Northern California is such an enchanting part of the country. And this past weekend I had the opportunity to co-host another La Crema event with my lovely friends, Annie of Annie Reeves and Megan of The Freckled Italian, at the stunning La Crema Saralee's estate in Windsor, CA. This trip marked my first visit to this region so I wasn’t sure what to expect; let’s just say I’m already trying to plan another trip back.
Pulling onto the property is where the experience truly begins. As you make your way up the gravel driveway you are immediately greeted by a sea of grape vines so vast they seem to disappear into the horizon. When we first arrived, the leaves on the vines were already changing colors; a visual celebration of reds, oranges, and greens that blanketed the property. At the top of the driveway sits a beautiful, enormous restored barn that dates back to the 1900s. Walking up to its doors I wasn’t sure what I would find inside, but I was excited to find out. The immediate feeling within is almost like you've been there already—and before my eyes could even take it all in I was being greeted with a smile and glass of rosé.
This amazing property was the perfect backdrop for a day of learning, tasting, eating, and reveling in community. Megan, Annie, and I were quite lucky to have seven incredible Bay Area bloggers join us for this special gathering. Once all of our guests arrived, our journey began with an exciting golf cart tour of the vineyard led by a personal concierge. We were taken up to hill tops from which we surveyed the beautiful landscape, we rested under giant walnut trees in whose shade we enjoyed wine tastings, and walking in between the perpetual vineyard rows we tasted each kind of grape straight off the branch. This trip was simply incredible.
After our tour we were treated to a three course lunch with a wine pairing that was put together by Chef Tracy. The food and wine pairings that Chef Tracy created was beautifully crafted and inspiring that I found myself inspired to pay closer attention to how wine can build off of an already flavorful meal. Our meal began with beautiful oysters on the half shell flavored with wasabi caviar that was paired with La Crema's 2015 La Crema Saralee’s Pinot Noir Rosé. After that we were served the a flavorful portion of tuna that was served over the creamiest celery root puree, topped with pine nuts and preserved lemon; which was paired with La Crema’s 2014 La Crema Kelli Ann Vineyard Chardonnay. The final course (my favorite) was a perfectly cooked Liberty Farms duck breast, sauteed chard, chanterelle mushrooms, and sunchokes, which paired beautifully with their 2013 La Crema Fog Veil Pinot Noir.
To finish off the day, we ended with a wine and cheese tasting that was as immersive as it was informative. Our chef’s love and passion for these pairings was clearly evident—not only in the way she spoke but in the way she absolutely lit up at each new stage of the experience. My favorite pairing was this Dry Jack cheese that was paired with tart cherry jam and a sampling of Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir.
Spending the day at this vineyard was a delightful experience, one that reminded me how interesting, sophisticated, and dynamic a glass of wine can truly be when paired carefully with various flavors. Suffice to say, this day's experience, while firmly rooted in the joy of food and wine, nevertheless succeeded in transcending it.
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All images in this post were taken by Oguz Uygur.