The Toasted Hostess Catch and Release Bigfishwines..
Molly Dooker Wines
Play Wine on the River
Play Vintage Virginia
Allee Bleue Wine Estate
Allee Bleue Wine Estate - Franschhoek, South Africa
Gerda Willers – Winemaker.
Theunissen – International Marketing Manager.
chef at Café Allee Bleue.
know, I get to travel to some very nice places and meet some wonderful folks
along the way – what’s wrong with this job?One sad fact is that the camera is not always running and
some of my most precious memories are behind the scenes.This is not a complaint by any stretch
of the imagination – it’s just my wish that you could have come out to dinner
with Gerda and I the night before we turned the camera on!
shared, I found myself up before the sun to catch it’s rising on the
estate.It wasn’t a long drive –
actually I over-nighted at a beautiful bed and breakfast on the adjoining
property (!) The sunrise was absolutely breath taking.Not only were there lush fields of
cultivars, but also the estate grounds posses lavish gardens of herbs and
flowers and historic buildings of the Old Netherland style
Bleue is a relatively young endeavor – five years of age.But, the awards and accolades of finest
quality and maturity found the estate in the first vintage year of its
existence. Gerda and her staff, utilizing sincere corporate support, have placed
all elements in line to position Allee Bleue in the company of the finest
vineyards of the region.
Allee Bleue, the restaurant on the estate, was the location of our wine and food
pairing. Erica, the chef was
lovely and created dishes of prosciutto encrusted Kingklip, Braised Kudu and
Springbok – to be paired with a reserve chardonnay, and a red blend by the name
of L’Amor De jour…. bad news is – I can’t get any of this stuff in
Nashville!I can’t wait to return!
Willamette Valley Vineyard
Play WVV Webisode
Willamette Valley Vineyard - Turner, Oregon
Jim Bernau – owner, innovative entrepreneur and winemaker.
Forrest Klaffke – Award winning winemaker.
I visited WVV in the November of 2007. I know, an off-season for stellar presentation of leaves and grape clusters, but a fine day none-the-less. It was the day before Thanksgiving and the good folks at Willamette Valley were winding down from the harvest and tending to the nectar of their labors in the spirit of the season.
While in the cellar, we ‘thieved’ from several barrels to introduce ourselves to the good works of the season… from a very young and blushing pinot to a whole cluster offering similar to a Beaujolais Nuevo… interesting one and all.
On the deck, Forrest prepared a wine and food pairing that was pure Oregon! Crab cakes served with Pinot Gris, Truffle Rigatoni with a bold and full-flavored Signature Cuvee. And finally - fresh pairs, “Oregon-zola” cheese and hazelnuts drenched with a Riesling reduction sauce paired with the same sweet, light Riesling.
I plan to stop by WVV again this fall, during harvest, to continue their story.
Play Beyerskloof webisode
Beyerskloof - Stellenbosch, South Africa
Truter – Owner, first-rate human being and winemaker.
Truter – winemaker and son who fell not far from the tree.
Naude – son of another winemaker and International Marketer.
Jacqueline Oosthuizen-Estate chef.
You can’t speak long with a South
African winemaker about Pinotage without hearing Beyers name offered-up in some
reverent tone – this guy has passion felt ‘round the world!He won a ‘best wine in the world’ award
a couple of years ago for a cabernet and has won seven international best of
show awards for Pinotage, a record.If a grape could ever have a best friend…Well, I’ll stop here!
While visiting the estate I felt
the true nature of this family venture - from the father and son to the
employees and their common view of works in, for and around the business and
community.This is an incredible
bunch of people with their understanding of the art of wine, their social
awareness and sincere intentions to live the fruits of life both full and
honest every step of the way.
The food pairings here were all
seafood.Not just a run to the
market for some frozen fish – these guys went diving the day before our arrival
to catch fresh Lobster and Allekreckle for the feast.Sparkling Pinotage on a stem paired with lemonzest and capsicum
/ shallot chutney over a fresh oyster…And from that point on, two glasses were filled at a time – two
different wines to mix with the cuisine to show the versatility of
Pinotage….This Pinotage is a
pretty complex red – and it went so well with the Lobster!Wait, I thought it was white with fish…I’m so confused!
Doolhof Wine Estate
Play Doolhof Lunch
Doolhof Wine Estate - Wellington, South Africa
Kerrison – Owner.
De Beers – Winemaker.
Coetzee – Brand Manager.
I spent a restful evening on the
property in a converted 300-year old chapel, just down the walk from the Manor
home and around the bend from the recently completed office complex fashioned
from remodeled stables of an era gone by on this two-hundred year old vineyard.
Dennis Kerrison is charming, passionate
and alive with enthusiasm when he speaks of his efforts in the world of
wine.Wine has not been his main
focus in life or livelihood – it is, however, a new and defining chapter in a
journey that has covered multiple continents.
De’Olives, a companion restaurant to the
estate was the scene for our wonderful session of food and wine pairing…I used to call things like this lunch.
But, now I am so focused on trying to figure out the best and all of the rest,
I think of all of this as very hard work and concentration (yeah, right!).
Sashimi and Chardonnay, grilled Ostrich with a Pinotage and Chocolate Mousse
with Pinotage Plus renders a mocha flavor that will stop you in your tracks.
Pulpit Rock Wine Estate
Pulpit Rock, Franschhoek, South Africa
Ernest Brink - Owner.
Haumann Brink - Viticulturist.
Van der Byl Brink - Marketing Manager.
Piet Kleinhans - Winemaker.
We greeted the sun in the midst of a huge expanse of vines that covered the valley floor from rolling hills to the base of Pulpit Rock. There, in the midst of this most impressive operation sits the winery, tasting room and cellar of the Brink family on land that has been a part of the family for generations.
We had the distinct pleasure of spending time with the patriarch of the family, Ernst, while on the land he loves and continues to nurture with the help of his sons Haumann and Vanderbyl, and winemaker Piet Klienhaus. These men are genuine, passionate stewards of wine and the industry they support with their every breath.
Visitor accomodation on the farm is series of refurbished stalls in an old support structure. The rooms are spacious and welcoming, with all of the necessities to embrace a few nights on the farm. What you will note, quite remarkably, Ernst has brought a unique variety of animals from his game farm in Namibia to the property for the enjoyment of family and guests. Libby, for example, is a hand raised Oryx that is quite interested in each and every visitor… truly hard to describe that experience!
The wines grown on the estate are a wonderful array of South Africa’s finest offerings. We spent a particular bit of time researching the merits of Pinotage… not quite sure if I will ever be done with this fascination - we may just have to go back!
Tarara Estate, Leesburg, Virginia
Jordan Harris - Winemaker.
Heather Akers - Marketing Manager.
Martha Hubert - Label Designer.
Erika Tribett - Estate Chef.
Great Team... Jordan Harris - the winemaker... serving wine and food... made such a great impression... Fruit picking is an offering on the estate... they grow asparagus, apples and berries... concerts under moonlit sky on the lake... breath taking views... And, awesome wine and pairings... Pinot Gri was served with cold pea soup that was infused with asparagus pesto and olive oil drizzled over the top.... nice fresh and summer like finish...hhmm Sesame seed encrusted, Sea-bass with mango and kiwi salsa, pared with Viogniet.. grape of Virginia... first for me.. light, fruity... great combination.. Lamb shanks on bed of snap peas and deep-fried onions on top.... I grew up with lamb and that was such as memory trip....the wine..well now that was fabulous... Meritage... with chocolate and plum and deep color, full bodied and great presence... loved the long heaviness of spice at the end... Dessert: was very well done with pouched pears covered with blue cheese and hazel nuts... hmm, hmm, hmm paired with a signature D9 port-style wine... an homage to the late owner Whitie Hubert...the only way his wife would allow him to bring a D-9 onto the property... Great times and happy conversations.. compliments to the chef and kitchen hand....lol
More info to come......
Raffaldini Vineyards, Yadkin Valley, Ronda, North Carolina
"Audentes Fortuna Luvat" - "Fortune favors He who dares."
Thomas Salley - Event planner and Media Relations
Beth Charles - Tasting Room manager
Andy Shores - Farm Manager
Stephen Rigby - Winemaker
Aromas from 800 rose bushes lingering in the early morning air... picture perfect Tuscan Fattoria(villa).... relaxed, happy people greeting us.... Winemaker Stephen Rigby... what a character.... Chianti in the Carolinas... Raffaldini focuses only on Italian varietals - a unique and fantastic twist... Lunch was typical Italian style... lots of food.. laughter and every member of the family.... home made pizza, chicken catcitore, ciababa bread with olive oil, antipasto with asiago cheese and salami and for dessert we had sponge cake and fresh fruit, finishing all off with coffee and biscotti.... the wines were every bit of everything "All that!"... I did have my designated drive so I could enjoy responsibly.... From their smooth topical fruit toned - Pinot Gri, to a blend of Cab Franc/sauv, then Merlot, and Syrah and, last but not least Petit Verdot / Belle Misto - medium bodied and youthful tannins. Then a deep colored, fruit forward, full bodied true native Italian experience - Montepulciano. Oh my, an oak-aged, robust and food friendly - Sangiovese Riserva, and a crisped - almost efferscent - Vementino. And, oh yeah, a fruit-driven blend, a refreshing wine with a hint of sweetness, complex but lively a highly versatile dessert wine - Rose Chiara....
Thanks to all my new friends... Until next time.. Remember life is to short -always drink good wine!