Tag Archives: wine tasting

Acacia Winery – Carneros Valley

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Our travels to Acacia began with a text from a friend in the wine business. 

He informed us that he had obtained passage on a private industry only tour and tasting of the Acacia Winery as a surprise for us on our visit to the wine country of California! 

We drove through some of the most beautiful vineyards on our way to Acacia…

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The beauty that surrounded us was so very peaceful and serene..

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We came upon the Acacia Winery, quietly tucked onto a hillside…Acacia Vineyard is located in the heart of the Carneros district off “the beaten path” very close to the Napa/Sonoma Marsh Wildlife area. The one thing you notice when you step out of the car at their parking lot is how absolutely quiet it is, especially when you compare this to the main part of Napa Valley where we spend considerable time. In this part of the Carneros, the roads are small but there is usually little traffic – bicyclists love the Carneros for this very reason, not to mention its scenic postcard views. You are surrounded by rolling hills – a sea of vineyards.

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Headed by general partner Mike Richmond and winemaker Larry Brooks, Acacia debuted in 1979 and quickly distinguished itself as one of the first California wineries to offer vineyard-designate Pinot Noir. Fruit was sourced locally from Carneros growers until the mid-1990s, when Acacia began acquiring properties surrounding the winery. Today these holdings comprise the 150-acre estate that produces Acacia Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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In 1986, Acacia was sold to Chalone. Since the 1990s, Acacia has focused on Chardonnay wines, as well as some sparkling wine.

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Acacia also bottles under the Caviste label. The annual production is around 55,000 cases.

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In 2005, the Chalone Wine Group was purchased by beverage giant Diageo.

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When we arrive the vineyard workers were filling barrels with Pinot Noir

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We were given a tasting of all the wines produced by Acacia

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Our host allowed me to roam about the barrel room to explore on my own and take a few pictures…..It was delightful being the only people in the winery!

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I love the smell of French Oak and fermenting grapes…..that heady fragrance that promises delightful wines in the future….

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The Acacia visit was as calm and peaceful as the drive to the vineyard.  Their name comes from a single Acacia tree which is still growing in between the rows of grapes in one of their vineyards. This tree is located just down the road 

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St. Francis Winery – Sonoma, California

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For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County.

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Founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley.

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After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.

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Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues the long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes.

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Currently,  more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley are farmed. 

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Each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils.

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Well, the Tin Man, et al, embarked upon a seated, multicourse Wine & Food Pairing, orchestrated by Executive Chef Bryan Jones who created an assortment of small dishes  paired with hand-selected artisan wines.

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We enjoyed stunning vineyard views and an amazing fine dining presentation at a shared table.

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The seating was hosted by a knowledgeable and friendly wine expert, who created a relaxing, fun and unforgettable wine country experience. 

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If you are planning a trip to the wine country, this is an experience that should not be missed

Click HERE to make your reservations

The Menu was impressive and inspired..

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We began with the Smoked Beet Salad

Grilled Spring Onion – Green Garlic Purée – Aleppo Pepper – Goat Cheese Fondant – Almond Nougat

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Then the second culinary masterpiece was presented…. Red Wine Braised Duck accompanied by 2013 Pinot Noir

Coriander Spätzle – Endive – Pistachio – Tart Cherry-Apricot Mostarda

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Course Number Three…….Arctic Char a la Barigoule accompanied by 2013 Chardonnay

Celery Root-Yukon Gold Potato Puree – Saffron – Preserved Lemon – Parsnip Chips

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le Quatrième Cours…..Coffee & Cocoa Crusted NY Strip Loin with 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Roasted Cauliflower – Smoke Garlic – Crispy Shallots – Bordelaise

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La Finale …… Sucreries….Mexican Chocolate Pot du Crème accompanied by 2012 Ruby Port

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Marvelous Culinary Delights and the Creator himself….Executive Chef Bryan Jones…

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It was a most fantastic experience…..delightful, educational and most of all delicious!

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Sweet Baby Vineyard – New Hampshire

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We ran off to New England to catch a glimpse of the Beautiful Autumn Colors

A stop at some wineries along the way seemed a pleasant way to spend the afternoon

Sweet Baby Vineyard  is located in East Kingston, New Hampshire, near Powwow Pond

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Sweet Baby offers handcrafted quality wines that have won numerous medals in international wine competitions

All of the produce for the fruit wines comes from New Hampshire farms. 

The grapes are grown in their own vineyard and purchased from fabulous vineyards around the world. 

All of the fruits and grapes are picked at their peak and then pressed and fermented to create a truly fabulous wine. 

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Having come from a family of wine makers, I always enjoy the smell of a winery that is not overly commercial or sterile

When we entered the facility there was no one around so we made our way upstairs, past a window lined with the winning bottles…

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Upon entering the Tasting Room we were greeted by a lovely young woman and browsed among the wines to decide which ones would be in our tasting…..

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We were given such cute tasting glasses to keep as mementos, in fact they now reside in our Wine Cellar, along with a bottle of Apple – Cranberry Wine from Sweet Baby Vineyard….

Along with the Wines to Taste, we munched upon a large block of Vermont White Cheddar Cheese………pure delights…

New England 026After our Tasting we meandered about the facility, lost in the heady fragrance of fermenting fruits…

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What a lovely visit we had.  If you are ever out Leaf Peeping or just running about this area of New Hampshire, drop in.  You will have a lovely time and enjoy some great wines.

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Sonoma, California

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We had a grand trip to Sonoma for a little wine tasting cruise. First we spent a few days in San Francisco in a boutique hotel complete with cabaret lounge on the first floor. What fun! We felt as if we were back in the Moulin Rouge in Paris! I know the Lion would have enjoyed this; however, he was enclosed in his enclave of leather a bit to the North…..oh well….you can’t always have the Emerald City. Okay, back to this story…..we then boarded a wonderful ship and sailed into the mouth of the Sonoma River and each day were picked up and taken to various wineries for tours and tastings. On board the ship we were treated to such wonderful events and lots and lots of wine education and tastings (and tastings and tastings and tastings and tastings), the staff was wonderful and we so enjoyed ourselves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Until next time…………..salute’…………prost…………..ciao!