Not Your Ordinary Winery

When you think Maine, it’s not likely you think wine much less a Napa/Sonoma style winery.

Well, let’s change that by visiting Cellardoor which these days is producing award winning wines.

The setting is pure Maine, rolling hills and beautiful vistas.

There are grapes growing in the vineyard, but they are mostly to convey authenticity  as most of the wines are made from grapes brought in from California and New York.

Production, however,  is on site in a very modern facility where barrels are stacked high for the aging process.

Cellardoor is located in Lincolnville, a few miles from Camden, and it’s a great place for visitors to experience.

After a tasting, the grounds are perfect for sitting in the sun to enjoy a favorite wine and a cheese plate or sandwich. 

Aside from producing wine,  Cellardoor hosts cooking classes by chefs well known in the area as well as special dinners throughout the year.

VinfestAs if that’s not enough some of the most fun events in the area are held in the vineyard.  You can count on incredible settings, great food and surprising entertainment.  When tickets go on sale, they are gone in a matter of minutes!

VinfestWe’ve been entertained by the Temptations, Huey Lewis & the News, Backstreet Boys and finalists from The Voice to name a few.  

Cellardoor is not just a winery, it’s a happening and if you are ever anywhere close, you don’t want to miss going there!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Napa: Wine and More

You don’t have to like wine to enjoy Napa, but if you do appreciate it, there is much to taste.  You may have to pick and choose because after a while it’s hard to tell the difference between one wine and another, at least for me.  When it comes to sampling, here’s something you may not know: it’s best to do it in the morning when your palate is clear.  That may be true, but I had a hard time thinking about morning wine!

NapaSo, what were my favorites? Rombauer Chardonnay;  Goosecross Syrah;  Silverado Fantasia, a blend of sangiovese and cabernet; Hall T Bar T Ranch Sauvignon Blanc; Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.   What is unfortunate is that several of my preferred wines are available only through the winery which means you either have to order or be a wine club member which is not as easy as going to your local purveyor.

As good as sampling wine is eating.  In a few days, it’s hard to try every place, but among the ones we tried these are standouts:

NapaOakville Grocery which is a great place to pick up a sandwich or prepared food as well as to shop for locally produced products.  Don’t be fooled by the exterior and pass this place by as it’s well worth a stop.

NapaV. Sattui Winery & Italian Market (St. Helena) where you can create a feast from the deli

Napaand picnic outside under clear blue sky.

NapaBottega (Yountville) serves up excellent Italian food in a charming space that is not overly noisy.  I don’t know about you, but we like quieter restaurants as opposed to those with hard surfaces and blaring music.  Here I had my first shaved brussels sprout salad and loved it!

NapaAcross the way from Bottega and also owned by Chef Michael Chiarello is Napa Style, a shop filled with tempting home and kitchen accessories.

NapaLucy (Yountville in the Bardessano resort) where fresh and local products are created with a modern aesthetic and served in a calm and casual environment.

NapaAngele (Napa) where French cuisine is delightful any time of day.  

NapaMy mouth waters as I remember the pate board.

Experiencing Napa is a treat on many levels.  When you plan your visit, I highly recommend reservations at places you are sure you want to visit.  Even in the slow season, that is helpful, but from spring through fall, it is a must.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Show and Tell Friday

An Interesting Link Party

A Favorite Thing

Share Your Cup Thursday

Oh The Places I’ve Been

On To Napa

NapaSince we were in California for the BIG GAME, we decided to go a little further north and visit the wine country.  The hubby and I haven’t been to Napa Valley in about 10 years, and let me tell you, there are a lot of changes.  There are roughly 435 wineries in the valley these days as well as a number of new eateries and places to stay.  Judging from the acres of vines, it appears that planting occurs anywhere there is an empty space.

Rather than cover the entire valley, we decided to focus mostly on the area around Yountville and St. Helena and visit wineries with which we are unfamiliar, with a couple of exceptions.

Frank Family Winery

Frank Family

Every place has its own character.  Some wineries are understated

Del Dotto

Del Dotto

while others reflect a European influence.

Silver Oak

Silver Oak

Architectural styles range from the more traditional

Hall's

Hall’s

to super modern.  No matter the look of the place, all make, among other varieties, cabernet sauvignon which each producer claims to be the best!

NapaWhile every winery was special in its own way, there were a couple of standouts.  One was Silverado nestled atop a hill with panoramic views.

NapaNapaNapaNapaA knowledgeable and charming guide, Patricia, took us through the facility and made every step interesting with her stories.

NapaWe were enchanted by the place and thought what fun it would be to have a party there and end with dinner in this wonderful space.  I’m sure all of you would want to come, and we can add more chairs around the table!

NapaWithout question, the most fascinating visit was to Castello di Amorosa in a totally authentic replication of a medieval castle that required years to design and build.  You might say it is the culmination of one man’s dream.

NapaFrom the time we crossed the drawbridge, we were stunned by the attention to detail.

NapaNapaNapaNapaEvery stone was chiseled by hand, every door different, every metal fixture forged by a master blacksmith from Umbria, every accessory of the period.

NapaThe frescoes in the main hall are reproductions from centuries ago painted by an Italian born artist who now lives in San Francisco.

NapaNot to be overlooked are the restrooms, also works of art.

NapaAs if all this were not enough, there’s a gift shop full of tempting items, some of which looked as if they had come from a medieval banquet.

As we toured each location, there was something new to be learned about the wine making process and grape growing.  After a while my palate was a little numbed and, in some cases, my nose stopped up after sampling reds.  It was suggested that the stronger tannins might have something to do with that.  That must be why I prefer softer wines.

There’s more to Napa than just wine, and I’ll touch on that later.  Hope you’ll join me as the adventure continues.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Share It

Treasure Box Tuesday

What’s It Wednesday

Wow Us Wednesday

Looking Back

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.”

Moslih Eddin Saddi


Over the years I have been fortunate to travel to a number of places, and while there have been many to enjoy, Italy remains at the top of my list of favorite destinations.  Here are some of the reasons why.

The countryside which seems so precious to the Italian people.

Artistry that has passed through generations.

Markets with everything from soup to nuts.

Food made with oh so fresh ingredients.

People whose warmth is  welcoming and contagious.

Laundry drying outside windows.

Color and texture.

Gelato.

Wine.

Tell me, what are your favorite places?

i love your comments, so jump right in and share your thoughts

Tuscan Tables

I couldn’t help thinking of all you tablescapers as we tasted and sampled our way through Tuscany on Chef Michael Salmon’s Foodie Adventure.  Certainly, the tables did not have all your special touches but were simple and inviting, each with its own special character.

At the cheesemaker’s, the table was was colorful with a selection of pecorino cheeses artfully arranged on wooden boards. 

The flowers in simple jars were straight from the garden.  Mary  would have approved of the bridal wreath!

Most of the wine tasting venues had long, narrow tables perfect for sharing.

The blue rimmed plates added a special touch to one table and reminded me of Marigene .

At another, plates of bruschetta and salami were waiting.  These would have been the perfect accompaniment for Kathleen’s ricotta gnocchi.

I loved this breakfast table for two with its jacquard linen runner and smiled thinking of the elegant touches Cherry Kay and Alycia would have added.The outdoor settings were delightful on perfect April days, and I couldn’t help but think of Susan and all of you who are celebrating spring with your garden and porch tables.

 I’m glad to have had you along to enjoy each and every one of these favorite places.  

Linked to Tablescape Thursday, Favorite Things Saturday, Tabletop Tuesday.

 i love your comments, so jump right in and share your thoughts

Eat Fresh, Eat Local

Eat fresh, eat local has become a mantra when it comes to food in Houston.  That should be easy to do when you consider that, along with Florida and California, Texas has the longest growing season in the country.

Farmers’ markets have sprung up all over the place.  They can be found in parking lots at Rice University, shopping centers and restaurants, around the reflection pool at City Hall, at Discovery Green or in many neighborhoods.

Everything there is fresh and locally grown, meaning it came from somewhere in Texas.  And, of course, it has to be organic.

Fruits (can’t wait to make a pie with fresh dewberries) and vegetables are not all there is.

There is cheese

and olive oil (yep, made in Texas)

and baked goods, which for me means cookies,

and sometimes wine.

Some food is ethnic, ready to take home for dinner.

And not everything you find at the various markets is edible.  There are some clever handmade things like these adorable puppets

and hand embroidered cards.

No matter what is there, the good news is that the markets are getting people out, making them think about what they eat.  The only thing that is a bit troublesome is that the prices are steep which means that  these fresh and local products are not accessible to all, and that makes you wonder how we can do a better job positively impacting the eating habits of a obese country.

What are your thoughts about the way we eat?

Linked to Favorite Things Saturday and Seasonal Sundays.

i love your comments, so jump right in and share your thoughts