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Monday, January 31, 2011

Wine Stage

Calgary's Most Dramatic Wine Event
(Not too sure about that???)

January 29th Hotel Arts

The Photo's are not very good, as I only had a pocket camera.  I was also the only person taking any photo's.   The Dining Partners included Boxwood; Brava Bistro;Chef's Table;Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and Farm;Eric The Oyster Man;Raw Bar;Vin Room plus a few others.  My favourite was Vin Room, little meat balls with a curry spice and Janice Beaton.
Wine was generously supplied by: Banff Wine Store; Bin 905; J Webb; Kensington Wine; Metrovino; Richmond Hill Wines; Vinestone Wine Co.
 The evening was a lot of fun and we certainly tried lots of wine, i favoured the Philipponnat rose champagne & a Spanish rose while my hubby enjoyed Mount Eden Cab. and a Evening Land Pinot.

I am looking forward to the next Wine Event Feb. at the BMO Centre.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today In My Hood

Graffitti ........

A scarey graffitti face......

Empty net

Netting on ice

Golden Grass

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wine Country - California

 This past November my husband and i decided to visit California wine country and sample from various vineyards/wineries.  Our goal was to mainly tour the Sonoma region which is closer to the west and far less touristy.  However, we did spend one day driving through scenic Napa Valley.  Our first stop that morning was "Hess Collection".  The Hess Collection is off the main highway but an absolute stunning drive up a twisty old road.  The winery includes an art gallery  of contemporary pieces that
 the owner has collected over the past 30 years.  There is also a large garden area which was in full bloom of roses and a separate wine/bar building to taste the current releases.  This terrior is known for Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.    Joseph Phelps is another favourite in this area (St Helena).  This BIO  state of the art winery holds tastings and seminars as well as an outdoor garden/patio to view the valley.
For myself, one of the highlights of the trip were the unbelievable fall colors.  My
 poor husband, constantly being asked to pull over or wait to I could take yet another photo.  It almost was "visual overload" if there is such a thing.  There was so much to see and I did not want to miss anything, I felt like a little kid!  My two favourite photos from the trip (featured below) are of the trees and pond at Chateau Montelena and the winding country road in Sonoma.  Chateau Montelena (Napa) is famous  for its 1973 chardonnay took first place in the 1976 Judgement of Paris and in the movie

 Bottleshock.  The 1882 chateau is a french style stone castle rising above a man made lake with Chinese garden.  Chateau Montelena is known for chardonnay, cab's and Riesling.  The building with the three peaks is Hop Kiln Winery.  This odd looking building was originally built for the production of beer.  The building alone is very much worth a visit.  You can also purchase gourmet food items in the shop and sit by the pond with a bottle of vino.  Hop Kiln produces big fruity zinfandel's, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and Gewurztraminer.  We also purchased 4 jars of their mustard's in different flavours which were very good.
There are literally hundreds of wineries throughout Sonoma and Napa some very large and "touristy" while others small and family run.  The choice is endless you just have to plan on what you wish to do or discover.
We based ourselves in Santa Rosa north of San Francisco on the Sonoma side.  Santa Rosa is known for the

 home of Charles Schultz who created the "Peanuts/Charlie Brown" series.  Nice small town atmosphere with good restaurants.  We also visited Healdsburg (which we both loved) and it has a wonderful weekend Farmers market.  Calistoga, famous for it's mud baths and the town of Napa, which has a wonderful old-country grocery store.  The one thing I did not really enjoy although thank goodness we did it during the day,  Trinity Road that separates Napa and Sonoma. A twisting, turning
narrow road with blind corners.
We had a wonderful time (we also visited this are in June), and are very much looking forward to our next visit.  I think the "Silverado Trail" is in store for us.
Enjoy wine!!!!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Discovering Wine

This past weekend my husband and I ventured out to The Kensington Wine Market to check out their yearly sale.  We are just beginning our journey or pleasure of discovering wine.  Although over the years we certainly have indulged in numerous bottles.  We decided that we wanted to take a little more time, try some wines we may not normally and just to slow down and appreciate.  We do know we love California Cab's & Zins, I love French Rose and we are still working on our whites.
Lisa, who is the Manager at Kensington and for some strange reason we keep crossing paths over the past 23 years was a great help.  Ken and i were thinking of trying out an Italian Brunello since we plan on visiting Tuscany in the future (near we hope).  There were 3 varieties at the shop and Lisa suggested this one.  We do know that Brunello's for the most part and please forgive me if I am wrong, are lighter than a Cab. or Zin. 

Ken was making a wonderful lamb stew for dinner so we thought this would be a great pairing.  I uncorked the bottle at noon as we were told it needs to aerate quite a few hours.  (That was new information for us)
Then at 1:00 pm we decanted into our glass holder (for lack of a better explanation). We also tried our first taste, be it a very small one.  The color is a pale red, the nose is very light (difficult to tell with a slight cold) but the finish is l.o.n.g......
At 4:00 we decided to indulge in another taste.  This time the nose had changed for me, apples?  The feeling in my mouth was very light and smooth with a wonderful long finish. 
6p.m. was dinner and we were eager to eat and enjoy our wine.  The stew did not overwhelm the wine or vice versa nice pairing.  The wine was delicious and very smooth no tannins.
We purchased a few more to cellar, should be interesting the next time we uncork.  I am glad we broke out of the box and tried something new. 
It's all personal preference of what you do or do not like and that is the fun of "discovery". 
Thanks to Lisa........Until next time.