Category Archives: alameda

Berkeley Wine Tasting

If you knew that there are wineries in Berkeley, raise your hand.  OK, that was maybe one of you.


We were invited to meet some friends at the Donkey and Goat Winery in Berkeley for a small, casual celebration of the friend’s birthday.  In the photo, we’re in the “courtyard” behind the winery.  Actually, the courtyard is just asphalt-paved open space, with a picnic table, a bocce court and empty barrel storage.  Doesn’t sound really exciting, except that this afternoon was just beautiful:  low 70s, blue sky, although as the afternoon wore on little wisps of fog starting streaming in.  And it was a birthday celebration, so we were sipping wine and catching up with old friends.  I can’t tell you much about their wines, other than that we really liked the 2013 Grenache, made from grapes from El Dorado County in the Sierra Foothills.


Before meeting our friends, we went to Urbano Cellars, also in Berkeley.  Fred Dick, one of the owners and winemakers, was behind the bar, such as it is.  It turned out that the previous night was a wine club pick up party, and so almost all their wines were open and available for tasting.  So Lori and I took advantage of that, and tasted just about everything.  Urbano gets a lot of their grapes from the Clement Hills area of Lodi, and these were some of the wines we liked best.  But they also get grapes from Sonoma and Solano counties, and we liked those too.  Urbano produces about 1,000 cases per year, ranging from some crisp whites (Sauvignon Blanc-Chenin Blanc blend and straight Chenin Blanc) to some pretty nice reds like Zinfandel, Barbera and Sangiovese.  The 2009 Zinfandel was our favorite, with grapes from the Green Valley in Solano county.  Best of all though was the nice discussion with Fred and the other folks working at or hanging out in the winery.


So if you don’t have the time for the drive to Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz or even Livermore for wine tasting, think about Berkeley.




P.S. I Love You – Dark and Delicious

On February 19th we went to another great event in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was put on by the local P.S. I Love You, the Petite Sirah Advocacy Organization.  The event was called Dark and Delicious.  It was held on Alameda at Rock Wall Winery which is on an old Naval Base, so the facility was huge with very high ceilings.  The barrels that were stacked against the walls looked very small compared to the size of the room.

                    Dark and Delicious Event at Rock Wall Winery

There were about 300-400 people all willing and ready to eat and drink.  The event cost $70 per person.  There were over 40 wineries, and about 30 different restaurants and caterers.  The wineries and food companies were interspersed together.  Unlike the Make-A-Wish foundation fundraiser we went to a couple weekends ago, where the wineries poured whatever they wanted, here they just poured Petite Sirah.  

I need to apologize.  I lost my piece of paper that I took all my notes of the evening.  So, I’m going off of my memory with some help from Larry.

Some of the Petite Sirah stood out more than others such as Cecchetti Wine Company Line 39, Tres Sabores, Twisted Oak, Concannon, Heringer Estates, Michael-David, and Ursa Vineyards to name a few.  The cool thing about the Petite Sirah is that it grows in many different regions.  Such as Lake County, Sierra Foothills, Lodi, Livermore, Paso Robles to name a few.


                                         Swirling the Petite Sirah                                                                                       Serving Up Some Food

The food was overall very good.  There was a lot of meat, but that makes sense when you are trying to pair with Petite Sirah.  There were about 4-5 different versions of pulled pork sliders, one that stood out was where the pork was served with coleslaw and a lime aioli, there were a number of different meatballs too but the one with bacon in the meatball and served on a crostini with caramelized onion was great as was the wild boar meatballs.  There was deep fried curried cauliflower that was really good but didn’t stand up to the wine so well.  Our favorite of the evening was a slow braised pork shoulder served on top of a homemade savory bread pudding with a Petite Sirah plum sauce.  There also was pork served on a light Lavosh cracker with a cilantro pesto, foie gras, paella and homemade beef jerky.  There was plenty of chocolate there too.  There were brownies, chocolate with bacon bits in it, chocolate truffles filled with Petite Sirah cream, bacon strips with chocolate drizzled on top, (was that a dessert or was that an appetizer?  Whatever, it was good!) there was some seriously intense fudge, I had their peanut butter caramel chocolate, Larry had their dark chocolate.  We left that booth with big smiles on our faces. 


                                  Fantastic Fudge from Z-Cioccolato                                                          The Best Pork Dish Of The Night – Bistro 29

We bumped into a few blogger friends Thea Dwelle from Luscious Lushes and Alana Gentry from A Girl with a Glass.

We want to thank the P.S. I Love You for treating Larry and I to this event.  We loved everything about it and would highly recommend it to everyone who likes a good bold wine.