Edna sometimes is known to flirt with a Viognier too. Why not stop by Locals and sample some of our 56 varieties to find the wines you Love.
Locals Tasting Room
After the annual haggling over pricing, the Dungeness crabs have arrived. Around Sonoma County, we can soon indulge in crab-eating orgies in support of various Rotary, Kiwanis, and Soroptomists. Or, you can grab whole crabs yourself for just $5.59/lb boiled and cleaned at your favorite supermarket. As a Northern California native with deep New England roots, Dungeness crab season has always been my opportunity to demonstrate my ability to wield a nutcracker around a tasty crustacean. Bring your bibs, I can make a mean Ciopinno. I can go pan-Asian and create a ginger and lemon grass-infused coconut milk broth for my succulent & crabby friends. Or, if I really love you, I am more than willing to spend the time cracking and picking to create a mound of shell-less crab meat. Last night, as a welcome home gift to my husband who had just endured three days in Houston, I decided to shell the two crabs. Shelling a lobster starts with the satisfying bounty of big claws and tail, and de-volves into the only-for-expert job of sucking meat out of legs or the daring, but blissful reward of the green tomalley — the lobster’s liver. Shelling a Dungeness crab is a much more consistently rewarding process, provided that you embrace the briny challenge. Not only do the legs and claws offer up tasty chunks, the body itself is a mother lode of easily accessed treats. So, after a delicious lime & bourbon cocktail and 30-40 minutes, I had myself at least 4 cups of pristine crab meat. From here, the possibilities were endless. I could eat the whole bowl myself before Peter came downstairs to check on dinner. I could mix it with some of my home made chile & lime sauce for a Crab Louie. I could make a Ciopinno for the lazy — essentially a shelled tomato-based crab chowder. What I decided to do was to make a simple pasta dish:
Boil the pasta
Right after you drain the past while it is still hot, toss all of the ingredients, except for the parsley, together
Toss the parsley or cilantro on top of each serving
The choice for wine was easy. The matching of Chardonnay and Crab is obvious, but I wanted something deeper, richer, and more luxurious to reward my crab-shelling effort. The 2008 Bedarra Reserve Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley was the perfect match for the dish. It’s the wine that reminds me that I can love Chardonnay.
For 2011, the hot trend in California wine is in the blends. Customer interest is growing as these savory new ideas come to fruition. Value abounds, as these quality wines typically range $15-$30, and smart consumers are showing their good taste by trading up a notch from the value wines they discovered during the downturn in 2008.
For this post, we focus on Zinfandel as a component of the wine blends here at Locals. Great Zinfandel fruit is still harder to come by than some other varietals, which can sometimes be found with great quality, and more inexpensively, at harvest. Then add the challenge to the winemaker’s muse: to make a new and unique combination that pleases, raises the bar, and sets their brand apart from the rest.
So let Locals begin your blending! First up is the new Bedarra 2009 Bonfire ($25). Composed of Sonoma County fruit, it is made of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (30%) and Zinfandel (20%). (This wine follows on the heels of Bedarra’s popular Beachfront white, a satisfyingly cool blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.) Their red blend is fruit forward. Sweet tones arise from the quality oak along with pleasant tannins on finish. Blackberry meets tobacco. With its smooth and satisfying richness, this wine makes a perfect complement to any barbeque, be it on the beach or the backyard.
Second is the Pendleton 2008 Celebration Cuvee ($29).
This is Mike Pendleton’s special blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Zinfandel (25%), Petite Sirah (30%), Cabernet Franc (15%) and Petite Verdot (5%). What a yummy mouthful! Long reach across the palate. Drinking with the full voluptuousness of a Bordeaux-style blend, at the same time this savory wine is elevated by just a hint of sweet fruit.
Next we suggest the 2007 Atrea Old Soul Red ($25). Here Mendocino County Zinfandel (43%), Petite Sirah (20%), Syrah (19%) and Malbec (18%) are artfully combined in flavorful American oak. A delightfully sweet nose and finish rests on a rich meaty foundation with excellent balance.
This wine is a real crowd pleaser, and also this winery’s biggest seller. Still available (!), the delectable 2008 Dark Horse Zinfandel/Cabernet Sauvignon Gunfighter Fifth Notch ($20) is the subject of a separate post, click here to read it.
Finally, the 2008 Peterson Vignobles ($32) conveys elegance and finesse. A distinctive blend of Petite Sirah (55%), Old-Vine Carignane (15%), Syrah (15%) and Zinfandel turns the Dry Creek’s Zinfandel paradigm upside down on an artful touch of Zin fruit. Medium-bodied, smoky, fruity, with a touch of dark caramel and pleasant across the palate. Great with ham or prosciutto try it with a PB&J…sliced pears, brie and ham on an artisan roll. Delish!
Our most recent winery addition to Locals Tasting Room is Bedarra Vineyards. The Bedarra Estate Vineyard is only a mile west of nearby Healdsburg’s town center. The epitome of a small artisan winery, fewer than 500 cases of wine are produced here in a year.
The Bedarra brand is inspired by the beauty and tranquility of the remote Bedarra Island, just off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where proprietors Jeff and Brigid enjoyed their honeymoon in 2003. Around their home, they grow glorious chardonnay wines, made from their single acre of 15-year old vines. With the backdrop of tropical palm trees on one side and majestic mountains on the other, Bedarra Vineyards is as scenic as it is fruitful.
The island spirit is carried forth with their fun 2009 Beachfront ($18) wine. A refreshing blend of Estate Chardonnay and Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc has been married in your glass. A fun wine with a perfect balance of bright fruit, smooth texture and a crisp clean finish, those of you Nouveau Hicks who might remember the Portalupi Bianco should pay extra attention to this wine. Like a bit of summer poured into your glass, the Beachfront showcases why this Italianate style of white grape blending is becoming more and more popular!
The 2007 Bedarra Chardonnay ($19) has an exquisite, creamy, custard-like mouthfeel, all while reflecting a well-balanced acidity throughout and a long & lingering finish. Vibrant flavors of lemon, crushed pineapple and baked pear abound. A super value on one of the nicest chardonnays made here in these parts. The 2007 Bedarra Reserve Chardonnay ($29), even thicker and richer, has a refined elegance which might also enhance your appetite. The flavors, less citrus and more créme brulee, are deeply integrated and interwoven. A super match to creamy pasta dishes, chicken or seafood.