Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Silver Trident Winery

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley - Intimate Micro-Experiences in the World of Wine, Food, and the Art of Relaxation (PART TWO)

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

Yesterday I wanted wine.
Today I’m drinking wine.
Follow your dreams…
And drink up bitches!!!

Sip sip hooray!!!  Part Two of our FAB trip through Napa Valley (and a big shout out to Beau Wine Tours for helping plan out all these AMAZING winery adventures!!!)

So here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and Cabernet all day, everyday in Napa Valley!!!


Returning to the hustle and bustle of Yountville (or what Napa Valley calls hustle and bustle...), we were greeted at Silver Trident Winery by the glowing Mallory.  Intimate and inviting, Silver Trident Winery has appointment only wine tastings in their beautifully warm Tuscan-style stone building.  Their “Tasting Home” consists of a living room, dining room and library, all furnished with Ralph Lauren Home.  There’s no tasting bar, no standing on your feet, no rush, at all.  Crafting small production wines (2-3k cases per year) created in the heart of the Napa Valley, Silver Trident Winery has the catchphrase of: “Big Personality, Small Production.  Endless Passion.”

Along with working at Silver Trident Winery, Mallory runs Vine Living blog, so she give us the skinny on it all!  She explained to Kelly and I that Silver Trident Winery is the passion project of Bob Binder, cofounder of Oceania Cruises.  Binder helped make this luxury cruise line’s food and beverage program one of the finest at sea, collaborating along the way with such food luminaries as Jacques Pépin, Bon Appétit, and Wine Spectator.  Binder resides in Napa with his partner Walter Jost.  Mallory gushed, “they are the nicest sweetest men.”  In 2009 Binder and Jost decided to made 100 cases Cabernet.  The next year they added 100 cases of Pinot Noir.

They opened their “Tasting Home” in 2012, with a whole new approach to wine pairing: great wines with the world-class home decor of Ralph Lauren.  In the past, the iconic fashion company had crafted Ralph Lauren Home-furnished suites on two of Oceanic largest ships.  These 2,500-square-foot suites, with their ebony baby grand pianos and mahogany and quartzite bars, were specifically decorated to “capture the feeling of Ralph Lauren’s passions for sailing, adventure, and travel."  While working with Ralph Lauren Home, Binder learned the company was looking for an opportunity to open a northern California showroom. That got him to thinking about the possibility of offering wine tasting in a home setting.

Wine tasting in the town of Yountville is a unique experience because the Yountville Town Council requires wine tasting rooms in town to use at least 25% of their floor space for retail sales of items other than wine.  You will find wine tasting rooms in town that also include wine accessories, artwork, antiques, and even cookware (shoutout to our friends at Hestan!).  So when it came to the decorating of Silver Trident’s “Tasting Home,” Binder and Jost decided to utilize the luxury home master once again! ;-)

To continue the concept of the “Tasting Home,” Silver Trident collaborated with chef Sarah Scott to create food pairings for each of their five wines (since homes traditionally serve food…). Sarah has been cooking in the Napa Valley since the early 1980s and has developed a talent for food and wine pairings.  She is the co-author of a cookbook with Connie Green titled The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food.  Noshes we sampled at Silver Trident include: Herbed Labneh and Goat Cheese, Mushroom Duxelle, and Piquillo Pimento Cheese Spread.  Yummm (with 3Ms!!!)!

Some wine favorites from our time at Silver Trident Winery include:                  

  • Apollo's Folly Rosé (2017) Complex, yet ready to play!  Ripe red raspberry and watermelon make this “Paris, in the 1920s, in a glass.”  Sipping this Rosé was the perfect compliment to the black and white photography of Tunbridge Gallery throughout the Silver Trident’s “Tasting Home.”  Classically clean, it knows what it wants.
  • Benevolent Dictator Pinot Noir (2015) Classic Russian River Pinot Noir with flavorings of cherry, cola, and pomegranate.  All aged in French Oak, 40% of it new.  A great fireside wine with a calico cat in your lap!
  • Playing With Fire (2015)  A red that changes every year… because Silver Trident is a small winery they consider this their take some chances, break some rules, and play with fire.  Remember how your parents always told you never to play with fire?  And remember how that just made it a little bit more exciting?  Silver Trident chooses a variety of berries, a variety of barrel toasts, and experiments with fermentation temperatures.  Playing with fire can spark some deliciously thrilling results (and create my favorite wine at their “Tasting Home.)”

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Turkey Ho! Giving Thanks for the Sandbox Cafe in Surf City, NJ

Turkey Ho!

Edible Skinny was LUCKY enough to attend an AMAZING Thanksgiving dinner this year at the Sandbox Cafe in Surf City, NJ!!!

There we were treated to a FREE, and YES you read that right FREE Thanksgiving dinner! The Sandbox Cafe for the last three years has opened up their doors to anyone who wants a FREE dinner!

It all started in 2016 with a simple post: “Think you have no place to go for Thanksgiving dinner?  Well, you're wrong.  Head over to the Sandbox Cafe in Surf City and have a free Thanksgiving dinner from the owners and staff of the restaurant at the 14th Street and beach.”  That first year they had 40 guest attend. 

Well in the last three years their numbers have escalated!  In 2017, the second year, their number more than quadrupled to 170 guests.  In 2018 the Sandbox Cafe served 250 FREE Thanksgiving dinners!

From those who might not have family in town to those who is bank accounts might not have been large enough to make a proper Thanksgiving dinner the Sandbox Cafe welcomed their arms to all.

Our hodgepodge group of four ended up at their doors because my Mom, Letty Thomas, will be moving across country in a few weeks to California; all of the kitchen supplies had already been packed leading to a non-existent turkey dinner...

And so we were greeted by a sign on Thanksgiving Day that brought a cheerful moment of thanks:

    Everyone at the Sandbox Cafe is Our Family….
    ...A Heart Felt Welcome to Our Thanksgiving Feast
    ... As a Community and Family Relax and Enjoy!

And then we feasted, feasted, and more feasted…  Our meal consisted of a soup or salad course, a dinner full plate of turkey meat, stuffing, green beans, glaze carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, followed by an array of different dessert choices (we made the most intelligent decision and decided on one of each).

The Sandbox Cafe has evolved to be a true community adventure with each portion of the meal donated by another local restaurant and/or business.  Other local establishments that got in on the action included: Shore Fire Grill (Cornbread Stuffing), Herb, Cheryl, Armstrong and Ocean Spray (Home Cranberry Sauce), ScoJo’s (Butternut Squash), Country Kettle Fudge (Oyster Crackers), Wallys (Potatoes), Greenhouse Cafe (Vegetable Medley), Kaiser-Din Foundation (Apple and Pumpkin Pies), Wod Hod (Ice Cream), along with Lee Farms, Silveri & Sons, and Tom LoBianco of U.S. Foods.  

AND along with the serving the meal completely for FREE, the Sandbox Cafe had a donation box to help the hungry through Saint Francis Community Center’s Food Pantry.  Talk about celebrating the community in all forms!

So let’s give thanks to the Sandbox Cafe and all the great work they’ve done for the community! ;-)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Off The Beaten Path

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Off The Beaten Path

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“God is in the details.”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

After Kelly’s and my time with Nana and Danielle, our treehouse picnic lunch arrived.  It was the perfect autumn al fresco dining adventure, tailored (pun intended) by Stephanie Brown of Off The Beaten Path, a styling, planning, and catering company that focuses on the natural beauty of Napa. 

Off The Beaten Path focuses on al fresco farm-to-table dining using only locally sourced seasonally inspired product.  They celebrate quintessential wine country celebrations in nature set between the earth and sky, such as a farm, vineyard, private home, or even a mountain top. 

Kelly and my scrumptious meal included fabulous dishes such as classic charcuterie of meats, cheese, and marinated olives, a fall corn tomato salad with basil and balsamic dressing, and an amazing crunchy creamy

cucumber avocado salad (THE BEST!!!)!

Everything is locally sourced, even the flowers in the arrangements.  Chef Lori Glad is the picnic expert, even growing a lot of the ingredients used in their catering.  For picnic simplicity.  Off The Beaten Path’s offerings are primarily family style foods.  “We focus on the experience by making the meal visual and fun as well as the best food you will ever eat.  We are approachable foodies who know the importance of amazing food!”  

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Taylor Family Vineyards

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Taylor Family Vineyards

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“God is in the details.”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

The next winery Titus chauffeured us to was Taylor Family Vineyards, home of the tagline: three generations, one passion.  There we sat down for a “Family Meal” of wine and cheese at the family’s “Treehouse” with Pat “Nana” Taylor (Grandmother) and Danielle (Granddaughter).  Like every family there were some strong opinions: “Nana believes Chardonnay is the Fountain of Youth,” was one of the first statements out of Daniel’s mouth! ;-)

The Taylor Family has deep roots in the Napa Valley, as their Patriarch, Jerry Taylor was a fifth generation Napa Valley farmer.  Their story began when Pat and Jerry Taylor (who were married for 59 years) purchased the estate in (what would become) the Stags Leap District in 1976.  They knew they had picked the right location when Lillian Disney (Walt Disney’s widow) bought the property right next to them.  The original vineyard was planted by their family in 1980.  Pat and Jerry sold their grapes to various wineries before becoming Vintners.

In 2002, their daughter, Sandy and her husband, Phil, approached them about starting a winery.  Jerry Taylor told her that he would be happy to grow the grapes and drink the wine, if she would do everything in between.  Sandy found those terms more than agreeable, and at that point, Taylor Family Vineyards was born.  “We planted all the originals vines by hand, immersed in the dirt and rocks.”

Transitioning from Farmers to Vintners was a huge change.  For the family, it has been a wonderful change, as it allows three generations of Taylor’s to work together.  In the beginning, Sandy ran the winery by herself, relying on her background as a controller in the wine industry and occasional support of her family.  Today, Sandy works with her Mom (Pat), her husband (Phil), her brother (Mike), her son (Tyler), and her daughter (Danielle).  Working for the winery is the second career for all family members involved.  Taylor Family Vineyards is truly a family business.  Their winery is completely family operated, with no non-family employees, but they do not have a professional winemaker in their family and are honored to work with their two consulting winemakers, Gustavo Brambila and Kristy Melton.  

The ultimate boutique wine, Taylor Family Winery produces only 2,000 cases a year.  Because all their sales are through their wine club, they know that every member has had a direct connection to a member of their family.  This one degree connection translates to a devout brand loyalty: their Rosé sold out within 2 hours of them posting it online.  “Our customers consider themselves extensions of our family, they use our wines for special occasions and tag us in it,” noted Danielle.

Which is true even of the Thomas Gals as we used their Five, Six, Seven to celebrate our first family dinner the day after Kelly got married to Omid! ;-)

Some favorites from our time at Taylor Family Vineyards include:

  • Hillside Chardonnay (2016) “People look down on Chardonnay, but it’s all that Nana drinks.”  Rich with bright acidity this wine is 100% Chardonnay.  A Hipster Chardonnay, it’s the one that everyone wants to be drinking.  Friendly with notes of green apples and cloves.  Not oakey, not steely, but where balance is the key.   
  • Five, Six, Seven (2015) A family favorite that represents the five generations of the Taylor Family.  A blend of varietals (Cabernet, Cab Franc, and Petit Syrah) and families.  When making this wine every year, the entire family sits down with the winemakers to decide the perfect blend of varietals that makes their family’s representation in a bottle.  This wine with it’s bright plum fruit speaks of lip perfect underage wisdom.  The metal industrial labels are hand applied (to 90 cases individually...).  
  • Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (2014) Their Flagship wine from the hillsides of their family estate in the Stags Leap District.  Luminous notes of Blackberry and Cocoa Powder, it’s flavors dancing with brilliance. 
Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Monday, November 19, 2018

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Hestan Vineyards

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Hestan Vineyards

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“God is in the details.”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Our first sipping adventure of the day was Hestan Vineyards, at their tasting room in Yountville.  Hestan Vineyards is a family-owned estate on the eastern slopes of the Napa Valley.  Their carefully-tended 110 acres are blanketed with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec producing 5,500 cases per year. 

At the door we were met by Michelle, an Australian expat getting her wine ya ya's out in the Valley and Grant, a self proclaimed “Cork Dork.”  Hestan Vineyards was born from the culinary passion of Stanley Cheng and his wife, Helen. Hestan is an amalgamation of Helen and Stan’s names (like Brangelina, but with the marriage intact..).  Stanley pioneered hard-anodized cookware in the 1970s.  The Meyer Corporation produces high-end, heavy-duty, customizable appliance from breakfast to back-of-house to the backyard.  “If you see him, please thank him for me,” pipped Kelly.

Taken together, Meyer affiliate factories comprise the world’s second largest cookware manufacturing operation, producing over 100 cookware lines distributed in over 30 countries.  The factories employ more than 6,400 people, manufacturing more than 42 million pans per year on average.  Retail partners include William Sonoma and Rachel Ray while the commercial side includes the cooktop grills at French Laundry and Bouchon.

For Hestan, their wine labels are a side hustle passion project.  Winemakers Jeff Gaffner and Thomas Rivers Brown translate these varietals into award-winning, limited-release wines for the Hestan, Meyer, and Stephanie labels.  Each has different techniques: Thomas Rivers Brown (whose name sounds like a country music jam band) who creates the Hestan and Meyer lines, is a purist who does believe in any blending.  In the past 15 years Brown has made more than 25 wines that have received perfect scores from Robert Parker Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. (He’s not sure of the exact number, which seems in character for this laid-back Southerner..).  Winemaker Jeff Gaffner fully embraces the art of mixing varietals crafting the two labels named after Stan and Helen’s children: Stephanie (their only daughter) and Vincent Christopher (named after their two boys).. 

As Grant pointed out, wine is the opposite of food, the grapes don’t lie.  They can’t be covered over with spices.  Most crucial decision is how to pick in that 48 hour window.  And the person in charge of that decision and everything else is Angel Camarena, who has overseen the viticulture at Hestan Vineyards since planting the first vines in 1996.  Since then he has personally overseen every aspect of vineyard development and maintenance, in addition to managing the balance of the estate's 237-acre ranch property.

Angel is appropriately named!  Living on the property since the vines were planted, last year he fought the Napa/Sonoma wildfires like a captain going down with the ship.  Three times the cops came to remove Angel from the Hestan property for his safety and all three times he hid from in the vines he’d known for over twenty years ago.  Angel saved the Hestan Vineyards (and neighbor’s property) that night.  This year when his daughter got into an Ivy League school, Stan reciprocated by telling him not to worry about paying the bill!

Some of our favorite moments at Hestan included the wines:

  • Hestan Chardonnay (2011)  Citrusy lightly oaked Chardonnay brought straight from the mouth of San Francisco Bay.  Clean and crisp, this wine is a tightrope of buttery and bright.  It’s plaid J. Crew shorts and a white yacht club sail.  Perfect late September picnic vibes.  Oh, and it’s been served at the White House 3 times now!
  • Vincent Christopher Pinot Noir (2015) Valentine’s Day in a glass!  Hestan’s only non-estate wine grown on the Sonoma Coast at a 1200 foot elevation.  It’s a Pinot that drinks like a Cab.  This wine walks into a room quietly and soon becomes the most desired talked about guest.  This wine sits and speaks with you; knowing your secrets in a most tender beautiful way.
  • Hestan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (2014) This is a November campfire wine, a “opulent and Hedonist” drink.  Hestan’s Flagship Cab., it received 96 points by Robert Parker Wine Advocate.  With triple black fruit flavors, it’s Edgar Allen Poe in a bottle, full of dark velvet and echoing beauty.  
Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at


Friday, November 16, 2018

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley - Intimate Micro-Experiences in the World of Wine, Food, and the Art of Relaxation

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley - Intimate Micro-Experiences in the World of Wine, Food, and the Art of Relaxation (PART ONE)

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“God is in the details.”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

NAPA!  One single word and so many images come to mind.  A kaleidoscope of intimate micro experiences in the world of wine, food, and the art of relaxation.  “The most delectable wine I ever tried was in a tasting room in Napa at...:”  “The best meal of my life was this one night at French Laundry…”  “I went there for a weekend of wine tasting and never left the Valley...”  These are stories you hear from each individual person you encounter along the Silverado Trail...

About of a month ago my ES partner in crime Kelly Grace Thomas and I drove up to the Valley to celebrate her impending nuptials, hunting for those micro experiences.  The immersive wine and food stories that inspired the Thomas Gals to become a food writers in the first place! 

And with 400 wineries with tasting rooms in the Napa Valley (600+ if you include Sonoma) you can definitely get lost in the details....  Kelly and I chose (guided by the AMAZING Beau Wine Tours) locally petite experiences (no parking lots with tour buses for us).  These experiences were as cherished as you get, every winery adventure we encountered produced 10,000 cases or less. 

Intimate experiences are the heart and soul of the Valley (these people are essentially simple farmers... in some of the most expensive real estate in the world).  And to focus on their stories properly, this tale is split into multiple posts.  It’s just that big of a tale for the Thomas Gals!

So here’s to life being delicious, all your stories being postcard worthy, and “the most delectable wine I ever tried was in a tasting room in Napa at...:”

Our morning began by meeting our driver, Titus, from Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service in front of the Mount View Hotel in Calistoga (but more on that in the next article...).  Our tasting adventures were also curated by Beau, who provides private Napa and Sonoma wine tasting tour experiences that are unique to each client’s taste and wine preferences for the past two decades. 

Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service long-lasting relationships with vintners and winemakers in this region are the key to unlocking exclusive access to the road less traveled.  Whether a wine novice, or an experienced collector, Beau Wine Tours custom tailors the right tour for their guest (and they did a FAB job as you’ll see throughout this article).  It’s ABSOLUTELY these personal experiences and one-on-one connection that sets them apart!

As their guest, Beau Wine Tours pampered us with their signature chauffeur services.  Because a driver is a necessary part of experiencing Napa when imbibing glass upon glass of Chardonnay to Cabernet! ;-)

Gliding up and down the Silverado Trail from the boutique wineries of Yountville to the silky smooth Cabernets of Stags Leap District to the jammy fruit flavors of Calistoga we got to know the Valley inside and out!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Cannabis and Cabernet - The Marriage of Weed and Wine in Napa Valley

Cannabis and Cabernet - The Marriage of Weed and Wine in Napa Valley

By Kat Thomas, The Green Light District

Welcome to Art of Relaxation!  Napa Valley is famed for its dedication to leisure through its 400 wineries with tasting rooms in the Valley (600+ if you include Sonoma), 50 restaurants, 125 lodging properties, outdoor activities, events, and art galleries.  And in the last few months, Napa has expanded its enjoyment wheelhouse to include the ability to get cannabis delivered right to your door. 

There are no marijuana dispensaries in Napa County, but starting in August, the delivery only dispensary, Napa Valley Fumé, teamed up with Eaze, an online platform that lets people order marijuana products, allowing for cannabis within minutes of ordering.  Eaze was launched in 2014, but since it relies on local dispensaries to distribute and deliver products, it hadn’t served the main wine growing region of the United States of America (and one of the major wine regions of the world) till this partnership started.

Napa Valley has a fabled legacy of international renown, yet it is one of the smallest wine growing regions in the world; they produce just four percent of California’s wine grape harvest.  But that doesn’t stop the 3.5 million visitors per year from embracing Napa’s slow down lifestyle.  And now they’re able to slow down on another level with pre-rolls, vape cartridges, and edibles delivered right to their door.  

“There’s no actual dispensaries in Napa County,” notes Sheena Shiravi, Director of Consumer Communications at Eaze.  “Before Eaze started deliveries to Napa, Valley visitors and residents had to drive an hour to the closest dispensary.”  But now, cannabis can be headed to any private residence and hotel rooms (but not wineries) with just a few clicks on the app.

Elissa Hagopian Hambrecht, the COO of Napa Valley Fumé, couldn’t be happier.  “We really feel like the stars have aligned.  Both myself and Eric Sklar, Napa Valley Fumé CEO are recovered Vintners.  We bring 30-40 years experience of wine and hospitality to the world of Napa cannabis.  And we’re thoroughly happy to be ensconced in this new industry.”

Hambrecht has had two wine industry leadership roles: she was co-CEO of Belvedere Winery and later she was a VP at, leading the winery partnerships program.  She has over twenty five years of experience launching and operating both proprietary businesses and partnerships.  “Napa Valley Fumé is all about the world of top end Napa cannabis.”

“20% of Californians shop the black market for cannabis,” states Shiravi.  “So for everyone trying to push the legalization of cannabis, having Eaze come to wine country is one step closer to normalizing the marriage of weed and wine.”  “There’s a fun and educational path in front of consumers with a huge learning curve ahead,” notes Hambrecht.  “I’m a serial startup girl so getting rid of black market is what we’re all about.”

Napa Valley Fumé has a delivery only dispensary license (versus the license that allows for a brick and mortar building) located in Lake County approximately 40 minutes North of Calistoga.  They then use Eaze as a partner to distribute to their product to Napa Valley.  Eaze is not allowed to deliver to federal government building, schools, youth oriented addresses, but anyone else is open game!  “That’s the magic of Eaze as your delivery service,” chimes in Hambrecht.

And very soon cannabis, won’t just be delivered to Napa, it’s been grown there too!  “Napa is the premier agricultural region in the country,” notes Hambrecht, “we have better terroir than anyone one else there.”  And according to Hambrecht this includes the famed Humboldt county.  “Humboldt is great for hiding cannabis, not growing it.”  And Napa’s cannabis growing future is terroir dependent as the powers that be are pushing forward an ordinance that only allows for only the outdoor growing of cannabis in Napa Valley (no indoor grow rooms for this wine region). 

But how do psychologically marry weed and wine?  How do appease the fears of 400 wineries with tasting rooms in the Valley (600+ if you include Sonoma), that cannabis is going to kick wine to the curb?  Well one way is to get a bunch of people in the wine industry involved! Hambrecht is also a board member of the Napa Valley Cannabis Association, a 501c3, similar in concept to the Napa Valley Vintners Association  “It’s a who’s who of well established vintners on the board: Stephanie Honig is the CEO, Robert Mondavi is member too.  Everyone is very excited to cultivate here in Napa Valley!”

And there’s potential for everyone as the footprint for growing cannabis is much smaller than that of grapes.  That being said, the Napa Valley Cannabis Association is “Very Anti” to the concept of pulling grapes out of the ground to plant marijuana.  “We’re additive, not subtractive,” continues Hambrecht.  Plus cannabis test restrictions block the two plants from growing right next to each other.  “You can’t plant cannabis near the grapes because of drafting of sulfite sprays.  If you were to grow marijuana near the grapes you wouldn’t pass the state required lab testing.”

But what about a future where you can pull out your vape pen at a winery?  Don’t expect that to happen anytime soon as California does not allow cannabis and wine on the same premise.  But in these early days of the marriage of weed and wine, Eaze and Fumé will help shoulder the ability to embrace cannabis in Napa Valley and beyond.  Eaze recently expanded their wine region delivery area to include Sonoma County as well.  And with that in mind, they encourage you to indulge, both with both cannabis and Cabernet. 

Kat Thomas is the Co-Owner of The Green Light District, a Las Vegas/Los Angeles Cannabis entertainment company. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres - ES PASO ROBLES

By Kat Thomas, Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

We finished off our second night of tasting of wine tasting in Paso at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres.  

Tucked into the beautiful hills of the Paso Robles Wine Country, on 20 acres of vineyards and olive and fruit trees, this European-style retreat is the first of its kind by the Ayres family, who has run a thriving Ayres Hotel chain throughout Southern California since 1904. 
The property is a world unto itself with 171 guest rooms and suites, a wine bar featuring the resort's own private wine label among many others, full-service spa, pool, manicured gardens, walking paths, medieval-style Abbey, hundreds of antiques, 12,000-square-foot courtyard.  The space, a passion project of world traveler Doug Ayres, includes inspired vignettes of art that emphasize the world of sacred geometry.  Antiques and artifacts from across the globe and the ages, including a five-foot stone polished to a beautiful sheen after tumbling in a river in India for 5,000 years; a towering Siddhartha statue from India; and a massive cross-section from a Sequoia tree whose rings date back to before the building of the Great Wall of China and the birth of Christ.
Allegretto was named for the Italian musical command, which is an indication to play quickly and with joy.  And it is with this happiness that we sampled four Allegretto Estate Wines.  One of my favorites was the Tannat, Bella Collina Vineyard, 2013 (since this is one of my personal favorite varietals).  With a nose of cinnamon and anise, and a palate of cherries and earth this wine makes you feel like your drinking terra firma.  Another wine we cherished was their Zinfandel, Loma Linda Vineyard 2013.  A “waltzing wine” it flaunts its palate turns of White Peppers, Blackberries, and Blueberries
We continued the gastronomic festivities at Allegretto’s restaurant: Cello Ristorante & Bar, a culinary getaway that “celebrates the Allegretto culture of joy, discovery and the good life.”  A farm to fork dining adventure that focuses on Northern Italian cuisine.  We started our meal out with some fantastic cocktails.   I dabbled in a Gold Fashioned, a modern day take on the Old Fashioned composed of Eagle Rare Bourbon, Benedictine Liqueur, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Essence, and actual Gold.   Kelly had the Paso R&R concocted of Re:Find Cucumber Vodka, Rhubarb Simple, Lime Juice, Rose Bitters, and Champagne.  The poet remarked, “It tastes like an acceptance letter to Harvard.”

We then perused the menu for some items from Executive Chef Eric Olson to nosh on while we were biding our time for the sun to set.   Between bits of a Burrata Martini, with all the classic highlights of heirloom tomatoes, Burrata, and Balsamic Vinegar and a Butter Leaf Lettuce Salad with Thyme Seared Day Boat Scallops, Morro Bay Avocado, Mango, Pickled Sushi Ginger, topped with a Creamy Eberle Chardonnay Reduction Dressing.  Trés Yummm, with 3 Ms!

After a sunset stroll of the grounds we returned to Cello our main meals.   I delighted in my Foraged Mushroom including Eggplant, Shallots, Leeks, Garlic, Italian Parsley, Shaved Truffle Cheese, and a contrasting Winter Salad topping it all off.  It was like eating the coziness of a winter sweater.   Our dining companion dived into the Crab Spaghetti which included Snow Crab Claws, Sliced Jalapenos, and Minced Scallions, Lemon, Allegretto Viognier Butter.  
Allegretto was the Pièce de résistance on a trip that allowed us to explore the expansive evolution of this burgeoning wine region.  Paso has now become a wine space that people are taking note of, in 2016 Paso Robles named Best Wine Region in the West by Sunset Magazine.
So if you’re looking for an escapes only four hours away from Los Angeles (or San Francisco), hop in that car and start heading towards your getaway.