Tomić Prošek Hektorović – another wine bar find from Croatia

This lovely little gem for the husband was from the island of Havar, mid & southern Dalmatia, Croatia.
This was a sweet wine produced from plavac mali grapes.

Rich dark colors of honey that appear as fresh melted gold. Sweetened golden raisin aromas with caramel brulee rising from the glass, then carry on that conversation to the palate. 

Should you have a chance to travel to Croatia this is worth hunting down for your sweet tooth needs!

If you want to read more about the lovely little wine bar in Split, Croatia read: http://gotchabythegrapes.com/?p=516

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Cheers!

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

With a quickening of the pulse & the lingered memories that cause hunger to creep in, I am reminded that it is almost time for the culmination of bounty in my county, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. I have a long time affair with this event. When I originally heard about it, in the space of tender beginnings of full food & wine appreciation, I put it to the side as a someday happening. As the years continued I moved it lovingly to the shelf I label bucket list due to the culmination of colliding obligations with the unchanging event weekend timing.

As a natural helper & hard working lady that is often lured to do things in the name of charity or assisting a friend, I did what is second nature. My first view was from behind the curtains of volunteering for all 3 events including helping to set them up. Work wise, the views of Fridays, Sonoma Starlight event held at the scenic Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville where top notch. There was a decadent bounty of warm evenings, pool views, lights, music, fabulous food & wine gems from the best wineries. After a long & sweaty day of work I folded myself home, but I couldn’t stop talking to my husband about how lovely the event was laid out, how fun the music was & how amazed I remained by the fabulous guests dressed to the nines.

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The next day, was a little more difficult to pull myself together to work, but as I parked in the vineyard at MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg I was ready to get a long day started. I checked into the volunteer center quickly & observed the layout of this event. Brilliant tents separated by AVA (American Viticultural Areas), so you could fully plan your day exploring. Wineries representing the libations made with world class fruit by talented winemakers tucked alongside beautiful foods prepared by passionate chefs, was mind blowing. The day was long, tending to the needs in the tent I was assigned too & after a day surrounded by look, but don’t touch I was ready to say a quick hello to friends while trying to find my car so I could beat the crowd home. I knew that I would have to put down the helper hat one day & attend this event, but sometimes that hat is just hard to take off.

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I don’t know how I awoke so early on Sunday to set up the auction, but when I got there I felt blessed that I could be a part of a team that put so much work behind the scenes to raise money for local charities. I was asked to stay for the auction, but after 3 days of work, between my regular crazy normal work schedule, I explained kindly that I would like to leave before guests arrived knowing that the linens where lovely & I would see photos later. I read later of the fundraising accomplishments, quietly smiling that I could offer my services to assist in whatever small way I could. In future years I never pulled the 3 days together again, opting for Friday & Sunday service so that I could enjoy a day of boring household duties that somehow nurture peace & puppy play time.

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I skipped a few years due to other obligations, choosing to partake in online bidding. I donated & received some great auction lots. Last year was the first time I bought tickets to the Saturday event, because I wanted to see from the other side of the table. It did not disappoint. By this time, I knew quite a few more people & luckily attended with a dear friend. I love taking photos for memories & sharing, but it appeared the vision of real camera shocked a few people leading to laughter a plenty. It felt wonderful to peruse the various tents dappled with wine & food that is not just visually stunning, but palate pleasing! Other than seeing winemakers & chefs while enjoying their talents, this event is so well put together it appears to have a sparkling bow on it. If you could desire a flavor, from comfort to decadent, you will find it here.

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Trying to summarize why this is an event you can’t miss is difficult because there are so many words on various pieces of this puzzle. The only way I can think to explain it, is to consider what would I tell a person that asked, “What did you do this weekend?”. Have you heard about Sonoma Wine Country Weekend? It is a beautifully thought out event that showcases the very best food & wine from the county while raising money to assist is great local charities. I discovered new wines to fall in love with while enjoying lovely plated food. I even stumbles upon delicious breweries & other local delights. I would continue to describe in detail some of my favorite finds encouraging people to adventure to the winery or restaurant of delightful memory.

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There is an array of events this coming Labor Day weekend that have your name all over it! So check out the link: http://sonomawinecountryweekend.com/event-schedule/to see if you can take part in a piece of greatness while adding other sections possibly to your bucket list. I’m looking forward to attending the Saturday event again this year & hope to see you there.

Cheers to another great piece of Sonoma County magic!

Rose that is too cool for my summer!

I have some usual suspects of the pink persuasion that I consider my go to summer sipping pinks, but I always leave room to try new flavors. I love a flirty rose of pinot noir just as much as I enjoy the adventure across the many other varietals that show a sassy lighter side in pink. Due to changes, timing & the sadness that surrounds sell outs of the favorites here are the rose wines that I’ve been sipping on for the summer (Koda not included).

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2015 Moshin Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir has aromas of watermelon kissed strawberries that dance onto your palate with silken scarves that caress ever so gently. This wine has a perfect amount of acidity showing it to be friendly as the crowd stopping smile that genuinely laughs at all your best jokes. This is the wine friend you can introduce to everyone & know it will be a pleasure. Easy drinking all year long!

Moshin Vineyards is located at 10295 Westside Road, Healdsburg CA 95448 if you need to stop by for a visit or check out the website for all their amazing flavors: http://www.moshinvineyards.com/

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2015 La Pitchoune Vin Gris of Pinot Noir quickly lured me in with the aromas of sun kissed blood orange juice with bountiful red berries. Strawberries & blood orange peel on the palate linger for the lovely intrigue of vacation. There is a refreshing brightness of young strawberries that changed from an adorable flower to the promise of a delicious treat. Perfect lip smack sound hits the mid palate offering a beautiful dryness that is dreamy on a warm evening.

La Pitchoune Winery offers their lovely wines or where they can be found on the website: http://www.lapitchounewinery.com/ Grab up some of this rose while it lasts & before the summer is gone. I know ya’ll need sips after work or after the school shuffle.

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2015 Passaggio Merlot Rosé is an adventure worthy glass with a cornucopia of flavorsUpon first sip it was a symphony of watermelon, sweet pie cherries & raspberries. Like balanced notes on your favorite songs chords, this wine seemed held together with a whispered hint of salinity from a breezy ocean vacation day. As the glass opens up into the warming temperatures a beautiful pomegranate note appears.

The last wine is also a discovery from Passaggio Wines…side bar moment. I have found it to be a true joy wondering what rose game the lovely winemaker will dive into each year. Last year I enjoyed the Mourvedre Rose as well as the stunning Barbera Rose. Can’t wait to discover what will appear for me in 2017…(note to self: slow down, you’re way ahead of yourself here).

Lastly the ever playful take on a favorite red varietal of mine, 2015 Passaggio Tempranillo Rose aka “Rose Colored Glasses”. This wine dazzles with bright light cherry notes that play with lovely red current through a savory hint in the aromatic entertainment. I found flavors of guava & strawberry hinting through the glass as it opened. There is a savory side to this glass that would play well with light garlic white wine sauces of summer seafood dishes. For me this wine screams for a relaxing wine country summer picnic with a simple charcuterie plate & neighboring cheeses, such as manchego, as well. So good, it deserves a double take. I’m salivating at the thought!

Passaggio Wines has a wonderful tasting room located at 25 E Napa Street, Sonoma that would allow you the opportunity to enjoy fabulously crafted wines. These wines taste just as you could imagine love in the bottle would be like. Explore here: http://www.passaggiowines.com/

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Cheers to all end of summer sipping!!!

Rome-around Part 2

More rested then the jet lag tinged day one, I was ready to over-fill my mind with as much visual stimulus as possible in Rome.  We enjoyed a quick breakfast at our tiny hotel before our daily adventure, our only plan for the day, being a private tour of the Vatican…more on that later. Oh, by the way, when I say tiny hotel I totally mean it. I felt like I was tucked into a pocket of time in a Harry Potter hide away spot. It was a perfect it-will-do spot, but most likely not a do-over stay. We utilized our hop-on & hop-off bus passes as a way to get the highlight reel of this beautifully historic city. While enjoying the opportunity to hop off for closer views then allow ourselves the coach to later whisk us away to keep us on schedule for our mid-afternoon plans.

There is a majesty held in visions seen that instantly become emblazed as your memories. While you look around every day hustle then turn left or right as instant heart quickening history unfolds around you. The detail in art wraps into the ancient held within the grasp of the new, all intermingle in such a way that I intend to share visually. As I stated the day started with a bus tour that we could hop on or off at our pace and here are some highlights.

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After feeling like a conquering, Rocky Balboa, from the many long winded flights of stairs we stood for a moment in observation of our scenery. We happened upon a photo shoot with a lovely Italian model dressed all in white with a large sunny day hat to shade her. While later, in front of horse carts I chuckled as a lady dressed in a puffy black jacket was scolding her black poodle that shared a panache for matching red bows with her owners red boots. People watching is the best and Rome did not disappoint!

We felt the need for a quick snack on our way to the Vatican City and found ourselves stumbling into the Mercato Trionfale where I found extra things too purchase. I indulged in a delicious focaccia style pizza that I asked the lovely lady to only cut off just a few inches for me. Not too sure what the others had, but I know I always lose the husband at some point to gelato. I wish we had this market style in Sonoma County so we could grab our desires for dinner or quick purchase needs while visiting farmers and butchers. I loved this place with all the hunger I could muster while I wished we could stay longer in a home environment where I could cook with the ingredients I found.

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I feel that the Vatican is its own story that you could live in for months without discovering it all so after many hours with a lovely gentleman named, Luca, we were hungry and a slightly parched. We intended to stop for a glass of wine and whiskey, but nothing happens simply in Rome. I made sure to not over fill because I knew I wanted to wash up, wait for the evening to darken the skies while the lights caressed our path to a last supper in Rome. I greatly enjoyed a leisurely stroll past the lovely fountains while listening to music, looking at beautiful art from lovely street vendors and taking in all the joy of laughter in those wining and dining around us.

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In a breath I cannot believe all we fit into two days and then I look at the schedule I push onto myself at home and think I know exactly how we got so much done.  I sure would have enjoyed a few more days to languish in this buzzing city of history, art and food. 

Cheers!

2011 Korta Katrina Posip

While traveling to Croatia a few years back, my husband and I decided to travel the town less like tourists and more like locals. So after our grocery stops and mall romping we discovered a lovely wine and cheese bar called Paradox. If you happen to be in Split, this tasty stop is located in the heart of town by the theater. I had been in a mood to discover white varietals from the old world so I ordered Posip, pronounced (po-ship) from Korta Katarina Winery. From the menu notes the wine comes from the island of Korcula (kor-chu-la) in southern Dalmatia.
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The wine hints to the beautiful Mediterranean climate around it with a lively golden sun-kissed hue with a slight green hint. Upon my aromatic indulgence I was whisked to visions of sunflowers against the back drop of a cloudless blue sky, yet my environment was more blue sky and white beaches. There was a beautiful nuance of grapefruit that danced from nose to brain and palate to bliss intermingled with citrus blossoms.
I tasted a slight kefir lime flavor with a mix of white nectarine as it opened, that drew me to another sip. There was a lovely balance of the brightness in the wine with the notion a enjoying beautifully juicy citrus on a warm day. Juicy in flavor of citrus ripeness, but dry on the palate with a lively zeal for a spring day. Though this was enjoyed at a cheese and wine shop this would’ve been a lovely accompaniment to crab dishes or a beautiful mussel dish with garlic and lemon.
I’ll discuss my husband sweet choice later!
Cheers!