GRAND TASTING: While tastings have been around since the establishment of public houses, taverns, and vineyards -- so, a couple of years, give or take -- more play is being given to the Grand Tasting in recent years. Sometimes naming an event is just a study in clever semantics, but a Grand Tasting truly is grand. Rather than just a quickity snack of a bite or two, to pick up the local restaurant scene, a Grand Tasting involves multiple bespoke food- and drink-makers putting forward their best stuff. That could be strictly cheese, or charcuterie, or it might be wine. Calistoga, which does the wine thing rather well, you might have heard, will get its own Grand Tasting of the winely -- and foodly -- sort at Solage Calistoga on the night of Friday, April 11.
30+ AREA WINERIES... will show with boxes of bottles, ready to line up. The bottle labels will bear the imprints of Kenefick Ranch Winery, Canard Vineyard, and Clos Pegase, and the wines themselves? They'll be paired with small edibles from Solage Calistoga's chief toque, Mr. Brandon Sharp (his name fits, given that he's nabbed the Michelin star for a half decade now, year after year). Those bites will include grilled pork tenderloin al pastor and raclette en presse, all savory, meaty, cheesy delights that go well with fermented grapes.
COST? It's $75. Could you plan ahead and make a wine country weekend out of it, given that Solage Calistoga has a complement of you-don't-have-to-leave-quite-yet resort rooms? Here are the stay-over specials if you're tempted. While a Friday night event outside of the city can be a bit of a fuddle to get to, it actually is a gift, in a way. Plan well and you can take a weekend around it to truly enjoy the area. Why rush in and rush out on a Saturday afternoon? Get there on a Friday and feel like you've got a year of chillaxing stretching before you, even if Sunday rolls around in a flash.