Featured Post

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Spring Mountain Gem: Lokoya

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(850and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(350 and counting),my wife Linda and I recently traveled to Lokoya Vineyards on Spring Mountain.

Lokoya is an Indian word translating "where the Geese fly."  A winding road leads you to this mountain top gem giving you a feeling that you have arrived where "angels" have landed and live eternally among the sensational hillside grape vines.

Established in 1995, Winemaker  Christopher Carpenter crafts elegant  100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon wines from 4 appellations, Diamond Mountain, Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder.

The tastings are by appointment only and done at the stunning Spring Mountain location.

We were honored to have Bradley Wasserman, Estate Manager, as our host today in the elegant Howard Backen designed tasting room overlooking this 75 acre slice of wine heaven.

We began the tasting with the 2014 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon. It was described as having "tannic curves, lush middle body and dark cherry, bay leaf and mocha character." It has been rated 96.

Next we tasted the Lokoya Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon. It has" floral aromatics, ripe boysenberry fruit character and fine minerality." It was scored 98 points.


The 2014 Howell Mountain was sampled next and described as"broad tannins, complex aromas of dark berry, expresso and minerality, and a future to develop." It received a rating of 99.

Finally we tasted the 2014 Lokoya Mount Veeder composed of "rich blue fruit, vanilla toast, expressive violet aromatics and a finish that lasts forever."
Robert Parker also rated this one at 99.

These are powerful wines that reflect the individuality of each Mountain Applelation. The ratings reflect near perfect scores and a great addition to any wine collection. We especially enjoyed the Spring and the Howell Mountain Appellations and took both back to Danville with us.

 For more information and to schedule a tasting go to: 
http://www.lokoya.com/

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ojai Valley Inn And Spa: Luxurious Southern California 5 Star Diamond Retreat

 
Recently my wife Linda and son MJ traveled to the sensational Ojai Valley Inn And Spa.
From our home in Danville, we flew from Oakland to the Burbank airport. From Burbank, It is an easy 1.5 hour drive to the Inn.

The Inn has been open since 1923 and is located in a revered setting that the Chumash Indians described as "perfect sacredness." They described the Ojai Valley as the vortex of magical mystical energy. Many come every year to experience the "Pink Moment" where the sunset has a pink glow of timeless serenity as it sets over the beautiful mountains.

The Inn offers "something for everyone" and has also has a trolley available for guests to explore the downtown area offering wine tasting, shops,  restaurants and art galleries.

We arrived and experienced a happy, helpful staff who checked us into our spacious and recently updated mini suite complete with fireplace and balcony with sensational mountain and golf course views.

This is a perfect place for weddings, special occasions, business conferences or just to enjoy a break from the rigors of modern life.
You can enjoy lounging by the pool, bicycling, world class golf and dine at one of their great restaurants. The 31,000 square foot award winning spa also offers a variety of treatments to suit your needs after a day of golf, tennis or a boring business meeting.

We enjoyed playing golf and experienced the "magical peaceful energy" that the Chumash Indians discovered many years ago in this valley. The course is very friendly for all skill levels with multiple tee options. It is flanked by post card magical mountain scenery and fresh air so pure that even your "bad" shots are  enjoyable.

After golf, we enjoyed wine tasting at nearby Topai Mountain winery that just opened 1 year ago.
The brush and bubbly experience is also a unique offering and a way to enjoy your creative abilities.  Enjoying a glass of your favorite bubbly will also help unleash your hidden artistic skills.  This is very fun and can be arranged for groups of 4 to 8 people.

There are 7 restaurants to choose from casual to fine dining. We enjoyed an elegant dinner at the upscale Olivella  restaurant.  There are also special  rooms available with fireplaces to create a peaceful ambience to enjoy special occasion and business dinners.   We had the honor of meeting Chef Andre Rodella who has Italian roots and prepared us a fantastic dinner. We especially enjoyed the Grandma's daily fresh made rigatoni with a perfectly seasoned sauce that has been a long time favorite of the Inn and a recipe from the Chef's family for many years. The food went well with the bottle of the Mara Nella 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by my long time Southern California foodie friend and winemaker Guy Finello. The grapes are handpicked from Villa Peline a private estate in famed Alexander Valley near Healdsburg, California. The wine is  a full bodied wine with an array of fruit tastes and a smooth finish that pairs beautifully with any type of cuisine---- especially Italian.

We also enjoyed a warm Southern California "pink moment" sunset with stunning views of the golf course and mountains from our table on the patio. Each evening at approximately 7pm the sun hits the mountain range at exactly the perfect angle and throws off a vivid pink color over the mountains and sky. It is breathtaking to see.  The night also featured a lightening show coming from over the ocean which graced the sky and made for a magical evening.

The Olivella Wine Room also has a collection of many great wines and also offers a unique place to dine for up to 14 people.

We also took the trolley into town of Ojai that is very close by. You can enjoy wandering  the various art galleries, shops, wine tasting rooms, and have lunch or dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants. The trolley leaves hourly from the front of the Inn.  This charming town is like being on a movie set in the South of France or Tuscany.

In conclusion, the Chumash Indians description of the Ojai Valley as being the "vortex of perfect sacredness"  is a wonderful description of this magical mountainside resort. The calmness one experiences at this special refuge is very soothing to your soul and a refreshing break from the high anxiety world that we live.

The only the downside about Ojai is having to" leave" this sensational slice of heaven on earth.

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is definitely a destination to put on your bucket list of "must do's".



For more information and to make reservations go to: https://www.ojairesort.com

Friday, August 18, 2017

Davis Estates: Passionate Attention To Detail

 In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants (800 and counting) and to visit all 600 Napa wineries (350 and counting), Linda and I recently traveled to Davis Estates in Calistoga with our wine and food staff Josi and Ron Hable. 

Davis Estates is a family owned winery that prides itself with passion and attention to detail. It is about an hour and half drive from our home in Danville.  Owner Mike Davis bought this winery in 2011, opened it in 2016 and hired renowned architect Howard Backen to add his magic touch to this 152 acres of pristine beauty.  The historic barn was renovated and has an elegant oak barrel table, fireplace and player piano to entertain wine club members and guests for special occasions and events.

A stunning replica of a deep purple cabernet grape sitting on a floating grape leaf proudly graces the courtyard near the large Howard Backen designed Wind Mill that is functional and provides energy to water the lush Davis grape vines. A picture of the Wind Mill is also displayed on each bottle of Davis Estates wine. 

Our host was Caitlyn McCormick,  who was very passionate and proud to be working for owners whose goal is to be the "best." The winery also has caves that are cleaner than an operating room and elegantly decorated with a sophisticated stereo system that soothes your soul. 

After the historical tour of the perfectly manicured grounds and caves, we proceeded to the tasting room and open kitchen to experience a very special  tasting and food pairing that chef Mark Caldwell changes every 8 weeks. The tasting room is large and beautifully decorated with heavenly views of the vineyard and valley. Winemaker Cary Gott also has a variety of outstanding wines to enjoy. 

Our tasting began with a 2015 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc paired with heirloom tomato gazpacho, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, toasted cumin, chili powder, paprika and crème fraiche. This pairing was a great way to begin this well thought out tasting experience. 

The next wine we tasted was the 2015 Pinot Noir. It was paired with panazella, toasted baguette, tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, red onion, cucumber, basil, capers, and champagne vinaigrette. The combination was sensational. 

Next we enjoyed a 2014 Cabernet Franc paired with summer squash with parsley pistachio pesto that was better than fantastic.

The final pairing was a 2013 Zephyr Cabernet with 92 per cent cabernet, 5 per cent Cabernet Franc and 3 percent Petite Verdot. It was perfectly paired with braised Colorado lamb and Cavatappi pasta, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrot, cinnamon, and myzithra cheese. 

Finally, we were treated with the 2012 Petite Verdot that was 95 percent Petite Verdot and 5 percent Cabernet Franc that was a special bonus to this fabulous tasting experience. 

We enjoyed the wines so much we took one of each back to Danville with us. We also joined their wine club and look forward to 3 quarterly shipments of 4 bottles and access to their special events. You can also receive larger shipments of this special wine. 


In conclusion, we would highly recommend a visit to this great winery. 

For more information and to schedule an appointment go to:
http://www.davisestates.com/

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On Top Of The Napa Wine World: Kuleto Estate

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants( 800 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries( 350 and counting), my wife Linda and wine and foodie friends Josiane and Ron Hable recently traveled to Kuleto Estate perched high above Napa. 
 From our home in Danville, the winery is a little over an hour drive to St. Helena. You might allow some extra time for your appointment as the last two miles are a private road to the top of the mountain that has breathtaking views of Napa Valley. 
This magnificent mountain top estate features 82 vineyard blocks and three different soil types producing heavenly vines. It took famous restaurant owner Pat Kuleto nine years to build this masterpiece before he sold it to Bill Foley in 2009. Pat also lives on this 600 acre slice of heaven. 
Kuleto is also one of the 19 Foley Family of Wines owned by famous businessman and wine lover Bill Foley. 

Doug, our knowledgeable host began our tasting with a 2013 Pinot Noir that was crisp and refreshing after the breathtaking ride up to the winery.

The 2013 Zinfandel was next and aged in Hungarian Oak for 18 months. It is 98% Zinfandel and 2% Syrah and great value at $35.

The 2014 Syrah was a blend of 99% Syrah and 1% Malbec.  It was rated 90 points by Robert Parker and retailed for $40. We especially enjoyed this blend and took a bottle back to Danville with us.

The next wine was the 2002 Estate Cabernet that was full bodied and great value at $75 per bottle. A few bottles of this special vintage also went back with us.

The final treat was the 8.4 Zinfandel port that will be a great finish to any dinner, special occasion or enjoyed with a fine cigar.

We then had an elegant lunch at Brasswood Kitchen And Bar in St. Helena complete with a bakery, winery and sensory room.

The sensory room is unique as you can enjoy the smells of your favorite wines in large glass decanters. Brasswood has been open for a year and well worth visiting and dining for lunch or dinner.

For more information and to schedule an appointment at Kuleto go to:


Sunday, May 28, 2017

2017 Blackhawk CC Ireland Bucket List Experience


Recently my wife Linda and I had the pleasure to return to Ireland for a memorable couples golf trip hosted by Blackhawk Director of Golf Tim Burr and his wife Amy.

We experienced the "Kind Irish Way" a few years ago when our Hall-of-Famer son MJ played in the Special Olympics World Games held for the first time outside the United States in Dublin, Ireland.  Irish travel expert Bud Garmany of Garmany Golf and Travel planned this fabulous trip for 7 lucky Blackhawk couples that included 5 rounds of golf at great Irish courses.

The anticipation began with an informative presentation by Bud Garmany and his able assistant Lauren Moy a few weeks before the trip. It was an opportunity to review the itinerary in detail and ask questions about the trip. Blackhawk Member Paul Zingg also autographed his informative book on Ireland titled "An Emerald Odyssey"  for each of us.

The itinerary  began in Shannon, Ireland with everyone arriving at the charming Killarney Park Hotel for an opening night "Guinness" enhanced dinner at the nearby Ross Hotel. Billy, our driver for the week, picked us up at the airport and was full of interesting information on the scenic 2 hour drive through charming movie set like towns. The heavenly green hills of Shannon were full with sheep, cows and horses happily grazing on this pastoral, peaceful playground of sensational and historic hills and golf courses.

Irish eyes were smiling with anticipation of great golf shots and joy as we enjoyed a group dinner with our knowledgeable and worldly Garmany travel host Lee who provided the details of our special week of golf, food and fun.  After a long day of travel, everyone retired early for some rest in preparation for our first day of golf.

After a hearty Irish breakfast, we began our "Irish Golfing" experience at Dooks Golf Club. We chose to have caddies each day that enhanced the golf experience listening to great stories and brilliant advice by guys who are proud of Ireland and love the game of golf. We were prepared for the Irish weather with layers of clothing for all conditions. The Irish golf Gods were very kind to us as we experienced "perfect Irish weather." Mild  temperatures, clouds, sun and mostly dry conditions made our golfing experience extra special.

Our caddie Mike told us that he has played all of the Irish courses and said, "Dooks, with its beautiful setting on the ocean and one of the oldest courses in Ireland(1889), is one of the best kept secrets in Irish Golf."

The next golfing experience was Waterville. Waterville was also established in 1889 and is ranked as one of the best courses in Ireland. No two holes are alike and it is the brain child of Irish American businessman John A. Mulcahy.

We had early tee times and the weather was dry but challenging with strong winds coming off the panoramic water views. An Irish Coffee after 9 holes helped us power through the windy and partly sunny skies to finish strong on the sensational par 5 18th hole along the bay.        

After golf, we enjoyed a driving tour of the Ring of Kerry.  The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in Southwest Ireland's County Kerry. We stopped at a charming diner for lunch located on the beach called O'Carroll's Cove. The seafood was very fresh as it is caught daily on the bay a few hundred yards from the restaurant.

The third course we played was famous Ballybunion. Tom Watson loved this course established in 1893 and Golf Digest has rated it the 7th best course in the world outside the United States. It has hosted the Irish Open and was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. It was again a dry day of mixed sunshine and calm skies that made for another fun and enjoyable round of golf.

We returned to the Killarney Park Hotel  and enjoyed a fun evening of pub crawling, Irish music and shopping in the vibrant downtown area close to the hotel. We then packed and prepared for our 4 hour private bus ride to Dublin.

After a hearty Irish breakfast,  we traveled to the vibrant city of Dublin. For the ride to Dublin we brought some Irish whiskey to add to our coffees to celebrate a couple of birthdays in our group. As the "Irish coffees" kicked into gear, the bus ride was full of chatter and laughter that helped speed up the 4 hour journey to Dublin.

We checked into the elegant K Club Hotel with 2 Arnold Palmer designed courses and home of the 2006 Ryder Cup and 2016 Irish Open.  Some of our group played golf and others decided to relax and enjoy the spectacular hotel and treatments at their sensational spa. Linda and I went to Dublin to shop and enjoy the many Irish pubs and grub filled with happy people.

Our group was fortunate to stay in the elegant 34,000 square foot 10 bedroom private residence Straffan House on the property. It is located in a heavenly setting on the golf course with a private concierge, pool, movie theater, hot tub, sauna, wine cellar, art collection and more.

The original Straffan House was built in 1832 by Hugh Barton of the world famous Barton and Guestier wines. In 2005 the new one was built at a cost of 15 million dollars. Many royalty and famous people have stayed here. A quote from famous writer Oscar Wilde is proudly displayed on the large marble patio on the 10th hole underneath the Irish Flag that says, "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."

The next day we had a choice of various activities in the vibrant city of Dublin. The entire group decided to take the Guinness factory tour.  This great beer known as "mothers milk" was discovered  by Arthur Guinness in 1759 and is popular all over the world. It was a fascinating tour that concluded with generous samples that brought eternal smiles to everyone's faces. 

After resting our golf clubs for a day, the golf Gods continued to bless us with sunny, dry, mild weather and the group played Royal Dublin Golf Club and then Portmarnock Golf Club for the final rounds.

Royal Dublin Golf club was founded in 1885 and is Ireland's second oldest club. It is located on Bull Island in Dublin Bay. Colorful golf television commentator David Feherty won his first professional tournament here.

From the web site, Portmarnock was described by Tiger Woods as "one the most enjoyable links courses I have had the opportunity to play."  It also brought back great memories for us as this is the course that Special Olympics used for the golf events in the Summer World Games. In addition, Linda and Tim both birdied number 12 along the deep blue sea that will create an eternal "Irish smile" in their golf memory banks. 

At our farewell to Ireland dinner, we shared our special golfing stories and memorable golf shots. Ireland is a beautiful place to golf and visit. The people are very friendly, generous, and warm hearted and have a great sense of humor, zest for life and love for golf. 


May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be at your back........We would definitely recommend that you put Ireland on the top of your "must do" bucket list.


For more information about Ireland and other great destinations go to: 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Phoenix 2017: Final 4 And Whole Lots More

Recently our travels took our family to Phoenix Arizona to attend the NCAA Final 4 basketball tournament, golf at TPC Scottsdale and a tour of the Ping Golf Facility. The weather was sunny and warm and we took full advantage of the breezy days.

The Final 4 is a bucket list event for many and well worth attending one time.  For us, it was our second Final 4. We were fortunate to go last year and watch Villanova crowned National Champion for college basketball in Houston, Texas at NRG stadium where the Super Bowl was held this year.  This event is the pinnacle of "pure fun." Unlike professional sporting events, the NCAA does not allow alcohol and as a result makes for a very clean and happy venue with no fighting and drunken behavior.

This year the event took place at the modern 80,000 seat University Of Phoenix Stadium home of the professional football team the Arizona Cardinals.  68 college basketball teams earned the right to play in what is known as "March Madness."  This year the teams that battled to the Final 4 were  Gonzaga, Oregon, South and North Carolina.

In a close contest North Carolina beat Gonzaga to be crowned the 2017 National Champion. It seemed only fitting that they won since they returned to the big dance this year after losing a heart breaking game last year to Villanova on the last shot of the game. UNC's theme this year was "redemption" and the team worked hard to achieve the goal of coming back to the Final 4 and winning it all.

Phoenix this time of year is blessed with perfect weather.  Many people from cold weather states were loving the escape to Phoenix to enjoy the many golf courses, restaurants and warm sunshine.

TPC  Scottsdale is one of those great courses that draws the biggest crowds in golf  for the Waste Management PGA event. It is billed as "The Greatest Show On Grass."  In February, Japanese sensation Hideki Matsuyama won the million dollar prize for back to back victories.  This year nearly 700,000 people enjoyed the warm sunshine and famous number 16 par 3 golf hole lined with over 20,000 fans and golf sky boxes  cheering for the golfers that hit the green and booing the ones that do not. It is unlike any other tournament in golf.

We played this great golf course and even though the grandstands were not there you could imagine the thrill of the high energy crowd shouting your name as you walked to the tee to hit your shot. Both the tournament and golf course should be added to your bucket list of must do's.

Ping Golf is also located in Phoenix. We were invited to go on a VIP factory tour. It is an amazing experience highlighted by their Gold Putter Vault. If a PGA player wins a tournament with a Ping putter they are awarded a replica Gold Putter and another one goes into the vault at the Ping  Phoenix headquarters.

CEO John Solheim awarded my son, MJ, one of these putters a few years ago as he used a B60 Ping putter to win his 48 Golf Gold Medals and multiple State and National Championships from Special Olympics.   As a result, seeing this "golden vault" was extra special for our family.

In addition to the Gold Putter award, Ping strongly supports our military. It has a very generous rebate program for all military personnel when they purchase Ping clubs.

We highly recommend that you visit Ping next time you are in Phoenix.


 For more information and to schedule  a factory tour go to:
 
http://ping.com/about/contactus.aspx

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Beautiful Belize: Just Bring Your Passport And Promise To Relax

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(800 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries( 350 and counting) my wife Linda and our son MJ, Halloffamer and National Special Olympics Champion Golfer, recently traveled to beautiful Belize and the Kanantik Resort.
Resort owner Luke Chadwick is building a world class golf course at his 5800 acre resort. His advice before we left was to "just bring your passport and promise to relax at his slice of Paradise on the Caribbean Sea." Kanantik means "to take care of" and Iris, Louise, Peter and the entire staff took very good care of us. 
From our home in Danville, it was a easy trip on Southwest Airlines from Oakland to Houston to Belize. 
From Belize it is a 30 minute puddle jumper flight or 2.5 hour ride to the Kanantik Resort. We chose to have a driver pick us up and take us to the resort.

Kanantik is a Condé Nast Award winning resort on the Southern Coast of Belize. It will be a gated community offering world class golf and 2800 residential home sites dispersed throughout 4 neighborhoods, the Caribbean Estates, Savannah and Golf Estates, and Foothill Estates. 300 oceanfront villas are also planned.
You can also take a short boat ride to a 7 acre island which is owned by the development where you can enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving in the 75 degree water enjoying the multi colored variety of happy exotic fish on the Belize Barrier Reef. You can also take nearby tours of the Mayan ruins and hike at a picturesque waterfall. For the more adventurous spirits, zip lining is available and a host of many other outdoor pursuits. 
We stayed in one of the 25 oceanfront cabanas. They are surrounded by acres of untouched land and 1300 feet of an exclusive beach on the warm Caribbean Sea. They offer modern amenities found at the world's best resorts. The cabanas are also located close to the sea water pool, bar and restaurant serving exotic drinks and world class food. 
We especially enjoyed the "fresh fish" that are caught and served each day. The specialty drinks are also unique and a joy to savor as you enjoy the warm waves massaging your feet on the large palm strewed beach. One day we even enjoyed a fresh coconut picked from one of the many palm trees that was like eating nectar from the heavens. 
The golf course is currently under the able leadership of international golf course designer Casey O'Callaghan. Casey is a 1989 graduate of University California Berkeley school of environmental design. The luxurious club house will feature an organic restaurant, work out and Mayacology Spa offering massages and a variety of services for golfers and non golfers. There will also be a world class driving range and putting green next to the club house. 
PGA pro Brendan Steele is the course ambassador and also from California. He turned professional in 2005 and won his first PGA tour event in 2011 at the Texas Valero Open. In October 2016, he won the Safeway Open held in Napa California at Johnny Miller's Silverado Country Club. His impressive score of 18 under par tied the tournament low score record. 
The golf course promises to be challenging for all skill levels offering 4 sets of tees ranging from 5200 yards to 6900 yards. There are also some split fairways and natural beauty to be enjoyed by the casual resort golfer as well as students of the game who appreciate the challenges of having to strategize how to score well on each hole. 

 Kanantik Belize is a great place to escape from the rigors and stress of modern life or to own a second home.  Like owner Luke Chadwick told us before we arrived,  "all you have to do is just bring your passport and prepare to relax." It is peaceful, perfect paradise that you should put on your bucket list. Their motto is "enter as guests and leave as friends." We made some great friends here and look forward to returning soon and playing the new world class golf course. 
 For more information and to make reservations go to: http://kanantikbelize.com/

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Von Strasser Winery: Diamond Mountain Perfection

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants( 800 and counting), and to visit all 600 Napa Wineries( 350 and counting) our travels recently took us to Von Strasser Winery in Calistoga on Diamond Mountain.

Diamond Mountain is Napa Valley's northernmost appellation and is located immediately southwest of Calistoga. Vineyards are above the fog line at elevations of 400 to 2200 feet and experience warmer nights and cooler days than the valley floor. Whereas young northern "valley floor" wines tend to be rich and supple with low to medium acidity and soft tannins, young Diamond Mountain wines tend to be tannic with good acidity, making them particularly well-suited for aging.

Our host was John DeGregory.  His eloquent explanation of Rudy and Rita Von Strasser's story was very interesting. Rudy was the first American intern for Eric de Rothschild at the famous Chateau Lafite-Rothschild winery in France. John explained that the French experience inspired Rudy to "want to be the Eric Rothschild of Napa Valley."  He also said that our tasting today could be described as a "euphoric flatline of wine excellence."

Rudy von Strasser’s entrance into winemaking is interesting. He had just graduated with an agricultural degree from the University of New Hampshire (1980), with a goal of sparking a modern hard-cider industry in New England, after completing his senior thesis on hard-cider production. Rudy thought that he could learn the necessary skills by working for a year in the California wine industry. After a year spent at Robert Mondavi Winery, the wine bug had been firmly planted and Rudy took the obvious next step: he enrolled at the famed Enology program at U.C. Davis, and graduated in 1985 as a trained winemaker

The wine label is also very unique. It is in the shape of a Diamond and a topographic picture of the winery hillside.

We began our "euphoric" tasting with 2012 DMD(Diamond Mountain District) Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 1% Merlot and 6% Petite Verdot. It is a blend of all the vineyards on Diamond Mountain and described as a "family expression of the hill." It is a great value at 50 dollars per bottle.

Next we tasted 2012 Agira Cabernet Sauvignon that was 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petite Verdot and was my favorite.The aromas of this wine are intense with scents of vanilla and cherry.  On the palate there are hints of raspberry.   Agira means little blue bird and is also a little town in Italy This sexy and elegant wine retails for 80 dollars and has been rated 94 by Wine Enthusiast.

2012 Post Cabernet Sauvignon was our next taste and is rated 92 by Wine and Spirits. This wine was a real pleasure with aromas of musk, silky carmel and dark black cherry. Bold deep flavors of clove and smoke made this one of our favorites.   It has a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and 5% Merlot. It has a smooth finish and great value at 80 dollars per bottle.

The 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Malbec and 10% Petite Verdot. It is a full bodied red wine and received 90 points by Wine Enthusiast. It also retails for 80 dollars.

We completed our tasting with the 2012 Sori Bricco Red Wine that is a unique blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 31% Petite Verdot and 9% Merlot. This was an interesting well balanced blend that reflects Rudy's  genius wine making skills. It also retails for 80 dollars.

The serene setting of this winery is very peaceful and adds to the enjoyment of the great wine that is produced. The detail orientation of the winemaker that have learned from the best and made the most of his chances with Von Strasser's scores and awards, attest to the fact that they really knows the fine art of winemaking. 
 After a soulful reconnection of the Agira and Post Cabernet Sauvignon, we decided to take a bottle of each back to Danville with us.


 For more information and to schedule a tasting go to;
 
http://vonstrasser.com/

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Popular San Francisco Restaurant Corking Fees"

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(800 and counting), my wife Linda and I usually bring our own wine. As a result, we have compiled a corking fee list for popular San Francisco restaurants that will be helpful for you. It is subject to change so check with your restaurant before you go. Cheers.


Restaurant
Cork Fee
A16
$30
Absinthe
$20
Acquerello
$45
Alexanders
$35
Aliotos
$18
AQ Restaurant
$25
Big 4
$25
Bix
$30
Bouchon (limit 2)
$20
Boulevard
$30
Bourbon Steak
$35
Campton Place
$30
Cliff House
$18
Crustacean
$20
Dirty Habit,
$20
Epic Roadhouse
$25
Farallon
$25
Forbes Island
$20
French Laundry (limit 1),
$150
Gary Danko (limit 2)
$50
Hakkasan
$30
Hillstone
None
Holding Company
$20
House Of Prime Rib
$25
Il Fornaio
$20
Kokkari
$25
La Mar
$20
L'Olivier
$20
McCormick And Kuleto
$20
Michael Mina
$35
Mortons
$30
Mourad
$40
My China
$20
North Beach
$20
One Market
$25
Original Joes
$20
Osso Steakhouse
$25
Perbacco
$25
Quince
$50
Restaurant At Meadowood
$50
Roys
$20
Ruth Cris
$20
Rutherford Grille
None
Saison
$50
Scoma's
$20
Slanted Door
$35
SPQR
$25
Spruce
$30
Stinking Rose
None
Tadich Grille
$20
Waterbar
$25
Waterfront
$20
Wayfare Tavern
$20