March 26 2017

The Grand Tasting Salon

Napa Valley Distillery
Napa Valley Distillery

I departed the city rather early this morning to head up to Napa to meet with the folks from Boozephreaks for a tour of the Grand Tasting Salon and Distillery at Napa Valley Distillery.

A bit of backstory: Boozephreaks is a social group in the Bay Area which aims to educate people on how to drink WELL. Not more, not fancier, just well… they host events that are educational, fun and tasty as well.  I discovered them when they had an Amaro class at Seven Stills in February, and it was super kickass. So when they announced the Grand Tasting Salon tour, I signed up.

We met in the parking lot of the Distillery, where our host, Dr. Inkwell checked us in and had those of us who were “new” pick our Boozephreaks names. They were, like “Dr. Inkwell” all horribly awesome puns.  I am forevermore “Graham Marnier” in the world of Boozephreaks.

Paul, our Master Tourguide took met us in the parking lot, and led us inside to the distillery floor where he and Dr. Inkwell did an informally formal introduction, then took us around to see how everything worked. I don’t plan on going through the tour in detail, because you should really go do it yourself, but here are some photos!

When the tour was done, we were taken upstairs to the Grand Tasting Salon, which was pretty awesome. Paul and Theodore took us through HOW to taste, then we tasted:

The tasting was REALLY educational, and both Paul and Theodore added just the right amount of humor to keep us smiling and enjoying ourselves the entire time.

Master Tourguide, Paul

We all got little gift bags from both the distillery and Boozephreaks, and then we dropped our credit cards on the table to sign up for the Bar Club.  Because who doesn’t want stuff this good delivered to their door on a quarterly basis?

And because we were there, we were able to pick up March’s club release, which consisted of:

And since I signed up for the Bar Club and was getting a deep discount, I also got a bottle of the Ancho Leon chili-infused aged Brandy. It was mind blowing.

Post tour, we all headed over to the Oxbow shopping center, where NVD has their storefront.  We checked out the wares there (OMG, So. Many. Bitters.), grabbed some lunch, chatted quite a bit, then headed home.  It was the perfect First Top Down Drive of Spring.

November 8 2010

Tempering and Temperance

When I took the job with Philips, I knew that it was going to be a big life change.  I’d been out of the corporate world for nearly six and a half years.  And while there have been adjustments, the majority of the experience has been positive.  Especially last Thursday.

Philips places a great deal of importance on Work/Life balance, and on Employee Engagement.  As such, team building “outings” aren’t uncommon.  Now, my team has been pretty damn busy since I started, so the first real outing we got to take came last week.

The view from our table at Le Garage.
The view from our table at Le Garage.

The four of us departed the Foster City office at 4:00 and drove up to Sausalito for dinner at Le Garage.  We started with a really nice Cline Carignane.  Big, fruity and tasty tasty tasty.

Learning About Chocolate!
Learning About Chocolate!

We splurged a bit because it was Shari’s birthday on Monday, so the appetizers were… indulgent.  A Brie Beignet and frisee salad with prosciutto, pumpkin seeds and a roasted walnut vinaigrette was followed by Black Mission Figs with fourme d’ambert, pistachios, mizuna, organic French prunes and a huckleberry vinaigrette, and finally a Filet Mignon beef tartare with quail egg, shallots, parsley, capers, ground mustard and grilled croutons.  The tartare was beyond amazing.  I could have eaten 3 orders of it for dinner.

Coco-luxe Chocolate Molds
Coco-luxe Chocolate Molds

We bolted from dinner and made our way over to the kitchen shared by Dragonfly Cakes and Coco-luxe for the team building part of the evening.  The awesome ladies at Coco-luxe were offering a two hour chocolate bar making class, and if there’s anything better than learning, it’s learning about chocolate. Continue reading

April 11 2010

Wine, wine, everywhere (and way too much to drink)

What better way to kick off my attempt to blog about fermented spirits than with a summary of my visit to the SF Vintners Market.  Invited by my friends Melissa and Paul (soon to be Urban Spumelunkers themselves), it was a really fun afternoon filled with the vino.

We actually attempted to start at one end of the room and work our way around, but with over 150 vintners in attendance it became quickly apparent that we were going to have to change up our game plan and be a little more selective.

Below are the meager tasting notes I jotted down as I went…

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