Mark Aselstine
October 12, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

Beer...Deer and Purple Cauliflower

Yesterday brought Matt and I back to wine country, to both pick up a bit of wine as well as having a few brief meetings with winery partners both new and old to our wine clubs. It was a productive day, Sonoma was especially beautiful having the sun break through after four or five days of rain. For those vintners willing to take some risk and let their red wine grapes hang on the vine for a while longer, it looks like they are going to be rewarded by 10 straight days of warm temperatures and sun. When vineyard owners look back on the 2011 vintage, they might simply thank the rains for helping to wash the grapes off for them, while also helping drive more water into the grapes, which is generally a really good thing right before harvest.

You might be wondering about the title here. Over the next few weeks we’ll be launching a new section of the education section on this site. Along with having access to Uncorked Ventures perfect wine tasting days in a number of places, we’ll also start sharing some basic restaurant reviews. We spend as much time in wine country as anyone and we hope Uncorked Ventures will become your preferred destination to plan your next trip to wine country.

Beer: We had lunch at Hopmonk Tavern. Originally from Sabastopool, it now has a location a few blocks from Sonoma Square. Far enough from the square to find as many locals as tourists as well as one of the nicest outdoor seating arrangements we’ve found yet in Sonoma make this a nice lunch spot. They also have live music (and a breathalyzer) outside in the evenings. My only one small complaint is that the beer isn’t brewed on site, but by a larger more famous brewer in San Jose. Overall, it’s a good spot and we’ve heard the original site is in a historic building, which warrants a visit as well.

Deer: On the way to the Durell Vineyard we came across three deer running through some of the open space before the vines. After a few minutes of trying to get a decent picture, we gave up. Seeing the deer reminded me that all of the land use and permitting which is often contentious in wine country, is so incredibly important. I really do believe that having a healthy natural environment helps create better wine.

Purple Cauliflower: Our evening ended at the southern tip of wine country at Boon Fly Restaurant in Carneros. It’s long been thought of as one of the top restaurants in wine country-for good reason. Dinner was excellent, corkage is reasonable at $15 and the dessert menu comes with their famous doughnuts as well as a variety of non-chocolate choices (one of my major complaints about too many restaurants in wine country is that they only have chocolate desserts).  I mention purple cauliflower because the side of vegetables which accompanied my steak included bell peppers, asparagus and purple cauliflower, all of which are grown on site at this Plumpjack property.


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