Gina Dallara: July 2008 Archives

Wine Country Itinerary: Dry Creek Valley

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By Courtney Cochran

Tucked into the northwest corner of bucolic Sonoma County - and just a few minutes' drive from downtown Healdsburg - Dry Creek Valley tempts visitors with an eclectic mix of wineries and a surprisingly varied mix of wines to try.  To wit, lovers of big, jammy Zins will be in heaven in this slice of wine country known as ground zero for California Zinfandel, while tasters looking for something lighter will delight in the region's rightly reputable Sauvignon Blancs, which lend welcome levity to the palate after a steady onslaught of the full-throttle Zins, Merlots and that Cabs that also call the valley home.  
By Robert Farmer

As summer ends it final month, and the dog days bark in with a lazy yowl, wine country begins to take on a particular texture. The heat, in the long afternoons of blazing sun, works on the vines, producing the big push toward complete ripeness in the fruit. It also works on visitors, pushing them toward cool bodies of water and stretches of time filled with do-nothing schedules and refreshing sips of chilled chardonnay.

Though the famous valleys are still packed with wine-appreciating visitors, still other regions are enjoying a less populated pace. For my money, one of the best escapes is above the valley floor, and into the foothills of the Sierra.

Wine-based cocktails

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By Robert Farmer

There are those among us for whom the thought of a wine-based cocktail is tantamount to heresy. Yes, I am firmly in that camp. Not since I sipped a peach-flavored Bartles & James wine cooler through a straw (only once, I swear!) have I even considered the relative merits of the wine cocktail. Sangria shot to the mouth from the spout of a bota bag notwithstanding, my current stance is that if somebody's making wine-based cocktails, it's probably because the establishment in which they are making them has not yet received its liquor license.

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Temecula, California -- Outlaws hiding in the valley and surrounding mountains in Southern California's Temecula Valley always knew there "was gold in those hills" but it took up until July 10, 2008 for South Coast Winery to strike gold and in a big way.

That is, the prestigious, bear-shaped Golden Bear Winery trophy from the 150+ year old California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition went to South Coast Winery as the winery for fielding the greatest number of award-winning wines in the 2008 annual fair competition. This 10-pound prized trophy is the symbol of California and adds the little known wine region to the Hall of Wine Producing Fame.

Dog Days of Summer

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By Robert Farmer
News of the economic crash-and-burn is everywhere you look these days. And as we enter the dog days of summer, it appears there is little water on the horizon for the thirsty canine that is the national economy. So in these times of belt-tightening and bean-counting, we turn to the simple pleasures in life to remind us that, as the saying goes, life must go on.

Wine is indeed one such pleasure.
  But what if wine could also be the answer to the problem, rather than simply a salve?

Kunde: Wag-Worthy Winery

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sidephoto_susthike.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

For the second time this year, Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards is going to the dogs. Well, going dog friendly, that is. Following on the heels of Kunde's sold-out canine-themed event in May, the family-run winery will offer a second dog-friendly hike on Saturday, October 18th. The three-mile trek through Kunde's sustainably farmed estate vineyards will cost participants $45 (the fee covers both person and dog) and conclude with wine, a gourmet wine country picnic and water tasting for the pets.
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Press Release: Kenwood, CA, --Following a sold out event in May, Kunde Estate has scheduled a second dog-friendly hike on Saturday, October 18th, 2008. The hike offers a chance for animal lovers to enjoy wine country with their dogs while raising funds for Canine Companions and the Humane Society & SPCA of Sonoma County (HSSC). Both non-profit organizations provide vital services to people and animals in the region.

October's Dog-Friendly Hike consists of a three mile trek through the Kunde family's 1,850 acre estate, led by fourth generation winegrower Jeff Kunde. The hike is $45 per person and dog and concludes with a wine country gourmet picnic and wine tasting, with treats and a "water tasting" for dogs.

By Courtney Cochran

Dubbed "the most underrated wine appellation in the world" by a certain influential wine publication, the immense Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is home to more than 50 wineries and just a stone's throw from the bustling communities of Silicon Valley.  In stark contrast to its busy neighboring hamlets, however, the region marches to its own distinctly mellow beat, and wineries are reached by winding backcountry roads lined with towering redwoods.  Read on for an itinerary embarking from Los Gatos, a postcard-perfect town at the base of the mountains' easterly slopes and just 20 minutes west of San Jose.

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