Springtime Brews Up New Vistas 22 Mar 2014, 8:21 am
In the Wine Country
Every weekday about a quarter past five throughout the Napa Valley local bars start to fill up with thirsty vineyard workers who order…beer.
While it may seem strange that beer be flowing freely in Napa, the truth is that beer has serious roots in the area, starting with San Francisco’s Anchor Steam in the 70′s, Sonoma’s New Albion in 1976, and the Sacramento delta region before that in the early 19th century.
Today, beer is all about choices. Microbreweries have embraced small-scale production of seasonally -themed products that reflect the local flavor of the area produced in, resulting in differing styles to please any palate.
For Wine Country brewers, the farm to table ethos that’s part of the local culture factors heavily into their approach, and indeed may be the reason for the region’s unparalleled success. This way of preferring quality over quantity has underscored the history of beer in the region since the outset, and indeed was the impetus for the movement, as it sought to create its own distinct way of micro-brewing.
Although Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company was born in the wine country of Temecula,Ca., he’s always had the beer bug, teaching himself to homebrew when he was 18 in the basement of his parents Cilurzo Family Vineyards.
A couple years after he began that first batch in the winery basement he met his future wife and business partner, Natalie and they’ve been together since. The success of the business relied on what the other brought to the table, and based on the numerous awards they consistently garner, they seemed to have found a perfect marriage in every sense of the word.
Although Vinnie’s known for his consistently impressive beers, it’s his homage to the first century, scholar, writer, naturalist and historian Pliny the Elder in the form of a double I.P.A. that’s put him and tiny Russian River Brewing Company at the forefront of America’s craft beer renaissance.
Upping the ante, Russian River released the now infamous Pliny the Younger, named after the aforementioned Pliny’s nephew and biographer of the same name.
A triple I.P.A., the Younger has nearly triple the amount of hops as regular I.P.A. and is rather difficult to make. It’s full bodied and complex, yet delicately smooth. Its limited-amount release each year creates a ruckus at the brewery, as a crowd has taken to gathering outside like waiting to get tickets to a sell-out concert.
This year 15,000 people were served the Younger in the one-week period it was offered at the Brewery, some waiting 12 hours in a rare storm to do so. The beer’s reputation grows yearly, and yet the Cilurzo’s and Russian River seem to take it in stride, keeping their noses to the grindstone and continuing to innovate in what’s become a uniquely Californian way.
One innovation that rapidly is becoming a trademark move for Cilurzo is his use of wine barrels for aging beer. It’s not a random process, but one that’s been fleshed out over the years, using specific used wine barrels with specific beers. In his Temptation, he uses Chardonnay, in the Supplication Pinot Noir, and in the Consecration, used Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels.
These beers can be chemically dynamic and unstable to work with, so they require a great deal of attention, yet the resulting product is incomparable. Like wine, they’re made for the cellar and Cilurzo believes they can easily age up to five years.
Meanwhile…back in the Valley…
Oftentimes, I find that at the end of a long day wine tasting, (p.s., to try and do more than three in-depth tastings a day is insanity), there’s nothing better than a cold beer.
The crispness and bubbles seem to reinvigorate my palate and are often the perfect beginning to a meal.
Downtown Napa has plenty of options, and Downtown Joe’s has stood the test of time, with the brewery being established in 1988 by Chuck Ankeny, great grandson to Adolph Hamms of Milwaukee. It was officially christened Downtown Joe’s in 1993. Ale is the name of the game here, with seasonal options constantly available. Ask your bartender what’s new. You won’t be disappointed.
Out and away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, at the gateway to Napa where infamous Hwy. 29 meets Hwy. 12 from the East, Napa Smith Brewery is producing award-winning beers from craft-brewing legend, Don Barkley.
Don began in 1978 at the hallowed New Albion Brewing Company as Master Brewer and his pedigree shows in these organically produced marvels. He manages to produce a variety of beers, and is at home creating a hoppy I.P.A., or Ginger Wheat that will make sushi a special treat, or add an exotic flair to fish tacos.
These are just a few of the options available on your visit to Napa. If you somehow manage to get through this list during your stay and want more suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask Scott or Sam at the Candlelight. They won’t steer you wrong.
Saint Patrick’s Day 7 Mar 2014, 5:20 pm
The young man who would become St Patrick was born to wealthy parents who were not particularly religious, in Britain near the end of the 4th Century. He died March 17 about 460 AD.
Saint Patrick stained glass window from “Cathedral of Christ the
Light, Oakland, CA.
Photo by Sicarr
At the age of 16, he was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They took him to Ireland, where he spent 6 years in captivity, some say at Mount Slemish in county Antrim. But more likely, he became a shepherd in county Mayo near Killala.
As a shepherd, outdoors, lonely and afraid, he turned to religion, becoming a devout Christian and probably at this time first thought of converting the Irish to Christianity. It was at this time that he heard God’s voice telling him to return to Britain. He escaped after more than 6 years, and walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the coast.
Back in Britain, he immersed himself in religious studies for about 15 years. During this time, he again heard God’s voice telling him to return to Ireland with a two-fold mission. To minister to the Christians already there and begin to convert the Irish who were celebrating with their own pagan rituals.
When he was ordained as a priest, he returned to Ireland to begin his work. Working with the non-Christians, he also let them continue some of their pagan celebrations such as worshiping the Sun.
It is also thought that he illustrated the Holy Trinity – The Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit – through the 3 leaves of the native Irish Clover, the Shamrock.
Surprisingly, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland, but in New York City. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers in the British Army marched through the City!
Now, each year on that date, nearly 1½ million people line the 1½-mile parade route that takes about 5 hours. Other cities, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Savanna, and San Francisco, among them, also hold parades.
Be sure to check Hurley’s Bar and Grill for a delightful
traditional meal this St. Patrick’s Day. Check out the
menu and the site
Monday, March 13th, 2013
Of course Chef Hurley is as Irish as it gets and he does his entire St. Patricks Day menu in Gaelic for the day. Bob also does some real classic Irish cuisine and the “in brine for 6 weeks melt in your mouth” corned beef & cabbage. Join us for a pint Guinness or throw back a little…
Napa Valley’s Other Refreshing Beverage 2 Jan 2014, 3:13 pm
A basic history of Chocolate
The Aztecs created a beverage called “chocolatl”, a
healing drink that was also used for special ceremonies. They would
ferment the cacao beans, dry and grind them, and sweeten them with
honey and native spices to make this refreshing
For additional history information about chocolate
The Making of Chocolate
All the chocolate made for consumption worldwide
starts with the cacao bean which comes from pods of the cacao tree
(Theobromo Cacao). The seeds are fermented, sun-dried, may be
treated with alkali ( called Dutching), packed and shipped to a
manufacturing plant or to consumers.
At the factory, the beans are sorted then roasted to bring out the color and enhance the flavors. Further reading about the making of chocolate can be found on the web at http://www.cacaoweb.net
Locations to buy artisan chocolates in Napa Valley:
Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes Hardcover
by Richard Sax
The Science of Good Cooking (Cook’s Illustrated Cookbooks) by The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen and Guy Crosby Ph.D (Oct 1, 2012)
In researching on the web I used www.bing.com
The Candlelight Inn — a luxurious Napa Valley bed and breakfast. Located near downtown Napa, this lovely 1929 English Tudor inn is centrally located to all the wonders of the valley.
Secluded beneath towering redwood trees along the banks of the Napa Creek, the candlelight rests on an acre of quiet, park-like grounds. A romantic and restful backyard delights sun seekers with manicured gardens and a gorgeous swimming pool.
The 12 Feasts of Christmas 19 Dec 2013, 6:16 pm
What do you get when you combine world famous chefs, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and Napa Valley’s top wine makers? Twelve chef-vintner combinations creating unique holiday meals that will sate the harshest of critic and raise money for charity.
Meadowood’s The 12 Days of Christmas 2013 is expanding its international influence from last year with a new set of chefs and vintners – proving that different can be equally amazing.
This year’s 12 Days begins on December 6th and extends to the 21st. Participating chefs include: Rodolfo Guzman of Boragó, Santiago, Chile; Chef Ashley Christensen from Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC; Rasmus Kofoed from Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark; and David Kinch of Manresa, Los Gatos, CA. The 2013 wineries include: SCRIBE Winery, Checkerboard Vineyards, Antinori Family Estate, and Harlan Estate.
If you want to experience an expanded menu and the action of the kitchen, a limited number of Chef’s Counter tickets are available for each meal.
In the true spirit of the season, Meadowood is donating $2000 in honor of each chef as well as 20%of all dinner tickets sold. The Holly Cranston Memorial Fund and the Napa Emergency Women’s Services will share the donation evenly.
By providing both financial support and guidance, the Holly Cranston Memorial Fund (HCMF) focuses on helping local children with disabilities and their families. Primarily, HCMF targets families with needs not currently met by traditional sources of support.
The mission of Napa Emergency Women’s Services (NEWS) is to provide “a nurturing refuge for women and children suffering from domestic violence and/or sexual assault … [and act as] a catalyst for change through prevention, intervention and advocacy.”
For dates and a complete list of chefs and wineries participating in The 12 Days of Christmas 2013, go to Meadowood’s events page.
For either a weeknight or weekend dinner, let Candlelight Inn be your home away from home while you explore the Napa Valley.
Winter in Napa Valley with the Candlelight Inn 12 Dec 2013, 9:11 am
Your Passport to Some of Napa Valley’s Best Wineries
Winter 2013/2014 represents the fifth year Calistoga area wineries have offered a wine tasting package that could be the best deal ever.
Between December 6th and February 9th, passport holders can access each of the participating wineries’ unique tasting experience. Individually, the tasting fees for these wineries would be over $250. With additional discounts at Calistoga restaurants and shops, the $75 price tag offers a deal no one of legal drinking age should miss.
Just a few of the experiences passport holders will enjoy this year include:
- arriving at Sterling Vineyards by aerial tram;
- the limited production wines of the Palisades, Madrigal Family, and Lava Vine wineries;
- visiting Chateau Montelena, maker of the winning Chardonnay of the 1976 Paris Tasting featured in the movie “Bottle Shock”; and
- the castle tour of Castello di Amorosa – including great hall, dungeon, and torture chamber.
Given the time of year and nature of many of the wineries, passport tastings are generally by appointment; however, same day appointments are frequently available.
While many try, few can live on wine alone. Calistoga restaurants such as 1226 Washington, Brannan’s Grill, and JoLe Farm to Table are offering special discounts to Winter in the Wineries Passport holders.
While in town, why not spend some time shopping? Several merchants are offering 10% off the purchases of passport holders. Save on Elizabeth Carmel and Olof Carmel prints at the Carmel Gallery, enjoy hand-crafted jewelry from Studio Kokomo, or get a massage at the Lincoln Avenue Spa.
From August Briggs to W.H. Smith & Wine Sensory Experience, you have two months to enjoy all the pleasures of the Winter in the Wineries Passport. Take the time to experience all of Wine Country in the winter with the Candlelight Inn. With special packages and mid-week deals we offer our guests a Napa winter wonderland: all luxury and no snow.
Holiday Happenings in Calistoga 5 Dec 2013, 12:06 pm
If you are looking to get into the holiday spirit, a trip to Calistoga may be just what you need. Start the Holiday Season by cutting down your own tree! The Pochini Family Farm opens for the tree season on the day after Thanksgiving and will be open weekends through December 22nd. Select and cut your own tree or pick from the pre-cut full sized and table top trees. The inventory includes trees over 10 feet tall, handmade wreaths, and a Christmas gift shop! With a picnic area and free hot spiced apple cider, coffee, and candy canes it is no wonder that the Pochini Family Farm is a local favorite! Get Directions to the Tree Farm.
If you are looking for some small-town celebrating, December 7th is the day for you. Spend the day at the Calistoga Community Christmas Bazaar for local arts, crafts, jewelry, baked goods, candies, ornaments, and one-of-a-kind gifts beyond count. After a day of shopping, enjoy dinner out and then make your way to Lincoln Avenue for the 18th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade. Come see farming and construction equipment – new and vintage – bedecked in lights and parading through town.
The Calistoga Art Center Players are putting a new spin on the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Performed as a live radio play, you will see a handful of actors perform dozens of roles. With seven performances between November 30th and December 15th, there is no excuse for missing this amazing experience at the Calistoga Art Center.
The Pioneer Christmas at the Bale Grist Mill puts a historic face on Christmas. On December 14th enjoy demonstrations of lace making, spinning, waxed egg decorating, and the mill in action. Create your own clove pomander, rosemary wreath, or string of popcorn and cranberries. Experience the hand-crank rope maker. With hot cider on the wood stove, cookies on the table, and musicians playing music from the times, the Pioneer Christmas is worth adding to your holiday traditions.
You will want to stay at the Candlelight Inn as your host for your Napa Valley get away. We offer tranquility and luxury to balance all of the activity of the holiday season.
Thanksgiving in Napa Valley 2013 23 Nov 2013, 12:56 pm
When making your plans to visit on Thanksgiving Day the following wineries and restaurants are open:
|625||Castle di Amorosa||Winery||4045 North St. Helena, Hwy. Calistoga||Castle 707-967-6272|
|624||Meadowood - The Grill||Restaurant||900 Meadow Lane, St. Helena, CA||707-9667-1205|
|623||Auberge du Soleil||Restaurant||180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford||707-963-1211|
|622||Hurley's Restaurant||Restaurant||6518 Washington Street, Yountville||707-944-2345|
|621||Domain Chandon's Etoile||Restaurant||1 California Street, Yountville, CA||707-944-2892|
|620||Brix Restaurant||Restaurant||7377 St. Helena Hwy, Napa||707-944-2749|
|619||Bistro Jeanty Restaurant||Restaurant||6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA||French 707-944-0103|
|618||Uva Restaurant||Restaurant||1040 Clinton Street, Napa||Italian 707-255-6646|
|617||Tarla Restaurant||Restaurant||1408 First Street, Napa, CA||707-257-5431 Wine Country cooking|
|616||Silverado Resort & Country Club||Restaurant||1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa||707-257-5431|
|615||La Toque Restaurant||Restaurant||1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA||Wonderful food 707-257-5157|
|614||Fish Story Restaurant||Restaurant||790 Third Street, Napa||Seafood driven menu 707-251-5600|
|613||Cuvee Restaurant||Restaurant||710 Vallejo Street, Napa, CA||Farm to table food 707-224-2330|
|612||Celadon Restaurant||Restaurant||500 Main Street, Napa, CA||Napa Valley cuisine 707-254-9690|
|611||Allegria Restaurant||Restaurant||1026 Frist Street, Napa, CA||Italian 707-254-8006|
|610||Del Dotto -Estate St. Helena||Winery||1445 St. Helena, Hwy, St. Helena, CA||Winery $60 per person for 90 minute tour and tasting 707-963-2134|
|609||V. Sattui Winery||Winery||1111 White Lane, ST. Helena, CA||707-963-7774 hours- 9:00 am to 3:00 pm|
|608||Candlelight Inn Napa Valley||Bed and Breakfast||1045 Easum Drive, Napa||A classic bed and breakfast 707-257-3717|
|607||Van Der Heyden||Winery||4057 Silervado Trail, Napa||707-257-0130|
Wine Country Sings in the Holidays 15 Nov 2013, 11:19 am
Candlelight Inn would like you to join us in some of the region’s musical celebrations this holiday season. Come to Napa and enjoy the music!
Sing Napa Valley! (formerly Napa Valley Choral Society) have multiple performances scheduled. First, Handel’s Messiah will kick off the groups 50th Anniversary on November 24th. Symphony Napa Valley and professional soloists will join Sing Napa Valley! at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville for this performance of what some call “the greatest music of the western world.” For those who want to be part of the production, the sing-along version of Messiah will be on December 8th at the First United Methodist Church in Napa. Finally, the 5th Annual Candy Cane Carol Sing will be on December 19th, also at the First United Methodist Church. Sing Napa Valley
The Napa Valley Opera House will be hosting Rockapella on December 5th for an A Cappella musical celebration of the season. A Rockapella Christmas will highlight the full-band sound of five guys with only their voices for instruments. In support of local a cappella groups, the American Canyon High School PDA (Public Display of A Cappella) will open the show.
On December 8th, the VOENA Children’s Choir will put on their Voices of the Season Concert at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. This truly multi-cultural group gives new life to traditional carols and introduces the audience to holiday songs from around the world. If you miss them on the 8th, VOENA will also be at the Napa Valley Opera House on December 21st.
Come see Commander Captain Jason Plosch conduct the United States Air Force Concert Band of the Golden West in their free community holiday concert at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center on December 11th. Stationed at Travis Air Force Base, the Band of the Golden West is the only active Air Force band west of the Rockies. With seven performing groups, this band conducts over 250 performances a year for state, sporting, and community events.
Any visit to wine country deserves an exceptional night’s rest. With our Fall into Winter Package, you can combine holiday festivities and a mid-week stay at Candlelight Inn to reach an ideal holiday frame of mind.