wine tasting

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Northern California in all of its gloriousness welcomed us with blue skies and warm sunshine. Our weekend home was the Heritage House Resort in Little River, and it gave us the perfect jumping off spot for exploring areas further north than Sonoma County usually does.

Anderson Valley

On the way up to the Mendocino Coast, we stopped in for a beer tasting at one of our favorite breweries, Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a quick flight and a wander around.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

I love the brewery’s commitment to the environment and the fact that they are solar-powered. We buy their beer whenever we can find it in the Boston area, and it was amazing to be able to try so many different beers.

Their use of the Boontling language is also fun!

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

 Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Their Blood Orange Gose was perfect for the sunny day and just a really delicious beer. They all were!

When we left Anderson Valley, we headed to the coast, where we spent the rest of the weekend on as many cliffs, beaches, and trails as possible.

Mendocino Coast

Our exploring took us to Mendocino Headlands, where the sea sparkled, then into the fog further north at MacKerricher State Park, where we found dozens of bobbing seals at Laguna Point. They were hard to capture on my phone, but I was pretty excited (jumping up and down excited) to see so many seals in one place.

Mendocino Coa Northern California Laguna Point California

The park had plenty of paths for us to get some exercise in before we stopped to eat and taste beer again.

The Tap Room,Fort Bragg California

The Taproom is a must-visit if you ever get to the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area. Even before it opened, people were lining up by the door, and we knew we’d made a good choice.

The space was super cute and cozy, and we quickly decided to share a beer sampler to get a taste of all that North Coast Brewing had to offer.

beer tasting at The Tap Room

We’re huge fans of Old Rasputin, and we ended up loving every beer on the tray, even the IPAs, which we often don’t like.

The Tap Room beer

We paired our beers with this insanely good ceviche and homemade chips plus plenty of fresh California avocado. . . heaven!

The Tap Room, Fort Bragg

At the suggestion of some locals, we then headed across the street to Pacific Star Winery for a splash of their It’s All My Fault, a delicious blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc,  and Roussanne, named because of the fault running directly beneath the winery.

Pacific Star Winery

The tasting room was so vibrant and beautiful, filled with local art and lovely regulars who were ready and willing to give us recommendations for the area, including sending us to Roundman’s Smokehouse for all sorts of incredible smoked meats, fish, and cheese. I love meeting people when we travel!

Pacific Star, Fort Bragg California

Glass Beach was another one of their recommendations. Glass Beach is a former dump, which, thanks to the trash dumped there years ago, now offers an abundance of sea glass, in addition to stunning views.

Northern California

Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Our time on the Mendocino Coast was simply spectacular, peaceful, and delicious. It was also too short, but I think a lifetime in such a beautiful place would even have you asking for more!

 

Read more travel posts about Northern California on my travel blog post page.

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Tags: Anderson Valley, California, coastal living, Mendocino, Northern California, travel blog, wine, wine tasting

Being a Boston food and travel blogger as well as  a publicist/social media consultant has always been an interesting combo for me. It’s definitely helped me to grow my circle of blogger friends and contacts, allowed me to stay in the loop on local media and events, and it’s helped me craft how I want to interact with (and how I DON’T want to interact) other bloggers.

It’s always fun when the two come together in one place, and on Monday that’s exactly what happened. A bunch of Boston bloggers came together at the Olive Connection Brookline ( client of mine since summer 2015) to taste Nautical Gin cocktails and an array of wines that a colleague of mine works with.

Olive Connection Brookline

The event was a casual get-together that allowed bloggers to check out the beautiful gift items that the Olive Connection has for the holidays and to mingle in a festive setting. It was fun!

cheese and charcuterie

Olive Connection is a beautiful store offering so many different artisan food items like charcuterie, pastas, sauces, coffee, tea, and of course olives, olive oil, and vinegar,

rainbow pasta gift  

pasta and sauce They put out a delicious spread of snacks that featured ingredients from the store such as bruschetta, shrimp with amazing artisan cocktail sauce, crudite with a beet horseradish dip, and more.

holiday food spread

And my favorite, brownies made with their blood orange olive oil.

blood orange olive oil brownies

Nautical Gin was on hand with their beautiful bottles of craft American gin, making their signature Gimlet cocktail as well as a festive Gin and Jam cocktail made with local Doves and Figs jam.

For the cocktail recipe, visit the Nautical Gin Instagram page.

 

gin and jam Nautical Gin cocktail

Nautical Gin makes a great holiday gift! Find it in a store near you: http://www.nauticalgin.com/where-to-buy.html

 

Nautical Gin cocktails

All of the wines we tasted were delicious and perfect for holiday entertaining.

Don Melchor

Trivento Golden Reserve

Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem

Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir

St Urbans-Hof Wiltinger

Ferraton Pere et Fils Samorens White

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio

Trivento Amado Sur Torrontes

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc

Grazing on small bites, cocktails, and sips of wine while mingling with really interesting and fun bloggers was a wonderful way to spend a chilly December evening!

Thank you to all of the Boston bloggers who attended and to our hosts the Olive Connection, the wineries, and of course Nautical Gin for the cocktail gin-spiration.

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Tags: bloggers, Boston, Boston bloggers, Brookline, Food, food bloggers, gifts, gin, gourmet, lifestyle bloggers, PR, small plates, social media, wine, wine bloggers, wine tasting, work

You all know I love bubbly, but I’ll let you in on a little secret; Prosecco isn’t always my favorite. But then again, up until recently, I didn’t really know Prosecco. For me, Prosecco always brought to mind a pear-flavored, sort-of-sweet wine.

All of that changed a few weeks ago when I attended a Prosecco Superiore seminar at The Middle Gray in Brookline (which I love, by the way). It was a great afternoon of learning and tasting, and below are some of the highlights.

prosecco tasting

There’s more than one Prosecco. Did you know that? There are actually three designated types of Prosecco, and they are classified based on where the grapes are grown. Prosecco Superiore comes from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, a hilly area in North-East Italy, 50 km from Venice and around 100 from the Dolomites. Here, for over three centuries, people have grown the grapes that produce Prosecco Superiore, whose success began with the founding of Italy’s first School of Winemaking in 1876. The wine is hand-harvested only, due to the extremely steep nature of the hillsides. The vineyards have been so trained and shaped to the contours of the land that the area is being considered being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prosecco tasting

Below you can see the buckets of grapes being moved from the vineyards. It’s a precarious undertaking! Unfortunately my camera failed me during the event, but there were some gorgeous photos. The region looks absolutely stunning.

Prosecco seminar

Prosecco Superiore can be dry or sweet or anything in between. Prosecco that is called dry is actually the sweetest, and the Brut Prosecco is the least sweet. As I mentioned above, I expect Prosecco to be sweet and was surprised at how most of the ones we tried were not.

We also learned that there are three types of Prosecco when it comes to bubbles; spumante (sparkling), frizzante (fizzy), and tranquilo (still). Still Prosecco, you might ask? Yes! Tranquilo is actually the oldest but least known type of Prosecco.

IMG_9503

 

We tasted the following wines. With so many wines, so much information, and great conversation with the group about food, travel, and wine, I was once again bad at tasting notes. I will let you know that I enjoyed all of the wines we tasted and would absolutely seek out the Brut Proseccos for future enjoying. Prosecco, even at top quality, is a great value and food-friendly, making these wines approachable and appropriate for everyday, not just special occasions!

Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry – $20

Perlage Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry “Col di Manza” – $18

Mionetto Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry “Luxury” – $22

Adami Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Asciutto  “Vigneto Giardino” Rive di Colbertaldo 2015 – $22

Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $25

Mongarda Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $15

Ruggeri Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Vecchie Viti” – $21

Bortolomiol Valdobiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Prior” Millesimato 2015 – $15

Biancavigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di Soligo 2015 – $18

Plan your own Prosecco travels with these wine tourism itineraries.

Thank you to Prosecco Superiore for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston blogger, bubbles, bubbly, events, Italian wine, Italy, prosecco, wine, wine events, wine tasting

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