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Vineyard 511

From Hollywood to Vine with Vineyard {511}

Adventures in Wine, Food, Film and Travel

Irene Ojdana
 
September 16, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

Calistoga Harvest Table

On Sunday, September 8, the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce presented the 5th annual Calistoga Harvest Table, which was a great success. In fact, Harvest Table has become so popular, that tickets for the event sold out in less than an hour. Eight-foot long tables stretched end-to-end to make one 1000 foot table down the length of its main drag, Lincoln Boulevard. The tables were set with white table cloths and lovely flowers to accommodate 800 guests.

                                                              

Nine participating restaurants served scrumptious meals from amuse bouche to dessert. Ed and I were at the Lovina restaurant's table, where we had a meal highlighted by slow-roasted Niman Ranch NY Strip.

                                                              

Eight bars served 3000 glasses of wine and beer from over 50 participating local wineries a local brewery. Vineyard {511} 2017 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir was available for purchase. It was a beautiful evening, where we made friends with whom we celebrated the bounty of the valley and raised a glass to the 2019 harvest.

 

Time Posted: Sep 16, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
August 23, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

Bordeaux Wine Cruise

The City of Bordeaux was the perfect place to start our Bordeaux wine cruise on the Dordonne and Garrone rivers throughout the region of Bordeaux. But the port City of Bordeaux is not just about the "Bordeaux blend." It's not just about what happens inside that French oak. It's about the old, the history which reflects the legendary land of monumental architecture of the chateaux, and the new; not just the Bordeaux that was a dingy city to pass through with coal-blackenned facades on the way to somewhere else, but now a vibrant and beautiful city in its own right. It was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007 after its crumbling city walls had been taken down and the light let in.

We stayed at the Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel, built where the Roman forum once stood, and where we dined at its celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay restaurant. From our hotel window we saw a sparkling street dominated by the opera house with its grand pillars.

                                             

Of course, Bordeaux is about wine too, reflected in its wine museum, La Cite du Vin, designed by Anouk Legendre and Nicalas Desmazieres. Its shimmering gold aluminum facade resembles the swishing around a wine glass.                        

                                            

We toured the old city ("Vielle Ville"), in the rain. Apparently, it rains a lot in Bordeaux, just as it does in Paris. In fact, Bordeaux reminded me of a little Paris.

                                                                                       

 But the main reason Ed and I were in Bordeaux was to particapate in a "wine lover's cruise" aboard the AMADolce,    

                                           

hosted by friends Peter and Katie Mondavi of Napa Valley's historic Charles Krug Winery to explore the greater Bordeaux region.

Aboard ship, Peter gave several tastings and interesting discussions on board about Bordeaux and Charles Krug wines.

                                           

We even had a blind tasting, comparing Krug and Bordeaux. I preferred the Krug. I guess I'm partial to Napa wines.

Our shore exursions were very interesting. One of the first was to Saint-Emilion AOC (appellation d'original controllee, a government controlled designation of origin, which signifies where grapes are grown, similar to our AVA or American Viticulture Area). We drove through some very lush vineyards with views of stately chateaux,

                                          

and vistited the historic Chateau Soutard for a Grand Cru Classe wine tasting

                                          

in modern vat and barrel rooms replete with sparkling chandeliers.

                                          

On the way to the Sauternes wine region, we visited the historic Roquetaillarde Castle in Mazeres, a fortress initially built in the 10th century by Charlemagne.

                                          

It has been in the same family for 300 years. In fact, the current owner led a tour of the castle and demonstrated how his ancestors could pull up the drawbridge in case of an invasion.

                                         

In Bommes, located in the Sauternes wine appelation, we toured Chateau Guiraud to see how its lovely, sweet Sauternes wine was fermented in underground steel tanks.

                                         

On our last day in Bordeaux, Katie and Peter Mondavi graciously hosted a private winery tour, delicious luncheon and tasting at Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal in the Pauillac appelation. The wine produced there was classified as one of eighteen Cinquiemes Crus in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. It is owned by the Lurton family, involved in Bordeaux wine production since 1820.

                                         

We increased our knowledge of Bordeaux wine and made some new friends on this river cruise; we hope we will meet up with them again soon.

                                         

 

 

                                         

                                         

                                         

 

 

 

 

                                          

                                          

                                          

 

 

 

                                        
 

 

 

                                           

 

 

                                            

 

                                                     

                                               

 

Time Posted: Aug 23, 2019 at 1:52 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
March 12, 2016 | Irene Ojdana

Premiere Napa Valley Barrel Auction

On February 20, Ed and I poured the best of our barrels of our 2013 Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvigon, at the 20th annual Premiere Napa Valley Barrel Auction and Tasting, held at the Culinary Institute of America, in St. Helena. It was our first participation in this exciting event, where 1000 licensed members of the trade gathered to procure wine futures on behalf of their customers through both live and silent E-auctions. Members of the media were also in attendance. In addition to the wine tasting, there was a tasting of delicious artisanal cheese, and a buffet lunch prepared by the Culinary Institute.

Vineyard {511} also participated in Premiere's first online auction with 5 cases of the same 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, which will be bottled in mid-March after having been aged for 30 months in 100% French oak barrels. After another year of aging in the bottle, they will be released in March 2017. Each bottle will be hand-labeled, individually numbered and signed by the winemaker (Rob Lloyd).

The event is an opportunity for Napa Valley vintners to showcase their very special wines, while attendees spend one-on-one time with Napa Valley's noted winemakers and producers. We even had a star sighting of former pro-basketball player Yao Ming, whose winery was represented at the tasting. I couldn't miss him as he towered above absolutely everyone else there!

The 226 lots sold that day raised 5 million dollars for the Napa Valley Vintners Association to support its year-round programs, which benefit Napa Vintners.

We were happy to give up our virgin status after our first participation in this event and look forward to the next one in February 2017!

 

Time Posted: Mar 12, 2016 at 11:00 AM
Irene Ojdana
 
September 23, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

Vineyard {511} Harvest 2015

De-Stemming THe 2015 PickThis year our harvest took place incredibly early--September 14--in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, Ed and I slept through it as our harvesters arrived before 4 am. We did, however, go to Jessep Cellars later in the day (where our wine is made), to watch our grapes be de-stemmed. The process was so interesting as the fork lift grabbed each bin of grapes, lifted them and dumped them in another vat to be manually sorted and then carried along on a mechanized belt to be separated into stems and berries.

The harvest was a bit smaller than we'd hoped, and we heard all the harvests were smaller this year. However, the good news is that the berries are delicious!
 

Time Posted: Sep 23, 2015 at 4:19 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
December 7, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Pouring Vineyard {511} Cab at Flavor Napa Valley and at SF Vintners' Market

Ed and I spent an entire weekend pouring our 2010 Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon, at two wine events--Friday night at Flavor! Napa Valley, at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, formerly the historic Christian Brothers Winery, in St. Helena; and Saturday and Sunday afternoons, at the San Francisco Vintners' Market, at Fort Mason, on the shore of San Francisco Bay, with incredible views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Flavor! Napa Valley's Grand Tasting event, also known as the Appellation Trail, drew over 100 Napa wineries and rock star chefs, such as Michael Chiarello and Thomas Keller. Wineries were grouped by appellation; we were paired with other Diamond Mountain District wineries- Wallis Family Estate (Edward Wallis pouring) and with Schramsburg-- and paired with delectible bites from Chefs Joe Panarello of City Winery, Stephen Barber of Farmstead and with Don Giavanni restaurant. Yum!

Early Saturday morning, we were off on a longer drive to San Francisco, to set up for the Vintners' Market, a wine tasting and buying event that drew over 200 wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Russian River Valley. We chose to pour in the event's Cult Lounge, where only premiere wineries were pouring their wines, such as Chappellet, Lail, Plumbjack, Spring Mountain Vineyards, Twenty-Four by Charles Woodson Wines, and Miner Family. Luckily, daughter Kelly and son-in-law Jeff helped us pour at this two-day, very busy event.

 

Time Posted: Dec 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Irene Ojdana
 
November 22, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Napa Valley Film Festival Tribute Night

On Friday night, Access Hollywood's Billy Bush hosted the Napa Valley Celebrity Tributes to recognize the outstanding achievements of established actors and filmmakers, as well as rising stars. The BVisionary award was presented to screen-icon Kevin Costner (who was introduced by his buddy Bill Paxton), and the Domaine Chandon Rising Star award honored Jeremy Jordon. An additional tribute was presented to Michele Monagan. Before each star came on stage, film clips from many of the actors' films were shown. The number of fabulous films that Kevin produced, directed and always acted in was incredible!

We had actually seen his most recent wonderful film, Black or White, which he both produced and in which he starred, the night before. He played a successful attorney, who has to fight for custody of his African-American granddaughter after his wife is killed in a car crash. He and his late wife had taken care of the little girl since birth after their daughter dies in childbirth.

After the Celebrity Tributes, Ed and I headed over to the etoile restaurant at the winery Domaine Chandon, in Yountville, where patrons of the Festival toasted the honorees at a private dinner. Ed and I were so lucky to be seated next to Kevin Costner and his beautiful wife Christine Baumgartner. Kevin was charming and extremely articulate about subjects diverse as hunting, vegetarianism, drugs, football, family, and film.

The dinner of Maine Lobster Bisque, paired with etoile Rose; Braised Short Rib, paired with Domaine Chandon Cabernet Sauvigon, Mt. Veeder 2010; and Honey Olive Cake, paired with Chandon Delice; was terrific too.

Truly a night to remember!

Time Posted: Nov 22, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
October 24, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Vineyard 511 Harvest Party

Vineyard {511} celebrated its harvest of 2014 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon with a harvest party for its esteemed customers. Napa Valley Crust rolled up in a  vintage 1946 truck in mint condition repleat with the hottest of hot pizza oven, from which NV Crust owners Betty and Aldo Nunez made and served delicious salads,  caprese skewer appetizers, and pizza topped with the freshest produce and specialty meats from Fatted Calf and others, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, tomatoes, fresh basil and spinach, baby arugula, roasted corn and veggies and on and on. Chef Irene added to the menu with her specialty appetizers: crinkle potato chips topped with  nova scotia lox and creme fraiche, and deviled eggs; and for dessert Itsit ice cream bars, strawberries and cream and cookies. And all afternoon we poured our 2010 Vineyard {511} Cabernet Sauvignon and our winemaker Rob Lloyd's 2012 Chardonnay. Yum!

A highlight of the afternoon was a drawing for a 3-bottle vertical of Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon in a wooden box. Newlywed Rita Burris was the lucky winner!

Check out these harvest party pictures courtesy of Jeff Nicola and Joe Schmitt:  Vineyard {511} 2014 Harvest Party

 

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2014 at 8:45 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
September 25, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

2014 Harvest by Moonlight

Thursday night (Sept 18), we watched as vineyard workers harvested our grapes at 9:00 pm. That was the first time since our first harvest in 2008 that the harvest was done at night. Although the moon and stars were out, it was the flood lights reflecting off of the workers (who also had night lights on their heads), that made this harvest a ghostly experience. 

Of course, it wouldn't have been the successful harvest that it was, had it not been for our 21-month old grandson, Ian, checking to see if the grapes were ready for harvest. He had the magic touch.

Time Posted: Sep 25, 2014 at 11:51 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
September 25, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Napa Valley Film Festival Parties in a Silicon Valley Mansion

On November 11, the Napa Valley Film Festival gave Silicon Valley a first look at what the Festival has in store November 12-16, 2014. This preview party was held at the Morgan Estate, in Los Altos Hills, CA, an incredible mansion, that looked like it belonged to an English duke. Festival Founders Brenda and Marc Lhormer presented a preview of the 2014 Festival program and a taste of the Patron Circle experience with rare library wines from Napa and Bordeaux by Benchmark Wine Group, hand-crafted cocktails by Scott Beattie of Meadowood Napa Valley, and mouth-watering cuisine from Estate Events by Meadowood.

As a special bonus, filmaker Kelly Cox presented an excerpt from her new film Big Dream, which explores the lives of young women who've been inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Big Dream will have its world premiere at this year's Festival in November and show in Napa Valley high schools.

News Flash: the Festival's Celebrity Tribute honoree will be none other than Kevin Costner, who brings his provocative new film Black and White to screen on Thursday, November 13, and will participate in the post-screening Q&A with director Mike Binder. On Friday, Billy Bush (who MC'd the evening's program), will host a wide-ranging conversation with Kevin avout his career as actor, director, producer. Following the Celebrity Tributes, Patrons will continue the celebration at Jean-Charles Boisset's Raymond Vineyards. Mike Myers is also attending the Festival with Shep Gordon, super talent agent and subject of Mike's hilarious and touching documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Also screening at the Festival is The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her & Him, starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, and Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, which just won the Toronto Film Festival Audience Award.

Hope to see you at this year's marvelous festival!

(Billy Bush Photo: Courtesy of Napa Valley Film Festival)

Time Posted: Sep 25, 2014 at 11:15 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
September 25, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Dinner for 700 in Calistoga

Calistoga Harvest TableCan you imagine a dinner for 700 people stretching a quarter of a mile down the main drag of Calistoga? Well, wonder no more. On Sunday evening, September 7th, Ed and I were invited by our generous nextdoor neighbors, Suzie and Norm Kiken, of the wonderful Reverie Winery (first two on left in photo), to the Calistoga Harvest Table. The event was sponsored by the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce, and the table stretched all the way down Lincoln Boulevard, which was closed to vehicle traffic.

Fifteen fine restaurants along Lincoln Boulevard sold tickets to a fixed-price dinner, at the table situated in front of that restaurant. We dined at Brannan's, where executive chef Rob Lam (also the executive chef at Butterfly, on the Embarcadero, in San Francisco), provided an over-the-top delicious meal with four starters (my favorite being Tory Farms peach salad), four platters of main dishes (my favorite being seafood paella topped with soft-shell crab), and a decadent dessert of warm chocolate pot de creme, consisting of Vietnamese coffee and five spice chantilly. We were drinking Rombauer 2013 Chardonnay and the Flowers 2012 Pinot Noir, both of which went well with the delicious meal.

We hope this classy outdoor happening becomes an annual event!

(Photo: Calistoga Tribune)

Time Posted: Sep 25, 2014 at 11:14 PM