Thursday, November 16, 2017
It's a rainy Thursday,and When it rains I seek out great Zinfandel and great steaks.We will head on down to Stark's Steak and Seafood,with these great wines from Philo Ridge Vineyards.First let's check out the tasting notes and history of these very special wines. Philo Ridge Vineyards, located in the beautiful hills of the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. We make small, handcrafted lots of eleven wines for a total of 2500 cases per year. Our award winning wines are produced by sustainable farming practices from vineyards in Mendocino County. Philo Ridge Vineyards takes pride in making very approachable Zinfandel. This is not an over-the-top jammy or high alcohol style. 2012 was an exceptional growing year: not many big temperature swings, little frost, and no rain. Blackberries, cherries, and soft pepper spice with a lingering finish and brambly aromas. The higher acidity makes it a versatile food wine. This is our first wine from this vineyard and we are expecting great things. 100% vegan. We also opened the Primitivo and Pinot Noirs from this amazing winery. The Primitivo is an old world varietal that gives a nose of blackberry, cinnamon stick, and mulled apples. The mouth is ripe mixed berries, dark chocolate, and a spice finish. A wine to pair with hearty dishes, pizza, and anything Italian. 100% Vegan. i enjoy the great cuisine at Stark's as often as I can. Casually elegant with an upscale feel, Stark’s Steak & Seafood serves up classic fare with a modern approach. Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and over sixty whiskeys.Let's enjoy a great pairing at Stark's,please join us! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
As we enjoy this beautiful fall day,we are surrounded by many people effected by the California wild fires.All we can do is take each say,one at a time,and start to rebuild this beautiful community.Let's take the evening and head down to Stark's Steak and Seafood!We have a few great wines from Handley cellars,and we are ready for some world class wines and food.We will take a look at Handley Cellars and then checkout the Stark's website. Handley Cellars is a small family-owned winery in California’s Mendocino County. Bonded in 1982, we produce around 12,000 cases of wine a year. Our quality starts with our Estate Vineyards in Anderson Valley. We are located at the northwest end of the Anderson Valley on 59 acres of the original Holmes Ranch. Still standing on the property are the now-refurbished ranch house, barn, and the original water tower. At Handley Cellars, we offer a wide variety of wines that complement today’s diverse cuisines. Winemaker Milla Handley seeks to make balanced wines that possess distinctive varietal characteristics, wines that reflect the soil and climate in which they were grown. we will talk about their great Pinot Noirs,but our food focus is the white wines from Handley cellars. Working with carefully tended, exceptional sites, Handley Cellars strives to create wines which faithfully reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyards and viticultural region, focusing on our appellation of Anderson Valley. We select vineyards that fully ripen at lower brix, resulting in wines with low to moderate alcohol levels. Beginning with the 2012 vintage, our white wines are free of animal products. From start to finish, we are mindful of our impact on our rural valley, and the implications of our farming and wine making choices for future generations. Let's open the 2015 Pinot Blanc! The majority of the fruit for this wine was sourced from Cox-Schrader Ranch located at the southern end of the Ukiah Valley viticulture region. This area is known to produce full flavored Chardonnay and is a great site for Pinot Blanc as well. Its location along the Russian River is slightly cooler than much of the Ukiah Valley and the deep alluvial soils are fertile and well drained. The Pinot Blanc is growing immediately adjacent to the river on the flood plain where the deep rooted, older vines can access ample moisture to withstand the hot summer months. These growing conditions are conducive to producing ripe fruit flavors at lower sugar concentrations (brix). A small amount of Riesling from the Green Ranch in Anderson Valley was blended in to add acidity and build structure in the wine. We have a great new feature with Randy Shock on these wines,followed by a feature with GM Bruce at Stark's. Casually elegant with an upscale feel, Stark’s Steak & Seafood serves up classic fare with a modern approach. Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and over sixty whiskeys. Today we will dine and enjoy!Please join us!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
We have a great feature with Balletto Vineyards and Stark's Steak and seafood.I hope you are hungry!Balletto is known for amazing Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays,but today we are opening the Syrah and Zinfandel.These are my favorite wines from Balletto Vineyards!Let's check out the tasting notes and then join Bruce Hamilton at Stark's! Founder and owner John Balletto started the business after the untimely death of his father in 1977. When the family needed him the most, he put their needs before his own and relinquished several college athletic scholarship offers so he could stay home and help his mother, Hazel, run the small five-acre farm. The Balletto family was determined to make the business a success, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s they purchased parcels of land to gradually increase vegetable production. One of those properties is where the Balletto Vineyards winery stands today. After seeing the high-quality Russian River Valley wines crafted from their fruit by other wine producers, John and Terri decided to pursue winemaking under the “Balletto Vineyards” name. They saved one-tenth of the fruit for themselves—selecting the top 10 percent of quality—and in 2001 created the first vintage of Balletto Vineyards estate wines from Russian River Valley. The Ballettos crushed enough Russian River Valley fruit for 391 cases of Chardonnay and 689 cases of Pinot Noir that first year. Our first wine is Syrah,and this and the Zinfandel are similiar but different...We will explain! From the producer's BCD Vineyard—where it also grows Pinot Noir—this bold, big-boned red is smooth, simple and soft, accented with raspberry, vanilla, lavender and mocha notes. Its acidity is subtle and supportive, providing underlying freshness from start to finish. The Zinfandel is one of my personal favorite wines.Being a Zinfandel lover already ,makes this a wine I try and drink often. A bright and relatively light expression of the variety, this wine imparts more red berry than black, with seasonings of cinnamon and nutmeg. Soft, smooth and unfussy, it retains solid acidity from start to finish, with a taste of vanilla custard on the finish. I think we are ready for this new pairing,and the great cuisine of Stark's Steak and Seafood! James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Mark and Terri Stark together own and operate six of Sonoma County’s favorite, and most highly rated, restaurants: Willi’s Wine Bar, Monti’s Rotisserie, Bird & The Bottle, and Stark’s Steak & Seafood in Santa Rosa, and Willi’s Seafood and Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg. Mark is executive chef and Terri handles all business operations for the restaurants. From opening their first venture, Willi ‘s Wine Bar in 2002, to their most recent, Bird & The Bottle in 2015, Mark and Terri’s restaurants have consistently earned top accolades and praise including San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant status (Willi’s Wine Bar and Bravas), Michelin Bib Gourmand (Monti’s, Willi’s Wine Bar), and Travel + Leisure Top 20 US Tapas Restaurants (Bravas). Says San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer, “What sets Mark and Terri Stark apart from many restaurateurs who have multiple locations is that each location is different. If their names weren’t written on the menu, in fact, you probably wouldn’t know it was one of their properties… Willi’s has remained one of my favorite casual stops in Sonoma County.” Mark is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and honed his professional cooking skills in Washington DC and Seattle. Terri majored in hospitality at the University of Oregon, and had a successful catering and restaurant management career in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mark and Terri met while both were working for the California Cafe Restaurant Group in Palo Alto: he as a regional chef and she as manager of the catering department. They married in 1999, and relocated to Sonoma County shortly thereafter where Terri has four generations of family. The Starks believe it’s not enough to provide great food and service in a comfortable setting—those things are to be expected. Their goal is to provide an experience that will leave diners saying, “I can’t wait to come back.” With six restaurants under their belts, that philosophy seems to be working. We are ready...I hope you can join us!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Balletto Vineyards and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The last few days have been extremely tragic in northern California.A great harvest has been put aside,and just helping others survive is the focus of wine country.I have never seen this destruction before,and pray I never see it again.Sonoma, Mendocino,and Napa will rebuild,and I wish peace for all that have endured this horrible time.I have a new feature,and would like to share a smile or two with all of you.We have a wine feature with Navarro Vineyards,and will follow it with a few courses at Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.Santa Rosa has been hit extremely hard by the fires and I wish we could all support and share kindness in the up coming days and weeks.Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.
Monday, September 25, 2017
We have been enjoying the wines from Anderson valley.In my travels I have visited Penny Royal Farm twice now,and had to bring the wines to my favorite restaurant.Let's look at Stark's website and tell you a little about this fine dinning restaurant,and open the wines! Casually elegant with an upscale feel, Stark’s Steak & Seafood serves up classic fare with a modern approach. Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and over sixty whiskeys. Landmark building in Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square in Sonoma County. Built in 1934, it is the oldest freestanding, continuously operating restaurant in Santa Rosa. Operated as Michele’s Italian Restaurant from 1967 to 2006. Purchased in December 2006 by restaurateurs Mark and Terri Stark. Renovated and reopened in January 2008 as Stark’s Steakhouse. Strak's is a classic steakhouse, serving sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Today we are featuring the wines of anderson valley and Penny Royal Farm. Pennyroyal Farm is named after the wild mint that thrives in the vineyards. Sheep have been in residence at our family’s Boonville farm for over a quarter of century, but it wasn’t until 2006 that we decided to grow wine grapes and make cheese. Pennyroyal Farm is designed to minimize fossil fuel use and maximize the symbiotic relationships of diversified crops and animal husbandry. We also utilize solar panels on our barn to supply the farm's electricity. Nestled between the Tasting Room and Vineyard, the vegetable plot provides herbs, greens, fruits, and flowers for our farmstead kitchen. Our gardener is constantly experimenting with varieties that will thrive on this historic hay field. The garden is inspired by a no till farming model which focuses on maintaining ground cover with harvestable crops and minimal soil disruption. Constant production requires a high amount of soil nutrient input. As we strive toward closed loop systems at Pennyroyal Farm, integrating farmstead compost is an important part of the soil amendment regime. we have three wines on the table,and now let's join Bruce at Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood,and enjoy the best of the best!Please join us!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood in Santa Rosa,Ca..
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
A few weeks ago I visited Debra at Navarro Vineyards.It's that time of the year...CRUSH 2017!It's amazing how much work it takes to make these great wines,and I love the wines from the fabled valley.Let's check out the tasting notes on a couple wines from Navarro Vineyards,and also take a look at our destination tonight,as we dine at Stark's Steakhouse! Let's start with the amazing Pinot Noir ! Navarro's Deep End Pinot is stylistically different from the Méthode à l'Ancienne bottling, much the result of growing grapes up in the hills versus down in the valley. Navarro's regime for the Méthode style developed between 1983 and 1996; during that period we produced many experimental lots to figure out how to maximize wine quality produced from Pinot Noir grapes grown down on the valley floor. In the mid 90's we decided to expand our Pinot Noir production by creating new vineyards up on the hills. The microclimate in our upper vineyards is cooler than the valley floor, with a longer growing season; the vines bud out earlier and the crop is generally harvested later. We began our experimentation again. The regime that we developed for the Méthode wine was our starting point and over the years we've tweaked that recipe for the Deep End fruit. The first bottling from the upper vineyards was in 1998.We also have a great Zinfandel from Navarro Vineyards! Early in the 1991 season Navarro Vineyards made several trips to the Ukiah area to find mature, well-tended Zinfandel vineyards planted on sites conducive to high quality viticulture. Not every site or grower are equal, so every year since then, they purchased fruit from multiple vineyards and growers to ascertain which sites and growers produce fruit that results in the best wines for Navarro. In 1999, they made their first wine from Al Tollini's block, planted in 1932; we were so pleased that the wine produced from his vineyard has been in every subsequent Navarro Zinfandel vintage. In 2004, we made our first wine from Ed Berry's 60 year-old Zinfandel vines and, like Tollini, the wine produced from Berry's vineyard became a constant in Navarro's Zinfandel production. The long term respect that has developed with these two growers is beneficial to Navarro. Not only does Navarro have access to the grower's best fields, but since Jim, Navarro's winemaker, spends a lot of time walking the vines with Al and Ed, they both know exactly the fruit quality that Navarro expects and can adjust their farming practices to that end.To maximize quality from any particular vineyard site, the winemaker has to make wine from that site over several vintages. After fermenting for about ten days, the 2014 must was pressed and the first squeeze was racked to seasoned French oak barrels to finish fermentation and age for ten months. These wines are perfect for most meat dishes and tonight we will enjoy the steaks from Stark's steakhouse and Seafood.We will get to the seafood...another day! Casually elegant with an upscale feel, Stark’s Steak & Seafood serves up classic fare with a modern approach. Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and over sixty whiskeys. Now we will dine with these great wines from this world class winery from Anderson valley!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
I recently spent a great couple days in the Anderson Valley.I stopped in at penny Royal farm,and picked up the sampler pack of their amazing cheeses,and a bottle of each of their wines.I stay in the valley at Handley Cellars,and opened the cheeses and wine.Honestly,I needed very little else. a perfect match,and more!Let's check out their website,and learn more about this great attraction,and must stop,in the Anderson valley. Fall on the farm means heavy rains, lush pastures, and milk that becomes rich in fat and protein… perfect for making cheese for holiday tables! Our Holiday Cheese Sampler features a rich and creamy 6oz Laychee, a gooey Velvet Sister, a wedge of our Boonter’s Blue, and a trio of Boont Corners wedges, 2 Month, Vintage (aged 5+ months), and Reserve (aged 12+ months). There’s something for everyone, so you can deck your table with the perfect plate of cheese for any holiday party or meal. Also makes a fabulous gift for the epicurean or cheese enthusiast in your life!A great stop in Boonville,and even the kids will want to return often.The goats and sheep are named and the whole concept is fabulous! Sampler Includes: Laychee (6 oz.): Soft, fresh chèvre-like cheese from pasteurized goat milk with a tangy, citrusy zing. Velvet Sisters (6 oz.): A camembert style surfaced-ripened cheese. Bright and creamy with a hint of mushroom. Boonters Blue, (6 oz.): Gentle, minerally blue with grassy, floral notes and thick veining that doesn't overpower. Boont Corners, 2 month (6 oz.): Made from fresh raw goat milk into three pound wheels which are aged over two months. Boont Corners, Vintage (6 oz.): Made from fresh raw goat and sheep milk and aged 5 months; sharp and tangy flavors. Boont Corners, Reserve (6 oz.): Aged over 180 days from fresh raw goat milk, the texture is hard and the flavors multifaceted. The Penny Royal Farm new tasting room is open 10 am to 5 pm daily and we also offer fun and informative tours daily at 11am and 2pm with advance reservations. Join us on a tour of the creamery, milking parlor, our solar-powered barn to meet the animals, and to learn the methods behind our handcrafted wines and cheeses. We conclude the experience with a cheese tasting for everyone, with juice for kids and wine for those 21 and up. Call us at (707) 895-2410 or (800)956-8909 to reserve your spot. Adults $20; children 5 and up $10. Our cheeses and cheese sampler pack are available for quick home or office delivery through our sister farm, Navarro Vineyards. To order a current Pennyroyal Farm Cheese sampler visit Navarrowine.com and check out the Wine Shop. If you would like to order our wine, or would like to individualize your cheese order, please call us at (707) 895-2410 or 1-800-956-8909, or send us an email at email@example.com. Pennyroyal cheese is also available at Farmers' Markets on Thursday morning in San Rafael, most Saturday mornings Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, and Center Street in Berkeley, and on Sundays you can find us on Clement Street in San Francisco, and at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. Please send us your name, address and email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the latest news about Penny Royal Farm. They planted seven fields employing two Pinot Noir clones that have produced excellent wine in Anderson Valley in addition to three recently imported fine French clones of Sauvignon Blanc. The white wine being offered is our 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. The juice from estate-grown grapes was cold-fermented and aged sur lie for eight months in French oak ovals, which were expressly constructed in France for Pennyroyal whites. The 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir was produced from estate grown grapes grown in Block 1. The fruit was harvested at night and, after destemming, the skins and juice macerated for merely an hour to add a little color and body. After a miserably cool and wet 2011 vintage, we were delighted to harvest Pinot Noir at full ripeness in 2012; the grapes were picked at night when the fruit was cold, destemmed, then fermented in small bins with twice-daily hand-punchdowns to keep the tannins soft and gentle. After fermentation, the must was pressed, and the juice racked to a mixture of new and seasoned French oak barrels to age for almost a year. It's time to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir and listen to our new feature with Penny Royal Farm!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley. Can I pour you another glass of one of these great wines from Penny Royal Farm?Just help yourself to the cheeses...