Okay, so I never saw Jack Nicholson in The Shining, not a fan of horror movies, but some movie phrases we all know. You may have noticed I’ve been a little absent lately and as I sit down to write this “honey, I’m home” has been dancing through my mind. I’ve had a great little break with out-of-state visitors, in-state visitors, demands of spring and, well yes work (but that’s a good thing).
Murphy’s California, my marvelous little tourist town, has also been a hoppin place to be. Today I’ll share a bit about Zintastico and get this posted in time for Unknown Mami’sSundays in My City. Newsome Harlow winery hosted their fourth annual Zintastico fest and it was fantastico. Zintastico is their party for wine club members with yummy appetizers and tasting of their new single-vineyard zinfandel releases plus samples of their futures. Luckily, my bud Kim is a member and we hit the patio party on opening day – the one with the best weather for their planned patio dining. Wine in one hand, appetizer in another – no place for a camera so I didn’t tote it along (check their web or Facebook for better pictures, that’s Christine and Barbara below, pic taken awhile ago). Now, you may find this odd, but a person who drinks white wine only at a zin tasting? Going to an event where oenophiles might look down their nose at your lack of sophisticated taste or appreciation for the reds? Eh, I was curious to taste their appetizers as Newsome has also opened a new kitchen adjourning their tasting room and the folks around Murphys are generally a friendly bunch, no prevalence of looking down ones nose to judge. Plus, I expected accommodations for designated drivers so I’d certainly not die of thirst. Fortunately, they had a few whites open – and I now have a new favorite. Dry Muscat Blanc, mmmmm. Heavenly. They paired it with rock shrimp cakes with cilantro and chipotle candied oranges. Fish is ever popular on dinners I make for guests, and this is a really nice wine to pair with it. I’ll also give an official nod of approval to their Sauvignon Blanc.
Cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, a California organic artisan cheese producer, were featured. I fell for their imported Manchego. Other pairings that you Zin fans may want to be aware of were their Big John’s Vineyard with organic strawberry soup and a fried smoked mozzarella ravioli with crème fraiche. Do I need to add that from my perspective this was lovely with the above whites? Shake Ridge Ranch was paired with quail eggs with smoked salmon and basil-feta aioli over pumpernickel crostini; the Donner Party (yes, these are wines) was paired with a wild mushroom and roasted lamb tartlet, chimichurri and soft goat cheese; and Frank Herbert Vineyard was paired with s’mores crepes – graham flour crêpes sandwiched with dark milk chocolate and homemade rice marshmallow cream. If you have a chance to stop by The Kitchen at Newsome Harlow and they have either the shrimp cakes or the s’mores crepes on the menu that day – try them. I’d skipped both the lamb (don’t do red meats) and quail eggs, although I understand they were yummy as well.
The courtyard was packed with people wine and food. They have comfy couches, warmers and lots of seating – it’s always a great place to stop by. She’s firing up the fire pit within a table in this shot.
Another nifty thing for techno geeks – the label on the back of their bottles has a barcode you can scan with your smartphone to get info and a list of what pairs well with it. Twisted Oak (I’ll write about them soon) also offers scanable info on their labels.
If you enjoy crowds and wine tasting activities – Passport Weekend is a big deal here, June 25th and 26th – culinary creations, barrel samplings, special discounts, fine art, live music, drawings, scenic venues and more. If you prefer quieter weekends – well, come on up any other weekend this summer for relaxed visiting. Here are other posts mentioning my fantastico town and my Murphys page.