Weather Got You Down? Remembering Spring at Ferrari-Carano

Ferrari-Carano has been delighting wine drinkers for decades now, with an ever evolving roster of world-class bottlings from Sonoma County and beyond. It has come a long way since we first visited the facility on the day it opened — from a spartan tasting room to a magnificent estate with five acres of spectacular gardens.

You can enjoy the beauty of the gardens throughout the year, but they truly shine during the spring and summer months. The gardens are “Italian/French parterre in style, with classic, geometric shapes,” as the winery’s website notes. You can read more about the gardens here.

Here are a few pictures we shot at Ferrari-Carano last year to help you get through the cool autumn and cold winter months ahead.

— Bob Johnson



Posted in Appellation Trail, Blog · Tagged · Leave a comment

2013 Ferrari-Carano Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley

Every vintage is different, but we’ve seen Ferrari-Carano become more comfortable, for lack of a better word, with Pinot Noir ever since it acquired its vineyard sources in Mendocino’s County’s Anderson Valley. The 2013 vintage shows still more improvement; it’s a beautifully balanced wine that delights from the first sniff (with a distinct rose-and-fruit aroma) to the long and lingering finish. In between, notes of dark plum, strawberry, red cherry, cinnamon and spice dazzle the palate. The authors of “Red Wine With Fish” could have used this as a benchmark red for accompanying salmon.

MSRP: $36 (October 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 89

Posted in All Reviews · Leave a comment

2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley

No list of iconic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines is complete without the Bosché Vineyard bottling from Freemark Abbey. This wine is a three-vineyard blend from the Napa’s Rutherford district: 53% Bosché, 42% Sycamore, and 5% Red Barn Ranch. It’s a wine of great depth and complexity, showing off impressions of blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate, cinnamon stick, cedar, cigar box and a hint of boysenberry. It’s worthy of a prime steak as a dining companion, but it’s also a sublime sipping wine.

MSRP: $70 (October 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 94

Posted in All Reviews, Featured Wines · Tagged , , , , , , , · Leave a comment

2014 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

Looking for a “house white” for your house? You could do far worse than this dependable bottling from Dry Creek Vineyard, now in its 42nd vintage. While the nose is a bit closed when the bottle is first opened, gentle swirling during the salad course reveals notes of citrus and minerals. By the time the seared scallops, grilled shrimp or lemon chicken is served, the wine is revealing a bright lemon note, along with a hint of melon and varietal grass. Refreshing and lively, it’s another in a long line of satisfying Fumés from Dry Creek Vineyard.

MSRP: $14 (October 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

Posted in All Reviews, Value Vino · Tagged , , , , , , · Leave a comment

2012 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley

In the glass, it is an opaque black/crimson hue. This red is more monolithic, brawny, and concentrated than its more dapper brother, “The Mariner,” the Yang to the other’s Yin. The aromas and flavors run to a black profile – black olive, cedar, juniper branch, black currant and black cherry – all with a faint hint of smoke. It’s creamy in the mouth, with a tart edge to the black and blue fruit. Firm tannins, promising a long cellar life, lead to a juicy finish. Here is the perfect foil for Holiday spreads featuring roasted, red meats. Save a glass to savor by the fireplace as Wintery snows settle silently to the ground.
MSRP: $25 (October 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

Posted in All Reviews, Featured Wines · Tagged , , , , , , , · Leave a comment

2012 Dry Creek Vineyard “The Mariner,” Dry Creek Valley

A Bordeaux blend red wine. The opaque purple/crimson color leads to rich, expressive scents of leather, dark flowers, cranberries, blue fruit, and sweet herbs, all complemented by notes of roasted coffee beans. The wine is full in the mouth, showing fleshy dark fruit that picks up a licorice note. The smooth, fine-grained tannins make this a delight to enjoy now, and the overall balance promises a graceful aging curve of a decade or more.
MSRP: $45 (October 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 91

Posted in All Reviews, Featured Wines · Tagged , , , , , , , · Leave a comment

2011 Miner Family Winery ‘The Oracle’ Red Wine, Napa Valley

As a broad generalization, Napa Valley wines made from mountain fruit fared better than Napa wines crafted from valley floor fruit for the 2011 vintage. And so it is with “The Oracle,” a single-vineyard blend from the Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa’s eastern hills. Part of the credit for the excellence of this wine goes to the vineyard, but equal credit goes to winemaker Gary Brookman for coming up with precisely the right blend: 50% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Vedot. With aromas and flavors of red cherry, dark chocolate, blueberry and hints of fennel, eucalyptus and black pepper, it’s an undeniably complex elixir without the bracing tannins that often restrict the immediate enjoyment of Bordeaux-style wines. Perfectly balanced and almost soft on the palate, this is a wine that could be aged or opened tonight — your choice, and you win either way.

MSRP: $90 (October 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 93

Posted in All Reviews, Featured Wines · Tagged , , , , , , · Leave a comment

A Special Dinner at Remedy’s Tavern

By Mary Frederiksen

On September 16, 2015 we attended the second annual R.E.D. Loyalty “Destination Dinner” at Remedy’s Tavern in Henderson, Nevada. R.E.D. stands for Remedy’s, Elixir, and Distill, a chain of sports pubs that also have a dedicated smoke-free dining room.

The five-course meal was hand crafted by Executive Chef, Roy Angeles.

The price to the public was $55 but, as loyalty members, we received a
special discount of $25 for having previously spent at least $500 in any of the R.E.D. locations. That made our price for this event $30/person, including tax!

What a wonderful deal! The menu was New American Fusion and included two drinks per person (wine, beer, or cocktail) off of the restaurant’s drink list. Two glasses of a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand was nearly the cost of the dinner!

But make no mistake, the five courses were not your typical pub grub.

The first course was seared ahi carpaccio with mixed greens, dressed with a vinaigrette. It was topped with jalapeño tempura matchsticks and a drizzle of mango sauce. We refrained from licking the plates (barely) and gave the appetizer an A+.

The next offering was called “Mediterranean Salad Goes American”. It consisted of fresh mixed salad greens tossed with a variety of gourmet olives, small cubed feta cheese, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and fresh garlic. The dressing was a lovely vinaigrette . The salad items were cut to a perfect bite size and we greatly appreciated the lack of pits in the deli-style olives. Another solid A.

Course three was four sweet and spicy chicken wing “lollipops” served over a bed of mashed red potatoes. I enjoyed the less crispy skin and the milder use of spice, while my hubby would have liked a more crispy skin and more spice. You say “to-may-to,” I say “to-mah-to.” The potatoes were seasoned well and complemented the wings. This was more traditional pub food, but a solid B.

The fourth course consisted of a 6-oz filet of beef done “Oscar” style with bearnaise sauce, topped with shredded crab meat, served with grilled asparagus spears and roasted sliced fingerling potatoes delightfully seasoned with rosemary/Italian spices. A hearty dish to be sure, but the meat wasn’t up to the quality found in the other dishes. B-

The dessert course was perhaps one of the finest desserts I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. It was a Tiramisu Cheesecake that the Chef created. The crust was nicely made, the cheesecake filling divine, and the rich cream topping was perfect. It had all the flavors of traditional tiramisu and we DID lick our plates clean. A+!

Our server was Alexis and she did a wonderful job making sure we had all that we needed.

My sincere thanks to Chef Roy for an excellent dinner! Several of the dishes were worthy of the finest restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip.

I invite you try this dining spot the next time you are in the area. And be sure to join their RED loyalty program!

They are located at: 3265 St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada 89052. Phone: 702-982-3026

They are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!

Check out their website for more information:

Posted in Blog, The Happy Cooker, Vino, Las Vegas! · Tagged · Leave a comment

A Fun Way to Get from the 5 to the 101

When traveling between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, three main routes are available: 99 to the east, 5 in the middle and 101 to the west.

There also are numerous east-west routes that will get you from one north-south route to another.

But one of our favorites is 152, between Interstate-5 and Interstate-101. Once one of the more dangerous highways in California, known for head-on crashes late at night, the road is now ultra-modern and safe.

Which makes a planning a visit to Casa de Fruta all the more worthwhile.

Originally nothing more than a cherry stand founded by Italian immigrants in 1908, Casa de Fruta today is a major attraction of the Pacheco Pass.

There’s hearty food — including Kobe burgers served around the clock, and prime rib offered daily beginning at 2 — at Casa de Restaurant and Bakery. Don’t forget to have a slice of marionberry pie for dessert.

At Casa de Sweets and Café, you can select from fresh-baked pastries, ice cream, fudge and candy apples. That’s also the place to go for espresso drinks.

Just opened over the summer was Casa de Burrito — whose name pretty much speaks for itself.

Casa de Carousel is a double-decker merry-go-round crafted in a classic Venetian style, while Casa de Choo-choo is a scale model train that takes guests on a 15-minute tour of the grounds.

Casa de Fruta is now also home to a special events park, music hall and conference center, so both the 300-space R.V. Orchard Resort and the Casa de Inn come in handy for those wishing to stay overnight. There’s also a 24-hour Chevron station on the grounds.

CasaDeFrutaRoaming the aisles of the Casa de Fruit Stand and the Casa de Wine and Deli should be a part of every visitor’s itinerary. Wine sampling is available, and for something completely different, try the Casa de Fruta Pomegranate wine. Also be on the look-out for two-for-one wine sales.

Casa de Fruta has come a long way since its cherry stand days. Today, you could spend an hour or the better part of a day. Either way, you’re in for a fun break away from the congestion of the 5 and 101 freeways.

Posted in Blog · Tagged , · Leave a comment

Aventine Glen Ellen Unveils Fall Menu Additions

Earlier this year, Wine Lines featured a review of the one of the hot restaurants in Sonoma County, Aventine Glen Ellen. You can read it here.

Now, with fall approaching, the restaurant has unveiled changes and additions to its menu, effective the second week in October:


COZZE E VONGOLE — steamed Mediterranean mussels and clams, celery leaves, roasted fennel, saffron white wine butter broth, grilled house made focaccia ($18).


INSALATA DI MALE E CACHI — pink lady apples, fufu persimmons, watercress, roasted hazelnuts, fat bottom girl cheese, lemon dressing ($14).

GRILLED EGGPLANT PARMESAN CAPRESE — buffalo mozzarella, grilled marinated eggplant, tomato jam, balsamic reduction, micro basil ($15).

INSALATA DE MARE — marinated mussels, calamari, shrimp, bay scallops, grilled octopus, baby yellow frisee, red potatoes, celery, carrots, citrus dressing, basil oil ($18).


RAVIOLI ROSSO — burrata cheese stuffed, red beet pasta, cream sauce, peas, black truffle shavings, parsley oil ($17).

AGNOLOTTI VERDI — spinach infused pasta, stuffed short ribs, rice, Swiss chard, fried carrot ribbons, Chianti-cream sauce ($19).

FETTUCCINE NERO — squid ink fettuccine, rock shrimp, grilled squid, Mediterranean mussels, roasted pear tomatoes, red bell pepper sauce, spicy Calabrian chili ($22).


POLLO — pan-seared Mary’s chicken half chicken, rosemary purple potato carpaccio, sautéed brussel sprouts, lemon-caper sauce ($24).

BRANZINO — seared Mediterranean sea bass, roasted parsnip puree, sautéed rapini, fried leeks, oregano-citrus vinaigrette ($36).

PETTO D’ANATRA AFFUMICATO — smoked duck breast, butternut squash gnocchi, porcini mushroom sauce, fresh cranberry sauce ($29).

We’re getting hungry already. And don’t forget, bottles of wine may be purchased for half price on Wednesday nights.

For updates on one of our favorite wine country restaurants, connect with Aventine Glen Ellen on Facebook.

Posted in Blog · Tagged · Leave a comment