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 Lodging, Dining, Wineries and Beer.



Latest Posts

  • Serrano Concours Set for October

    Classics at Serrano Concours Picmonkey

    TASTE News Service August 2, 2015 - Niello Concours at Serrano will celebrate its 12th anniversary on October 4, 2015. The setting will be Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, just east of Sacramento. Featured will be Cadillac automobiles and a salute to 60 years of Ferrari in America.

    Deemed last year’s Best of Show was a 1952 Bentley Mark VI convertible entered by Leon Garoyan of Davis, California. Among the other presentations were the Honorary Judges Award, which went to Raymond Lacy III of Arcata for his 1957 Triumph TR 3. The Tour Award was taken by Lynn Kissel of Cameron Park who drove his 1933 Pierce Arrow. Scott Schneider’s 1959 Porsche 356 D Convertible received the nod as the Richard Niello Sr. Outstanding Porsche. Meguiar’s Best Finish Award went to the 1960 Chrysler 300 F entered by Frank Messina. The Most Elegant Motor Car accolade went to the 1938 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster of Roger Orton of Sacramento. Another Mercedes, a 1957 300 SL roadster entered by Ted Voight of Pebble Beach was the SCCA 2014 High Point Championship winner. More information about the 2015 edition of this event can be found at http://www.nielloconcoursatserrano.com.

    Editor’s Note: If you’ll be visiting the Sacramento or Sierra Foothills area for this event, check out the listings in Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Wineries and Craft Beer producers in the area.

  • July 31, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

    Liberty Creek pinot noir Picmonkey

    Pinot Noir (N/V)


    Liberty Creek


    Alcohol: 11.5%

    Suggested Retail: $11.99* (1.5L)


    “We picked up this bottle of wine in a supermarket. It was large, cheap and labeled Pinot Noir. Our purchase was another waypoint on our perpetual quest to find drinkable versions of this variety at a decent price.

    “Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow well. To do so requires cooler weather than California’s great Central Valley, which is where the grapes for this wine undoubtedly came from. On the other hand, this magnum-sized bottle (1.5L) went for just seven bucks*, or the equivalent of three-fifty for each of two normal-sized bottles. You couldn’t beat the price. We reviewed a similar bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the same producer—and at the same price—a few weeks ago. While it wasn't something we'd want to pour for a special occasion, it wasn’t necessarily bad wine. Wine reviewers and judges for competitions experience a lot of flawed wines—products that have some real defects. Neither the Liberty Creek Cabernet, nor their Pinot Noir was flawed in this way. Both exhibited qualities that are traditional in these grape varieties, but they didn’t provide them in abundance. Tasting them was sort of like making a sandwich using soft white bread from a supermarket instead of something really special from a bakery. Either way, the bread would play a necessary role, but basic white bread wouldn’t add much to the experience. So it was with our latest Liberty Creek wine. It was recognizable as Pinot Noir and would make a meal better than one with no wine on the table, but wouldn’t have your guests talking about how much they enjoyed that aspect of the evening,

    “The non-vintage (N/V) Liberty Creek Pinot Noir, showed some plum and cherry fruit aspects and provided just a smidgen of spice. There was a bit of sweetness in the finish. While we didn’t share the winery’s flowery opinion that it “feels like satin or brushed cotton as you taste it,” we can tell you that we found it easy-drinking. This is no threat to the reputations of Burgundy’s Gevrey-Chambertin or California Pinot Noirs such as Williams Selyem. It is an inexpensive table wine that actually shows some varietal character. To say so is not damning with faint praise. Producing such a wine at very affordable pricing is an accomplishment.”

    Food Affinity: “Don’t worry about pairing with the perfect food companion. Put an open bottle on the table anytime you’re serving something you think might go with red wine. Maybe grilled bratwurst or salmon?”

  • July 31, 2015 Beer Pick of the Week

    Hop Valley Brewing logo 300x300

    Citrus Mistress


    Hop Valley Brewing Co.

    Eugene, Oregon

    Style: IPA

    Alcohol: 6.5%

    IBUs: 80

    Serving Style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft)

    Availability: Seasonal in the Pacific Northwest


    Appearance:   “Dark gold or amber color.”

    Aroma:   “Lightly hoppy. Citrussy”

    Taste:   “Smooth. Slightly mild taste with a moderate hoppy finish. I’m not really an IPA drinker, but I like this. I’d drink this again.”

    Food Affinity:   "Barbecued salmon with a lemon glaze.”


    Bill Easterday July 31 2015 Picmonkey



    Reviewer Bill Easterday is a metal fabricating consultant

  • Beer Industry Contributes $32 Billion Annually to California Economy

    Alaskan Ambrer Dugout Pix Picmonkey

    TASTE News Service July 29, 2015 - A new economic impact study shows America's beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers and retailers, contributes more than $32 billion annually to California's economy and is linked to 201,567 local jobs.

    Jointly commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, the study shows that the industry generates 201,567 jobs in California -- accounting for more than $10 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also contributed $6 billion in the form of business, personal and consumption taxes in 2014.

    "It can be said that beer truly serves America. Beer is more than our nation's favorite adult drink -- it is a powerhouse in job creation, commercial activity and tax revenue," said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which released the study today jointly with NBWA.

    According to the study, the beer industry generates nearly $253 billion in economic activity, produces $48.5 billion in tax revenue and supports 1.75 million jobs. Brewers and beer importers directly employ 49,576 Americans. More than 70 percent of brewing jobs are linked to large and mid-sized brewers and beer importers, and the number of distributor jobs has increased by more than 20 percent in the last decade, to more than 131,307.

    NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser said, "As independent businesses, America's licensed beer distributors are proud to provide more than 130,000 direct jobs with solid wages and great benefits to employees at more than 3,300 facilities, located in every state and congressional district across the country. These independent beer distributors provide significant economic benefits in their communities through local business-to-business commerce, investments in local infrastructure and capital assets and tax revenue. They provide services that improve efficiency for trading partners, especially small brewers and retailers, and they ensure fair prices and a broad selection of products for consumers to enjoy."

    The Beer Serves America study was compiled by an independent economics firm, John Dunham & Associates. It is the most comprehensive was compiled by an independent economics firm, John Dunham & Associates. It is the most comprehensive analysis of the industry available, using data collected directly from private companies, Dun & Bradstreet, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.