Tag Archives: Napa wine and food

Variety’s 10 to Taste at NVFF 2015

Variety’s 10 to Taste, fascinating wine and food event,NapaNapa following the opening of the Fifth Annual NVFF (Napa Valley Film Festival), with the showing of SOMM: Into the bottle, the sequel of Somm this past Wednesday, November 11. On November 12 we had the opportunity to taste trough ten distinctive bites of flavor. Original interpretations of food inspired by film scenes in iconic films such as The Godfather, Julie & Julia, Pulp Fiction and Ratatouille.

Under a tent, at the Riverfront Promenade at Napa River Inn, guests strolled trying flavorful bites from local chefs along extraordinary Napa Valley wine selections that included BeringerEtude and Brut Champagne from Pipper Heidsieck. Under a chilling, beautiful morning at Downtown, Napa guests enjoyed a variety of flavors, original interpretation from the participating chefs.

At station #9, Chef Evan Dodge surprised us with his spin of a cheeseburger tartare inspired on the Royale with cheese scene (John Travolta and Samuel A. Jackson) from the movie Pulp Fiction. A very small bite, but full of flavor. A crispy cheese nest with beef tartare, mushrooms, rock salt and crunchy seeds. We enjoyed this culinary creation with The Beringer 2012 Quantum Red Blend.

At station #7, Chef Tim Brown delighted us with his spin on the Cuban sandwich, inspired by the movie Chef. A flavorful Cuban croquette, roasted pork shoulder, black forest ham, aged Gruyere and beer mustard. A savory sample of classic Cuban cuisine with an original touch. Love pork and Pinot, pleasant on the palate paired with Etude Pinot Noir, Grace Benoist Ranch Carneros. Match made in heaven!

At station #10, Chef Heather loved inspired by the movie Ratatouille offered us her twist of Five spice pork, with Asian Ratatouille in a Macadamia nut cup. A luscious combination of flavors that paired well with the 2013 Beringer Luminus, Oak Knoll District Chardonnay. This well balanced Chardonnay was also enjoyable with the pan-seared scallop in Saffron Bisque inspired by the movie, Mostly Martha. An exquisite culinary creation by Chef Anwar Herron on station #8.

At station #4, Chef Elizabeth Binder spiced up with her Peri-Peri prawns with apricot chutney & cilantro yogurt, inspired by the movie Burnt. The Pipper Heidsieck Champagne wast the perfect match for this dish, cutting the spiciness down a bit.

After enjoying the exquisite chef interpretations from the ten movies, we had the opportunity to listen to a distinguished panel that discussed current culinary trends, opportunities and challenges in the industry today. Panelists included Chef Bobby Flay, Emmy Award-winning television personality, and NYT Bestselling author; Emilie de Ravin. Lee Schrager, Vice President Corporate Communications & Events, Southern Wine & Spirits, and founder of South Beach and NYC’s Wine & Food Festivals; Kevin Pang, Chicago Tribune food writer, and director of For Grace. Variety’s Steve Chagollan moderated the panel.

Chef Bobby Flay shared some food industry thoughts with us. When asked: What do you think the next food trend is going to be? Chef Flay,”The United States food scene has been behind on food trends for so long, but we are finally catching up. You never know what the next food trend is going to be, On my newest restaurant Gato our top seller entrée is a vegetarian dish as well as or four top seller appetizers. When asked, What is your perfect burger? Chef Flay said, “For me the perfect burger should be 80% meat and 20% fat, cooked on a sizzling griddle or pan. It should be very crispy on the outside and medium-rare in the center. It needs to have two pieces of cheese completely melted on top.”

The panel agreed on how social media dramatically changed the decision making in which restaurant to visit. Nowadays everyone is a wine critic and voice its opinion on platforms like Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and others. Restaurants need to pay attention to the details and be sure that guests have the optimal dining experience.

Barrel Auction Napa Valley 2015


Great wine tasting experience at Barrel Auction Napa Valley 2015. Hall Wines Winery in St. Helena was the backdrop for an amazing wine and food tasting event this year. Great meet and greet with media around 10:00 a.m. at the historic Bergfeld winery building. Delicious breakfast paired with Robert Mondavi Rosé and bubbly from Domaine Chandon. Owners of Hall Winery Craig and Kathryn Hall welcomed press members along with Honorary chairs from the Opus One Winery, lead by Vintner David Pearson and Winemaker Michael Silacci.

Hall Wines offered a great experienced at their amazing property in St. Helena. A mix of historic winery architecture (Bergfeld Winery Building) and their modern state of the art Gold LEED Certified production facility. Visitors have the opportunity to stroll around buildings and huge tents full of quality Napa Valley wines and the best expression of local cuisine. The Napa Valley Vintners members offered a great selection of local wines to taste including the exclusive selections just produced for The Napa Valley Vintners wine auction.

Among the great wine selections to taste: Schramsberg classic California sparkling wine and J. Davis beautiful Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. At the barrel auction tasting, stellar Cabernet Sauvignon selections from Chateau Boswell, Cliff Lede, Ehlers Estate, Baldacci, Frank Family, Trinitas, Melka Wines, Shafer, Beaulieu Vineyard, Paradox, Pine Ridge, Truchard Vineyard, Robert Mondavi, Amici Cellars, Round Pond, Alpha Omega, Amizetta Winery, Darioush and Far Niente. A beautiful 100% Merlot from Coho and great 100% Pinot Noirs from Acacia, Artesa and Saintsbury, beautiful Carneros fruit. Trinchero offered an outstanding Malbec and William Hill an unfiltered well crafted Chardonnay. This year we missed the noise from the manual barrel auction bids, they gave away to digital big screens. All for technology these days, that is the way of the future.

Along with the great wine selections, local restaurants displayed and amazing collection of flavors. Mustards Grill pork ribs, Bouchon duck delight. Among many of the local restaurants great food creations from Torc, Tre Vigne Restaurant, Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford Grill and Brix. Also Morimoto, Angele, Eiko’s, Goose & Gander, Cordeiro’s Bar & Grill among others.

The Opus One team was the Honorary Chair this year. Unfortunately there was no Opus One wine to try at The Barrel Auction tasting event. We did not find any barrel auction lot to taste from Opus One either. Opus did contribute with several lots for Auction Napa Valley. But no worries, Napa Valley Vintners offered well crafted delicious wines from many family owned and ran wineries. We did try many outstanding selections of Napa Valley wines, SALUD!


Rocking the vines with BottleRock Napa Valley 2015


BottleRock Napa Valley 2015 will take the  Napa Valley by storm for a third year in a row.  The festival that calls Napa Valley home since its inception in 2013 embraces a new concept of music, food, wine and beer. The lineup has always been spectacular and this year is no exception. The festival will take place from May 29 through May 31, 2015. The 26-acre grounds of the Napa Valley Expo will host four Music Stages and the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage. Festival attendees will enjoy the best in wine and food from many of the finest vintner and culinary talents of the legendary Napa Valley.

This year performer’s lineup includes music artists and bands like Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant, No Doubt, Public Enemy, Los Lobos, Snoop Dogg, Gipsy Kings, Xavier Rudd & The United Nations, The Avett Brothers, Doe Eye, Emily Wolfe, Napa Crossroads LIVE Featuring David Pack of Ambrosia, John Elefante of Kansas, Bill Champlin formerly of Chicago, and Jim Peterik founding member of Survivor among over seventy performers.

The Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage is all about blending great music, food, and wine,” said David Graham, CEO of Latitude 38. “For 2015, we are ramping up our culinary experience with the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage. Where else but the Napa Valley can you pull off a food & wine festival within a music festival? There’s just no other music festival that matches the quality of wine and food star power that BottleRock provides.”

The Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage will be hosted by the Bay Area’s “Foodie Chap,” Liam Mayclem of KCBS. It will feature celebrated chefs, vintners, local personalities, actors, professional athletes and sommeliers participating in entertaining demos, performances, and other lively entertainment. The chef lineup includes Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto and Marc Forgione, Michelin-star chefs Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn, Brandon Sharp of Solbar, Ken Frank of La Toque, and Robert Curry of Auberge du Soleil, and Top Chefs Michael Voltaggio and Mei Lin among others.

Many of the regions finest wineries will be sharing their finest vintages, including Miner Family Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery, Silver Oak Cellars, Del Dotto Family Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Round Pond Estate, Hill Family Estate, Jamieson Ranch VineyardsNakedWines.com, JCB by Jean Charles Boisset, Ca’Momi Wines, Starmont Wines, among others.

The craft brew garden will feature 20 brews from premium brewers and distillers such as Lagunitas, Crispin Cider, Boston Beer, 21st Amendment, Pyramid Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Green Flash, Ninkasi, Heretic, and local favorite Napa Smith Brewery.

BottleRock Napa Valley has already created a name among music lovers, such that the 3-day general admission tickets are sold-out. There are still one-day general admission, VIP tickets, and Platinum tickets available. Visit the BottleRock Napa Valley website to get information regarding tickets availability and other


A una semana de Zinfandel Experience 2015


Tan solo a una semana de “Zinfadel Experience 2015”, celebrando 24 años de excelencia en vino. Zinfandel e s el vino que captura el espíritu pionero estadounidense en una botella. Hasta hace poco el origen de Zinfandel era desconocido. Recientes análisis de DNA han confirmado que la uva Primitivo de Italia y Crljenak Kastelanski, una antigua variedad de uva croata, son genéticamente idénticas a las uvas Zinfandel. Sin embargo, las diferencias en el vigor de la planta, el tamaño de los racimos, variedad de suelos y cultivo; se combinan para dar al Zinfandel su propio perfil particular.

Los viticultores, enólogos y amantes del Zinfandel se han unido para la preservación y el reconocimiento de Zinfandel como Patrimonio de vino de Estados Unidos. Bajo esta premisa se fundó la organización ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, por sus siglas en ingles) en 1991. ZAP es una organización sin fines de lucro 501(c)(3) con el propósito de conectar a todos los entusiastas de Zinfandel y educar al público sobre la importancia de esta uva en la historia y la cultura de Estados Unidos. ZAP ha logrado elevar el reconocimiento mundial del Zinfandel como vino de alta calidad.

“Zinfandel Experience” es el evento mas grande de degustación de vino de una sola variedad de uva en el mundo, único en su clase. Luego de 24 ediciones continuas, el año pasado el evento cambió su formato para promover mas educación y crear conciencia sobre la gran variedad de estilos de vino producidos de esta uva. Su nuevo formato ha sido un rotundo éxito, a petición popular se continuara produciendo de la misma forma con mejoras introducidas cada año. La edición del 2015 se llevara a cabo de enero 29-31, 2015 entre las facilidades de Presidio, San Francisco y el hotel Four Seasons, San Francisco.

El Evento incluye:

Epicuria, Maridaje de Zinfandel y Comida
enero 29, 2015 (jueves) 6-8 p.m.
Cub Golden Gate, Presido San Francisco

El Club Golden Gate sirve de escenario para explorar los sabores versátiles de Zinfandel en un ambiente informal. Disfrute de creaciones culinarias sofisticadas preparadas por reconocidos chefs locales en perfecto maridaje con más de 30 Zinfandels. Comparta con bodegueros, enólogos, amantes de Zinfandel y expertos culinarios. Invitados VIP tienen la oportunidad de entrada temprana y acceso exclusivo a la sala VIP.

“Flights! Forums of Flavor”
enero 30, 2015 (viernes) 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Hotel Four Seasons, San Francisco

Seminarios de cata profesional enfocados en Zinfandels de alta calidad y producción limitada. Gran oportunidad para aprender de expertos en Zinfandel y disfrutar de la gran variedad y carácter de los vinos. ZAP se ha asociado con “Historic Vineyard Society” para brindarnos la oportunidad de catar vinos producidos de viñas viejas (sobre 80 años).

Recepción con enólogos, cena y subasta
enero 30, 2015 (viernes)
5:30-7:30 p.m. Recepción con Enólogos
7:30-10:00 p.m. Cena con bodegeros y subasta
Hotel Four Seasons, San Francisco

Asista con sus mejores galas, la popular serie de TV “Mad Men” es la inspiración para la recepción, cena y subasta. En la recepción los enólogos y dueños de bodegas estarán ofreciendo catas de sus vinos de alta calidad mientras tiene la oportunidad de hablar directamente con ellos. Disfrute de una cena íntima organizada por celebridades del mundo del vino y un menú personalizado que cuenta con la mejor cocina de la granja a la mesa. Un enólogo de diferente bodega será su anfitrión en cada mesa y ofrecerá varios vinos en maridaje con cada plato. Disfrute de Las subastas en vivo y silenciosas, beneficiando a la programación, la educación de ZAP y Proyectos de especiales. La subasta contará con lotes únicos, botellas raras, experiencias intimas en bodegas y mucho más.

Dia de Catas
enero 31, 2015 (sábado)
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (VIP’s y “All day Ticket Holders”)
Miembros de ZAP 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Publico General 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Varias localidades dentro de Presidio San Francisco: “Golden Gate Club & Film Centre”

De 11 a.m. a 1 p.m. los VIP’s y los visitantes con boletos para todo el día tendrán la oportunidad catar de en esta exclusiva degustación de Zinfandel Reserva y directo del barril. Un centenar de bodegueros enólogos y directores bodegas, compartirán vinos de las próximas cosechas, no embotellados al momento, y Zinfandels especiales que se han ganado el título de “Reserva.”

A la 1 de la tarde, las puertas abrirán para los miembros de ZAP y a las 2 p.m. para el público en general. A lo largo de la cata, enólogos y propietarios de bodegas personalmente compartirán su profunda pasión por su oficio. Podrá explorar los sabores de mezclas Zinfandel, viñedos individuales y Zinfandels de viñas centenarias, o profundizar en los aromas y sabores distintivos de las regiones productoras de Zinfandel. Tendrá la oportunidad de ampliar su conocimiento sobre Zinfandel asistiendo a una de las charlas con enólogos y visitar la tienda general para llevar a casa algunos de sus vinos favoritos. Camiones de comida gourmet ofrecen la oportunidad de satisfacer su apetito y añadir a la experiencia.

Para comprar boletos e información detallada sobre el evento, por favor visite la pagina web: Zinfandel Advocates and Producers

A continuación, unas Fotos de Zinfandel Experince 2014

Festival del Sole returns to Napa Valley to celebrate its ninth season


The Napa Valley Festival del Sole returns for its ninth season, and opens this coming Friday, and runs through July 20, 2014. Napa Valley will serve, once more, as the perfect backdrop for one of the country’s most compelling summer celebrations.

For nine years now, the Valley transforms to receive nearly 10,000 audience members and visitors every July. Wineries like Alpha Omega, Beaulieu Vineyard, Boisset Family Estates, Bouchaine Vineyards, Castello di Amorosa, Chimney Rock, Far Niente, Gallo Signature Series, Gargiulo Vineyards, Grgich Hills Estate, HALL St. Helena, Jaffe Estate, Keller Estate, Martin Estate, Robert Mondavi Winery, The Hess Collection, and Vineyard 29 will host and sponsor over forty events featuring world-class classical music, jazz, opera and ballet along with curated culinary, wine and wellness adventures that celebrate the art of life.

Since 2006, Festival del Sole has presented more than 300 artists and ensembles in venues throughout Napa Valley and partnered with more than 200 wineries, hotels and local businesses.

One of the festival’s missions is to enrich Napa Valley’s cultural and economic vitality by presenting performances of the highest international quality, and innovative programs that celebrate the art of life. The festival also nurtures young artistic talent and supports art education.

A not to be missed event will be the “A Taste of Napa.” The event will showcase over seventy Napa Valley renowned wineries, food artisans and chefs. New for this year are live cooking demonstrations, BBQ artisans and Napa craft breweries including Carneros Brewing Company and Napa Point Brewing, plus a wellness conversation by Dr. Melina Jampolis called “Spice and Supernutrients” where she will discuss how to incorporate the power of food as medicine into delicious and healthy meals. Chef Tiffany Derry, a Top Chef alum who currently stars in the new Spike TV series Hungry Investors, will lead an engaging and informative cooking demonstration where she will whip up a few delectable recipes.

Attendees can eat, drink, socialize and participate in wellness conversations aimed at enriching our health and happiness. New this year, guests will also be invited to enjoy cooking demonstrations designed to enhance our experience and understanding of food. And once again Dining Around, NewsTalk910’s popular Bay Area food program, will host a live broadcast.

The event will be held on July 12, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the former COPIA building, 500 First Street, next to the Oxbow Public Market. Tickets for this event can be purchased for $45.00 per person at the Festivals’ website.

For 2014 season schedule, fabulous auction items, and details on the event program visit the Napa Valley Festival del Sole.  Visit the website also to acquire individual tickets, Allegro Passes, VIP Passes and free performance tickets.



New wine and food experience at Robert Mondavi Winery

Pic Tokalon Gdn

As the wine tourism gets more competitive worldwide, Napa Valley is keeping on the forefront by adding more educational and hands on events to their repertoire. This past Tuesday June 10, 2014 Robert Mondavi Winery shared with a selected media group their dedication ceremony and dinner for the Piccolo To Kalon Garden. A great opportunity to introduce their new Garden To Table Experience.

Enjoy a tour of the winery and walk trough the garden where you will pick fresh in-season produce with the kitchen chefs. Chef Jeff Mosher will take you to the Mondavi Estate kitchen where you will help to prepare your own meal with the fresh ingredients you picked, a hands on cooking class. After the kitchen team helps finish the delicious dishes, you will sit outside on a country style long table with the beautiful To Kalon Vineyard as a backdrop. Enjoy your delightful 3-course meal paired with Mondavi signature wines.

While walking trough the garden enjoying a glass of the 2012 Napa Valley Fume Blanc Reserve it was great to talk to Napa Valley legend Margrit Mondavi “I remember how I started this garden over 40 years ago, with few herbs and flowers, I am so impressed with the beautiful work Chef Mosher and his kitchen team were able to accomplish in this marvelous garden,” Margrit added.

Time to enjoy dinner in this beautiful summer afternoon with the stunning To Kalon Garden in the back. Chef Mosher delighted us with an amuse bouche of olive oil sturgeon with parsley aioli. First course, Garden salad: beets, radishes, carrots, fennel, amaranth, lettuces, flowers, porcini soil, goat cheese fondue, red beet puree. Paired with 2012 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fume Blanc Reserve. A pleasing wine and food experience, the bright acidity and wood hint on the Sauvignon Blanc accented the freshness and earthy flavors on the salad.

Entrèe: Seared Five Dot Ranch rib eye, summer squash, faro, green onions, shelling peas, shaved black truffles, basil pesto. Paired with 2010 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. An elegant wine and food pairing, the very present dark fruit flavors and more savory and earthy notes on the wine let the food flavors shined trough complementing each other nicely.

Dessert: Lemon verbena ice cream, lemon cake with mixed berries. Paired with 2012 Robert Mondavi Winery Moscato D’oro. Enticing citric aromas and flavors on the ice cream and lemon cake made this dessert an excellent pairing with the citric, peach and green apple flavors and orange blossom, ripe peach aromas plus slight effervescence in the wine. Playful combination of flavors, the low sugar on the dessert balanced out with the moderate sweetness and fresh citrus notes on the wine.

Just before dessert was served, Margrit Mondavi made a toast celebrating the dedication of the Piccolo To Kalon Garden. She mentioned that it was memorable for her to have a little piece of the To Kalon parcel devoted solely to the culinary arts since it was a vineyard that her late husband Robert loved so much. As we said cheers, Mrs. Mondavi added: “wine in moderation with glorious exceptions.”

After Dinner Chef Mosher gave us a tour of the garden and shared with us: “The garden contains a delicious selection of vegetables, herbs, assorted berries and fruit trees. We follow sustainable farming practices such as vermicomposting (worm farming) to produce our own worm tea natural fertilizer, honey bees, composting and other environmentally friendly protocols to ensure the health of the garden and enjoy the bounty of fresh ingredients.”

You can find information about the Robert Mondavi Winery wine and food experiences at Wine & Food Programs.

Pictures by Edgar Solis Photo