Let’s take it back to the North Fork of Long Island for this Wine Wednesday, shall we? The Wine of the Week is perfect for a tailgate, and since it’s that time of year, even though I don’t watch football, I can play along with football food and drink, especially if it includes good wine.

Our summer felt like it began in April when we visited the North Fork  for some wine tasting. We got to spend time by the sea and at farms and at wineries; it was exactly the tone I wanted our summer to have, and we succeeded.

Castello di Borghese Merlot

We took a really fun winery tour at one of Long Island’s oldest wineries, Castello di Borghese, where we got to see where the wine is made and stored as well as where the grapes were grown. We also got to take away some beautiful dried lavender, an inspiration for my own gardening. We recently cracked open a 2010 Reserve Merlot from Castello di Borghese, and we were speechless. Time had passed since our trip, and we had forgotten how beautiful this wine is. It’s super velvety smooth and elegant, exhibiting notes of berry and cocoa, perfect for sipping slowly and pairing with food like a chipotle chocolate chili or a really good BBQ. See? I told you I could bring wine country to football food.

Castello di Borghese

Castello di Borghese is a must-visit winery on the North Fork; if you find yourself planning a trip definitely leave yourself some extra time to be sure you take the tour and taste through all of their wines. I think a North Fork trip would be perfect in the fall, with fewer crowds, cozy fireplaces, and lovely foliage. I just wish I had more free weekends for all of the fall travel I want to do!

Happy Wine Wednesday!

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Tags: Long Island, Long Island wine, merlot, North Fork, wine, wine of the week, wine tasting, Wine Wednesday

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the unofficial closer to the summer in Sonoma, though all of us who have been there after Labor Day know that the weather remains absolutely gorgeous, and there’s some sort of fun event happening all the time.

We didn’t purposely book our Healdsburg trip for Wine Country Weekend, but we ended up there at the same time and decided to take advantage of one of the many winemaker lunches happening in the county. On our first full day we headed to Healdsburg for lunch with Zazu Kitchen and Farm at Davis Family Vineyards

Davis Family Vineyards

Davis is right on the Russian River, not far from where we picked up our canoe trip, and their space is marked by a beautiful garden area and outdoor dining pavilion, perfect for a winemaker lunch.

It was a warm and humid day, and we were excited to try Davis Family Vineyards wine, so we were thrilled when we were welcomed with their  2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

We fell in love with this wine in a sip. Apple pie and lemon notes presented themselves first and faded into a warm, caramel-y richness that comes from being aged in French oak. We had time to take our wine and wander the gardens before being seated, and I was pretty much in heaven.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

Davis Family Vineyards garden

Our chef for the day was from Zazu; we loved their old restaurant in Santa Rosa and they have taken off since, moving to The Barlow in Sebastapol.   Zazu is known for their snout to tail approach to food, and their meats are always exquisite.

winemakers lunch with Zazu

Lunch was served at long communal tables, and we had such a fun group of neighbors! By the end of lunch, we had exchanged business cards, along with lots of wine country stories. I love sharing food, wine, and laughs with good people!

winemaker lunch at Davis Family Vineyards

When we weren’t chatting, we were served some pretty incredible food and wine and warmth from both the winery and Zazu. It just kept coming!


{Macbryde Peach + Star Anise Pork Belly Salad}

Guy Davis

{Winemaker Guy Davis}

Somewhere during the meal, owner and winemaker Guy Davis stood up and talked a little bit about the winery, harvest, which had just started, and the lunch wines we were thoroughly enjoying.

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir}


Davis Family wine

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir}


{Liberty Duck Sausage, Bean + Farro Salad, Fennel Confit}

Davis Family Vineyards

fruit cobbler

{Plum + Blackberry Cobbler, Ginger Gelato}

The winery was beyond generous with the wines they shared with us, and I was so a bad blogger, so busy having fun that I didn’t photograph all of them. But I do remember them, especially their incredible Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and the Cuvee Luke, a blend of Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier. The Cuvee Luke is my kind of white wine; nice body and slightly heavy mouthfeel, floral notes leading into rich baked peach and pear notes with some minerals on the finish, a wine that stays with you for a long time. I did my best to sample and pour out some of the wines, but the Cuvee Luke, I definitely finished.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend can be crowded at times, but we did not see that at all. Our choice of this lunch was perfect; it combined beautiful outdoor dining with delicious food from one of our favorite Sonoma County restaurants, and new-to-us wines that we loved. It was perfect.

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Tags: events, gardens, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Travel, travel blog, vineyard, wine, wine blog, wine blogger, wine country, wine lunch, wine tasting, winemaker, winery

The Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo is coming back to Providence on October 4th, and I have a set of tickets to the Saturday “Foodie Day” session to give away! The Expo will take place at the gorgeous Biltmore in Providence, a place I love to visit but have never stayed! Interested in learning more?

About Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo

Taste Trekkers returns to Rhode Island to show passionate foodies how to explore the world through cuisine. It brings together chefs, farmers, wineries, brewers, food tour operators, and other artisanal food producers from different regions. Sample foods from different places, learn the culinary history of different regions, and gain practical tips for planning your own foodie vacation.

Check out the video from Taste Trekkers 2013.


I’m giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday’s Expo at the Biltmore and Sunday’s Eat & Run Scavenger Hunt at the Providence Arcade.


Here’s a sampling of who will be at the Expo:

• Elle Armon-Jones – Owner, The Big Foody Food Tours

• Christopher Bakken – Author of Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table

• Tom Bivins – Executive Director, Vermont Cheese Council

• Sean Buchanan – Business Development Manager, Blackstone River Produce

• Cesin Curi – Chef, Los Andes

• Grace Della – Owner, Miami Culinary Tours

• Jose Duarte – Chef & Owner, Taranta Restaurant

• Colleen Franzreb – Owner, Cape Cod Foodie Tours

• Tatiana Gana – Co-Founder, Gastro Tours

• Kimberly Gunning and Steve Lovelace – Owners, Niagara Culinary Tours

• Lisa Gustavson – Owner, Sojourner Tour Company

• Richard J.S. Gutman – Director & Curator, Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University

• Jeff Landry – Produce Specialist, Native Mainse Produce & Specialty Foods

• Marina Marchese – Founder, American Honey Tasting Society and Red Bee Honey

• Richard Miscovich – Associate Professor, Johnson & Wales University

• Sam Poley – Director of Public Relations & Communications, Durham Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

• Neil Rogers – Executive Chef, Volturno Pizza Napoletana

• Lisa Webster – Owner & Operator, North Star Sheep Farm

• Thei Zervaki – Food writer and journalist

Entering to win is easy; Just check out the Taste Trekkers site and let me know why you want to go to the Expo. For an additional entry, tweet “I want to win @tastetrekkers Expo tickets from @traveleatlovemm” and follow Taste Trekkers on Twitter.

I will choose a winner next Monday, September 22.

Good luck!

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Tags: events, Food, foodie, giveaway, Rhode Island, Taste Trekkers, tickets

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