Passport to the best of Dry Creek Valley

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It’s that time of year again – warm sunny days, cool rose, and wine events galore.  One of the best events in Dry Creek is Passport, which takes place April 26-27 in Dry Creek Valley, part of the Sonoma County region. This year, the region celebrates 25 years of Passport to Dry Creek, where 50 wineries open thier doors and welcome wine lovers. Saturday and Sunday, special vineyard tours are offered to give visitors an insider peek at the grape to glass experience.  This year, you can choose from Pasternick, specializing in Rhone style wines, Grey Palm Vineyard, who is home to the newest member winery – Cast Wines,  or on Sunday, head over to Palindrome Vineyard where you can dig in the red bench soils, or – finally  – Hawley Winery high up on Brandford Mountain.  These tours are a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a deep dive in to a particular area of Dry Creek, and worth the price of admission alone! I love the themes, the music, and the fun atmosphere of this event.  I also love that there are many wineries that are not open to the public, and this is my best chance to taste the wines and visit the properties. Check out some of my favorite wineries along Dry Creek Valley: Frick is serving up Rhone style wines in a quiet secluded spot with gorgeous views Kokomo Winery – with so many options, it’s hard to choose which is my favorite wine, but the pinot and the grenache rose are very special.  Take a taste of some fusion cuisine, and enjoy the new age bluegrass band UNTI – always amazing, will be shucking oysters to pair with thier rose, as well as food from local fave Spinster Sisters, all to the tunes of the Healdsburg High School band Ridge Lytton Springs will have southern confort food to go with their stunning zinfandels and rhone blends Mounts Family Winery is a hidden gem on the west side, with a circus theme of magical elixirs to quench your thirst With over 50 wineries participating, and musical, food, and winery experiences, why not spend the weekend in Dry Creek Valley!  Sunday only tickets are sold out but you can book your full weekend pass for $120 now Many of these wineries are not open to the public on a regular basis, so this is your to check them out! I plan on visiting my favorites, but also a few new stops along the way.  I’ll be sure to report back after the event with some top stops along the wine road. My passport is stamped and I’m ready to go! My visit was provided by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek, but my picks and thougts are my own.  Follow along on Twitter for updates during the weekend at #DCVPassport and be sure to follow @DryCreekValley and @luscious_lushes on twitter! Google  

D is for Dry!

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  Ok so Dry Creek is a region, but I wanted to be sure that everyone knew about passport.  Technically, it’s also a wine, so I’ll also tell you about Dry Lands Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. First, the Passport to Dry Creek is coming up in April.  46 wineries open their doors wide, and showcase their best wines and hospitality.  Passport is a unique event, since there are limited ticket sales, and all of the wineries have amazing themes, food, and wines to share.  There will be themes galore including Alice in Wonderland, Western, Mardi Gras, Circus, and Belly Dancing. Most wineries feature live entertainment! Tickets for the weekend are $120, and Sunday only tickets are $70.  While it seems spendy, the exclusivity of the event coupled with the small wineries that are open just fro the event make for an amazing weekend.  I went last year, and was delighted by the event.  this is a great alternative to the larger Wine Road events, as it is more limited and there are fewer crowds.  I hope I’ll see you there! Next up is the 2009 Drylands Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand.  We are having a touch of false spring here in the Bay Area, and it’s nice to have a crisp white to put me in the mood.  The wine smells of gooseberries and 7-up, and has ripe citrus flavors, and lime zest.  There is a touch of New Zealand grassiness, but it is very subtle.  I am really enjoying this wine, and at $16-19, it’s a great priced summer sipper.  I hope you go out and enjoy this as well!  STRONG BUY I love Dry Creek, and I would pay any amount of money to enjoy my time there.  The wine however, was graciously provided by my friends at Benson Marketing.  Thanks! Google

A wine-full month!

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It’s January, and for me, that means a busy wine month.  First, Winter Wineland is next weekend – January 16-17.  At Winter Wineland, over 100 wineries in Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley throw open their doors and show their best wines and nibbles. There are some wonderful themes at wineries, including my personal favorite, The Winter Wineland Olympics at Michel-Schlumberger.  I heard tell that there will be an Elvis sighting at Hanna as well!  Now, I normally avoid the wine country on event weekends, but with the list this year including some 5-10 new additions, this is a great opportunity to taste the wares of many wineries on a single weekend, where they show their best bottles.  Thickets are $40 online until 9pm TONIGHT January 11th, and are good for both days.  You can buy 1 or 2 day tickets at the door, but the price increases. That same weekend, Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Assocaition’s Password Weekend allows you the unusual opportunity to visit some of their terrific wineries, many of which are only open on special occasions.  I have enjoyed this event every tiem I’ve gone, and your $40 passport is good until you have every winery stamped.  The passport event is every January, April, July and November, so it’s actually a great way to see all of the Santa Cruz area wineries over the course of a year! Finally, at the end of the month, ZAP!  The Zinfandel Advocates and Producers week long tasting extravaganza hits the town in San Francisco.  nter is January 15th, and this year’s theme is Zinfandel in Paradise, and it promises to be a great event as always. The event weekend kicks off with Thursday, January 28th’s Good Eats & Zin, where noteworthy restaurants and award-winning wineries turn the art of food and wine pairing into an entertaining and approachable affair. Talented chefs present the ultimate combination of distinctive tastes, while winery proprietors offer delectable Zinfandels to match. Friday has two events, starting with Flights! A showcase of Zinfandel, where you can immerse yourself in the hitory and diversity of Zinfandel. Friday evening is Evening with the Winemakers which is your chance to hobnob with famous winemakers and wineaux alike at the intercontinental. The weekend culminates in Grand Tasting on Saturday, where you can taste over 200 zinfandels from around the state, as well as a few from lesser known regions. As luck would have it, my friends at Vintuba are giving away 2 pairs of tickets to the Grand Tasting for some lucky viewers.  You’ll hav eto meander over to their site to find out how to win, but let’s just say , some great words, and facebook are involved.  Deadline to enter is January 15th, so don’t miss out on this great contest! Just Grapes is also giving away 2 tickets to ZAP.  You have until January 23rd to tweet the following to be entered to win: I want to win 2 tickets to the ZAP Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco […]