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Friday, July 29, 2016

Palmaz Vineyards.. "Passionate Pursuit Of Perfection"

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 returned to Palmaz Vineyards. We shared this "special wine experience" with our Danville wine and foodie friends Ron and Josiane Hable.

We met this warm and passionate wine family many years ago and their spectacular story is unique and impressive.   We had the pleasure to travel with Julio, his wife Amalia and daughter Florencia on a fabulous trip to South America in 2013 .  The wine cruise sailed from the 2016 Olympics town of Rio De Janerio down the coast ending in the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. The trip included fabulous private wine dinners  served on the attentive Silver Seas Cruise Line.  The trip was highlighted with an elegant luncheon and day of "fun in the sun" at the Palmaz oceanfront summer home in Punta de Este, Uruguay. 

Palmaz Vineyards features over 100,000 square feet of caves and a gravity feed winemaking system that produces high quality wines. In addition to quarterly shipments of wines, their wine club members enjoy elegant theme parties throughout the year.  Upon joining  the wine club, you receive an Argentinean Gaucho facon, a  silver personal steak knife, that can be used at the Palmaz Winery annual Asado barbecue.

From the web site:

"Julio Palmaz was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Julio invented the Palmaz Coronary Stent, a device that revolutionized medicine. (Artifacts related to his research now sit in the Smithsonian Institution’s medical collection.) Having moved to the United States from Argentina in the late 1970s to pursue medical research at a notable institution, Julio completed his residency at the University of California, Davis, where his passion for wine first emerged. To unwind on weekends, Julio and his wife, Amalia, would drive through Napa in a white Triumph Spitfire, visiting wineries and restaurants. “I had wanted to make my own wines since my days at U.C. Davis,” he would later say. “And where better to make the best wine in the world than Napa Valley?”

Our host for this tour and elegant tasting was Nick Woodhams. He reflects the "passionate pursuit of excellence" of the family and the entire staff. He proudly toured us through this high tech winery producing world class juice. Having been on this tour before, it is still very impressive. It was the first visit for our friends and they marveled at the attention to detail and gentle care of the precious grapes and gravity feed process. We learned  a tid bit about "Angels Share" of the wine which was fun to hear.  If you visit the winery make sure to ask your tour host what that means.

Following the tour, the tasting took place in an elegant tasting room overlooking the 600 aces of heavenly beauty and paired with carefully selected foods. The long wood table was accented with fresh flowers and a  high tech presentation of each wine.  We began with the 2014 Amalia Chardonnay that was chilled perfectly and paired with Edamame Purée and Piave Vecchio Curls and Hawaiian Sea Salt.

The next selection was the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. It is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2 % Petite Verdot and 1& Cabernet Franc. It was perfectly paired with a bite of a smoked duck breast with cream cheese and fig preserves.

The 2012 Cabernet was next and a blend of 96% Cabernet, 3% Petite Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Vineyard Pasty Twigs with olive, garlic and Parmesan added to the this bold and beautiful wine. The final taste was 2014 Florencia Muscat paired with fresh goat milk cheese with apricots on a short bread cookie that was sensational. A dark chocolate truffle completed this elegant tasting experience.  We enjoyed all the wines and took a few of each back to Danville with us. We also took a bottle of olive oil that is supposed to be fantastic
In conclusion, this winery is very very "special" and well worth making an appointment to visit.
For more information go to  https://www.palmazvineyards.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Lake Tahoe Edgewood Country Club Hosts Super Bowl Of Celebrity Golf"

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 will travel to beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Edgewood Country Club hosts the American Century Celebrity Golf tournament and this year is number 28. The golf course is a slice of heaven located on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe. The tournament gets bigger every year with 80 famous sports celebrities and movie stars trying to win the $125,000 first place prize. 

For the past 15 years, I have been playing in the Celebrity Pro Am  with many interesting people like Alphonso Riberio ala "Fresh Prince", 5 time Champion Dan Quinn, Hall of Famer Tim Brown, and  Super Bowl MVP Joe Theisman to name a few.

I am given Celebrity names prior to the tournament and our son, MJ, chooses the celebrity and rides with him/her during the tournament.  Last year we played  with former Olympic Tennis Star, Mardy Fish, who is also a great golfer and one of the favorites to win. He finished second to Michigan State Spartan Mark Mulder who was also a great pitcher for the Oakland A's. This is the second year that he won the tournament and we hope  to play with him. 

My foodie and avid golfer friend from Chicago Brad Browder is also joining us again this year. 

Linda and her friends have an annual tradition to play Edgewood the Monday before the tournament begins. We enjoy our traditional lunch on the patio of Brooks Bar at Edgewood that is fueled by their famous mojitos.  Brooks Bar overlooks the lake and the famous 18th hole pond ala "Lake Lambier" named after Detroit  Piston Basketball player  Bill Lambier when he deposited a lot of balls a few years ago.  Brooks Bar has also been named as one of the best 19th hole bars in America.

A new tradition this year is staying at the grand opening of Edgewood Lodge, a magnificent 151 room 100 million dollar development right on Lake Tahoe and next to the golf course. We will also have a dinner there the nigh before the pro-am and start a new tradition. 

Another tradition is dinner at Friday Station on the top of Harrah's Hotel. It has spectacular sunsets and full of celebrities enjoying the great service and fantastic food.  Many of the waiters have worked there over 25 years. They are  professionally dressed in black tuxedos and intent on making your eating experience a memorable one.  It is no wonder many of them have worked there such a long time as the spectacular sunsets over Lake Tahoe each evening make for a soothing working environment  and "I love my job" attitude. 

The event is also televised on NBC. NBC has just renewed their contract through 2022. Watching it on TV is great but attending the tournament is much more fun.

It is also fun to watch your favorite sports and movie stars try to master the difficult game of golf.  In addition, the deep blue lake guarded by towering pines and snow capped mountains feels like being in heaven. It is no wonder the nearby ski slopes are named Heavenly Valley. 

In conclusion, mark your calendar for July 10-18 in 2018. For more information, go to: