Salinas Valley Food & Wine Inspires With More Than Just Extensive Eats
The 2012 Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival comes to its culinary crescendo Saturday. The final tasting event will cover six blocks of historic Oldtown Salinas - an ambitious and unprecedented undertaking - and feature dozens of wineries, food lectures, a beer garden, car show and a cornucopia of small bites for sampling.
But it's not just about the food and drink.
The festival is an independent event operating under the auspices of the Oldtown Salinas Foundation and is run entirely by volunteers. Every year some 30 percent of the proceeds go back to the foundation and another 20 percent are donated to a nonprofit of the festival committees choosing.
Taking a page out of the generous book the SVF&W abides by, we've decided to dole out some tickets to our loyal newsletter readers.
Follow this link, fill out the brief form and enter to win two tickets (an $80 value) to Saturday's tasting. Winners will be drawn Thursday morning.
|* Pigs and Pinot. Gateway to Big Sur. Magic Mystery Tour of the North. Hikes with Stemware. The grand tasting at Post Ranch. When five of the most fun foodie events of the year are part of one festival, you know you have something special - and better understand why people travel from across the country for Big Sur Food & Wine (667-0800). Hit bigsurfoodandwine.org quick-like, as showtime arrives Nov. 1-4.
* Saturday, Oct. 20, the tastiest town in the southwest is Carmel, as Chef Cy Yontz demos empanadas, duck tamales, serves tequila cured salmon and leads a party ($95) packed with blood orange magaritas, local wines, prizes, cooking stations and flamenco guitar that transforms Rio Grill (625-5436).
Sturdy New Chard For a Modest $15
Despite having to let the fruit hang a little longer than expected, 2011 turned out to be a good year for Chardonnay grapes in North Monterey County.
And Carmel Valley winery Chateau Julien capitalized.
The newly released 2011 Barrel Selected Chardonnay ($15 on the Chateau Julien website) is a worthy deal, particularly for palates which prefer fruit-forward flavor. Winemaker Bill Anderson has been with Chateau Julien for 30 years, giving him a keen eye for good Chard grapes which he sources from growers throughout the Monterey appellation.
Hints of citrus, apple and pear are accompanied by soft mouthfeel and a respectable finish (though it is slightly hot). Avoid over-chilling to allow those flavors to come out; a good rule of thumb is to take a bottle out of the fridge 20 minutes before imbibing. This bottle would make a great pairing with Thanksgiving dungeness crab or as a reward after a fall hike through Big Sur.