This past Sunday, I hopped into my semi-gas friendly Honda Civic with three of my girls and trekked through the Sebastopol Farmer’s Market to make my way through West County. Our mission was to Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley. Yes, the official Earth Day is this Wednesday, but who does a wine tasting event on a Wed other than me?
This year the theme was “Low Key, Low Impact” and five different Russian River Valley Wineries (aka pinot-yumminess) opened their tasting rooms to the public and held free earth-friendly exhibits, food pairings and tastings.
The first stop was at Iron Horse Vineyards where we were greeted by 80 degree heat, delicious sparkling wines, my favorite wine radio host and Sonoma County wine queen – Ziggy the Wine Gal and the owner of the winery, the “earth mother goodness” herself – Joy Sterling. My favorite part of the Iron Horse event was the art exhibit which focused on re-cycled art, made from re-claimed, re-purposed, re-imagined materials. I will have to say part of my reasoning for this was because it was in the bottling room and the only way to get away from the heat!
Lukka Feldman of Barn Diva was in charge of the salt (and popcorn) tasting which including a chunk of salt that Joy brought back from the Himalayan Mountains. The winery’s head chef Ruben Gomez served a spring vegetable soup with bread from Wild Flour Bread in Freestone. The chocolate from TCHO chocolate paired perfectly with the Iron Horse Chardonnay. According to Joy, “The Citrus chocolate is from Madagascar and has a distinct lively citrusy zing that crazy as it sounds is delicious with Chardonnay.”
After our amazing experience over at Iron Horse, we made our way past the redwoods and Russian River Valley vineyards to Harford Family Winery, where I wasn’t able to have the same interaction with the owner and winemakers (though I would love to in the future).
This didn’t stop my friends and me to gush over the pairing of their Four Hearts Vineyard Chardonnay along with some Melon Shooters. At first I was a bit hesitant to try because I think of either sparkling wine or a Sauvignon Blanc is best paired with any sort of fruit, but this pairing was perfection. I even advise the people at Harford to have that pairing as part of an everyday tasting experience, maybe even let people know the recipe on their site.
Dutton-Goldfield and Balletto Vineyards was our last stop because we wanted take their 2:30 tour of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, Sonoma County’s watershed, wildlife preserve that can be found in their backyard. Of course getting four girls to get anywhere on time hardly ever works, so we were about 10 minutes late. Not that I minded because we got to spend more time drinking their Pinot Noir. While Balletto’s Pinot is a great every day wine, Dutton-Goldfield’s had a range of Pinots that any wine drinker would love. My personal favorite, as well as the tasting room staff’s recommendation was the 2006 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Okay, maybe the only “green” part of my experience was the melon shooters and my green eye shadow, but it is nice to see a West County event that was a perfect balance of really good wine and food along with education without it being forced down your throat.
April 20, 2009 | Categories: "Sonoma County", Social Networking, vegetarian food, wine | Tags: "Sonoma County", Balletto Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield, Earth Day, Green Valley, Harford Family Winery, Iron Horse Vineyard, ttl | Leave a comment