Summer means warm weather, fresh produce and happy, vitamin-D-energized people all throughout the Alexander Valley. Let me share some great tasting experiences, perfect for the season, that go beyond the typical wine and food pairings usually associated with an American Viticultural Area.
For those of you who have followed along with my pairings, it is quite clear the genuine love I have for Geyserville. One of my staples there is Geyserville Mud. At Geyserville Mud, I was introduced to how coffee really should taste—with their specialty cold-pressed coffee made with Thanksgiving Coffee. The difference is that cold-pressed coffee takes much longer and the result is a concentrated amount of liquid that extracts the nutty, sweet notes of the coffee bean, allowing even those who regularly sweeten their coffee to take it black.
Hooked on this summer delight, I was excited to hear that now I can enjoy it with waffles on the weekends! The waffles are made in house and are served with either fresh strawberries or caramelized bananas. I personally prefer the caramelized bananas atop the waffles, alongside that cold pressed coffee to wash it down. The tables out front (if available) make for the ideal setting to people watch.
Is it noon yet? Somewhere it must be, so I like to pretend I’m in Italy and head to Diavola where it’s never too early to have a wonderful red house wine called Hawkes and produced by Alexander Valley winery especially for Diavola. I pair this “jug” Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend with Dino’s (the chef/owner) salami and cheese platter. Diavola uses the “cucina povera” practice in the kitchen; it is like a small village mentality—they use locally grown and produced ingredients, recipes that have proven to be well-mastered and delicious, and nothing is wasted. Locals and visitors alike flock to Diavola for this perfect palate-pleasing duo.
An Alexander Valley classic is the Jimtown Store. Centrally located in the heart of the beautiful valley, positioned next to several family owned wineries, it provides a 360-degree view of vineyards.
Jimtown has this incredibly moist chocolate-chip bread pudding that they top with a house-made dulce de leche whipped cream. I pair this tasty treat with a decanted Estate Grown Zinfandel from Starlite Vineyards. This combo is a wonderful treat after a long day: feet up, comfies on, under the stars on a warm summer eve—pure bliss.
Now my summer forays with Alexander Valley’s finest would be far from complete if I failed to mention the super-fabulous fact that there is now a pool in the area, at Coppola Winery. It can be quite difficult to make a reservation (they book up fast), but if by chance I am able to get a seat by their pool, I jump on it. For $20 I can be poolside in Alexander Valley and be treated like royalty. They have their poolside café for the appetite, but the way to go is cocktail service! I enjoy a traditional Tanqueray and tonic with a splash of bitters. The bitters add a bit of an herbal note, perfect with the juniper taste.
Wherever the journey takes us, the sure thing is this: senses will be pleased with tantalizing dishes and drinks, the people are friendly, the views spectacular and the pairings will be perfect.
I love Alexander Valley.
Article written for Sonoma Discoveries Magazine