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The Venetian and The Palazzo Resort’s Las Vegas Winter in Venice Festival Brings An All-Star Line Up of Celebrity Chefs and World Class Events.
The holiday season is behind us and we all look forward to a successful and healthy 2014. The Venetian and Palazzo Resorts once again ended the year on a very high note with their Winter in Venice Celebration and their best festival yet.
This 49 day celebration of food, beverage and culture is an event that should not be missed when in Las Vegas for the holidays. This year’s theme “A Gift of the Venetian” was just that! . It was a 49 day multisensory experience that made history.
Guests enjoyed kicking the celebration off with the Celtic Woman, Home for Christmas Symphony Tour. The 90-minute breath taking show featured music and the beautiful, talented women of the all-female music ensemble.
Cuisineist Editor-In-Chief Elaine Harris and a Winter In Venice friend .
During the 49 day celebration, guests enjoyed two specialty weekends that were a reason to celebrate. The La Cucina Italiana Weekend featured Chef Mario Batali, Dario Cecchini, Chef Wolfgang Puck, Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, Roberto Caporuscio, Anthony Giglio and Robin Leach in conjunction with Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada. The ultimate dining experience was The Grand Banquet. This mouthwatering Italian experience of a life time was held Grand Colonnade, at the Venetian Resort.
Guests enjoyed a gastronomic Italian feast featuring new and old-world Italy, prepared by Mario Batali and Dario Cecchini, the legendary Chianti “Butcher of Panzano.” This one of kind banquet was served Tuscan-style and included such delights as veal Carpaccio, 24-month Galardi prosciutto, risotto with white truffle, and aporchetta created by Cecchini that Chef Batali refers to as “the porchetta to end all porchettas.” Each course also featured a world-class wine pairing by Carmelo Messina and Anthony Giglio to the delight of all that enjoyed this once in a lifetime event.
The Palazzo’s Waterfall Atrium was turned into an Italian Village as we enjoyed an afternoon of Food & Fun. Guests strolled the Italian village and took the opportunity to experience Italy and learn about authentic Italy from the world’s greatest chefs and culinary celebrities. As the afternoon turned into evening many joined Robin Leach at the “Bella Notte” event.
This all-star evening was a celebration of Italian-Americans who have made a significant impact on the culture of the United States. Guests mingled, dined and sipped alongside of the honorees as they enjoyed camaraderie and music into the night.
The Culinary Clash was back again this year which pitted the best Chefs of the Venetian and Palazzo against each other to vie for the prestige of the Venetian Culinary Clash Award. The one and only Chef Emeril Lagasse presided over a judging panel that featured restaurateurs and journalists over a hard fought two days. When the burners were off and knifes back in their cases Chef Tim Doolittle from Table 10 emerged the victor and earned a trip to Italy for his win.
|Eater Vegas Editor Susan Stapleton and Chef Emeril Lagasse|
Chef Tim Doolittle
The final event of the weekend was The Great Venetian Truffle Hunt.Who wouldn’t want to spend the day looking for truffles, possibly win a trip to Italy and enjoy a lunch featuring renowned UrbaniTruffles? We can’t think of anyone. We joined in the hunt that took us to Chef Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante, Carnevino and OTTO to find the magic truffle that would send us to Italy. After a long night, the last day kicked off with breakfast that included Cipriani-style Bellinis and Italian coffee at OTTO .
We received half of a golden-colored truffle and the hunt was on as we sampled truffle dishes and wines at each stop. The last stop was Carnevino where one guest found the matching truffle and won an once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy to visit the famed La Cucina Italiana Cooking School.
The afternoon was exciting and delightful. Even though most of the guests did not win the ultimate prize, enjoying a 4 course truffle and wine paired lunch was a tasty way to end the final day of this annual celebration.
The Venetian / Palazzo Resorts never ceases to amaze us with their imagination and quality of events hosted in their world class venues. We can only imagine what’s in store for the holiday season next year. Whatever it is, we know it will be done with the class that these two resorts are renowned for
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At this time of year we start thinking of spring. Over the years we have had the pleasure of attending many food and wine events and a few stand out at that time of year. We have visited the World Of Pinot Noir on many occasions and has to rank pretty high as one of our personal favorites. This year marks the 14th year for the World of Pinot Noir , a fun , 2-day event celebrating that special varietal . This year’s event will be held February 28-March 1, 2014 at the Bacara Resort and Spa in beautiful Santa Barbara California.
Previously, World of Pinot Noir was held in Pismo Beach. This year’s new venue is not only a luxurious feast for the senses, but also recognizes Santa Barbara County’s wine country as a place that introduced many to Pinot Noir, as 2014 will be the tenth anniversary of the iconic movie Sideways.
“It’s hard to believe it has been a decade since Sideways came out”, muses Norm Yost of Flying Goat Cellars and this year’s World of Pinot Noir President. “Having our event at the Bacara Resort and recognizing the effect of the movie is exciting! We look forward to welcoming those who join us each year, as well as newcomers to our 14th celebration of Pinot Noir.”
The effect of Pinot Noir on film and vice-versa will be explored via a panel comprised of participants from Sideways as well as a more recent wine-related film, Somm, in a Saturday seminar titled “Hollywood & Wine”. The main focus of the event, however, revolves around the people and places of Pinot Noir. The world’s most important wine-growing regions will be represented at seminars, dinners and Grand Tastings. California’s coastal appellations will be well represented, joined by winemakers bringing their Pinot Noirs from Oregon, British Columbia, New York’s Finger Lakes, Spain, New Zealand, Australia and more.
The epicenter of Pinot Noir is of course, Burgundy France who will be well represented at the 2014 event. Maison Louis Jadot’s winemaker, Frédéric Barnier will pour a selection of wines from the Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Ursules Vineyard tasting seminar on Friday, as well as hosting an intimate dinner on Saturday evening. WOPN guests can explore the Insider Wines of the Cote d’Or on Saturday with French Wine Society educator Don Kinnan, who will lead participants through a tasting of wines from that hallowed region.
In addition to these intimate events, attendees at the World of Pinot Noir are invited to “taste the world” at two Grand Tastings, which include wines from hundreds of international and domestic wineries. You won’t go hungry with tasty bites from Chef David Reardon’s culinary team, including an internationally themed dinner on Friday evening.
Friday, February 28, 2014:
Jump right in the first day withBurgundy and Oregon: Parallels in Latitude: a Look at 45º North. Exploring the wines of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Maison Louis Jadot’s Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Ursules vineyard. Moderated by Katherine Cole. The seminar pairing is followed by a 3 course lunch, paired with the wines. Then enjoy PinotNoir by the Sea Grand Tasting -A tasting of Pinot Noir from more than 100 world-wide producers, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and complemented by wine country appetizers and a full array of cheeses from C’est Cheese. As the evening approaches don’t miss the International Dinner. Chef David Reardon and his Bacara Culinary team will team up with Pinot producers for an incredible internationally focused 5-course meal complemented by the exemplary wine service always provided by a team of sommeliers. Or join highly allocated Sea Smoke Cellars Dinner in the Miró Cellar. This will be an intimate dinner featuring the wines of Sta. Rita Hills’ Sea Smoke Cellars. And if you are a movie buff, the event will feature screenings of Sideways and Somm throughout the day in the Bacara theatre.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
After a very busy first day, stop in atThe Insider Wines of the Cote d’Or. Enjoy boutique producers of the Cote d’Or region including a look at the mountain of Corton, the greatest expanse of Grand Cru vineyard acreage presented by Don Kinnan, followed by a 3-course lunch complemented by many of the wines presented earlier. A very entertaining event will beHollywood & Wine.Panelists will explore why Pinot Noir has become such a Hollywood star. It’s Sideways vs. Somm!. Lunch will be provided by non-other than Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post II restaurant (as featured in the film) and moderated by Sara Schneider.
After the seminar enjoy PinotNoir by the Sea Grand Tasting
that features a different roster of wines than Friday’s Grand Tasting and more than 120 producers. Guests will enjoy wine country appetizers, worldly cheeses and a terrific view of the Pacific from the Grand Ballroom’s terraces. A full day of lovely events and it’s not over yet. Dine at the Mason Louis Jadot Dinner in the Miró Cellar. Only 36 guests will dine with winemaker Frederic Barnier in the beautiful wine cellar with Grand Cru wines, a 6-course gourmet dinner and legendary wine service. End the event in grand style at The Gala . Guests will enjoy a gathering of friends old and new along with winemakers, chefs and sommeliers to close the 14th
year of this renowned event. Get your tickets now. They are sold on a first-come, first-served basis with full details on the World of Pinot Noir website:www.worldofpinotnoir.com
See you there.
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This season the culinary all-stars of MGM Resorts International are celebrating the season with festive cuisine at Bellagio, ARIA, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, The Mirage, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus in Las Vegas From signature dishes to holiday classics and seasonally inspired cocktails, these offerings are sure to bring cheer to all.
Chef Michael Mina will unite his signature cuisine with exquisite delights at MICHAEL MINA Bellagio by offering the renowned Lobster Pot Pie with seasonal vegetables and brandied-lobster cream followed by a dessert of Pumpkin Tart with whipped Chantilly cream.
Jean Georges Steakhouse at ARIA presents Christmas Day guests with mouthwatering Lobster Bisque with pearl onions, smoked paprika and herbs followed by an Apple and Pecan Sticky Bun for dessert.
In the spirit of the season, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar at MGM Grand will feature a winter butternut squash soup with velvety crème fraiche and crispy speck, an authentic Italian bacon, as well as Wild Mushroom Ravioli lathered in warm parmesan fondue.
For a more casual celebration, The Pub at Monte Carlo will prepare a delicious menu including dishes such as Roasted Chestnut Soup and Warm Gingerbread Cake with vanilla ice cream. Traditionalists will love the classic Yams with butter and brown sugar sauce at MORE The Buffet at Luxor. Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York will be serving up a prix fixe menu beginning with a hearty Winter Harvest Salad and closing with Irish Bread and Butter Pudding with whiskey cream. \
Those looking to spend the holiday at a classic steakhouse will enjoy The Steakhouse at Camelot at Excalibur where hungry guests have the choice between a juicy Oven Roasted Free Range Turkey Platter complete with mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, seasoned asparagus, sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce, Roast Prime Rib of Beef or Grilled Atlantic Salmon.
The Steak House at Circus Circus will present a holiday menu including tender Mesquite-broiled Petite Filet Mignon and succulent Australian Lobster Tail, served with chef’s fresh vegetable of the day and guest’s choice of garlic mashed potatoes, baked potato or wild rice blend. A festive Eggnog Crème Brûlèe French Toast with spiced rum and cinnamon butter is the perfect toasty treat available at THEcafe at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.
To top it all off, holiday treats can be found at Roasted Bean at The Mirage where guests can indulge in Chocolate Candy Cane Parfaits or a traditional Yule Log dessert. Sweet delights also may be found in liquid form at several bars and lounges at Monte Carlo including Hit Lounge, Ignite and Score. The Hot Buttered Rum is full of winter flavors made from Pyrat XO Reserve rum, Monte Carlo’s house-made hot buttered rum mix, warm apple juice, fresh whipped cream and a hint of ground cinnamon to round out the perfect holiday drink.
Happy Holidays and enjoy
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Before we look at the wine we took a look at the vineyard history, the region and the people behind it. Ventisquero began making wine in 2000. Unlike other wineries in the area they are led by a young, creative team of entrepreneurs whose mission is to create distinctive, high quality wines. In a word, this young eager team strives challenge the status quo, always searching for unique and different ways to accomplish their goal to create great wines.
Under the guidance of head winemaker Felipe Tosso, the winery was built in the Coastal Maipo Valley, Casablanca, Leyda and Colchagua . Felipe Tosso is the craftsman behind GREY, involving himself in every detail of production. He works the vineyards, selects the fruit, controls fermentation, and oversees the 18-month ageing regimen for each of the wines. Single Blocks from Maipo Alto, Casablanca and Apalta make GREY a rarity in the world of wines.
After looking at the winemaking it was now time for the panel to get to work and put the wine to task. The Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 is interesting in that only 50% of the grapes are crushed. A pre-fermentive maceration is carried out at 8C for 5 days. The Carmenere is aged 18 months in French Oak barrels, 33% of them new and 66% second and third use. The wine is then bottle aged for 8 months.
In the glass the wine showed hues of purple to garnet and medium bodied. On the nose, blueberry and black cherry are prominent giving way to wet earth and spice. On the palate, big flavors of blueberry and cherry tantalize the palate followed by pepper, earth and slate, ending in a long finish with light feminine tannins. This Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 is a beautiful blend of 97% Carmenere and 3 % Petit Verdot and nicely balanced acidity.
- Felipe Tosso
Drink the Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 now or age 10 years when it will become more complex over time. Look for this Carmenere , at $23.99 it is affordable and enjoyable.
Cuisineist Tasting Panel Score (Dec 2013) Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 Trinidad Vineyard , Maipo Chile
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Life was certainly beautiful at the first Life is Beautiful event at the continuing evolving downtown area of Las Vegas.
Arriving at the VIP kickoff event we really did not know what to expect. Our first hint of what we would be experiencing that evening were tantalizing aromas of proteins on the grill, light white smoke summoning us to explore with our palates what our nose was already telling us.
- Chef Hubert Keller , Cuisineist Editor-In-Chief Elaine Harris
This downtown extravaganza showed off the musical talents of 70 bands and DJs that drew standing room only masses of dancing, peaceful, fun-loving fans of all ages. Two Ferris wheels and Cirque du Solei performances kept attendees busy all day and into the night .
In addition to the music and other events, Life Is Beautiful teamed up with Wirtz Beverage to feature wine tastings, a beer garden with live music and an Alchemy Village where mixology experts poured creations from their very talented beverage team.
- Iron Chef Cat Cora
The Culinary arts were a big part of the multi-day celebration the culinary village was located in the heart of the festival and ground zero to many world’s best chefs and restaurants. These chefs and over 50 restaurants provided gastronomic delights that made palates dance from the incredible dishes served all day and into the evening hours when renowned band’s tunes filled the air.
- Chef Scott Conant
Over two incredible days, 20 of the most highly regarded chefs in the world showed their culinary skills live on a Sub-Zero Wolf, Westar Kitchen & Bath stage. These demonstrations featured celebrity Chefs such as Scott Conant, Johnathan Waxman, Hubert Keller, Cat Cora, Jet Tila ,Todd English and the two hot tamales themselves Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken as well as others who shared their kitchen secrets with eager guests.
- Chef Johnathan Waxman and Elaine Harris
Tony Hsieh, over the past few years has transformed downtown Las Vegas into a vibrant community abuzz with boutiques, locally owned restaurants, bars and of course the Zappos headquarters. The good news for the area is the inaugural event sold 40 percent of tickets to Las Vegas residents, most of whom have not spent much time downtown. After attending the festivities, we have no doubt Las Vegas residents will be spending much more time exploring what the area has to offer.
- Chefs Carla Pellegrino and Rick Moonen
Overall, for an inaugural event, Life is Beautiful was a success.15 blocks of music, food, celebrity chefs and art showed off the new downtown that is Tony Hsieh’s on going vision. We look forward to the continued evolution of downtown over the next year
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The weather is changing and the holiday season is fast approaching. There are worldwide celebrations and positive energy is contagious most everywhere you look.We have been fortunate to attend one winter celebration since its inception in Las Vegas.The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas are home to their Winter in Venice celebration on the Las Vegas Strip, this year’s theme is "A Gift of The Venetian."This third celebration of music, food and culture will feature 49 days of seasonal experiences throughout both resorts running Nov. 18, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014.
The 2013, a schedule of events include a nightly winter parade, tree-lighting ceremonies, a stunning 3D light projection show,an elaborate Winter in Venice fantasy scene in The Palazzo Waterfall Gardens, and a romantic skating rink above The Venetian's romantic outdoor Grand Canal.
"The holidays are such a magical time for everyone and Winter in Venice offers the perfect place to truly enjoy this special time of year,"said John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo.
"Winter in Venice finds its inspiration in the folklore and tales that generations of Italians have grown to know and love,"said Caparella.“Those stories have filled the imaginations of generations of Venetians with the experiences of festive holiday seasons coupled with the long-treasured spirit of giving and sharing.Within these tales are the characters that exemplify the good will, the fun and the excitement of the season."
The Venetian's front exterior facing the Las Vegas Strip will be adorned in winter schemes reminiscent of the city of Venice.Thousands of festooned lights will hang over a majestic ice skating rink as large snowflakes, ranging from 48 to 72-inches in diameter, surround the façade of The Venetian.
This extravagant celebration will kick off with theCeltic Woman: Home for Christmas,The Symphony Tour,at 8pm on Nov. 22-23 and Nov. 27-28.The 90-minute show features music from the all-female music ensemble's second Christmas album,Home For Christmas, including holiday favorites "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and"Silent Night."
In addition to the daily events there will be two specialty weekends that are definitely a reason to visit and enjoy.First up isLa Cucina ItalianaWeekend, with Chef Mario Batali and Buddy Valastro (Dec 6-8):In conjunction with Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada,La Cucina Italianamagazine will feature a three-day event celebrating the epicurean traditions of Italy.La Cucina Italiana, the undisputed expert on Italian food, wine and culture worldwide, will feature a weekend of food demonstrations, wine dinners, and other culinary-centered activities to keep your palate in the holiday mood.
The exciting CulinaryClash Weekend, with Chef Emeril Lagasseis(Dec 13-14):Guests can witness the best Chefs of the resorts compete to see who will be named winner of the secondCulinary Clash Master Chef Competition.The competition, which unfolds over the weekend, is open to all chefs at thefood and beverage venues located inside The Venetian and The Palazzo.These chefs will vie for the prestige of THE VENETIAN CULINARY CLASH AWARD.
It is not all about Italian gastronomy at Winter in Venice,a mixology cocktail competition will feature scheduled appearances by Tony Abou Ganim, Francesco Lafranconi and Dale de Groff, each recognized as being among the greatest mixologists in the country.
Over this culinary extravaganza, a seasonal Winter in Venice cocktail menu, including holiday-inspired spiced cocktails such as Gondolier Blanco, will be available throughout the resort lounges, including The Bourbon Room, Zebra Lounge, Bellini Bar, Fusion Mixology Bar and Laguna Champagne Bar.
Certainly to join in the spirit of the season, Holiday-themed prix fixe menus and specials will be offered by select world-class restaurants throughout the holiday including Aquaknox, B&B, Bouchon, Canaletto, Canyon Ranch Café, Delmonico, FIRST Food & Bar, Grand Lux Cafe, Pinot Brasserie, Postrio, Table 10, and LAVO Italian Restaurant.
What more can you say but hop a train, plane or drive to The Venetian / Palazzo resorts and enjoy 49 days of true culinary and artistic bliss. See you on the rink at Winter in Venice.
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We have visited Paso Robles for more than 10 years and are very familiar with the AVA. Known for Zinfandel and Rhone varietals the unique AVA also produces fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals that unfortunately don’t get the respect they deserve. There is one group of renown winemakers that are changing that .
Formed in 2012, the Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective (PRCC) is an independent collaborative effort of leading Paso Robles growers and producers of Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals specific to the Paso Robles AVA in California. The group strives to promote the full potential of the Paso Robles region in producing superior quality, classic and age-worthy Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals .
Members of the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC) recently joined fellow vintners and growers across California in praising the virtues of the 2013 harvest. At the top of the list are an early start to the growing season, long hang-time and near-absence of inclement weather.
“The climatic conditions on our mountain during the growing season contributed to smaller berries and fewer berries per cluster,” said Daniel Daou, Winemaker and Owner at DAOU Vineyards. “These conditions have allowed us to generate phenolics in our wines that are, on average, thirty percent greater than in previous years. This means darker and more intense wines that will age well. A great year for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties.”
Also commenting on the harvest was Michael Barreto, Winemaker at Le Vigne Winery. “An early and warm spring got the growing season off to a quick start. Some cool stretches in the summer allowed varieties like Merlot to coast a bit and be ready for harvest around the same as an average year. However, for us, Cabernet Sauvignon came in around two weeks earlier than normal. Our harvest size was about average with nicely-sized clusters that should provide nice flavor and concentration.”
Calcareous Winemaker, Jason Joyce shared, “All in all, at this earliest of stages in the wines’ life, I could not be more enthusiastic about this vintage. It may not be until 2016 that these wines are ready to taste, but if there is enough patience to let natural aging run its course, this vintage has all the requisite fundamentals for the production of remarkable Bordeaux varietals.”
With more than 25 Paso Robles harvests under his belt, Jeff Meier, Director of Winemaking for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines added, “Given the phenomenal quality of our fermentations so far this harvest, and the color numbers we are recording, I’m reminded of the legendary 1997 vintage. While every vintage is unique, 1997 and 2013 were very similar in that we had ideal moderate weather from veraison onward with no significant heat events, factors that have contributed to the remarkable color of our red wines. This is especially true for our Cabernet Sauvignon, which is showing the voluptuous black currant and cherry flavors we love from warmer vintages. The fact that I’m even thinking about 1997 right now is a testament to how excited I am about this vintage.”
This prestigious group seeks to improve awareness among consumers and retailers worldwide regarding the distinctive attributes of Paso Robles Cabernet as well as other Bordeaux varietals. Current members include: ADELAIDA Cellars, Ancient Peaks Winery, B&E Vineyard, Calcareous Vineyard, Chateau Margene, DAOU Vineyards & Winery, Eberle Winery, HammerSky Vineyards, Hunt Cellars, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Le Vigne Winery, Jada Vineyard, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, L’Aventure, Parrish Family Vineyards, Record Family Wines, Robert Hall Winery, Sextant Wines and Vina Robles.
The next time you are in the area , stop in to one of these wineries and sample a world class Cabernet Sauvignon than can stand against any on the world stage.
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Long one of Manhattan’s most celebrated restaurateurs, Sirio Maccioni has wined and dined high society in New York for nearly half a century. In March of 1974, Maccioni opened Le Cirque in the Mayfair hotel. Le Cirque was the first privately owned hotel restaurant in the city and quickly became the hub of café society in New York.
- Sirio Maccioni
In 1998 he opened Circo and Le Cirque in Las Vegas’Bellagio Hotel.Then In 2009 Maccioni along with his sons opened their third Las Vegas restaurant, Sirio Ristorante at the Aria Resort and Casino here in Las Vegas.
No stranger to accolades , Maccioni has received numerous honors and accolades including the coveted James Beard “Restaurant of the Year” award, the Impresario dell’ Anno (Entrepreneur of the Year) award at Affreschi Toscani, a festival in Tuscany and being selected Father of the Year in 2002 by the National Father’s Day Committee.
We have received many invitations to dine in our years as journalist from tops in their fields, when we were asked by Sirio Maccioni to join him at Sirio Ristorate ,humbled b y the prospect we accepted . Walking into a very busy Sirio Ristortate were were greeted by the always pleasant General Manager Carlo Cannuscio and his staff.
A few feet away, sitting in a chair poised like a king on his throne ,there he was ,the man ,the legend, Sirio Maccioni waiting with a smile and an outstretched hand of greeting . Sitting at the Chef’s table overlooking the pristine kitchen “a buzz “with activity we began a culinary expedition of epic proportions.
After opening a lovely bottle of GAJA we began with our appetizer , Carpaccio Di Manzo .This traditional tasty dish of beef carpaccio ,lemon oil dressing ,fried capers and a shaving of parmesan cheese was the perfect way to start. The suggested Vermintino , Rocca Di Frasselino , Sirio, Tuscany 2011 was a nice touch , picking up on the richness of the dish.
- , Carpaccio Di Manzo . Beef carpaccio ,lemon oil dressing ,fried capers and a shaving of parmesan cheese
Seeing a antipasto and squash soup we just had to indulge as we listened intently to Siro recount his culinary pedigree from hotel training programs in Paris and Hamburg , apprenticeships in Montecatini and Paris and a variety of positions at hotels and restaurants in Italy, France, and Germany.
A bottle of Rosso , Rocca Di Frassinello , Sirio, Tuscany 2009 signaled the beginning of yet another delight from the kitchen. Of course, being at Sirio, our treat of Pici Toscani Al Ragu, Di Carni was a must. This mouthwatering hand rolled spaghetti with three meats ragu was a gastronomic delight.
- of Pici Toscani Al Ragu, Di Carni .Hand rolled spaghetti with three meats ragu
Sirio kept us entertained with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor as Carre’ D ‘ Agnello arrived at our table. A succulent Roasted Rack of Lamb with creamy potato fennel gratin and garden vegetables was a perfect example of why Sirio and his world class restaurants have been at the top of their game for decades.The exemplary Chianti Classico, Castellare , Tuscany , 2011 married with the layers of flavors of the dish that will soon not be forgotten.
- Carre’ D ‘ Agnello Roasted Rack of Lamb with creamy potato fennel gratin and garden vegetables
Gastronomically satisfied by signature dishes, classic wines and a renowned host, we settled back a little as Sirio engaged us in a lively conversation.
When asked about retiring, he smiled, leaned back in his chair and said “Me, retire? I am too busy to retire”, we could not have been happier to hear that. Sirio has always been “hands on “and has no plans to stop. He still has fiery passion even after all these years.
- Panna Cotta Tricolore
Our experience would not be complete without a Panna Cotta Tricolore and house made Berry Cello 2013.Enjoying a cappuccino as Sirio singed his namesake book “Sirio Maccioni” made the evening one we will remember for a very long time.
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Wine Australia’s ‘Next Chapter’ Research Project Results
Wine Australia’s ‘Next Chapter’ research project funded by The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation of Australia, is pleased to announce the results of a major U.S. trade survey conducted by Wine Opinions following outreach to Importer, Distributor and On/Off Premise account respondents earlier this year.
John Gillespie, Founder and CEO of Wine Opinions further explained “We ran four online discussion groups, which included key gatekeepers in the critical tiers of the industry. A common theme that emerged was growing trade recognition of the high quality and diversity of wines from regional appellations across higher price points, which may well be a ‘leading indicator’ of what the U.S. market might be seeing in the coming years.”
Which Australian wines are best positioned for growth on the U.S. market? What are the attributes of these wines that make them appealing to trade and consumers?
The overall objective of this study was to gain an understanding of the thinking and motivations of the U.S. wine trade in respect to Australian wines, and to explore barriers for developing premium Australian wine sales in the U.S. market. For a full copy of the report, please contact Angela Slade, Wine Australia Regional Director, North America: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Australian wines’ most promising attribute, identified by all tiers of the trade, is the variety of quality wines produced that express the terroir of Australia’s diverse wine regions.
· The quality to price ratio Australia offers is still a top attribute. Value at all price levels was believed to be a key market driver. The trade believes that consumers today are looking for value in mid-priced wines where they feel more confident they will find quality.
· The perception that Australia only produces “jammy” high alcohol wines is changing, as the trade is beginning to perceive higher quality wines in a different style coming from Australia that they believe are matching up with changing tastes in the U.S. among both the trade and consumers·
Trade respondents have very high regard for Australian high-end wines. They see Australia producing wines in styles unlike the “fruit bombs” on which their reputation was built.
· Inventories of Australian wines are now slowly rebuilding after reaching a comfortable level through forecast accuracy, reducing “safety stock,” dropping unsuccessful Australian wines and purchasing less.
· New product introductions, sweet wines and new blends from Australia, have boosted inventory.
“These survey results demonstrate a very exciting validation of the trade’s recognition for – Australia’s premium, regional offerings” stated Angela Slade, Wine Australia Regional Director, North America.
“This very important research further substantiates the growing interest, support and genuine feedback we have received directly from Wine Australia’s community of importers, distributors, restaurateurs and retailers” Slade continued.
Building on this positive sentiment, Wine Australia just concluded its inaugural ‘Savour Australia’ – the biggest and most comprehensive Australian wine forum ever undertaken. Held from September 15 – 18, 2013 in Adelaide, the event was a complete immersion into the Australian wine industry with business sessions presented by some of the world’s most-renowned authorities on wine, consumer trends and retailing; themed lunches and dinners prepared by some of Australia’s top chefs; a Grand Tasting featuring 170 Australian wineries; plus Landmark wine tastings presented by Australia’s leading winemakers and international personalities showcasing Australia’s ultimate wine offerings from the past, present and future.
Savour Australia attracted more than 750 attendees including 75 participants from North America many of whom contributed as Savour Australia guest speakers and panelists.
“With an improved sentiment shift in the US and increasing recognition of quality Australian wines, the time is right to remind the U.S. wine trade and consumers about our innovative and high quality wines” stated Wine Australia’s General Manager, James Gosper.
“On top of that, Tourism Australia’s new food and wine focus, which was announced at Savour Australia 2013, will help forge a strong identity in the marketplace about Australia’s incredibly diverse, unique and top quality wine and food experiences” commented Gosper. “This is an exciting new era in the promotion of our food and wine.”
Wine Australia’s upcoming actions for the U.S. market will be based on the key learning’s of this research project, and will feature multiple retail and restaurant trade promotions as well as a new consumer outreach effort in partnership with Tourism Australia.
Trade education will continue to play a major role in Wine Australia’s activities. Wine Australia Education Director, Mark Davidson is offering customizable and tailor-made education programs for importers, distributors and trade, each crafted to accommodate the varying needs of small, mid-size and large wineries. For more information on Wine Australia’s education programs please contact Mark Davidson, Wine Australia Education Director: email@example.com.
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Life is Beautiful Festival has l released more details about its kick-off party featuring musical performances by Dawes and Todd Rundgren. On Friday, October 25, 2013, from 8pm – Midnight, 16 celebrity chefs will come together to participate in “Grills & Guitars,” a celebration of the beloved backyard barbecue combining creative open flame cookery with craft brews, artisanal wines and original cocktails created by some of the country’s finest mixologists.
Participating chefs, including Clayton Arakawa, Bruce & Eric Bromberg, Kim Canteenwalla, Scott Conant, Cat Cora, Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, Rick Moonen, David Myers, Aarón Sánchez and Jet Tila, will serve dishes like Whole Roast Goat Enchiladas, Shrimp and Sugar Cane Skewers and Whole Hawaiian Pigs smothers with Big Island Hearts of Palm. Special appearances will be made by chefs Tom Colicchio, Nancy Silverton and Michael Symon.
Celebrated Chef Jonathan Waxman will be honored with the first-ever commemorative award at the event for his dedication to educating and mentoring many of today’s top toques including all of the chefs in attendance.“Waxy’s approach to life is mirrored by the way he cooks,” says Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon Restaurants and Head of Life is Beautiful Festival’s Culinary Advisory Board. “Respect, compassion, confidence and humility are at his core and his unwavering love of life and food evoke huge smiles from even his casual acquaintances so you can imagine what it’s like to be called his friend.”
Tickets are available for purchase here; Price: $175, VIP $225 *Does not require purchase of a festival ticket, must be 21 or over.
Tickets for the Life is Beautiful Festival Culinary Programs are available for purchase at www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com
Regular Two-Day General Admission & VIP Tickets for the 2013 Life is Beautiful Festival are available for purchase at www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com
Regular Two-Day GA: $159.50 VIP Tickets: Two-Day VIP Ticket: $349.50 VIP tickets include: Exclusive VIP lounge with shade, lounge seating, activities and more; Viewing Areas at Main Stages; VIP restroom facilities; Access to special VIP food concessions; Access to special VIP beer, wine and spirits concessions; Commemorative Poster and more.
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It’s all about the wine! , Restaurant Guy Savoy and Old Homestead at Caesars Palace and Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas have been honored in Wine Spectator’s 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards. Restaurant Guy Savoy has successfully renewed its coveted Grand Award, Old Homestead earns the Award of Excellence for the second time and Gordon Ramsay Steak is proud to be a new recipient of the Best of Award of Excellence.
Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Awards are earned based on the wine list’s selection, its pairing with restaurant cuisine and the general appeal to wine lovers. Wine lists are judged on a variety of criteria including vintages and appellations for all selections, complete producer names and the presentation and appearance of the list.
The Grand Award winners, representing the program’s top echelon, typically offer 1,500 or more selections and feature a serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, large-format bottles, superior organization, presentation and wine service. Best of Award of Excellence winners carry over 400 selections with superior presentation and a broad selection. Restaurants that win the Award of Excellence offer wine lists with at least 100 selections from quality producers and match the menu in price, style and theme.
Six-time winner of the Grand Award, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace offers gourmet dining from French Chef Guy Savoy in his only U.S. dining establishment. The two Michelin star and Forbes 5-star restaurant features amazing prix-fixe menus and a la carte options including signature dishes like the silky artichoke and black truffle soup and the decadent colors of caviar complimented by an impressive wine list and dessert cart. Restaurant Guy Savoy is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Best of Award of Excellence winning wine list at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas is led by Sommelier Jeff Eichelberger. Open just over a year, the restaurant’s initial wine list was straight forward, conservative and developed slowly as the wine team observed the seasonal menu changes and the interests of guests. The list is focused on wines that interest guests and work well with Ramsay’s menu. The menu is a blend of established vintners with wide appeal and wines of highly limited allocations allowing constant development. Using this approach, the wine list has practically tripled in size since opening, swelling from 225 selections to 600 currently with a special emphasis on growing the fine and rare sections while maintaining choices in a wide array of price levels. Gordon Ramsay Steak opens at 5 p.m. nightly; to make a reservation, call (877) 796-2096.
Award of Excellence winner for the second year in a row, Old Homestead Steakhouse at Caesars Palace, is one of New York City’s most historic restaurants. A classic eatery known for its quality steakhouse selections and legendary history, Old Homestead features mouth-watering dishes from the classic New York menu. Robb Report named the restaurant’s signature 26-ounce bone-in, 30-day dry-aged Gotham rib one of Las Vegas’ seven best steaks in its August 2012 issue. Boasting more than 16,000 square-feet, the space features a total of 250 seats with a full dining room, private dining room, lounge and bar. Old Homestead Steakhouse is open daily from 5:00 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.
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Oh yes, wine country, you know, you've seen the pictures, rolling hills,Vineyards, the picturesque winery on a hill in the distance, the smell of fresh air and dirt roads leading far into a vineyard that never ends.
When talking about wine country in the United States two words unusually come to mind, Napa and Sonoma, and rightfully so. These regions are the home of world class wines, renowned winemakers and lovely vineyards. However, it can be much more interesting to visit other places that offer world class wines. Turn down a road in Paso Robles or the Edna Valley or many other wine regions in the country and it can be like a treasure hunt that promises great riches when you reach your destination. We decided to find new friends and see some old ones in the Central Coast of California.
On our journey we decided to stop into the Central Coast town of Paso Robles, famous for their Zinfandels but we know there has got to be much more than to this area, after all, our country is about diversity.We stopped in to see one of the long-time experts in Paso Robles, Michael Mooney winemaker and owner at the famous and highly allocated Winery Château Margene.
After driving through hairpin turns, wishing we had a Ferrari just to add some additional excitement, we arrive at the winery and Michael is there waiting for us.
We joined Michael on a beautiful afternoon sitting on the patio overlooking the Vineyard with some beautiful bottles of wine and lots of glasses! This is going to be fun.
As Michael began to pour the first wine, we wanted to learn more about how he got started in the business of providing great pleasure to thousands. After all, a major ingredient in wine-making is the story behind it and Chateau Margene is no exception.
Michael explained he caught the wine making bug and wanted to establish a vineyard, build a Winery and establish a home. He came from a high-tech background and admitted he didn’t know anything about winemaking but Nevertheless, he took up residence in the summer of 1998. Not wasting any time, he planted his 5.5 acre estate in the fall of the same year.
Michael got the ball rolling pretty fast. Château Margene’s first wine was a Cabernet produced in 1997 sourced from both the east and west side of Paso Robles. 2011 was a monumental year for this high-tech executive turned winemaker. They bottled the first estate wines, a 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2001 reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Of course the first question people ask is why Paso Robles? Michael explained that he drew from his high-tech background “it’s all about the heat index and consistency” he said. “Of course we first looked for land in Napa and Sonoma but we weren't really happy with the consistency on the heat index we found.” He added. He headed south and then he found his promised land of what would become Chateau Margene. Paso Robles was a place to be with the heat index that was consistent; perfect for Cabernet and that's how the story began.
Being the Corporate guy he is, Michael and his wife Margene put together a 10 year plan. Step one, hire the best venticulturalist we can find. Step 2, hire the best winemaker we can find and step 3 “We listen and we learn” he stated. And that they did, in 2000 Michael and Margene started making their own wine after listening and learning for three years.
The work certainly paid off in 2003. 312 Wines were entered in the international Cabernet shootout. 12 were selected as being “standouts “ One of those standouts was the 2000 Chateau Margene Cabernet Sauvignon which finished seventh and went on to tie for first place! Not bad for a high-tech Executive turned winemaker.
- Chateau Margene Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Paso Robles
Enjoying an afternoon overlooking the rolling hills, we continued our enlightening conversation as Michael poured our first treat. A tasty Chateau Margene 2010 somewhat young, this lovely blend 79% Cabernet 16% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot is exquisite. Blackcurrant and blueberries make you feel like you're walking through a blueberry patch in the forest. Speaking about forest, it also features Cedar notes as well. The Cabernet was sourced from five different vineyards. That’s what Chateau Margene is all about. The 2010 has a nice long finish with moderate tannins.
We got and education Michael Mooney style on oak barrels. He personally likes 30% new oak. He knows of course, many wine makers like 100% brand new oak but he is always “looking for the fruit to be a star” he said.
Recently, Michael and some of the other winemakers, 16 them to be exact, formed the Cabernet collective because they feel that Paso Robles can make some of the best cabernets in the world. They have a scientific term called diurnal shift. This is term for a huge gap in daily temperatures. In Paso Robles for example, in some areas in August at 5 PM it could be 100F, at 6 AM it could be 50F. This is great for balanced acidity and for lovely Cabernets.
As we said earlier Paso Robles is very well known for making very good Zinfandels. We were schooled on the Paso Robles AVA from one who knows. There are 613,000 acres planted in the Paso Robles AVA. Michael went on to say of those 613,000 acres only 9% is Zinfandel. The next most popular for consumers are the Rhone varietals and they only account 14 to 17% of the total. The hugely overlooked and very good Bordeaux varietals account for a majority at 55% percent of the 613,000 acres planted. That fact alone just goes to show how much fun exploring a new area can be and by knowing those little interesting facts you may find true "wine" gems along the way.
- Chateau Margene Meritage 2009 Paso Robles
Chateau Margene 2009 Meritage was next in our glass of pure enjoyment. Meritage is always a personal favorite. This Bordeaux style blend is very typical of what should we would expect from the west side of Paso Robles. A sexy, elegant blend of 40% Cabernet 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc makes this wine perfect any time of year, with food or by itself, you can’t go wrong. Michael himself enjoys the Meritage because “This is what Paso Robles is all about” he said swirling his glass with a smile.
And then we come to a great story. All wines have a great story and we already know Margene and Michael’s story, but now we are told a story within the story. It is a story about a Bandito, Mexican land grants, Derringers, gangs, and revenge.
In 2011 El Pistolero”, an entry level program was introduced to offer premium wine at an exceptional value. But, now we going to hear the rest of the story. Michael’s family goes back seven generations in California. Ignacio Linares was a soldier on the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition into California in 1775. Ignacio’s grandson, Victor Linares was granted a Mexican Land Grant in San Luis Obispo County, by then Governor Juan B. Alvarado, for Rancho Canada de Los Osos in 1842. Michael explained that Victor Linares is his great, great, great uncle.
- El Pistolero Cabernet Sauvignon , Paso Robles
The United States, under US law took the land grants from him. This mild-mannered uncle became a famous Bandido , joined the Jack Powers gang and fought for revenge until Victor himself died in a shoot out at the family ranch in Los Osos . That is the rest of the story, as they say. And you can read it for yourself on the back of the label of the bottle. You can assuredly taste the history of seven generations behind this wine. Another lesson learned; take time to read the story, it is probably an interesting one.
With afternoon fading away, the sun getting lower behind the hills we still had Chateau Margene’s flag ship wine to savor. It was a slow build to a crescendo, with previous wines and the great stories of hard work and a proud family history. It was time for 2007 Beau Melange. This was a very special treat as it’s sold out and second of all it's pretty pricey. This lovely wine is sourced 100% from the Eastside estate and it only produces 1.3 tons per acre. This is Michael's baby. He takes care of each vine and treats it just like his own flesh with care and attention.
- Chateau Margene 2007 Beau Melange
We had this bottle opened for a while. We really wanted to see what this 2007 vintage would be like when fully and naturally exposed to air for the first time in 6 years. This flagship, beautiful Cabernet is aged 32 months in French oak 50% new oak. On the nose, blackcurrant, smoke, dark fruit and leather jump out. On the palate it is an explosion of deep fruit, spice, balanced tannins and a long lingering finish. This true trophy wine is a perfect marriage of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc and 22% Merlot and a pleasure by itself or with food.
Drink now if you can find one or cellar it to 2020 and it will age nicely. In short, spending the afternoon on the back porch with Michael was an educational and enjoyable experience. We heard inspiring stories and learned technical facts about the appellation. The next time you're in Paso Robles don't just think about Zinfandels, enjoy some of Bordeaux varietals and seek out a tasty Cabernet from Chateau Margene,Eberle or Adelaida. They all have amazing wines.
We raise our glass of Chateau Margene 2007 Beau Melange and say thank you to Michael for spending time with us. We head out once down the wine trail of life through Paso Robles and continue north for a whole new adventure.
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s the summer kicks the thermostat into overdrive here in Las Vegas we had a chance to move on to the Central Coast of California for refreshment on every level. We escaped the rising temperatures; while raising our glasses a few times over the course over an 11 day food. Wine and travel odyssey. Not only does the Central Coast of California offer delightfully refreshing weather, but tastes, sights and sounds that refresh the soul and the palate.
We all want to get away from time to time and with some of the World’s best wines and breath- taking venues so naturally accessible in the land by the Pacific, get out of the heat and into the vineyards this summer.
Our journey began in the early morning as we made our way to Paso Robles California for an early afternoon appointment at the stunning, new winery Villa San-Juliette, and we mean stunning. What captures your attention as you drive up to the Tuscan styled villa is the enormous graceful oak tree that engages the entire property with the grandeur of nature.
- Nigel Lythgoe
Villa San-Juliette Winery is the creation of Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, who are committed to sharing the good life and their delicious wines. The star of the show is their beautiful 168-acre country vineyard in Paso Robles, California, where Ken and Nigel are there quite often and always excited to indulge in the winery experience with new friends.
- Ken Warwick
We could not think of a better way to talk about the history of this picturesque property than two television producing legends tell it themselves with their own reality show about them! . When hottest television producers in America ventured into a world they knew nothing about, their sweet dreams slowly ferment into sour grapes.
You must watch their vineyard series Corkscrewed. http://www.hulu.com/corkscrewed-the-wrath-of-grapes
It’s a series that features Nigel and Ken in front of the camera, rather than behind it, as they negotiate with local farmers and winemakers, curse wild boars and vineyard pests and are eventually welcomed into the Paso Robles wine community. The Liverpool-born owners of Villa San-Juliette make for an odd pair, as they learned firsthand the challenges of grape growing and living in wine country.
Nigel and Ken have both been talented enough to enjoy the luxurious Hollywood lifestyle that comes with a string of prime-time US network hits , this project was by far their most challenging. Originally, the purchase of the vineyard was planned for a consortium of buyers, all friends. However, one by one, the investors pulled out leaving Nigel and Ken to purchase the beautiful 168-acre vineyard in Paso Robles, California, alone.
- VSJ Cabernet Franc
Problems arose from the outset. Arriving at the vineyard in a Bentley, dressed in designer clothing, Nigel and Ken tried to convince the jeans-clad community of their interest in horticulture. From there hilarity and complications persisted; yet, like most of their television projects, failure was not an option.
In May of 2008, the first estate-grown vintage was bottled, and since then five have been released under the Villa San-Juliette Label ,all to positive reviews. Their stunning 14,000-square-foot Tuscan-style estate and tasting room exhibits the pinnacle of European luxury and elegance, showing that, once again, Nigel and Ken have created a star.
Villa San-Juliette showcases the terrior and the unique qualities of the varietals that receive their sustenance from the land. With the expertise of wine-maker, Matt Ortman, those grapes become that exquisite elixir in your glass.
- Matt Ortman,
We were honored to enjoy a lunch over-looking the massive grand-oak, fountain, and vineyards. President, Hillary Trout joined us and spent time explaining how this property was transformed from vines that were relatively new, because most the vines on property had to be burned do to a virus that deemed them unusable. With skillful labor and much love the property has been resurrected and now is now “starring” this fabulous wine growing region.
- Hillary Trout
We have traveled extensively in California’s Central Coast for almost a decade. Villa San-Juliette is a one-of-a kind Vineyard. The tasting room and winery are the likes of which we have not seen in the area and the wines are simply amazing .
- Winemaker Matt Ortman, Cuisineist Editor-In-Chief Elaine Harris , Cuisineist Wine Editor Scott Harris
Better yet, on your next trip through Paso Robles stop in to Villa San-Juliette have some wine, enjoy a f!tasty lunch by the fountain and oak tree looking 168 acres of rolling vineyards and see for your self
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Paso Robles is gaining the reputation as a fine wine destination getaway for tasting Bold robust Zinfandels and Lovely Bordeaux Varietals. With wineries springing up throughout the region, many are making the sojourn to thisInteresting wine region.
While preparing for your trip to this area, plan on staying at the La Quinta, Paso Robles. Located right on Hwy 46 this hotel can boast a five star reputation, given the accolades that are being lauded by locals and travelers alike. La Quinta, Paso Robles, well deserves the rave reviews that it is receiving. With General Manager, Victor Popp at the helm, this nationally known chain, has been up- graded to five star status.
- VWC Innviting Red Blend , Paso Robles
Mr. Popp’s ingenuity, caring, and expertise, has translated into an outstanding hotel experience for every type of traveler. Given, his many years of expertise in the industry, his vivacious personality and attention to detail, many are singing praises for a hotel that is catering to wine aficionados, pet lovers and families who are on the road. They can also accommodate tours to the region, wedding parties, and just about anyone who just wants to get away for the weekend.
Each person that walks through lovely grounds adorned with rose bushes is greeted by a friendly staff that is well-versed in all aspects of hotel operations.
Therooms are well-designed, with lovely linens, and comfortable furnishings, that can accommodate families traveling with fido, or those on a romantic weekend for two. There is a lovely dining area with gratis breakfast, and a happy hour featuring many of the local wines and cheeses from the area. An in–house gift store features outstanding local wines won’t have you going home or to your room empty handed.
We have been fortunate to have stayed at this lovely hotel several times, and this time, Mr.Popp warmly greeted us with a gift of wine made by himself and his staff. Now, how is that for hospitality? As we made our way around the area, discovering some new local wineries and local fare, we were glad to know that our return would be to a place where we would be refreshed and renewed.
- Victor Popp and his staff crushing grapes for their first bottling of Innviting
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