Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall In Wine Country/Balletto Vineyards/Stark'sSteak And Seafood

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.

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