Thank so much to Shannon Austin Zouzoulas and Megan Austin Haller of AZ Hops & Vines in Sonoita, AZ, for hosting a fabulous evening of remarkable foods, GREAT wines, fantastic people, and good cheer, on Saturday, August 17. Amazingly, they managed to keep that great storm-filled lightning-flashing weather at a peaceful distance, as a couple dozen friends of the winery dined overlooking the view under the sometimes star-studded sky.
What better way to showcase the offerings in your wine portfolio than to pair each with a superbly prepared dish? A hat tip to Allison Embacher for the cooking; she’s a true chef extraordinaire. You out-did yourself, girl!
One of my favorite combinations was the AZ Hops & Vines Summer (a blend of 44% CA Verdelho, 44% CA Albarino, and 12% Sauvignon Blanc from Lightning Ridge Cellars, AZ) with the cervices-style shrimp cocktail in its delightful avocado-pineapple salsa. The wine’s clean mineral undertones combine with a somewhat oaky passion fruit flavor, and it really took the shrimp cocktail and salsa to new heights.
Another to-die-for dish on the ambitious menu was dark-chocolate panna cotta with smoked salt and cayenne—I could have gone for seconds on this, and I’m not a dessert sort of girl. Must be because it was paired with a Hops & Vines fan-favorite, The Fluffer, which provided perfect balance to the dessert’s kicky flavor. This Muscat (grapes from New Mexico) is sweet, crisp, and fruity with a clean finish—the perfect ending to a tremendous meal and evening.
The next big event scheduled for AZ Hops & Vines is its first annual Great Crush Festival, Saturday, September 8, 11:00am to 4:00pm. There’ll be music, food, Dragoon beers, and wines, of course, for only $10 per person for a souvenir glass and a taste of each wine and beer. As always, the Sober Shack will be serving up super special sodas with activities to keep the kids busy.
CHEERS to you Shannon and Megan; love you both, and thanks once again. You are both simply brilliant… doing what you love.
Kief Joshua’s Magdalena Bash
Join the Kief Joshua Vineyard family’s Magdalena Bash, this coming weekend, August 25, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. This is a celebration to honor Grandma (for whom the KJV Magdalena is named), who turns 93. She may be on hand to sign some bottles of her signature wine.
The event will showcase new wine releases, and feature entertainment by Jeordie, daughter of 1960’s pop-star Melanie. She’ll even sing her mother’s hit single, “I’ve Got A Brand New Pair of Roller Skates” along with other hits such as “Red, Red Wine.” Food will feature chicken wings and sandwiches by Locally Arizona. Wine tasting of $5 includes a souvenir glass.
Cheers to your birthday Grandma, enjoy!