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Feb 13th
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J. Lohr Vineyard & Wines

wineJ. Lohr Vineyard & Wines is one of the most known wineries in the Bay Area and elsewhere. It’s also one of the largest. Started by Jerry Lohr in the ’70s in San Jose—when he planted his first 280 acres of varietal grapes—the business has grown to include more than 900 acres of cool-climate estate vineyards in Monterey County, producing Chardonnay, Riesling, Valdiguie and Pinot Noir, to around 2,000 acres in Paso Robles focusing on Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and other red varietals. Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown on another 33 acres in Napa.

With this in mind, my husband and I head to Jacks Restaurant in the Portola Hotel & Spa in the center of Monterey for a special “Growers Dinner”—a magnificent event of food and wine pairing showcasing the culinary arts of Executive Chef Jason Giles and the splendid wines of J. Lohr. Jacks serves only the freshest local produce, meats and seafood that Monterey County and Central California have to offer—particularly featuring Swank Farms in Hollister; AA SportFishing & Tours for reeling in the very best fish; Harris Ranch beef; and Cowgirl Creamery for dairy produce.

We had five amazing courses that evening, each one paired with J. Lohr wine. Dinner guests were hard pressed to select from imaginative starters such as Hog Farm Asparagus and Glaum Ranch Poached Duck Egg with shaved Parmesan cheese and tarragon cream; and entrees such as Line-Caught California White Sea Bass with lemon-thyme risotto, sautéed beet greens and grilled citrus-tomato vinaigrette—or Slow-Roasted Harris Ranch Tenderloin of Beef with organic Swank Farm cauliflower puree, roasted parsnips, sautéed spinach and a Cabernet demi-glace. Dessert was a Trio of Treats, including meyer lemon madeleine cookies with organic berry compote, a truly decadent treat, indeed.

The care that J. Lohr takes in producing their quality wines of sustainably farmed fruit certainly shows. I particularly loved the Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Oaks, Paso Robles, with its abundance of dark fruit, spicy clove and toasty notes. But two wines from Monterey-grown grapes really stood out for me, a Riesling, Bay Mist Vineyard, with an almost buttercup-yellow color and an abundance of aromas of apricot, pear and apple; and a Valdiguie, Wildflower Vineyard, a vibrant purple-red beauty with intense boysenberry, cherry, cranberry and banana aromas.

Service, cuisine and presentation are simply superb at Jacks. The next time we go there for dinner, we’re staying overnight in the Portola Hotel.


J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, 1000 Lenzen Ave., San Jose, (408) 288-5057. jlohr.com. Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay, Two Portola Plaza, Monterey, (866) 711-1534. portolahotel.com.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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