Author: Cassandra

I love my children. I like travel, playing golf, wine, beer, goat cheese, bleu cheese, sushi, horseradish, garlic, gourmet cooking, Thai food, dive bars, playing my violin terribly, Colin Firth, Mindy Kaling memoirs, my Keurig and disability advocacy. I hate daylight savings time, red lights, discrimination & intolerance, having my purse stolen, and SMA. My boyfriend and my therapist are my favorite people. You're next.
Wine Blending at Dogpatch WineWorks!

Wine Blending at Dogpatch WineWorks!

Recently we paid a visit to Dogpatch WineWorks near Portero Hill in San Francisco as part of a group wine blending event.

WineWorks was super easy to get to–a five minute walk from the 22nd Street CalTrain station–and in a pretty neighborhood. The interior is a rustic warehouse space with an almost overwhelming number of racks and racks of wine barrels. The strings of lights lent atmosphere and ambience to the evening.

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Our large group started off at the tasting area/wine bar, and then we grouped ourselves into teams and settled down for a proper wine tasting of all the varietals from petite verdot to cabernet franc.

Then we learned the tenets of wine blending and understand the “rules” for the night–this was a competition to see which team could concoct the best tasting blend of wine! The big rule is that our blend had to contain no more and no less than 50% of a single varietal, and then we used pipettes to measure the rest in milliliters. Our entries even included a wine label and name, which was an interesting exercise in brainstorming with mates after tasting so many varietals all evening, heh heh. But it was so much fun that even participants who don’t consider themselves wine drinkers enjoyed the process. As it turned out my team did not win but it was quite a tasty process of losing, if you catch my drift.

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WineWorks would be a great place to reserve for your private party or wedding, and they also hold wine-themed dinners, corporate team building events and even “crush camps”! They also open their tasting room to the public on Thursday-Sunday afternoons–check their website for hours.

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Thanks for a wonderful evening and wine experience, WineWorks! Everyone in our party had a blast. I can’t recommend you more highly to anyone looking for a unique venue and wine experience in the San Francisco Bay area!

#SrirachaStout

Late last year Rogue Brewery released a novel new brew made from the infamous “cock sauce” that is Sriracha hot chili sauce. I know what you’re thinking: “whaaaat?”

Stout + Sriracha = well, some mixed reactions.

If you think a beer made with Sriracha would taste a little spicy, you’re a lot correct. If your palate is so mild that roasted garlic shows up on your spiciness radar then you need to skip this one. If you like Sriracha and can’t get enough spicy, you should consider this brew but I caution you to go slowly. It can be a little intimidating. It is a force with which to be reckoned.

I’ve had and enjoyed a jalapeño lager and a chipotle ale (including Rogue’s own). I liked them. They were fun and creative and interesting. This one is different. The flavor profile overwhelmed me. I need it served ice cold in a frosty glass, and then it’s just a sipping beer.

I drank it without eating anything, which may have been a mistake.  I could have paired it with a spicy Italian dish or pizza, spicy sausage and peppers, spicy curry, a pepper encrusted steak, or anything else with bold, strong flavor with a kick. As I chatted with the bartender at the Rogue Ales Public House in San Francisco’s North Beach, we talked about cooking with it–and I think it’s a fantastic idea!  The Sriracha Hot Stout is only sold in 750mL bottles, which is enough for you and your wok!  A shrimp and broccoli stir-fry made with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and Sriracha Hot Stout would totally work for this. Chicken or beef stir-fry with red, yellow and green bell pepper + Sriracha stout sounds great, too! Throw some sliced jalapeño in there if your taste buds can handle it. Maybe pour some in your homemade BBQ sauce as it simmers–mix it with honey and serve as the sauce with your buffalo wings at your next party! I can’t wait to try cooking with the Sriracha stout and will keep you updated!

Right now you can purchase Sriracha Hot Stout online here or in a Rogue Ale brewery pub. It’s not on tap in the tasting rooms–you have to buy it in bottles, like I did. You know you want to try it–give it a shot!

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Napa’s Tank Garage Winery: Never Dream Alone

You won’t find Tank Garage wines anywhere except their tasting room (and online, naturally), but put this one on your list to check out when you visit Napa. “Never dream alone” is their mantra, and could make a great tattoo if you’re so inclined.

Located in Calistoga (~20 minutes drive north from downtown Napa up highway 29), the fine folks at the Tank Garage repurposed a vacant gas station into a simultaneously nostalgic and hipster-ish (in a good way) wine tasting experience.

In addition to some great wine with some of the most awesome wine labels we’ve ever seen, the tasting room also sells oil can guitars, harmonicas, and t-shirts so soft they must be made of cornsilk and angel hair, strategically distressed with the tears of cherubs. The decor has a retro “filling station” feel, with a vintage “Lubrication” mechanic’s sign at front and center.

It’s one of the most unique experiences in Napa County.  Go visit them. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You won’t be sorry.

 

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Wine Wednesday: Tannat

Wine Wednesday: Tannat

Tannat is a grape I was just introduced to and I am it’s newest fan!  Tannat is a red wine grape from Uruguay, but before it was planted in South America it was grown in southwest France and blended with cabernet or merlot.  It is deep red in color and has high tannin levels.

In addition to thriving in France and South America, the tannat is being planted in the U.S., specifically in Arizona, Maryland and Virginia.  The one I tasted was from Page Springs Cellars’ Dancing Apache Vineyard, located not far from the Page Springs Cellars’ tasting room in Cornville, AZ, ten miles south of Sedona.

If you enjoy a rich cab, definitely give the smooth tannat a try!  I highly recommend!

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Beer Week, Here We Come!

It feels like beer week is everywhere, and more pubs and restaurants are getting involved than ever! I love to see all the attention that local breweries get during these local hooch fests–and it’s always a thrill to discover a gem who I didn’t know existed.

We have San Francisco’s #SFBeerWeek coming up, quickly followed by Arizona’s #AZBeerWeek.  The sheer number of events is overwhelming–I’m not likely to get to one event per day, much less the two or three dozen that I wish I could go to!  We welcome any suggestions of events you think we shouldn’t miss, so leave them in the comments!

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Cassandra