A Taste of Mount Veeder coming to Scottsdale in March

We all remember our first love, first car and first winery we visited right. I remember the first two but the wine geek in me remembers visiting Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder in 1997. It was the first winery I had ever visited early in my wine career. Hess Collection will be one of 11 wineries pouring their wines at “A Taste of Mount Veeder” on Saturday March 2nd. The tasting will be at Troon Country Club from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

About Mount Veeder

The Mount Veeder appellation is part of the Mayacamas range on the western side of Napa Valley. It borders Sonoma County to the west and the Carneros appellation to the south. From vineyards a top the mountain on a clear day you can see San Francisco to the south as I did from Rubisow-Sargent’s vineyards on another visit to Napa Valley.

Grapes at Paratus Vineyards. All photos courtesy of Mount Veeder Appellation

In 1993 it was designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA) and covers 16,000 acres with only 1,000 acres under vine. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 64% of grapes grown. Mount Veeder represents 1.3% of wine production in Napa Valley.

It was the first AVA to grow Petit Verdot, have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted at one vineyard and produce a wine with all 5 Bordeaux varietals.

Wineries participating

This will be a unique opportunity to taste these wines in one place as some of the wineries are not open to the public. Participating wineries will be…..

Boich Family Cellar
Brandlin
The Hess Collection Winery
Lagier Meredith
Marketta Winery
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Progeny
Random Ridge
Robert Craig Winery
Rudd Estate Winery
Sky Vineyards
Yates Family Vineyards

Find wines that you like and you’ll be able to order them for your collection. Tickets are $75 in advance and include gourmet hor d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $100 at the door. To purchase tickets visit their website or call 707-266-1296 before they sell out.

Troon Country Club is at 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr. Scottsdale 85255.

Lunch with Russ Weis, President of Silverado Vineyards

I recently sat down for lunch at Hearth ’61 with the President of Silverado Vineyards, Russ Weis, when he was in Phoenix. We tasted 3 wines while Russ told us the Silverado story, about life in Napa Valley surviving recent wildfires and about the wines.

Russ was practically born into the wine business as the son of grape growers in Madera, California. Russ started his career in Napa Valley in 1987 at Christian Brothers Winery then went on to Robert Mondavi Winery in 1993. He joined Silverado Vineyards in 2004.

The Silverado Vineyards story

Silverado Vineyards was started in 1981 by Diane Disney and her husband, former football player and movie producer Ron Miller. The 6 historic vineyards owned by the winery date back to the 1800s and are located throughout Napa Valley. The winery is currently owned by Ron and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with plans to keep it in the family for several more generations.

The wines are made by winemaker Jon Emmerich and associate winemaker Elena Franceschi. All wines are “Grown, Produced and Bottled by” the winery, one of a few Napa Valley wineries that can say that. A small portion of grapes are sold to other wineries.

With over 300 acres of vineyards the wines express the differing terroirs, giving each wine its unique complexity and character. The winery and home vineyard are in the Stags Leap District along the Silverado Trail.

Tasting the wines

During our lunch we tasted the 2016 Carneros Chardonnay and proprietary Cabernet Sauvignons GEO and SOLO from the 2014 vintage.

The chardonnay comes from the Vineburg and Firetree vineyards in the cooler southern part of Napa Valley. The wine is aged in French oak barrels with some in new oak. The wine is clean and well-balanced with oak and acidity. Bright fruit that the Carneros region is known for makes this a great wine to drink by itself or paired with food. It made a nice complement to our shrimp cocktail. The chardonnay is the winery’s second largest produced wine, at just under 10,000 cases.

The GEO Cabernet Sauvignon uses grapes grown on the Mt. George vineyard in Coombsville. The Millers bought the vineyard in 1987 and was the first vineyard planted to grapes in the Coombsville AVA. A splash of Petit Verdot is blended before the wine was aged for almost 2 years in mostly French oak. The wine was soft and enjoyable with good tannins giving you the typical Cabernet mouthfeel taste of blackberries and cocoa and drinks well. Only 2,200 cases are made.

The SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon was the last of the 3 wines we tasted. Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is named for the fact it’s made from a single clone. The Silverado- Disney Heritage clone was given “Heritage” status by UC Davis because the new clone was carefully observed and had adapted to the unique soil of the Stags Leap District. It’s one of only 3 Cabernets with this status and the only one from Stags Leap District.

The bold fruit comes from the Silverado Vineyard and offers currants, cassis and plum nuances. It’s aged in 100% French oak with 38% new oak. The wine pairs well with grilled red meats and roasts. 2,400 cases were produced.

Visiting the winery

Silverado Vineyards is open daily by appointment. The winery is at 6121 Silverado Trail, Napa CA. 94458. For reservations call 707-257-1770 or visit their website.

Switchback Ridge Winery dinner at The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s

Phoenix restaurants are running around crazy the next 10 days with the holiday rush in 5th gear. After 2019 begins restaurateurs and staff take a needed breather it will be back to serving hungry visitors and locals. The Market + Bar at Jennifer’s jumps back into it on January 9th with a wine dinner with Switchback Ridge Winery.

The four-course dinner will be paired with a unique menu from chef Jennifer Russo and wines made by legendary Napa Valley winemaker Bob Foley. Founder Kelly Peterson will be flying in from Calistoga to co-host the dinner and speak about the wines.

Switchback Ridge sources all the grapes for their wines from the families Peterson Family Vineyard run by Kelly’s mom and dad, John & Joyce Peterson. The winery makes 3 red wines with a small production of less than 3,000 cases.

Switchback Ridge Winery pairing menu

The big & bold red wines require a bold menu and it is as follows……

Hourglass Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Grilled Prawns with Bottarga Risotto

Giant prawns seasoned with flakey salt and Gilroy garlic brushed with extra virgin olive oil lightly grilled until color bursts creamy Italian arborio risotto with vanilla bean backnotes served with grated Mediterranean bottarga lime and lemon zest

 

Switchback Ridge Merlot 2014

Roasted Breast of Duck with Hoisin

Breast of duck, seared to mid-rare with a hoisin glaze Yukon gold potato gratin, braised Belgian endive and fresh mint leaves

 

Switchback Ridge Cabernet 2014

Bing cherry Demi-Glace over Lamb Loin

Boneless Colorado rack of lamb roasted to a warm mid-rare served with a bing cherry demi-glace and tender cooked bulgur wheat and snipped fresh watercress

 

Side by Side

Switchback Ridge Petite Syrah 2015 & Switchback Ridge Vintage Petite Syrah

Deconstructed Bleu Cheese Cheesecake

Honey black pepper macerated blackberries layered with bleu cheese cheesecake with vanilla wafer crust

 

The dinner is $95 per person at starts at 6:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (602)626-5050.

The Market + Bar by Jennifer’s is at 3603 E. Indian School. Rd Phoenix 85018.

Tempo Urban Bistro to host Robert Mondavi Wine Makers dinner

Buckeye’s modern Tempo Urban Bistro and Coffee Bar will be hosting a 5-course dinner paired with wines from one of Napa Valley’s classic wineries, Robert Mondavi. The dinner will be a great way to end the weekend will take place on Sunday August 19th at 6p.m.

The three year old Tempo Urban Bistro in the Verrado neighborhood of Buckeye will prepare dishes from chef Steven Maynard for this special evening. The menu will be…

  • First Course — Pork Belly Steam Bun with hoisin glaze, cilantro, and pickled onions
  • Second Course — Artichoke and Leek Frittata with frisee salad and heirloom tomatoes
  • Third Course — Cioppino, Italian fish stew
  • Fourth Course — Seared Breast of Duck with dark cherry jus and parsnip puree
  • Fifth Course — White Chocolate Pots de Creme

The wine pairing dinner is $65 per person and reservations can be made by calling 623-594-6788 and the bistro is at 21067 W. Main st. Buckeye 85396. For more information check out their website.

 

Zuzu releases dates for Monday Night Chef’s Table for coming months

Zuzu and executive chef Russell LaCasce  know how to pull off exciting off menu dinner events. Diners and wine geeks should be excited for their continued success as the next four months of their monthly Monday Night Chef’s Table is set.

The signature restaurant at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho will offer guests a 4-course dinner paired with wines from prestigious wineries. A guest from the winery will be on hand to speak about the wines and pairings. Although all the menus are not finalized the wineries are and dates are as follows….

August 27th Frog’s Leap Winery– Guests can expect a menu of cabbage cured salmon, charred jumbo asparagus with prosciutto and lobster, dry aged pork chop, and chocolate pot de crème with almond crumble.

September 17th- Wagner Family of Wines

October 22nd– ZD Wines

November 12th– Willakenzie Estate

Each of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and cost $75 ++ per person and reservations can be made at http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/ or by calling 480-376-2600. Zuzu is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

Paul Hobbs Crossbarn wines poured at Mowry & Cotton dinner

The Phoenician’s newest restaurant Mowry & Cotton pairs California wines from acclaimed winemaker Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Winery this Friday March 23rd.

The dinner comes on the heels of Mowry & Cotton’s first “Meet at Mowry” social dining series. The community dining styled dinner will feature a reception and 3-course dinner paired with 5 wines from Napa &  Sonoma counties. Director of Winemaking Greg Urmini is the evening’s special invitee and will make his way to each table to speak about the wines and winery.

Mowry & Cotton menu with Paul Hobbs wines

The dinner will feature locally sourced vegetables, fresh game and a variety of seasonal ingredients paired with wines that will compliment the meal. The reception is called for 6:30 p.m. with dinner to start at 7.

TABLE                                                                                                                                           “GAME” BOARD

bruleed foie, confit rabbit, quail egg country paté, fennel mostarda, cherry compote, miso mustard, house pickles, crispy flatbread

FIRST                                                                                                                    CHARRED VEGETABLE SALAD

artichoke, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,

pickled chick peas, herbs, smoked tomato vinaigrette

SEAFOOD DIP

uni, crab, charred pomelo, thai basil, cracked wheat sourdough

MAIN                                                                                                                      SMOKED LAMB SHOULDER

spring vegetable kraut, pea yogurt, salsa matcha, naan

HALF GRILLED PHEASANT

cipollini onion, broccolini, almond, citrus, cherry

GRILLED ASPARAGUS

rye crispies, hazelnut, lemon, smoked cherry

ROASTED SPRING ONION

almond, fermented rhubarb honey, mulato chile yogurt

DESSERT                                                                                                                                    BLACKBERRY GOAT CHEESE SUNBURST CAKE

whipped white pepper brulee

WINES                                                                                                                                         SAUVIGNON BLANC Sonoma County, 2015

CHARDONNAY Sonoma Coast, 2016

PINOT NOIR Sonoma Coast, 2014

CABERNET SAUVIGNON Napa Valley, 2014

CABERNET FRANC Moon Mountain District, Sonoma County, 2014

Save Your Seat

With limited seating reservations are needed and can be made by calling 480-423-2530 or email 00103RestaurantReservations@luxurycollection.com The cost for the evening is $60 per person plus including tax & tip.

Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

Hall Wines to be paired at The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s

After a short holiday hangover the first week of January, 2018 starts quickly on the Phoenix food and wine scene. The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s is hosting its first wine dinner of 2018 Wednesday January 10th as it pairs with Hall Wines from Napa and Sonoma Counties at the Arcadia Lite neighborhood restaurant.

Hall Wines & pairings

The 6-course family style meal will be paired with 5 wines from Hall Wines and its Sonoma partner Walt Wines.

The first 3 courses paired will be paired with Walt Wines chardonnay & pinot noirs from Sonoma with the bigger reds saved for the last 2 courses from Hall Wines in St. Helena.

Walt Chardonnay                                                                                                       Seared Diver scallop with a citrus beurre blanc, blood orange, crispy shallots and chive oil with corn nut dust

Walt Pinot Noir Blue Jay                                                                                            Pan-seared breast of canard duck with sweet potato fondant drizzled with a balsamic cherry reduction topped with kale crisp      

Walt Pinot Noir la Brisa                                                                                                         Pappardelle pasta  with porcini mushroom crème and dehydrated prosciutto, Cherve and oregano leaves

Hall Merlot                                                                                                                         Coq au vin prepared with  pearl onions, baby root vegetables and lardon in classic presentation

Hall Cabernet                                                                                                                     Tri-colored peppercorns and flakey salt crusted rib eye with wilted greens and potato crème and Chef’s red wine reduction

Sweet                                                                                                                                            Chocolate shortbread cookie with macerated berries and dark

This classic pairing dinner starts at 6:30 the evening of the 10th. $85 per person.

RSVP to 602-626-5050. The Market is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018. http://themarketphx.com/

 

Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Red Hills of Lake County

North of the Napa Valley is Lake County where farms, fields and vineyards roll through the rural countryside. This is where in 1999 Mitch and Tracey Hawkins and David Boises started growing grapes & started producing wine in 2004. 18 acres planted to mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Hawk and Horse Vineyards is certified organic(CCOF) and serves as a ranch in addition to vineyards and  is located in the Red Hills AVA of lake County.

Making 2 wines under the guidance of well respected winemakers Dick Peterson and Scott Harvey, Hawk and Horse show off how good Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon can be.

The 2007 Cabernet is the 3rd release and is a burst of dried currants and cocoa. Aged for 18 months in French oak this wine is medium bodied and offers nice tannins with a long, lingering finish. With only 430 cases produced this wine is a great example of what a well balanced wine should be and should sell out at $65 so get yours soon.

As much as we loved the CS with our rib eyes, we almost went bonkers over their 2006 Latigo dessert wine. This delicious, amber wine is made with CS grapes and then fortified with brandy. The wine is aged for 26 months and when ready to drink is a mouthful of cherries, raisins and cranberries that is medium in body and consistency. Only 200 cases were made and is perfect for the upcoming fall and holiday season. Approx. $45 http://hawkandhorsevineyards.com/

2005 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Brothers Charles and Stu Smith started their 37 acre vineyard a top Spring Mountain in 1971. With vineyards planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and most recently Cabernet Franc and Merlot they produce about 4,000 cases combined. One would expect them to build their reputation on Napa Valley staples of Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay, but at Smith-Madrone their known for their Riesling. The Riesling is considered to be on par with celebrated Riesling producers from around the world and is often on wine writers “best of” list each year. With breath taking views of Napa Valley the dry farmed vineyards are anywhere from 1,300-2,000 ft. above the valley floor. Doing almost everything themselves around the vineyards and winery Charles and Stu deserve the accolades they receive.

With 13 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2005 is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc and saw 22 months in new American oak. It is neither fined or filtered. Soft and lush at the beginning, with good black cherry and currant fruit and medium tannins this wine has nice character and complexity. A long lingering finish on the back of the palate, “this is one of the best Cabs I’ve had all year” said my drinking companion. This is not a big Cab, with huge tannins but a Cab. with finesse and structure. With less than 1,500 cases of the 05 produced this bottle is a steal at approximately $45. If you can find it make sure you grab a bottle or 2 and while at it if you can find their Chardonnay or Riesling one should stock up on those too. www.smithmadrone.com

Crane Brothers 2006 Brodatious


Michael and Robert Crane have been making wine since 2001 using grapes from their families 9 acre Crane Ranch Vineyard in the Oak Knoll district of Napa Valley. The vineyards are on the valley floor and on the hillsides above and are overseen by Jon Anthony Truchard. Using organic and sustainable farming methods they produce less than 400 cases each of their wines.
Winemaker Al Perry has been making Crane Brothers wines since the beginning. He also makes wine for Robert Biale Vineyards where he is also co-owner. In his 25 year plus career, Al has made wine for some of the most well respected wineries in Napa Valley including Stags Leap Winery and Opus One as well as for Yalumba in Australia.

The 2006 Brodatious is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah and is aged in French oak. Big and juicy at the beginning this wine has nuances of black cherry and berries. Spices and oak along with softer tannins gives it a nice lingering finish. ABV is 14.5% and should retail for about $35