Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Recently I met up with John Balletto and we decided to visit our great friend Chef Roger At La Gare. We enjoyed afew wines and chef paired all wines with dishes from his menu.It was a beautiful fall night,with a chill in the air but we were surrounded by the warmth of the heat lamps on La Gare's amazing patio. we have three great new features to share from that evening.first we will explore the Balletto website and learn more about our four feature wines. Founder and owner John Balletto started the business after the untimely death of his father in 1977. At the age of 17, 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. By 1994, the Balletto family had grown the business into the largest vegetable farm in Northern California, growing more than 70 different vegetables on 700-plus acres. More than two million cases of mixed vegetables moved through the premises per year during its peak. Tonight we will start with the great Pinot Gris From Balletto Vineyards and winery. Texture and persistence define this top-tier Pinot Gris. It's focused with crisp acidity and yet still maintains a powerful weight and presence throughout. Simply delightful. Aromatically, the wine opens with citrus and delicate slate aromas followed with darker, savory elements. The mouthfeel is a contrast of zingy lime, perfect viscosity and subtle tannins that add texture and extend the wine through an incredible and lengthy finish with both texture and flavor. This has become a favorite of mine and will pair with many great starters from Chef Roger's menu. We then will open the russian river Pinot Noir and the Cider Ridge single vineyard Pinot Noir. 2018 Pinot Noir - RRV Estate Balletto's Russian River Valley Pinot Noir exhibits everything you would expect from a serious point. It combines full and captivating aromatics with a delicate texture that defines the Balletto style of Pinot Noir. The wine itself is full of contradictory forces: it's weighty with a luscious mid-palate, but also surrounded by notable tannins and acidity that keep it focused, balanced and taut. It has plenty of dark fruit, but it is also layered with savory earth and spices that offset it. The overall impact is complex, impressive and delicious. The cider Ridge pinot Noir was amazing and a treat to drink. This dark and intense Pinot Noir shows powerful aromatics with a wild blend of dried rose, kirsch, baking spices and a savory earthiness. The aromatics alone are intoxicating and ever-changing in the glass and become more subtle with time. The wine is structured around focused acidity and notable tannins that work as counterweights to the ample mid-palate weight and softness, keeping all three balanced and interesting. It's intense, beautiful and stubborn all at once. The last wine will be the 2019 Late Harvest Pinot Gris - Vin de Paille .the third audio feature will tell you the entire story of this great wine. La Gare has been a local favorite for almost 40 years and two generations. Serving old world classic French cuisine by using fresh local ingredients, they pride themselves on still including soup and salad with every entree. Known for their tableside carte service and escargot, La Gare was voted most romantic restaurant by the San Francisco Chronicle. At the bottom of this feature will be three audio links.Click on all three!First the intro to the wines and chef.Then diner as the second,and dessert as the third. Please join us as we enjoy the best of sonoma county!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy La Gare French Restauarant . Click here and join us as we enjoy La Gare French Restauarant . Click here and join us as we enjoy La Gare French Restauarant .
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Recently Ienjoyed a great get together with Chef roger at La Gare French restaurant.Gina met me at the restaurant and brought a couple great wines from J.Pedroncelli.This winery has been featured at La Gare for many years,and brings together two great reasons to always enjoy Sonoma Country wine country.First we will look at the tasting notes and history of J.Pedroncelli,and then La Gare. Since 1927, when John Pedroncelli, Sr. purchased vineyard and a small winery in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, two elements remain unchanged: the exceptional place the Pedroncelli family farms vineyards, and the family's dedication to making fine wines. From selling grapes to home winemakers during prohibition in order to keep the vineyards going, to growing a small base of business during the 1930s and 1940s, to the second generation joining their father: son John becoming winemaker in 1948 followed by Jim in 1955 as sales director, to 1963 when the winery was officially purchased by John and Jim from their father, to growing the line of wines in the 1960s with vineyard expansion and diversification, to the boom time of the 1970s and 1980s along with many changes and additions to our sales base including national sales and export, the third generation coming on board and vineyard replanting in the 1990s to the 21st century refining our focus to restaurants and casual dining/meet-up wine bars and independent wine shops across the nation. to the transfer of ownership of the company to the third generation (now a 70% woman owned company with a woman winemaker!) to the second decade in the new millenium where the fourth generation is coming up the ranks... Nine decades strong, we are still family owned and operated.It all adds up to tradition, heritage and a family of wines you can enjoy with confidence. Our first wine will be the SB from J.Pedroncelli. Tasting Notes Pale yellow, brightly aromatic and very varietally correct-true to the Sauvignon Blanc grape. The clean and fresh flavors are layered with pear, Meyer lemon and tropical fruits. Our Sauvignon Blanc is crisp with notes of citrus, green apple, grass and a touch of minerality. The finish is quite refreshing. Please enjoy upon release or within a year or two as no aging is required. We have two wines today. "Dry Creek Valley's standing as the source of Sauvignon Blanc incomparable for its sense of place is reinforced with this layered and stable interpretation. The fruit is all grapefruit and peach from orchards where nettles also have a benign yet intriguing presence." we will now open the RThree Vineyard Cabernet from J.Pedroncelli! Dark red with purple hints around the edges. Aromas of dark ripe berries, dried herbs and earthy tones introduce this medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft tannins are framed by cherry, plum and blackberry fruit followed by hints of oregano and bay leaf. Great structure and good acidity combine with a spicy finish. Enjoy upon release or cellar up to eight more years. Awesome! Now let's join Chef Roger and Gina at the La Gare French restaurant,afterlearn a little about this great restaurant. La Gare has been a local favorite for almost 40 years and two generations. Serving old world classic French cuisine by using fresh local ingredients, they pride themselves on still including soup and salad with every entree. Known for their tableside carte service and escargot, La Gare was voted most romantic restaurant by the San Francisco Chronicle. La Gare French Restaurant is located in the heart of Santa Rosa’s historic railroad square, Sonoma Wine Country. The restaurant opened in July 1979 by Swiss-born Marco and Gladys Praplan. Their children Jackie and Roger, have taken up the tradition of providing old world French classic cuisine, using fresh local ingredients, in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. Always a favorite with the locals, La Gare still offers soup and salad with all entrees as well as table carte side service. Voted most romantic restaurant year after year, La Gare has become the go-to place for birthday and anniversary celebrations. every time I enjoy this great restaurant it is a celebration of Life.So please click on the link below and join me as I visit with chef Roger and Gina.Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy La Gare French Restauarant .
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
We have another great feature with Chef Roger at La Gare French Restaurant.We will discuss the daily specials they are preparing for curbside pickup.First let's take a look at thweir website and discover the history of this fabled local restaurant. La Gare has been a local favorite for almost 40 years and two generations. Serving old world classic French cuisine by using fresh local ingredients, they pride themselves on still including soup and salad with every entree. Known for their tableside carte service and escargot, La Gare was voted most romantic restaurant by the San Francisco Chronicle. La Gare will feature a 10 oz cut Prime Rib dinner every Wednesday, until it sells out. 3 course dinner with soup, salad and all the fixings for only $32 Call Jackie for reservations 707-528-4355 LA GARE RESTAURANT 208 WILSON ST, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 P: 707.528.4355 Santa Rosa’s most romantic restaurant “Long regarded as Santa Rosa’s most romantic restaurant, La Gare serves exquisite French food without being over the top. The menu is studded with traditional and adventuresome dishes such as Chateaubriand, sweetbreads, and sautéed frog legs, though there are fresh fish and vegetarian options, too. The wine list includes labels from California and a variety of wine regions in France. For dessert, try the homemade chocolate mousse, sweet, simple and delicious” SONOMA MAGAZINE Don’t miss the flaming table side Cherries Jubilee! Old school French fare in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, with a menu that bursts with butter. If you’re on a diet you can either go somewhere else or shatter the calorie counter. This is Julia Child-era French cuisine, from Escargots de Bourgogne to Carré d’Agneau persillé to Crème Caramel Beau Rivage. The most popular menu item, however, is the Chateaubriand or Steak Au Poivre. Don’t miss the flaming tableside dessert of Cherries Jubilee! Just some of the press this great restaurant has got recently. Please join us by clicking on the link down below and learn more from chef roger and La Gare French Restaurant.Cheers!! Click here and join us as we enjoy La Gare French Restauarant .
La Gare French restaurant has been making great food for 40 years.That alone speaks of the perfection that going into this special menu.Chef Roger has been in the kitchen leading this family restaurant to the levels of perfection that is prepared every day. We will look at thewir website and tell you a little bit about this great restaurant,and then introduce you to a great feature with chef Roger. La Gare French Restaurant is located in the heart of Santa Rosa’s historic railroad square, Sonoma Wine Country. The restaurant opened in July 1979 by Swiss-born Marco and Gladys Praplan. Their children Jackie and Roger, have taken up the tradition of providing old world French classic cuisine, using fresh local ingredients, in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. Always a favorite with the locals, La Gare still offers soup and salad with all entrees as well as table carte side service. Voted most romantic restaurant year after year, La Gare has become the go-to place for birthday and anniversary celebrations. Chef Roger Praplan graduated from U.C. Berkley as a premed in 1979. He served an apprenticeship at the respected Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva and was awarded credentials in Annecy, France (CAP) certificate aptitude professional. He also worked at the Bonbonerie Pastry Shop in Crans Montana, Switzerland. In addition, Roger worked at Hotel Meridian in New York, the Saint Francis Yacht Club on the marina in San Francisco which also led to a 5-year stint at the dragons camp at the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio. Roger teaches courses in French cuisine, soups, stocks and classical sauces, butchery as an adjunct instructor for the last 18 years at Santa Rosa Junior College, and is a member of the Gastronome Club of San Francisco. He also served as president of RARE- Restaurant Association of the Redwood Empire and as a member of the Harvest Fair Board for 6 years. Check out the menu on line,it's truly amazing.I will be doing features from this great restaurant with local winemakers in the very near future. La Gare has been a local favorite for almost 40 years and two generations. Serving old world classic French cuisine by using fresh local ingredients, they pride themselves on still including soup and salad with every entree. Known for their tableside carte service and escargot, La Gare was voted most romantic restaurant by the San Francisco Chronicle. Now please click on the link below and join us as we learn more about La Gare French Restaurant.Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy La Gare French Restauarant .
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Today we are enjoying a spring day in Sonoma Wine country.We will be exploring a great new wine from Rowen Wine Company and Rodney strong Vineyards.First lets talk about the wine making team at Rodney Strong Vineyards.then a little history on the vineyards and the wine from the winemakers tasting notes. Director of Winemaking Justin Seidenfeld serves as Winemaker for Rodney Strong Vineyards, the iconic Sonoma County Winery that was founded in 1959 by namesake Rod Strong. Justin’s winemaking career began in Sebastopol, California, where he was an intern at Iron Horse winery in 2005. He quickly rose from cellar hand to taking on winemaking responsibilities which led to a position in 2006 at the venerable Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley. As a harvest enologist at Mondavi, Seidenfeld walked some of California’s premiere vineyards and gained a comprehensive understanding of quality land and viticulture. Continuing on to become an enologist, he took that experience into winemaking and supervised the winemaking of Estancia, Clos du Bois, Simi, and others within the Constellation portfolio. Additional responsibilities included overseeing small lot Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir winemaking. Justin graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2006 with a B.S. in Viticulture & Enology. He lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Dena and daughters Madison, Lila and Reagan. Justin enjoys golfing, playing with his daughters and working on his home. As to his inspiration to a career in winemaking, Justin notes, “people recalling the occasions that wine makes better and memorable is the reason I make wine. Hearing about how and when someone enjoyed a wine I made inspires me.” RICK SAYRE Winemaking Emeritus Rick Sayre joined Rod Strong at the winery in 1979 as a talented young winemaker who had trained under the tutelage of legendary winemaker, André Tchelistcheff. Over the next four decades, Rick’s contributions would be instrumental in bringing worldwide acclaim to Rodney Strong Vineyards, as well as Sonoma County. For all of his many accomplishments and contributions to our winery, Sayre holds the title of Winemaker Emeritus for Rodney Strong Wine Estates. 2016 ROWEN Rowen Wines $55.00 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MALBEC, SYRAH, VIOGNIER Lush and elegant wine consisting of wonderful high elevation, mountain fruit. Aromas of black raspberries, cocoa and black pepper with notes of blackberries, cassis, nutmeg and vanilla on the palate. Exotic floral element on the finish as well as a rounder mouthfeel. We will also open the 2015 vintage.We will need at least two courses to pair with these wines.MAYBE three!Join Greg Morthole and I by clicking on the link below,and we will have a glass waiting for you. Cheers! We will save you a seat,and at least a couple glasses of these great wines! Click here and join us as we enjoytwo great wines from Rowen Wine Company and Rodney Strong Vineyards .
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
We have a great feature here with winemaker Greg Morthole. Today we discuss one of my favorite grapes and wines...Cab Franc!We will check out the tasting notes and history of this great wine from Rodney Strong Vineyards. SONOMA GROWN FOR OVER 50 YEARS Our story begins over 55 years ago, when a celebrated American dancer named Rod Strong settled in Sonoma County to pursue a second lifelong creative passion: winemaking. Rodney Strong Vineyards was the 13th winery bonded in the newly discovered Sonoma County wine industry. A trio of winemaking paths crossed when Rick Sayre joined the team as Winemaker in 1979, and again when the Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers, purchased the winery in 1989 and initiated a renewed commitment of modern artisan winemaking. Through the years, Rodney Strong Vineyards has earned the reputation for critically acclaimed Single Vineyard and Reserve wines, stand out Estate releases and best-in-class Sonoma County varietal wines. Raised in Sacramento, Greg Morthole attended the University of Wyoming, where he earned a B.S. in Natural Sciences. He entered the wine industry as a Laboratory Analyst at Vinquiry in Windsor, California, then moved to Chalk Hill Winery in 2003 to become an Enologist. Greg joined the Rodney Strong Vineyards team in 2005, when he accepted a position as Lab Director. His innate acumen for winemaking became immediately clear to his peers, and he quickly ascended to an appointment as Associate Winemaker in late 2007. In the spring of 2010, he was promoted to Winemaker, overseeing all aspects of operations and winemaking in our Artisan, “Winery Within the Winery.” With a quiet demeanor and a determined attitude, Greg’s energetic style illustrates how enjoyable he finds winemaking to be. “Making the Reserve and Single-Vineyard wines here is an honor,” he says. In 2010, we achieved a milestone in sustainability when our vineyard practices were officially certified by the California Sustainable Winegrower’s Alliance. This statewide certification program provides third-party verification of a winery’s commitment to continuous improvement in the adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices. Our commitment to sustainable farming is an ongoing responsibility that combines environmental health, economic feasibility and social equity. Now we will join Greg and learn more about these amazing wines.Click on the link below and join us! We will now open and pour you a glass of this amazing wine,in fact wines!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy three vintages of the Cab Franc from Rodney Strong .
Sunday, April 5, 2020
We love Zinfandels!And today we discuss three vintages of a great Zinfandel from Rodney Strong Vineyards and winery.We will take a look at the tasting notes and the sheets on these wines...straight from their website. The Dry Creek Valley is legendary for producing great Zinfandel, and we were fortunate to discover an excellent vineyard there in 2007 that has been enhancing our Knotty Vines Zin ever since. In recent years, that vineyard has truly begun to shine, and we decided to bottle a small amount separately to highlight its unique character that reflects the briary, peppery nature of Dry Creek Zinfandel. Ruby red colored, with fresh aromas of ripe blackberries, black cherry, wild raspberries, black pepper and dusty earth, this full bodied wine was aged for 15 months in primarily French oak barrels, which added layers of toast and baking spices. Elegant and silky, this wine has refined tannins and is extremely well balanced. Enjoy this 2015 Zinfandel now with Southwestern style pork, spice-rubbed duck breast, grilled sausages, or cellar for enjoyment over the next few years. The 2016 growing season was about as close to ideal as we can get. We received about an average amount of rain over Winter, with only one big storm coming through in early March that topped off soil moisture. Spring was very pleasant, so the vines got off to a great, albeit early, start. Average temperatures continued through summer, with the occasional heat spike. Warm temperatures continued into the Fall, so the Zinfandel harvest started earlier than normal. Dry Creek Valley harvest kicked off in mid-September. Ruby red colored, with fresh aromas of ripe blackberries, cherry pie, black pepper and dusty earth, this full bodied wine was aged for 18 months in primarily French oak barrels, which added layers of toast and baking spices. Elegant and silky, this wine has refined tannins and is extremely well balanced. Enjoy this Zinfandel now with Manchego cheese, bacon wrapped dates or spiced barbecue dishes, or cellar for enjoyment over the next two to four years. We now move onto the 2017 Dry Creek Zinfandel. Although 2017 proved to be an inconsistent year for weather, what started as somewhat challenging quickly turned into a very rewarding harvest. We saw both heavy rain early on and heat spikes in August and September, some reaching past 100F. Heat this late in the season in Dry Creek Valley means rich flavor development with lower sugars, exactly what we like to see for our Zinfandel. Satisfied with the quality and balance of the fruit, we harvested on September 28. Ruby red colored, with fresh aromas of ripe blackberries, cherry pie, black pepper and dusty earth, this full bodied wine was aged for 18 months in primarily French oak barrels, which added layers of toast and baking spices. Elegant and silky, this wine has refined tannins and is extremely well balanced. Enjoy this Zinfandel now with Manchego cheese, bacon wrapped dates or spiced barbecue dishes, or cellar for enjoyment over the next two to four years. So we have three Zinfandels and lots of suggestions for food.I'm still sticking with the idea of Chinese Food from 8Dragons Restaurant in Healdsburg. Ill make the order and the food will be here in 45 minutes.PERFECT! We must adapt in these times and this works perfectly!Please click on the link below and join us as Greg Morthole tells us of these great wines!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy three vintages of the Dry Crek Zinfandel from Rodney Strong .