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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sensational Sherwin Family Vineyards

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 I recently traveled to Sherwin Family Vineyards in St. Helena.

After spending 30 years in the Bay Area as a builder and developer, Steve and Linda Sherwin decided they wanted a slower life style and purchased 30 acres of grape vines on the top of Spring Mountain in 1996. As you drive into this serene location complete with a pond, you immediately feel a sense of peace and tranquility from the rigors of city life.

The tasting room has a fireplace for the cool days and patio for the warm days. Like an Eagle, it proudly overlooks this spectacular piece of property and enhances your wine tasting experience.

Donna was our knowledgeable and energetic host and we were also joined by Steve Sherwin owner and winemaker. We began our tasting with the crisp and refreshing Chardonnay balanced by rich fruit and hints of oak.

Steve then let us taste the Cellar Scraps. With a proud smile on his face, he said "this fun Cabernet changes every time we make it. We take a look around our cellar and use the leftovers from some of the finest wine ever produced at Sherwin."   We liked it so much that we took a few bottles home with us. We also joined their "Cellar Scrapper" wine club which includes an annual 6 bottle shipment and an invitation to their "Swill and Grill" barbecue bash.

The estate Cabernet Sauvignon is made from the fruit of the 16 acre estate grapes on the top of Spring Mountain. It is their flagship wine and ready to drink now or add to your cellar. It is a blend of 80 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 per cent Cabernet Franc and 8 percent Merlot.

For the grand finale, Steve gave us a special treat as we tasted the Reserve Cabernet right from the barrel. Aged 8 months in French Oak, this 100 percent Cabernet is excellent and elegant. The gold label and golden wax cork is like owning a expensive piece of art and a great addition to any cellar. Besides being dipped in red or gold wax, the special Sherwin bottles can be bought with the American flag etched on the bottle making for a great gift, golf tournament, or charity auction item. Steve said he is the only winery in America that has been approved to place the American flag on the bottles.

We would highly recommended this winery to visit. The wine is great and the  setting is "sensational" on the top of Spring Mountain.
For more information and to schedule a tasting go to.: 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Artisan..7 Years Of Foodie Perfection

In a effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(800 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently dined at Artisan restaurant located in nearby Lafayette.
We went to the restaurant when it first opened 7 years ago and again for lunch recently as were reminded by our friends of its excellence.  The restaurant serves locally sourced Californian-French fare in a lovely converted house with patio seating.
Chef John Marquez, owner and chef, is a local guy who grew up in Danville and graduated from San Ramon High School.  His first apprenticeship at Danville's Bridges and a culinary degree from Diablo Valley College. He originally wanted to open his own place in San Francisco, but eventually turned his attention to the Walnut Creek area. He has a rich foodie history including working  at San Francisco's Coi and Fringale and for Thomas Keller at the famous French Laundry in Napa, also helping him open Per Se in New York in 2004.  He prides his creations as using the freshest, finest ingredients and  a labor of love. We had the pleasure of meeting him.
Our server Ken was very knowledgeable and has been with the restaurant since its beginnings 7 years ago.  Chef John features a 3 course luncheon special for 30 dollars. For 5 dollars more you can include a Martini or Perfect Manhattan.
We chose to order ala carte and began with Tempura Squash Blossoms with goat cheese that were warm, fresh and fantastic.  For the main course, we ordered the fish tacos and corn soup, Croque Madame and sweet potato fries. Both entrees were nicely prepared. For dessert, we shared the chocolate decadence that was a cake with chocolate mousse and a ganache frosting.

Chef John, who is of Peruvian decent, told us he will be opening a new Peruvian restaurant in Concord called Lima. It will be open around July 1st and promises to be a joy to experience with lots of unique and flavorful Peruvian recipes planned.
We would highly recommend Artisan as it is close to Danville and food prepared with great attention to detail and very, very good.

For more information and to make reservations go to: