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Red Wine and Blues

Sonoma County food and wine pairing event
Includes recipes for:
Wasabi Chicken and All American Apple Crisp

It was a warm and lazy drive.
Dry Creek Road, west out of Healdsburg in Sonoma County is a personal favorite of mine. My destination was near the end of the valley at Lake Sonoma Winery and Russian River Brewery.
Majestic Oaks, Palms and even cacti line this interesting drive through ecosystems that are hard to understand for visitors from the rest of the world. It’s California at its best.
The golden grasses on the earthen dam of Lake Sonoma dominated the scenery when I finally turned right to Lake Sonoma Winery where I found ample parking. Lake Sonoma Winery and Russian River Brewery is a beautiful, modern winery with a spacious tasting room and brewery. The view back down the valley is wonderful. Vineyards, old and new, decorate the gently sloping hills and winding valley floor. The deep blue of the sky and the many hues of green belie the fact that California is basically a desert. (View a 360° panorama from the hill above Lake Sonom Winery and another from above the dam)
The Red Wine and Blues Festival is an annual event held here around the 4th of July that celebrates the holiday. Live music, local vendors and great wines set the stage for a very enjoyable afternoon.
For $5.00 you get a keepsake winery glass and free range to the party. And a party it is!
Their huge patio overlooks the valley and was filled with people. It was unusual for me to see the brew and wine crowd together but the distinctions between the two were unnoticeable. These were not the cheap beer and budget wine groups. They were people here to do some serious tasting on both sides of the aisle and they got some great bargains to boot.
Dr. Dave’s Review played nostalgic blues that had this older crowd enthralled. This resourceful band pounded out oldies but goodies and can be reached at 707-838-2364. They do a number of gigs in our area including fundraisers for non-profits like the Cancer Society. Give them a call if you're local; you’ll enjoy their music.
For hungry visitors, Korbel Champagne Cellars’ Chef Robin Lehnhoff had a variety of goodies that paired with Lake Sonoma’s wines and beers for a moderate price. Robin is the Catering and Event Chef for Korbel’s Delicatessen and Market, which cater’s various winery events like this and can be reached at The great drinks of Korbel along some of Chef Robin’s seasonal recipes, and information on Korbel Champagne Cellars can be found on Korbel's web site.
Aidells Sausages provided a playground for the mustards available at the affair. Chef Bruce Aidells recipes were available. They have a gold mine of sausage recipes on their site.
Conveniently next door to Aidells was Sonoma Mustard & Condiment Company. Their Ginger Wasabi Mustard was killer. The association with the sausages was encouraged as it was with Smith & Riley Mustards across the way. Look for some interesting recipes on their site soon. Here’s an example of what’s coming and was available to us at this affair:

Wasabi Chicken

3-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Ginger Wasabi Mustard
1 package of Panko bread crumbs
Spread Ginger Wasabi Mustard on chicken breasts; roll them in Panko breadcrumbs and bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes till done to your taste. Serve with rice and a fresh green vegetable. Low fat and easy to make.

Both mustard providers had numerous accolades and unique things to do with the sausages and great wines available for tasting. Smith & Riley Mustards are available on their site along with about 9 recipes from eggs to salmon to tantalize you.
Past the band, and by this time I saw some dancers; Lake Sonoma was pouring their Cabernet paired with an incredible cheese and noodles dish. I wish I had picked up the recipe. Wow was the pairing good. I want the recipe. I’ll share it with you when I get it.
Onward to Jimtown Store and their great spreads. I had to plead for a little more of the Cabernet to get past them. Jimtown Store's web site is serious about recipes, and yes, their spreads, from chopped olive to spicy chipotle did wonderfully different things to the wine.
The next booth was pairing a Lake Sonoma white with cheese, but I was ready for desert, and getting pretty full.
Into the warmly designed tasting room and their Lake Sonoma Brut Sparkling Wine paired with “All American Apple Crisp” developed by Chef Robin Lehnhoff of Delicacies, Catering by Korbel. Robin’s inside and outside on this event and I’m glad. I love Apple Crisp and it’s a perfect match with the Brut. Here’s the recipe:

All American Apple Crisp

8 firm apples, peeled, seeded and sliced Topping-
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sweet butter, chilled and cut
1/2 cup flour into cubes
2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground ginger _ cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 cup flour
4 ozs. Sweet unsalted butter, cut into chunks 1 cup rolled oats
Pinch of salt
Toss apple slices with sugars, flour and spices. Place in baking dish (9x12) and dot with butter chunks.
In a food processor, combine butter with sugars, flour and oats. Pulse mixture until you have a mixture that resembles peas. Sprinkle topping over apples, making sure to cover them completely. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until apples are bubbly and soft.
Serves 6-8
Chef Robin Lehnhoff

As the afternoon cools, I sit down and enjoy the band, people, Apple Crisp and the Brut.
Another day at the office. It’s tough!
I look forward to your comments, suggestions and ideas.
Drop me an e-mail or call 707-566-8034.

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