Wine Wednesday: Onward 2014 Carignan

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As you may know, since the very beginning the girl & the fig has boasted an exclusively Rhône-alone” wine list.

We’ve always loved that featuring unique Rhône wines gives us an opportunity to begin a conversation with our guests, perhaps introduce them to something new, as well as to present talented and innovative producers we believe in.


In honor of “Wine Wednesday,” a little about one of our beloved California Rhône producers –

This week: Onward, 2014 Carignan, Hawkeye Ranch, Redwood Valley

About the wine maker: Faith Armstrong-Foster

Napa Valley-based Faith Armstrong-Foster is the spirit behind Onward Wines. With a formal wine degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California at Davis and a work record at top North Coast wineries, Faith was well-poised to start her own project, Onward Wines, in 2009.

She is focused on the expression of varietal character and terroir, in essence expressing the personality of the whole vineyard in the wine. We love this old vine Carignan, with its core of red fruit enveloped in a blanket of mineral and suave tannin. A lovely effort from a very talented young female winemaker.

Pairings:

At the girl & the fig we’d recommend pairing the Onward 2014 Carignan with duck confit (farro, roasted shallots, apricots, bacon vinaigrette) or the sonoma mountain beef burger (grilled onions, house-made pickles, frites) with cambazola cheese.

At home, enjoy this wine with hoisin duck, grilled elk, and pasta with wild boar.

Cheers!


(Thirsty? Shop Onward 2014 Carignan  here, or book your next reservation at the girl & the fig!)

chef tips & kitchen staples: blended oil

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We use blended oil for just about every recipe.  Even plain olive oil, which we use here, can be very strong and in many recipes will overpower the dish, so we dilute the flavor with canola oil.

This blend will be subtle and not overwhelm the other flavors in the dish.

Makes: as much as you want!

You’ll need:

  • 1 part olive oil, such as Critelli
  • 3 parts canola oil

Simply combine and keep on-hand in the kitchen.  Will store best in a dark glass bottle.

Great for use in vinaigrette recipes for greens with a delicate flavor and texture!

tips for creating your signature cocktail

Creating a signature cocktail for your wedding or event might seem like a simple task at first glance.  Of course, the most important consideration is choosing something that you love – one that represents you and your spouse-to-be & adds to the aesthetic you’ve created for the occasion.

But, there’s much to consider – for wine country weddings in particular, it’s important to inquire before booking your venue what limitations might be in place regarding alcohol.  Some wineries restrict hard alcohol, require a minimum purchase of the estate wines, or pour their label exclusively.

Also, the geographical limitations of the site should be considered, as well as the scope of staffing that you have in mind.  In general, plan for 1 bartender per 50 – 75 guests, depending on your crowd’s consumption, how hot it is that day, the complexity of the bar menu, and so on.

Reasons why we think you’ll want to choose a signature cocktail for your event:

  1. Set the scene – if this is to be the welcome beverage of your reception, it’s the perfect opportunity to share something uniquely you – it can be sweet and meaningful, or simply stunning and delicious.  Either way, we think the glass you greet your guests with should make an impression.
  2. Another argument for the signature beverage is simplicity.  A large group of party-goers on a hot summer day can keep a bartender scrambling.  Fewer ingredients to stock in an off-site bar will make for a smoother flow to service & less delay, which can translate to costs saved as well as a better experience for your guests.

Once you’ve decided you want a signature cocktail for you event, you must choose which one!  Here’s our advice:

  1. Choose vodka.  Really.  Vodka is the most universally popular spirit, and appeals to the broadest range of palettes.  There are also endless variations on how it can be incorporated, and drinks can be designed to please the connoisseur to the amateur.  Vodka also pairs well with fruit, and this paves the way for creating a non-alcoholic option that is equally celebratory and special.  (A sparkling pear-rosemary cocktail like this one is easily adapted to a virgin option for non-drinkers.)
  2. Consider the weather. The obvious rule-of-thumb here is that in warmer weather, something light and refreshing will appeal to all; while in cooler weather, a martini or whisky-based drink (like a sazerak) can be the perfect warm-up!
  3. If you do have your heart set on offering a “built” cocktail, like an old fashioned or mojito, as your signature drink, be sure to plan ahead. Everyone’s been to at least one party where elaborately-constructed drinks and inadequate prep had you waiting in line at the bar all night. Avoid this pitfall by a) hiring a professional & b) staffing up based on the complexity of your menu.
  4. If you have chosen a wedding site that does not permit hard alcohol, it’s still possible to offer a signature cocktail at your event!  Sparkling wine concoctions are a wonderful alternative, as are recipes that substitute for a lower-octane spirit.

Now, the fun part.  Tasting!  Your bartender should be able to help you with suggestions on which ingredients are in season and where to procure the best produce.  Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few recipes, it’s time for a tasting.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

blackberry-mint shrub – this can be adapted to any season & is the perfect summer refresher!

the fig kiss – one of our most-loved recipes at the girl & the fig.

the bees knees – this can be extra-special and local if you feature Sonoma-grown honey (our bartenders like to finish the drink with a sprinkle of lavender flowers).

Cheers!


Did you offer a featured cocktail at your event?  How did you choose?  Leave us a note!

The Magic Transcends

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It wouldn’t be summer in wine country without the magic of Transcendence Theatre Company‘s Broadway Under the Stars.

This series of performances is one of the true gems of summer.  Full of joyful exuberance and unparalleled musical talent, the concerts are held under soaring skies in the in the majestic open-air winery ruins of Sonoma’s Jack London State Historic Park.

This year’s season includes Broadway performers from The Book Of Mormon, Wicked, Les Miserables, 42nd Street, Hairspray, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia and more.
Broadway Under the Stars in Jack London State Historic Park is a transformative experience for both longtime Broadway fans and anyone new to musical theatre.

THIS MAGIC MOMENT

JUNE 17 – JULY 3

A thrilling celebration of life with tantalizing vocals and harmonies! Sing and dance to the magic of each moment with that eclectic Transcendence mix of classic Broadway songs mixed with popular music. This night will no doubt leave you ready to enjoy every second of life.

FANTASTICAL FAMILY NIGHT

JULY 15-16

Join us for everyone’s favorite annual night of magic and fun. This inspirational evening of dream-living will be filled with Broadway, Disney and everything in between. Featuring special performances by the kids of Transcendence Kids Camp, pre-show adventures, and more.

DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY

AUGUST 5-21

Weave your way through those show stopping numbers from tap to Fosse and everything in between! Packed with powerful vocals to round it off, this show will have you on your feet dancing the night away.

GALA CELEBRATION

SEPTEMBER 9-11

Don’t miss this fast-selling, end of season celebration packed full of powerhouse performances, community tributes, sentimental reflections and more. We invite you to come close out the summer with us, Transcendence style.

This three night event also serves as a fundraiser for future seasons, and includes a silent auction, raffle, and more!

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About the Event

Each evening begins with pre-show picnicking on the great lawn, alongside the vineyards of the park (with multiple wineries pouring and food and wine available for purchase), and concludes with an evening of inspirational entertainment.

Don’t miss the fig rig on the following dates!

  • June 17th
  • June 24th
  • July 2nd
  • August 5th
  • August 6th
  • August 12th
  • August 19th
  • September 9th

Reserve tickets now at: www.TTCsonoma.org or call 877.424.1414!!

Lightning Wines & Kieran Robinson Wines at Suite D

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Rarely do you meet makers as passionate about their craft as Randy Hester and Kieran Robinson.

Having studied under legends of the wine world, Hester made his independent debut in 2008 with the launch of Lightning Wines.  Sourcing selectively from vineyards in Northern California, Randy’s Rhone-inspired wines are made from the heart and a natural fit to pair alongside a summertime feast a la the girl & the fig!

Of his process, Randy writes “We are committed to minimal intervention […] We only buy fruit from what we consider to be the best sources, and honestly, we just try not to mess it up.”

Kieran Robinson’s winemaking experience spans the globe from Philly to the Rhone.  After relocating to Napa Valley and honing his skills at Cakebread Cellars, and later Jericho Canyon, Kieran was ready to launch Kieran Robinson Wines with the 2009 harvest.

Kieran’s wines have been described as “drop-dead gorgeous” & “super expressive,” but we think tasting is believing!

Join us and these talented young winemakers for a feast of summer’s abundance on July 22nd at Suite D.

MENU

melon, prosciutto, mint skewers
fennel-marinated feta & olive skewers
smoked salmon, rostis, crème fraiche & chives
2015 Lightning Wines Rosé

crispy pork belly salad
grilled stone fruit, butter lettuce, apricot vinaigrette
2014 Kieran Robinson Stagecoach Viognier
2015 Lightning Wines CdP Blanc

provençal herb duck breast
fresh shelling beans, seared heirloom peppers
2013 Kieran Robinson R Five Syrah
2013 Lightning Wines Cease & Desist

smoked short ribs
corn puree, roasted toy box cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots
2013 Kieran Robinson the Jawn Syrah
2013 Lightning Wines Chevalier Family Grenache

blueberry mousse
sable cookies, berry coulis

Wine can get so serious, so quick.  But at the end of the day, what matters most is who you’re drinking it with.
~Lightning Wines

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