite time of
year for an exceptional Wine Country getaway!
Wine Country Featured Destination
Tucked in a quaint neighborhood, you would never guess Cedar Gables Inn was in downtown Napa. Described as an Inn of "Shakespearean Elegance," the exterior was magnificent and looming, inviting us into a different era, apparent from the first glimpse of the Inn. Built in 1892, this mansion was designed and modeled after the 16th Century country manors of Shakespeare’s day, by famed English architect Earnest Coxhead. Rene, Cedar Gables’ Innkeeper (all the way from Wisconsin!) greeted us warmly into the stylishly rich mansion filled with gorgeous antiques offset by the redwood interior. Being the only people occupying the Inn for the evening, we were treated to a full tour! Each of the nine rooms has a different theme and feel, filled with exquisite antiques, funky bathrooms, and most with fireplaces perfect for sipping sherry at the end of your evening. We stayed in Lady Margaret’s room, otherwise known as the "Honeymoon Suite," which was very charming and elegant. Historically, this space was used as a "gentlemen’s smoking room," with a hidden stairway leading up to the quarters. Adorned with beautiful furniture, a cozy fireplace and a whirlpool tub for two in the spacious bathroom...we truly felt relaxed.
Once settled in, we made our way downstairs to the parlour where Renee hosted a wine and cheese reception – just for us! We wandered into the spectacular dining room with a grand dining table and elegant chandelier with historic photos on the walls perfect for conversation. The kitchen nook is bright and cheerful, where a delicious gourmet breakfast was served the next morning – French toast with fresh strawberries (we included the recipe in this month’s newsletter!), just home baked muffins and scones and then for an extra treat: a baked banana with whipped cream. Heaven!
The overall impression we received was warm, elegant hospitality. For a true treat in luxury combined with the comfortable feeling of being in someone’s home, Cedar Gables Inn is not to be missed! You will never want to go home. For more information, visit their website at www.cedargablesinn.com.
Wine Country Recipe
French Toast Soufflé, courtesy of Cedar Gables Inn
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter or margarine
Bread Cubes - 1/2"-3/4" pieces (We use
sliced sour French bread cut into cubes.)
Wine Country Featured Events
Things to Do in the Wine Country:
November 28 --
15th Annual Festival of Lights - Yountville's Town Lighting
Ceremony & Street Faire
For all the Food & Wine Lover’s out there…. Now’s your chance to show your stuff! WineCountry.com would like to offer you the opportunity to enter your favorite Wine Country inspired recipe in our contest!
The best Wine Country recipe will be determined by our editorial staff, and the winner will receive a prize, and their winning recipe published in our next Newsletter! (By submitting your recipe, you are granting Freerun Technologies the right to include it in our newsletters and on our web sites).
The winner receives either 2 WineCountry.com T-shirts or 2 WineCountry.com Riedel Wine Glasses !
To enter the contest:
1. Click here and fill out the entry form! It’s that simple!
** Deadline for response is 8:00 am (Pacific Daylight Savings Time) November 17, 2003**
***No purchase necessary.
To participate you must be 21 years of age or older. Only one
entry per person permitted. Prize is same as cash, Freerun Technologies,
Inc/WineCountry.com is not responsible if lost or stolen. Winner
name and state of residence will be announced in a future issue
of WineCountry.com Lifestyle Online newsletter. Employees of
FreeRun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited.
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