“I love to cook with wines; sometimes I even put them in the food.” This long-time Julia Childs’ quote will resonate with wine lovers forever. This week marked what would have been her 100th birthday, and I have raised more than one toast to her spirit. If I was to dine with any one person, alive or dead, I’d choose Julia. She’d do the cooking, of course; I’d try my hand at selecting the most appropriate wines… or so I imagine.
Julia also is known for her thought, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.” That may just be the mantra of Renee Kreager of Renee’s Organic Oven. This week was my first experience dining in this sweet little nook of a Tucson restaurant at 7065 E Tanque Verde, and it will not be my last.
I chose the “Slice and a Glass” from the lunch menu for $8.00, and was more than pleased with my selection. The slice of pizza was a plate-sized portion of the good stuff. It was based on gluten-free crust (full and tasty, not the cardboard flavor I had come to expect), and featured fresh basil, crushed garlic, feta cheese, and two fresh vegetables of my choice—mushrooms and green peppers. The vegetables were warm but still crisp on delivery, and the garlic and basil married, celebrating with every bite.
The house red wine served was a certified organic (no added sulfites) Badger Mountain Pure Red—a tasty blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 24% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc—which hails from Washington’s Columbia Valley. It pleased me with a juicy and bright, slightly acidic taste with layers of cherry, vanilla, and a light spice. Perfect with that party that was going on with the pizza.
Julia would be certainly proud that Renee has combined fresh ingredients with a good wine for just the right touch. Bon Appetit! (I always wanted to say that.)
Coronado Vineyards Grape Crush
We move from Julia to another favorite mentor, Lucy, I’m wondering how many people ever wanted to duplicate her infamous to stomp around in a barrel of grapes. Now is your chance; no stomping experience necessary. Awarding winning Coronado Vineyards 6th Annual Grape Stomp is happening this weekend, August 18th and 19th, from 10:00am to 4:00pm both days. The event features two days full of festivities with live music, featuring GRIND Saturday and BUZZ & THE SOUL SENDERS on Sunday, food, and, of course, wine tasting. It’s your chance for a firsthand experience in winemaking.
Take the whole family for this festive Italian-tradition. Adults are $10 and admission includes a souvenir wine glass, all the grapes you can stomp to live music, and a wine tasting of the winery’s current releases.
Coronado Vineyards is located just a short trip east from Tucson at 2909 E Country Club Drive, in Willcox, Arizona.
Grape to Glass Symposium Teaches about Sustainable Farming Practices, Pairing Wine/Food
On Saturday August 25, 2012, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards invites you to help them celebrate this year’s harvest. Participants can learn more about the wine grape-growing and winemaking process at the 3rd Annual Grape to Glass Symposium, held at the winery in Pearce, Arizona. The event includes a tour of the vineyard/winery with the winemaker and gourmet lunch paired with Lawrence Dunham Vineyards’ wines. Lunch features locally-grown cheeses and produce, as well as mesquite-grilled beef paired with the winery’s Petite Sirah that received 88 points from Wine Spectator (2nd highest rating for an Arizona grown wine), grilled salmon and shrimp, perfectly paired with Sky Island Grenache, plus a variety of salads and desserts.
Cost is $65.00. Register for the Grape to Glass Symposium at (602) 320-1485 or online.
Wo(men), Wine, and Wellness for Girl Scouts
Now that school’s started, it’s time to take a deep breath and “wine down” at Wo(men), Wine, and Wellness, on Friday, August 24 2012, 6:00 until 8:00pm, at Self-Centered Yoga & Fitness, 4425 N Campbell Avenue. Plenty of wine will be served along with live music, local gourmet food with Kuisine by Kathy, artwork by painter Calvin Hammond and photographer Liora Kutler, Aveda Spa attention, and jewelry by Ruby Jane. Win prizes, mingle with the community, and enjoy an evening of fun while giving to the Girl Scouts of Southern AZ. Tickets are online under Yoga Events for only $20 in advance & include a free yoga class pass. At the door price is $25 without a class pass. RSVP is necessary.