Thursday, May 27, 2010
Touring the Malibu Family Wines' "Taste of the Tour"
I was lucky enough to attend that Taste of the Tour (that being the Amgen Tour a bike race which rides through the Conejo Valley for those who are not sure what tour they are referring to, which was me up until the time I arrived at the event…) at Malibu Family Wines last weekend. Turns out the Amgen Tour is the biggest cycling event this country, Lance Armstrong (the only name I know in cycling, hey the only name most of us know in cycling) was there riding with Team RadioShack. And that wasn't the only thing I was ignorant about.
Now I knew there were vineyards in Malibu, but truthfully I was thinking that they were little rinky-dink tasting rooms. So now I am totally eating crow. I was, definitely, a little out of the loop on this one because I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of Malibu Family Wines (not to be confused with Malibu Wines, yeah it's confusing...) breathtaking location. You definitely don’t have to go to Santa Barbara to experience wine country because believe it or not it lives in the heart of Malibu.
Malibu Family Wines hosted the Taste of the Tour at their 1,000-acre Saddlerock Ranch Estate. Along with 60,000 vines of grapes on 65 acres (with varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Malbec, Grenache, Mouvedre and Viognier) this estate has extensive horse pastures and exotic animals (they’ve got Buffalo, Camels, Zebras, Llamas, and Peacocks to name a few). Let’s just say that it’s not surprising that along with making wine, and boarding horses, they do a booming (booming!) wedding business.
The Taste of the Tour featured wines from Malibu Family Wines' vineyards, Saddlerock and Semler, and a bevy of booths from restaurants in the Ventura area. I ended up making the tale end of the event so I wasn’t able to sample as much of the food offerings I was would have cared to (although the Saddle Peak Lodge sure makes a mean (and by mean I mean a refreshing light for a hot summer day) Sweet Pea and Peekytoe Crab Soup.)
Luckily a few food booths pushed through right till the end, including the wonderful Novy Ranch Grass-Fed Angus Beef. As someone who tries to avoid the corn-fed factory-farmed meat, I was in heaven. All of their beef is grass-fed free-range with no antibiotics or growth hormones. In layman’s terms: beef as it was supposed to be eaten. The lovely people of Novy Ranch were offering out samples of their New York Strip, their Pepperoni Sticks, and their Sausages.
All were great tasting, but the New York Strip was definitely the highlight. Dusted with just a tad of pepper the steak was lean (grass fed is pretty much always going to be leaner than corn fed) but still had a deliciously round flavor in my mouth. I highly recommend checking them out!
Another end of the event treat I was able to sneak in was Olive Oil Ice Cream drizzled with their Balsamic Vinegar from the people of the We Olive, Venture Store. We Olive is one of the premier retailers of California extra virgin olive oil in the US with 8 retail outlets throughout California. The Ice Cream was uber-creamy (most definitely helped by the fat molecules in the Olive Oil) which contrasted perfectly with the sweet tangy taste of the Balsamic Vinegar.
Luckily was able to get my hands on one of the last glasses of Saddlerock Rose. Crisp and cool with hints of watermelon it was the absolute perfect wine for a summer day.
Grass-fed Beef, Olive Oil Ice Cream, and a glass of Rose, it was the perfect celebration for my now absolute favorite bike tour!
Explore. Think. Eat
The Edible Skinny