SONOMA VALLEY: Savor the valley
The thieves have been readied, and the barrels are rolled out. It’s time for the 2018 Savor Sonoma Valley, a barrel wine-tasting experience from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18, at a dozen wineries throughout Kenwood and Glen Ellen.
Lunch options will be offered by food trucks and local restaurants or bring your own picnic basket. Tickets are $40 to $55 in advance, $50 to $65 at the door. A non-wine tasting pass is free. To reserve: heartofsonomavalley.com
HEALDSBURG: Fried chicken night
After the fire last fall, Madrona Manor started to serve first responders and fire victims three-course fried chicken dinners.
Back by popular demand, the dinners will be offered to locals from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through March and beyond. The dinners created by Chef Jesse Mallgren include three pieces of fried chicken, pickled vegetables, mashed potatoes, a deviled egg, salad and dessert for $29.
The inn and restaurant are located at 1001 Westside Road. 707-433-4231.
GEYSERVILLE: Foodie Fridays
Sbragia Family Vineyards has launched a new lunch program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, with a different theme offeered each week.
The full-size meal prepared by the estate chef costs $15. Upcoming themes include corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on Friday, March 16; Thai noodle bowl with shrimp on March 23, and a Nicoise salad on March 30.
Walk-ins welcome. 9990 Dry Creek Road. 707-473-2992. sbragia.com
HEALDSBURG: Jazz on the Menu
The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is ready to roll out the tunes at eight Healdsburg-area restaurants from 6 to 9 p.m. March 21 for its annual “Jazz on the Menu” benefit for its music education programs.
Guests can enjoy live jazz and order off the menu at the participating restaurants, which donate 25 percent of their sales to the cause.
Participating restaurants include Café Lucia, Campo Fina, Catelli’s Restaurant, Chalkboard, Kinsmoke, Healdsburg Shed, Spoonbar and Valette. Reservations are recommended.
After dinner, there will be more jazz, desserts and wine at the Costeaux French Bakery and Cafe from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets to the After Party are $15. To reserve: healdsburgjazzfestival.org
SONOMA: “Cork Dork”
Bianca Bosker, best-selling author of “Cork Dork: A Wine-fueled Adventure Among the Obsesive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste,” will do a talk and tasting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, at Readers’ Books.
Bosker is a tech reporter, currently employed as a contributing editor to The Atlantic, who became fascinated by the complex world of master sommeliers. The talk will be followed by a tasting of several wines and cheeses.
Readers’ Books is located at 130 E. Napa Street. readersbooks.com
HEALDSBURG: Beer and burgers
The Dry Creek Kitchen has launched a new burger and beer pairing at the Spirit Bar, partnering with a different brewery on a quarterly basis.
The program launched this month with HenHouse IPA paired with a filet mignon burger crafted by Chef Scott Romanco. The burger features garlic confit puree, pink peppercorn, house-cured pecan smoked bacon, comté cheese, HenHouse IPA reduction, chicory and baby arugula, citrus aioli and Chef Lisa’s yeast roll.
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
Cabernet Sauvignon, the venerable statesman
Rodney Strong, 2015 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alcohol, $20. ★★★★
This is a cab that clearly overdelivers. It has generous fruit — black cherry and black raspberry — with herbs and spicy oak. It has good structure with firm tannins and a nice length.
J. Lohr, 2015 Hilltop, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.9%, $35. ★★★★: This is a pretty cab with black raspberry fruit, herbs and spice, and the flavors meld together seamlessly. The cab has good balance, ripe tannins and a lingering finish. It’s well-crafted.
Duckhorn, 2014 Three Palms Vineyard, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.9%, $98. ★★★★: This is a gorgeous cab with notes of black raspberry fruit, and notes of cinnamon and clove in the mix. It has a soft and supple texture, with ripe tannins. Nice length. Striking.
Cliff Lede, 2015 Stag’s Leap District, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 15%, $78. ★★★★: This is a striking cab with complex aromas and flavors. It has notes of jasmine, black currant, blackberry, cinnamon and black pepper. The Cliff Lede has bright acidity and great balance. Top rate.
Justin, 2015 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5%, $25. ★★★1/2: This is a savory cab with dried herbs at the forefront, while cherry and black currant fruit play backup. What melds it together is a hint of caramel. Smart.