Robert Biale Vineyards of the Napa Valley We are starting off 2022 with the “Killer Bees” – Buon Appetito and Biale.

We have never featured Robert Biale Vineyards before, but we (Gail and I) have admired their Zinfandels for years. Biale is rather unusual among Napa Valley wineries in that they feature Zinfandel and Petite Sirah rather than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The reason for this is the Zinfandel and Petite Sirah plantings were there before Napa became known for Bordeaux varieties.

To contrast with the undiscovered country of Biale, we have the warm familiarity of Buon Appetito. Martino and his staff always treat us well, and the menu reflects that. Upon reviewing the menu, you might wonder why we chose the Italian Crème Brule (Crema Cotta) rather than the Chocolate Souffle to pair with the Petite Sirah Dessert wine. The reason is eggs. Eggs are the heart of the Crema Cotta and what is now Robert Biale Vineyards started out as a poultry farm.
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Milliare Winery of Calaveras County Spring Greetings Fellow Diablo Wine Tasters

For our April dinner, we will be featuring the wines of Milliaire Winery. Milliaire is located in Calaveras County, and many of the wines we will be featuring will be from either the Calaveras County AVA or the down-river Mokelumne River AVA. We have been trying to persuade Steve Millier to be our featured winery for a while, and he finally agreed in 2020 – and then the pandemic hit.  Steve Millier did help coordinate the wines for the Calaveras County Wine Association when we did our dinner with them back in November 1995.

We are returning to Buon Appetito to enjoy some of our favorites like Gnocchi con Salmone and Osso Buco di Angnello, mixed with some dishes I don’t believe we have had before like Pennette alla Vodka and Involtini di Melanzane alla Modonese.
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May Salutations! CANCELLED

Unlike our first two dinners of the year which featured wineries we had not featured before, for May we will be bringing back an old favorite. Sobon Estate was our featured winery in January 1997 and in April 2010, and also a stop on both of our Amador County trips. Sobon Estate was established on the site of the former D’Agostini Winery, which in turn was previously the Uhlinger Winery, established in 1856, making it the oldest continuously operated winery in California. Sobon Estate has been known for their Zinfandel for years and has added Rhone varietals to their portfolio.

For this dinner, Sobon Estate sent us a dozen bottles, and Martino prepared several sample courses for us to try. For the first course, he prepared the Calamari steak and a seafood risotto. The assembled group (Joyce & Dan Jones, Karen & Keith Kato, Peter Mierau and I) tried three wines with those dishes and concluded that the best combination was their Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc with the Calamari steak. (Their Viognier just didn't work as well.) Similarly, with the third course we tried both the Lasagna and the Penne Bolognese to go with either the Barbera or the ReZerve Zinfandel. We decided we couldn’t leave out either wine, and that both went better with the Bolognese. You might also notice the ultra-rare occurrence of two (yes, two) dessert wines.
Please click here to download the menu