Monday, April 16, 2012

Wine and Food in the North Bay, California

California is one of those states that you just have to visit if you are in love with food and wine.  Luckily, I was given a great opportunity to visit for a few days and enjoy some of the food and wine culture in Sausalito and Corte Madera.  These aren't big "wine country" areas for northern California, but I'll show you that you can find wine just about everywhere you go.  :)

As I was staying just north of Sausalito, the Yankee Pier restaurant in Larkspur was recommended to me for a great culinary experience!  What a fun restaurant to visit with great, local seafood.  A great selling point - all you can eat fish and chips on Monday nights for $19.00.  That's such a great deal in California!
Yankee Pier, Larkspur, CA
(Photo from Google Images)

Cutest appetizer plates ever at Yankee Pier
(Photo by author)

We started off with ceviche, which is fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juice and chili peppers.  The marination step is how the fish is "cooked."  The acidic conditions that the fish is exposed to denatures the fish proteins, which is similar to what happens when fish is cooked.  (Only, different, I guess.)  :)  It's served cold and is quite refreshing.  I learned that it is traditionally served with avocado, which are a dime a dozen in California!
Ceviche with avocado and tortilla chips
(Photo by author)

This was the first time I had ceviche and I really enjoyed it.  It was a wonderful light, refreshing appetizer.  Even though we had lots of wine choices for this meal, both of us decided on a brew so I can't go on and on about how well our wine paired with this.  But if i was to have this again, I'd suggest a refreshing and crisp Sauvignon Blanc!  New World New Zealand style may be too tart and flavorful for ceviche, but there are other Sauvignon Blanc blends that I think would be fabulous with this:  
Vellum White 
(Photo from Vellum's Facebook Page)
Vellum Wine Craft is a California-based production that produces two wines (to my knowledge!): a red and a white.  Their red Cabernet blend has received much publicity and their white blend has been quite popular since it's release in 2011.  Their Vellum White is crisp, floral, and citrusy with just a touch of creaminess to it that makes this wine incredibly appealing.

Provenance Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
(Photo from Provenance Website)
Another personal favorite Sauvignon Blanc of mine is from Provenance Vineyards.  The above image is not the correct label.  The lower priced Sauvignon Blanc (~$22) is very well done and quite affordable.  Lots of grapefruit and citrus flavor accompanied in the palate with freshness and creaminess.

Chateau Haut Guillebot
(Photo From Google Images)
Let's not forget one of my favorite <$15 Sauvignon Blancs from Bordeaux!  For a quick recap on this $11 Sauvignon Blanc, please visit the What's in My Glass Wednesdays page.

Despite the wonderful appetizer, we also had a refreshing meal.  Both my guest and myself ordered fish in a spicy aioli sauce.  I had my tuna with pea tendrils and asparagus.  She had her cod with asparagus and braised kale.  Both meals were absolutely delightful!
Fresh Fish with Asparagus and Pea Tendrils or Braised Kale
(Photo by author)

Obviously you can see here that we were enjoying our local brews.  Asparagus and greens are generally difficult to pair anyway.  So some of these suggestions may be hit or miss.  Obviously, some people would carry over the Sauvignon Blanc into their main course.  And that is okay!  However, I think these meals would have been a prime candidate for old world style Cabernet Franc.  This can be a difficult thing to find on the western side of the U.S.  Here's where I'd make a few eastern U.S. suggestions.

Galen Glen Cabernet Franc
(Photo by author)
Galen Glen Winery's Cabernet Franc is a pleasant, medium-bodied red wine that would match well with this meal.  It's lighter in body compared to California red blends, less oak influence, and more old-world style with fresh cherries, raspberries, and a touch of herbaceousness (dried leaves, slight hints of tobacco).  Cost: $15.

Award Winners at Briar Valley Vineyard & Winery
(Photo by author)
Briar Valley Vineyard and Winery also makes a pleasant old-world style Cabernet Franc at a value cost ($19.95).  I wish I had a picture of the specific label, but the above image features their logo.  Like Galen Glen, this is a medium bodied wine with lots of ripe cherries in the nose and married nicely with the varietal herbal and tobacco notes.  For me, this wine has slightly more toasty oak flavors than Galen Glen's and a little more structure.  Another good possibility!

Veritas Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve
(Photo from KThread; found via Google Images)
Another rising brand in the eastern U.S. is Veritas Vineyard and Winery in Virginia.  I'm not sure if Veritas still sells this wine, as I can no longer find it on their website, but this was one of the reds that I enjoyed while living in Virginia.  Great tannin structure with fresh red berries and toasty oak flavors, this wine was sure to please and would be another pairing for the above meal.  If they no longer produce this wine, I'd recommend one of their red blends like their Red Star ($18) or the Vintner's Reserve ($35).


  1. Wine is the ultimate drink with the combination of spicy snacks, no one can neglect this.

    Nissan 350z

    1. Wine is my girlfriend I don't want to lost it :(

      Daelim Moped spares

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