Archive for June, 2009

Livermore Shakespeare Festival at Concannon Vineyards

Livermore Shakespeare Festival at Concannon Vineyards

Whether travelers are seeking a romantic get-away or family vacation, there are exciting San Francisco Bay Area options that are indulgent but affordable.

This summer in Tri-Valley, California, visitors can book the ‘Shakespeare Wine Country Package’, a special package that includes two tickets to the Livermore Shakespeare Festival in the gorgeous outdoor setting at Concannon Vineyard along with an overnight stay at Hawthorn Suites Livermore Valley Wine Country — for $189.

As the sun sets in the vineyard and the play begins, ‘Shakespeare Wine Country Package’ customers will be treated to a picnic for two. Available July 9 – August 9, 2009, the special also includes: a bottle of Concannon wine, a full hot buffet breakfast, complimentary wine tasting at select wineries, as well as a Livermore Downtown Guest Pass for discounts at participating businesses in the charming, historic downtown shopping district.

Available Thursday through Sunday, package customers can opt to see either A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Seagull — productions from a Shakespeare company that has received high praise over the years. Theatre goers will find a rare gift; accessible Shakespeare.

Book the package now!

For more information on the Livermore Shakespeare Festival.

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Lobster Appetizer at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard

Lobster Appetizer at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard

Being in the Tri-Valley Hospitality business, it is rare that I get to experience something new.  Well, I had a new Tri-Valley wine country experience last Sunday, and wanted to share!

When I think of Chinese food, I very rarely think I will be having a culinary experience, but that is what I had at Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard in Downtown Livermore.  They consider it “Innovative Chinese Cuisine”, and I have to agree.   Even better, they have their own sommelier, again a rare thing when you think of chinse food.

Sitting outside on their patio, we indulged with the  6-course Chef & Sommelier’s Tasting Menu, featuring Honey Glazed Calamari paired with a wonderful sparkling wine, lobster potstickers, tea steamed duck…all so amazing!

For wine lovers, experience their extraordinary collection of wine from some of the world’s best and rarest wineries, including Livermore Valley favorites.  Suggestions of pairing are made to compliment the distinctive flavors and unique characteristic of Chinese cuisine.

Uncle Yu’s was a great way to start our day of wine tasting in Livermore.

Make a reservation today by calling (925) 449 -7000 or visit them online at www.uncleyuatthevineyard.com

Update: I just received the menu from our lunch and had to post! YUMMO!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Honey Glazed Calamari
Coated & fried to golden brown, glazed with honey-cilantro Chili sauce
Brut, Gosset “Excellence”, Aÿ, Champagne NV
From the oldest Champagne house, 45% Pinot Noir (from Grand Cru & Premier Cru vineyards), 42% Chardonnay, 13% Pinot Meunier. It’s got 20% juice baring grand cru status, what a deal! Its reserve wine has a small amount of Fromenteau (Pinot Gris), Petit Meslier & Arbanne blended in it. They are indigenous to Champagne & almost extinct. Nice nose of brioche, figs, pear, almond & Hazelnut. Elegant and creamy textured with honey & citrus confit flavors.
Champagne or sparkling is the safest bet for Asian and Chinese cuisine! In this case the calamari dish is sweet, penetrating and spicy. The batter is crispy. The fizziness, crispness and acidity of the wine acts like a dissolving agent and makes everything so light, it melts in your mouth – comfort food at its best.

Lobster Shumai & Wontons
Steamed & served with chicken consommé
Chardonnay, Kalin Cellars “Cuvée W”, Livermore Valley 1994
“One of the Top Ten Chardonnay Producers in California…If Kalin Cellars proprietor Terry Leighton were a     painter     instead of a molecular geneticist, he’d be Jackson Pollack. From speaking with him you know that he’s put theory, patient practice and resolve into his winemaking… In the winery Leighton follows the best (and riskiest) Burgundian farmyard tradition – small barrels and 100 percent malolactic fermentation and aging on the lees – to capture all of the wine’s flavors. He then leaves the wine unfiltered to preserve it. This is California winemaking with a European style – like handcrafted Meursault from a ripe vintage.” _ Wesson and Rosengarten, Food and Wine Companion
The dish needs a powerful but balanced kind of a chardonnay or White Burgundy. This wine is powerful, deep and refine yet not overly oaky so it fits the bill. There is an ocean of chardonnays out there that don’t, due to their cocktail like over powering oakiness.

Pork and Shrimp Home Style Pan-Fried Wontons
Sugar peas, celery, mushrooms, sweet bell peppers and Yu-Shang spicy sauce
Savennières Roche Aux Moines “Chateau de Chamboreau,
Chevalier Buhard, Daux” – Grand Cru, Pierre Soulez,  Anjou–Saumur, Loire 1999
From the village of Savennières, this one is made from a famous, very steep slope vineyard situated in a very significant spot in the Loire Valley – on the local schist veined with volcanic rock. Full-bodied, complex, luscious boasting honey, orchard fruit, lanolin flavors. Versatile with hot hot cuisine!
The residual of the wine is generous and broad enough to tame the heat as well as balance out the different spices of the dish. The hidden acidity of the wine also matches that of the dish, so the two complement each other!

Exotic Bomba
Mango, passion fruit and raspberry sorbetto dipped in white chocolate
Vin du Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille”, Patrick Bottex, Savoie NV
Made of Gamay and the way like how a Moscato d’Asti is done, it is slightly sparkling and totally original with flavors of strawberries & raspberries, from Savoie high in the French Alps.
The sparkling nature and the grape varietal of the wine make it extremely versatile with food.
Ice cream and sorbet are some of most difficult for wine pairing, yet this one handles the dish so easily! The experience is like fire works in your mouth…bursting with flavor, then magically vanishing slowly, leaving you wanting more!

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