Brie and Nikki Bella pair their wines at Hearth ’61 cuisine

Since their not body slamming their opponents in the wrestling ring anymore, twin sisters Brie and Nikki Bella are stomping grapes at their Napa Valley winery, Belle Radici. They launched the winery with partner Ryan Hill in 2017 and is Italian for “beautiful roots”. Belle Radici wines along with wines from Hill’s Hill Family Estate Winery will be poured on Sunday September 15th at Hearth ’61.

The dinner is part of the Mountain Shadows Resort’s Sunday Supper Club with food prepared by Chef Charles Wiley. Chef Wiley will be joined in the kitchen by Elements at Sanctuary executive chef Beau MacMillan. The pair worked together at Element’s when Wiley was executive chef and mentored MacMillan.

They’re collaborating on a four-course menu that includes Black Garlic Braised Beef Cheek and Honey Crisp Apple and Daikon Radish Salad.

The monthly Sunday Supper Club pairs wines or spirits with Chef Wiley’s modern cuisine. Upcoming dinners include Rombauer Vineyards on October 20th and Champagne Henriot on December 8th.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and each seat is 474 plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 480-624-5400.

Mountain Shadows Resort is at 5445 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

The 9th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival set for Aug. 22 -25

The culinary stars shine bright on southern California when the 9th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine festival launches for four days in August. Celebrity chefs and local food icons show off the coastal cuisine of southern California cooking. Jerimiah Tower and Nancy Silverton are two of the chefs cooking for guests at diners, cooking demonstrations and more.

The four days start with a series of dinners Thursday evening at restaurants around the city before shifting to the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport for the weekend.

Los Angeles Food & Wine festival events

14 culinary events will span the weekend including…..

The Legends Dinner at Chi SPACCA: The widely credited father of California cuisine Jeremiah Tower joins queen of the Mozza-Plex Nancy Silverton at her white-hot Chi SPACCA. This epic, one-night-only pairing promises a lifetime of bragging rights to the 40 festival-goers fortunate enough to snag a ticket.

Dinner at Otium: Fans of Netflix’s “The Final Table” can pull up a chair to watch 2018 season winner Tim Hollingsworth share the spotlight with rising star chef Travis Swikard at Hollingsworth’s downtown masterpiece, The Broad museum-adjacent Otium. 

The Epic Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan: In a city known for great burgers, the best are going bun to bun to win the coveted LAFW Golden Burger Show Trophy. Host Alvin Cailan, of YouTube’s “The Burger Show,” joins celebrity judges Seth Rogen, Tiffani Thiessen and Adam Richman in this juicy battle of the beef.

LA’s Faves & Craves: In one short stroll, festival-goers can take in the breathtaking diversity of L.A.’s culinary landscape as the city’s own Jet Tila hosts a showcase of the most crave-worthy dishes of 25 local chefs. L.A’s finest tacos, pizza, hot dogs, donuts, fried chicken and Asian-inspired specialties will share one location for one afternoon.

Meat Me at LAFW’s Great Steak-out & BBQ: Meat master Curtis Stone of Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant and 25 other great tamers of the flame are bringing their A+ game to LAFW. Surf, sides, caviar and Big Cabs will complement the slabs at this event evoking the nation’s greatest steakhouses and BBQ joints.

Sunday Brunch So Hard: Those lucky enough to score one of the very limited VIP tickets to LAFW’s grand finale enjoy rare pre-event access to Jeremiah Tower, the illustrious self-taught chef dubbed “The Last Magnificent” by Anthony Bourdain. Standard tickets are anything but shabby, too, at the culinary legend’s brunch-to-end-all-brunches.

To see a full list of events, more information and to purchase tickets visit their website.

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.

SUMMER SUNDAYS” PRIME RIB DINNER AT FLEMING’S 3-Courses for $29.95, B.R. Cohen Cabernet for $40

Here is some info. on Fleming’s Sunday night’s Prime Rib dinner & wine feature. Summer is the time to bring back the tradition of Sunday night dinner with family and friends at Fleming’s. Guests can enjoy a three-course Prime Rib Dinner at a special price every Sunday evening beginning July 1st through Labor Day Weekend.

New this season is the perfect pairing of wine to complement prime rib of beef– B. R. Cohn North Coast Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2008/2009–enticingly priced.
WHEN: Sundays through Labor Day Weekend
(July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, August 5, 12, 19, 26, 30, September 2)

COST: $29.95* per guest
B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon $40* a bottle

WHERE: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
o Scottsdale at Lincoln Road: 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd. / 480-596-8265o North Scottsdale at DC Ranch: 20753 N. Pima Rd. / 480-538-8000o Chandler: 905 N. 54th St. / 480-940-1900o Peoria: 9712 W. Northern Ave. / 623-772-9463

Please visit www.FlemingsSteakhouse.com to find your nearest restaurant and hours.
MENU:
The Sunday Prime Rib Dinner is a three-course meal featuring:

  • 12 ounces of succulent Prime Rib, served with a trio of sauces
  • Choice of The Wedge, Fleming’s or Caesar salad
  • Choice of one side dish (ten selections)
  • Choice of housemade dessert (seven selections)



*excluding tax and gratuity. Our Prime Rib Dinner is available every Sunday, but at the special summer price of $29.95 per guest through September 2nd only. Fleming’s abides by all local and state liquor laws.

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