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Tantara 2008 'Dierberg Vineyard' - Santa Maria Valley

Another standout single vineyard Chardonnay from Tantara. Here we explore a wine made in tiny amounts (just 147 cases) from a vineyard best known for its Pinot Noir. This is, of course, a cool climate AVA for the most part, with several clones planted in shallow, sandy loam underlain with sandstone. Richness of fruit, bright acidity and a very nice texture meld to bring great enjoyment. Balanced and complex through the mid palate, this is a wine with depth and should improve with a bit of cellar.

price: $38.00
drink: 2010 - 2012


Duke's Chowder House... award winning chowder 

 We have been visiting Duke’s Greenlake location in Seattle for many years. Great vibe… Wild Salmon from Alaska and 100% natural chowder. With the motto of its founder: “The best of everything suits me just fine”, you can’t go wrong here. The chowder was inspired by Duke’s grandfather, John Fitzgerald Cox, who claimed to make the best clam chowder in New England. They made their first cauldron over 31 years ago. read more >


Cayuse 2006 Syrah 'Cailloux' - Walla Walla, Wa

The “Cailloux” (pronounced “ki-yoo”, plural for “stone” in French) is a complex and wonderfully plush blend of dark fruits, minerality and spice. Hints of olives, white pepper, orange peal and earth. Cherry and blackberry along with rather exotic tropical notes. The finish is 45 seconds plus. This wine has everything going for it with purity and rareness. Winemaker Christophe Baron truly understands this varietal. A waiting list of thousands make any Cayuse nearly impossible to obtain even in tough economic times. Perhaps the finest wine made in the state of Washington. Collectable!

price: $79.99
drink 2011 to 2020


2007 Martinelli Pinot Noir - Blue Slide Ridge, Sonoma Coast

This is the gold standard for Pinot Noir from California. A rich and opulently fruited wine with aromas of spice and lush blue and black fruit. Very complex, with a cool tone. Garrigue, raspberry, cherry and other floral components lead to a lush and lengthy 20 sec plus finish. Rare and worth every penny! Just 75 cases produced.

price: $125.00 +
drink: 2010 to 2015


A visit to the Central Market in Petaluma, Ca

 The Central Market and Chef Tony Najiola provide an eclectic, seasonally varied menu in downtown Petaluma. Well versed in slow food concepts, I fully enjoyed the sophisticated “big city” vibe. Almost everything here is made from scratch and many dishes are cooked using the large wood fired oven in the center of the restaurant’s central kitchen. Pictured here is a wood fired pizzetta with shaved mushrooms, roasted garlic and fontina. Good wine list with a local focus. Open seven nights a week.

otv rating:
food: 16
service: 15
vibe: 15

42 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, California
(707) 778-9900


2006 Columbia-Crest Reserve Merlot - Columbia Valley, Wa

Winemaker Ray Einberger (Mouton-Rothschild, Clerc-Milon & Opus One) sources this Bordeaux-style 100% Merlot from the Wahluke Slope, the Cold Creek area and the Horse Heaven Hills. The fruit is hand picked and sorted from their finest vineyard blocks and is cold soaked and 30% whole cluster pressed. The wine offers blackberries and a touch of garrigue on the attack. The soft palette is infused with blue fruits and milk chocolate. Small grained tannins make this wine quite accessible. The wine will continue to evolve gracefully for several years. This is an impressive effort for the price point. The wine was aged for 25 months in 7o% new French oak. 3000 cases were produced.

price: $22.00
drink: 2009 through 2014


The Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley

 The Cheese Board Collective was founded in 1967 and comprises two collectively owned and operated businesses: a cheese shop/bakery commonly referred to as “The Cheese Board”, and a pizzeria known as “Cheese Board Pizza.” The Cheese Board is located at 1504 Shattuck Ave (near Vine St.) and Cheese Board Pizza is located two doors down at 1512 Shattuck Avenue. Get there early as the line forms at 11:30am.

Imported raw goat milk, along with a wonderful selection of Italian, Spanish and French mountain cheeses, top the list at the Cheese Board. The shop is open Monday through Saturday. Hours vary, so check the website: www.cheeseboardcollective.coop.

1504 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, Ca (510) 549-3183