It’s time for another Sundays in My City (actually Sundays in my teeny tiny town) post where a global collection of folks share what they’re up to on Sundays (or some day of the week) in their area. My friend Kim and I have been meaning to grab a little holiday lunch plus a few wine stops as she’s a member of some of Murphys’ wineries wine clubs. We’re in the midst of what I’ll call bigger than normal weather – so far rain storms at my level with snow just a few miles north. Although I grabbed my camera, my shots outside were quick as hadn’t grabbed an umbrella and really didn’t want to get my camera lense wet. The shots inside were also point and shoot as folks would step aside for me and I didn’t want to delay and deter the enjoyment of those braving the weather.
We began our outing at my all time favorite restaurant in Murphys, Grounds. The food is consistently wonderful, the coffee rich and deep (I’m always amazed at how many otherwise decent restaurants don’t serve top-notch coffee – some I won’t breakfast at simply because the coffee is too weak) the menu diverse enough to please everyone (veggie through red meat fanatic) and, although I don’t need it, the portions are quite generous. I find myself craving their food if I can’t get there often enough. We were at the very end of lunch (actually I rushed in and asked if it would be ok if my friend came sliding in after their 3pm lunch stop and lock doors time as she’d been running late) so we were the last out and I got a few shots of the empty dining area. There’s also patio dining and their web shows the very front wide open space.
Mike Dunne, who writes the A Year in Wine blog, recently posted Murphys, Where Tasting is a Walk in the Park noting “Murphys has the most concentrated and most varied array of tasting opportunities of any wine community in Northern California.” I take that to mean he’s giving us a nod over Sonoma, Northern California’s more well-known wine tasting region. Thanks Mike! I agree but no one would believe lil ol me. We have somewhere near 22 or 23 winery tasting rooms – it’s difficult to keep track and I’ve never made an attempt to count them all myself. I also agree with Mike on his acclaim for Lavender Ridge 2009 Sierra Foothills Roussanne. Luscious. You should be able to click on any of these photos if you’d like a larger size view.
The post is titled foodie mecca as we don’t simply attract vinophiles. These shots of Lavender Ridge , where in addition to their superb organic wines you can taste and bottle organic olive oils or indulge in artisan cheeses that they pair with the wine tasting, illustrate my point. My first Sundays in my town post shared photos and information on Marisolio Tasting Bar, our olive oil and balsamic vinegars tasting bar as well as Creative Cookware our popular ‘everything kitchen’ store.
Val du Vino , specializing in handcrafted limited production wines, was out next stop. Jeannine and Jonathon are always at the counter manning their tasting room. Jonathan is a tremendous flirt – sure to keep the ladies entertained – and Jeannine brings her European grace to the conversations at the bar. Jeannine is also a superb chef and wine club members have the opportunity to attend her wine pairing dinners. Jonathan treated us to a “dessert” that I’ve written up here. Yumm. I couldn’t resist acquiring more wine than I’d planned to pad a few gift baskets with – I just had to share their 2009 Viognier.
Val du Vino also carries many gifts for the wine lover. My brother, who’s more a fan of reds than whites when it comes to wine (the exact opposite of me) received the lovely blown glass wine aerator you see on the right bottle here last year. They also carry lovely carved wood wine holders and an eclectic assortment of gifts.
I’m also a solid fan of the Viognier at Beau Cheveau where the always bubbly Becky is usually in attendance. You’ll find I’m not writing on the wines’ flavors as “wine writers” do as I don’t have much of a taste for reds – which most local wineries excel at – so could never do the wines justice. When it comes to whites however, there I know what I like.
Our final wine stop was the excellent Newsome – Harlow , where Christine and Barbara were our happy hosts at the bar. If you want to try some recipes developed with wine parings in mind – check out the wealth of recipes developed by their chef and posted on their website. For dreary days like the one we braved, they keep their woodstove burning over in a corner of the tasting room. Such a treat!
I’ll close the post with a quick shot having nothing to do with food or wine, Animal Kingdom, Adele’s marvelous little store for all things animals. My shot is the front – she has quite a bit for doggies as well through the door labeled you can see at the back. This is another place you can always frind a gift for someone – the “petless” could get a cute nightshirt, earrings or lovely little napkin rings. She just has so much to choose from.
Normally I just snuggle up on our stormy days, but Kim and I had great fun getting damp and trundling about town. For more information on some of our local wineries, check out the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance page. They often do a bio/story on the different member vineyards that provide a glimpse into the wonderful families running our outstanding vineyards.
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