This piece will run in the Ukiah Daily Journal newspaper on Thursday, August 6, 2015; I am posting it online earlier to urge locals to get tickets to this Friday’s Mendo Wine Comp Awards Dinner before they sell out.
Tomorrow, Friday, August 7, wine judges will assemble here in Mendocino County. Wine writers, wine buyers, sommeliers, and various other critical tasters will judge the wines of Mendocino County for our 37th annual wine competition, the oldest continuously held wine competition in the United States. I’ll share the results for a column in two weeks.
Today, I’ll point you to the link to get tickets to tomorrow evening’s award announcement dinner: http://www.mendowine.com/events/awardsceremony.php
The Awards Dinner and Ceremony will be held at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds’ Redwood Grove in Boonville at 6:30 pm, Friday August 7, 2015. Tickets are $60.
This year’s awards dinner features The Bewildered Pig, who will also debut this year with their namesake restaurant in Anderson Valley. The locally-sourced menu of The Pig’s unique, refined yet rustic comfort food will be a dual celebration, showcasing the best wine and food Mendocino County has to offer.
Join the esteemed judges, winery owners and winemakers, sample from among over 200 Mendocino County wines and toast the winners! The dinner is fun, with the crowd jeering mispronunciations of grape varieties, winemaker names, and winery names, and cheering wins by their friends and favorite appellations. A few years back, I sat with a table of Potter Valley winery folks, and we cheered wildly for every medal awarded a Potter Valley winery, with equal gusto for Bronze, Silver, Gold, or unanimous Double Gold. We dubbed ourselves ‘the kids table’ and I was worried we might have gone overboard, but the night’s announcer, Heidi Cusick Dickerson, said afterward that she wished every table had been as enthusiastic.
Come out and join us tomorrow, it really is a fun way to celebrate the best of Mendocino County’s wines.
Eugene Gonsalves pours wine at both McFadden and Graziano in Hopland, and is a joy to work with. Eugene also takes time off to travel the world, and sends notes from his travels, often writing in my voice, in the style of my wine columns, in a jestful satirizing of those pieces.
Most recently, I heard that Eugene was with family in Santa Barbara, and I pointed him toward nearby Ventura and Spencer Makenzie’s world famous fish tacos. Initially, Eugene thought I was pointing him to Ventura because of the great past shows by the Grateful Dead, and although I had indeed seen Bob Weir there, this tip was all about the food. Here’s his review:
“Spencer Makenzie’s, the Irish/English Mexican restaurant, with a New York diner flair! We were met with “un-naked hospitality” by our waitress.
The boys had grilled shrimp with grilled veggies, grandpa style – not spicy.
Jason and Sandra indulged in all the sauces and broke in song, “Hot, Hot, Hot!” Not a Grateful Dead hit, but perfectly appropriate for their fish/shrimp burrito, which they gave a 5 star rating.
Given that it was so close to the ocean, one would expect rip off tourist prices. Unlike some European countries where there are 2 menus – one for locals and one for tourists, these were all local prices.
A glass of McFadden 2013 Gewürztraminer would have made the experience extraordinary!
Thanks for the recommendation. We all enjoyed the food.”
First, I have to say that I am thrilled that the simple but spectacularly flavorful food was as delicious when Eugene visited as when I last ate there many years ago. It always saddens me when a place you once had a spectacular meal falls in quality over time. Second, note that Eugene thought about what wine would make the food sing as beautifully as Jerry Garcia on Stella Blue. Next time you are grabbing food to go, and taking it home, crack a bottle of wine open, and make your meal more delicious, more special.
I’ve written before about Saracina’s stunning grounds with an array of picnic tables, tables & chairs under big umbrellas, weeping willows with seating underneath.
Well, now Saracina has a fully stocked deli case in their tasting room, along with hampers, cutting boards/knives and napkins for guests. The new deli fridge has all the provisions needed to pair with a bottle of wine for a wonderful afternoon, including: brie, camembert, salami, assorted flavors of jack cheese, olives, crackers and fruit. All these items are also available for sale to go, for folks heading to the redwoods or the coast, but just taking a little time out at Saracina with wine, food, and comfortable places to enjoy it all seems like the best choice to me.
The next time that you come to Hopland for wine tasting, visit Steep Organic Coffee & Tea in the big two story yellow Vintage Marketplace building for an affogato. Now my grasp of the Italian language is shaky at best, so I may be wrong in my belief that affogato translates into English as buttface cat, and I am confident that if you order an avocado they’ll figure out that you wanted an affogato, but I am 100% certain you will love this treat after summer wine tasting. An affogato is a scoop of ice cream with an espresso poured over it. Oh my, is it good. Stop in next door, at McFadden, to tell me if you agree after you try one.