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Aspen, Colorado, June 2016, Christopher and Darcy with Tamron Hall, national news anchor for NBC’s The Today Show.

Editor’s Letter 2016 has been an incredible year of discoveries and surprises! Our travels have taken us across America several times on extended road trips where we pulled our T@B camper, a mini hotel room on wheels. We maneuvered through blizzards and blistering heat waves to find all of nature’s beauty. We have also traveled to Europe several times exploring Italy, Greece and Hungary. All the time, we tried to find unique experiences and honest local fare away from the typical tourist spots. This issue’s cover story features the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. While most visitors to Washington funnel through Seattle and discover Washington wines in restaurants and the many tasting rooms in Woodinville, Prosser is ground zero for more 100-point wines than any other region in the state. Venice, Italy is one of our favorite haunts. Every time we visit, we are eager to come back. While we do indulge in popular tourist activities, we also learned how to retreat from the thick crowds and enjoy Venice like a local. Our Passion & Portraits Column features Keith Villa, Brewmaster and Founder of Blue Moon Brewing Company. Keith just celebrated his Twenty-First Anniversary since founding Blue Moon. His Belgian-Style beers have enjoyed global success, but are still made to craft beer standards. We are excited to welcome two new columnists to Wine Country International’s team. Boulder-based organic wine specialist Lisa Bell has written an informative piece titled “Organic Wine, A True Expression of Terroir.” Wine industry veteran Michelle Bainbridge, also an accomplished world traveler and wine lover, has created a delicious story titled “Where’s The Wine? Can You Find It On Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula?” We hope that you enjoy this issue! Santé! Christopher J. Davies @vinotasting Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6

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Contents Wine Country International ® Magazine Christopher J. Davies, Co-Founder, Editor & Publisher Darcy R. Davies, Co-Founder & Design Director William Davis, Senior Tasting Editor, CSS, CWE Karin McLean, Managing Editor Wine Education & Travel Editor, Ron Kapon Lifestyle Editor, V.G. Walsh

WINE WORKS Pages 6-7 Organic Wine A True Expression of Terroir

Communications Manager, Karin McLean Director of Photography, Christopher J. Davies Contributing Editors: Michelle Bainbridge, Lisa Bell, Blair Bowman, Michael Long Barrie Lynn, Larry Wilcox Advertising, Sponsorship: info@winecountrynetwork.com A publication of Wine Country Network, Inc.

DESTINATIONS Page 8-10 Where’s the Wine? Can You Find it on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula?

CRUISIN WORLD Pages 16-30 Crusing Through Greece

Christopher J. Davies, Chairman & CEO, Co-Founder Darcy Davies, President & Co-Founder Wine Country Network, Inc. P.O. Box 6023, Broomfield, CO 80021 Tel. 303-664-5700 Fax. 303-648-4199 www.winecountrynetwork.com e-mail: info@winecountrynetwork.com Address editorial inquiries to cdavies@winecountrynetwork.com VINOTASTING Newsletter at www.Vinotasting.com Twitter: @vinotasting

RAMBLE ABOUT Pages 11-13 Toronto – A Renewed Love Affair

SPIRITED CHAT Page 32 Medley’s

Wine Country International Magazine does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, drawings, photographs or other works. All letters sent to Wine Country Network will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes. Contents © 2016 by Wine Country Network, Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or part without written permission of the publisher. All photography in this publication, unless otherwise noted is copyrighted by Christopher J. Davies, all rights reserved. www.daviesphotos.com

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

COOKING THE BOOKS

Pages 14-15 Turtle Soup

Pages 33

Book Reviews

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FEATURE Pages 34-44

PASSIONS & PORTRAITS

North By Northwest  

Horse Heaven Hills

EXPLORE LIKE A LOCAL

PARTING SHOTS

Pages 46-50

Pages 52-61

Pages 63

Keith Villa

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Venezia: Discovering Hot Spots & Hidden Gems

Hungary’s Delicious Wine And Culinary Renaissance

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Organic Wine A True Expression of Terroir

Photo by: Christopher J. Davies

Story by Lisa Bell

There is increasing interest in organic wines from around the world, both for their quality and the positive benefits to the environment. Organic winemakers grow in a manner that protects the environment and preserves the life of both the soil and the vines. The resulting wines are truly the purest expression of the grape. For organic wines produced in and imported to the United States, both the growing of the grapes and the production of the wine must be certified. All agricultural ingredients used in the wine must be grown and produced without excluded methods, including most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and ingredients, genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. The wine is then produced and bottled in a certified organic facility. Organic techniques applied include minimal processing and no use of chemical additives. Organic wines sold in the United States fall into two categories: “Made with Organically Grown Grapes” and “Organic.” Both categories must be made with 100 percent organic grapes. The primary difference between

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the two is in the use of sulfites. In wines labeled Made with Organically Grown Grapes, winemakers use the lowest level of sulfites possible to prevent spoilage and bacterial contamination. Sulfur Dioxide (sulfites) may be added to yield less than 100 parts per million (ppm) in finished grape wine vs. the limit of 350 ppm in conventional wines. Any remaining agricultural ingredients (e.g., yeast) are not required to be organic, but must be produced without the excluded methods listed above. Organic wines have No Sulfites Added (often referred to as NSA wines) but are allowed naturally occurring sulfite Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6


WINE WORKS levels under 10 ppm. Other agricultural ingredients that go into the wine, including yeast, also have to be certified organic. Only Organic wines are allowed to display the USDA organic seal, and may be labeled as Organic or Organic Wine on the front and back label. Organic wines are being produced from California to Europe, Australia to South Africa, and everywhere in between, and there are differences in labeling from country to country. For example, in Europe and Canada, an Organic or Bio wine can be made from organically grown grapes and may contain added sulfites. The USDA has trade partnerships with more than 100 countries. These partnerships allow organic products certified in one country to be sold as organic in the other. Regardless of country of origin, traded products must meet the labeling requirements in the destination country. Therefore, a wine produced and sold in a foreign country typically has a separate label if it is also imported to the United States. Certified Biodynamic® wines are also becoming more prevalent in the U.S. market, made by American and foreign producers. The most recognized certification agency is Demeter. The Demeter Biodynamic® Farm Standard is a “comprehensive organic farming method that requires the creation and management of a closed system minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself.” For example, on a Biodynamic farm you will find cows and chickens being raised for natural compost. Wines must be produced to organic standards in addition to being Biodynamic. Biodynamic agriculture also considers that there are lunar and astrological influences on soil and plant development. Based on the insights and subsequent research of Rudolph Steiner, the founder of the Biodynamic movement, a number of Biodynamic calendars have been developed that offer indications for optimal times for sowing, cultivating and harvesting, based on the cyclical changes in the positions of the celestial bodies relative to earth. Organic growers promote ecological biodiversity among the vineyards, allowing other plants to grow in and around the vineyard in order to attract beneficial insects and pollinators. Over time, organic vineyards develop a natural resistance to adverse weather and insects, and tend to produce higher-quality and more robust grapes even in the most adverse growing conditions. The resulting wines are the true essence of the winery’s terroir, creating a “taste of place” and a glass to remember.

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Bell

Photo Courtesy of Vignobles Raymond

Lisa Bell has specialized in the organic and natural industry for the past 22 years, conducting marketing and communications programs for a variety of consumer products. She is currently the National Marketing Director for organic wine importer Natural Merchants, Inc., a company she has worked with for the past 8 years. Lisa also serves as the Colorado broker for the eight family produced brands in the Natural Merchants organic wine portfolio. Photo Courtesy of Vignobles Raymond

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Where’s the Wine? Can You Find it on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula? Story and photos by Michelle Bainbridge

If you are a wine lover looking for a new wine country discovery, put Croatia on your travel plans. It is only 60 miles from Venice by ferry, and an easy flight from Europe’s major airline hubs. Croatia’s location on the narrow Adriatic Sea, north of the Mediterranean, has been appreciated by seafaring travelers for millennia. Its nearly 1,000 islands provide a haven to the yachting set of Europe, yet it remains relatively undiscovered by the North American traveler. Croatia’s mild climate mirrors that of Italy, on the opposite side of the Adriatic, making it ideal for both a year-round holiday destination and growing premium grape varietals. Intertwined with the pristine vineyards you will find an abundance of Roman and Medieval ruins to explore. The cuisine of the coastal regions is dominated by fresh seafood, pasta and fresh, locally-harvested truffles and world-class, creative chefs, making it a food-lovers’ destination as well. Croatia is an authentic “Old World” wine-growing region with a history dating back 2,500 years to the ancient Greeks. As a member of the EU,

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Croatia must follow strict guidelines for producing quality wines, and modern-day winemaking is as advanced as what you will find elsewhere in the world, with the majority of winemaking done by small, independent producers. Since the Croatian War of Independence just over 20 years ago, the quality of the country’s wines has risen to compete with some of the best in Europe and the New World. Today’s winemakers are influenced by international education and commercial marketing, and they engage in their own interpretations of traditional techniques, while Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6


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a growing economy has contributed the monetary means to implement these ideas. As in much of Europe, small wineries in Croatia are not always ready to receive English-speaking tourists. Contact them ahead of time to ensure someone will be there to greet you. E-mail the winery before your trip starts, or ask for assistance from your hotel Concierge. To fully appreciate the region and its treasures, plan enough time to allow for a leisurely trip to the winery. Once there, you’ll want to allow plenty of time to spend with your hosts to learn about their facility and the region’s unique qualities. The small port town of Rovinj (Rovigno) would be the perfect home base for your exploration. Italian is the official second language here, but you will be pleased to learn that English is widely spoken in the hotels and restaurants. All of the key attractions and wineries are short day trips away. The historic Old Town is beautifully preserved and the shops, galleries, restaurants and hotels coexist seamlessly within this tiny fishing village. Other coastal cities for a base are the cities of Porec and Pula where you

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will find perfectly preserved Roman ruins. Hrvatska Istria – Located within the Istrian Peninsula, just east of Northern Italy, this region was under Venetian rule for several centuries. The majority of grape production is white varietals, especially bright, lively, aromatic Malvazija (Malvasia Istriana). The dominant red grape varietal is Teran (a relative of Italian Refosco). Kozlovic Winery Vale 78, Momjan, 52460 Buje, Hrvatska Istria, Croatia | Tel: +385 52 77 91 77 www.kozlovic.hr Located near the northern border of Istria and Slovenia (if you have time, pop over the border for a beer and collect another country’s stamp for your passport) near the small town of Momjan. The winery was established in 1919, with the current winery rebuilt in 1999 by second generation winemaker Franko Kozlovic. Franko fought with his father to experiment with new techniques and styles of wines, all the while focusing on the white wines from the Malvazija grape varietal. The extreme contemporary architecture of the winery creates a juxtaposition to the remote rural scenery. The perfectly manicured grounds and vineyards are surrounded by densely forested hillsides. It’s fairly easy to find, thanks to well-marked roads.

Wines tasted2015 Classic Malvazija This is the most important wine of Kozlovic, accounting for 70% of the production. A pale lemon color; it delivers highly floral aromas of orange blossom and jasmine with a “tickling” acidity. The light, dry, mineral taste is much subtler than the bold aromas would lead you to expect. We discovered this to be the perfect pairing for rich, cheesy truffle dishes.

gives off aromas of flowers, spices and the essence of green tea. Flavors of tropical fruit and stone fruits. It is viscous   coating the tongue, but finishing clean. You might find it similar to an aged Chenin Blanc. This is a complex wine, worthy of contemplation. 2014 Classic Teran This is a drinkable, every-day style, low in tannins and alcohol (12.5% abv). It is only fermented a short time on the skins, in large, neutral oak. The color extraction is still high, resulting in a pleasant ruby-colored wine. Aromas of berries and herbs. Flavors of blackberries, wild strawberries and forest floor earthiness. A balanced, fresh red wine. Other producers in the area:

Benvenuti Winery

Kaldir 7, Motovun 52424, Hrvatska Istria, Croatia | Tel.: +385 098 197 5651 www.benvenutivina.com/en

Kabola Winery

Kanedolo 90, Momjan, 52462, Hrvatska Istria, Croatia | Tel.: +385 052 779 208 www.kabola.hr/en

Vina Matošević d.o.o., — Wine Cellar & Tasting Room Krunčići 2 Istarska, 52448, Sv Lovrec, Hrvatska Istria, Croatia | Tel.: +385 052 448 558 www.matosevic.com/en

Roxanich

Kosinozici 26, 52466 Nova Vas Hrvatska Istria, Croatia | Tel.:+385 091 617 0700 www.roxanich.hr/english/e01onama00.html

2013 Santa Lucia Malvazija This is a reserve-style wine, from a single vineyard, only made in the best vintages. The amber color is a result of oak aging, and the wine

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RAMBLE ABOUT

Toronto – A Renewed Love Affair Story and photos by Ron Kapon

Until recently, I had not been to Toronto in 20 years. After spending four nights there in late June, I have a new love affair with the city. Porter Airlines flies to Billy Bishop Airport from Newark in a little over one hour. The prices vary based on demand. I paid around $275 round trip, which included a $55 charge for one checked bag (free carry-on is limited to 20 pounds). Newark Airport puts JFK and LaGuardia to shame. New Jersey Transit from Penn Station to Newark Airport costs only $9 for seniors. Follow the signs to the Air Tran (included in your ticket) and Terminal B for Porter Airlines. There are many uniformed personnel to direct you. Near the departure gates, Porter has its own lounge with complimentary coffee, juice, water, soda and crackers. On the Toronto end, Billy Bishop Airport has a brand new tunnel leading under the water, bringing you to downtown Toronto. You could also take the free ferry with a view of downtown Toronto’s waterfront. There is also a free shuttle bus from there to Union Station (the largest transportation hub in Canada — train, bus, subway and streetcar)  Le Germain Maple Leaf Garden Hotel is part of a privately Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6

owned chain that includes two hotels in Toronto plus Montreal, Calgary, Quebec, etc. They offered me a great travel writers’ rate of $130 US for three nights and a complimentary fourth night, breakfast and WiFi included. It is located across the street from Union Station and the Air Canada Center (home to the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team and the Toronto Raptors basketball team). Tatiana Boulchyi is the concierge and was very helpful with planning my visit. I had a great king size room on the top floor. I was trying to find the ice machine on my floor and one of the desk people came up to help me. He saw me (on video cameras) wandering around the floor holding an empty ice bucket. I hope I didn’t look suspicious...  After dropping my bags in my room I walked a few blocks to the CN Tower, the tallest tower in the western hemisphere at 1,136 feet, visited by 1.5 million people annually. I did walk around the observation deck but the glass floor looking straight down was too much for me. Adventure lovers can take a walk OUTSIDE – around the circumference of the roof. Visitors walk in groups of six, while attached to an overhead rail via a trolley and WINE COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL

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harness system. The outdoor walk lasts approximately 30 minutes and costs $150 US. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is next door to the tower. It is Canada’s largest indoor aquarium with 16,000 aquatic animals. There are nine curated galleries showcasing a cross-section of saltwater and freshwater environments. One can see daily live dive shows, get up close and personal with three touch exhibits featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks and rays and see North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel. The tunnel is amazing.  Railway Museum   across the street from the tower and aquarium is the 17-acre Roundhouse Park, home to the Toronto Railway Museum and the Steam Whistle Brewing Company. The original roundhouse had stalls to repair up to 32 locomotives. In 1986 Canadian Pacific Railway donated the location to the city. The park is also home to a collection of trains, the former Canadian Pacific Railway Don Station, and the Roundhouse Park Miniature Railway.

my pass for food and drinks. Thank you! A streetcar from Union Station brought me to Garrison Commons at Fort York in about 10 minutes.  Hockey Hall of Fame   I admit I am not a hockey fan but could not resist this visit. Located in the Brookfield Shopping Center downtown, it’s the home of the Stanley Cup. For $20 you can take a photo with the cup. The museum has the world’s largest collection of hockey memorabilia, as well as two theaters and a simulated rink with interactive games (stop a puck while in goalie mode, etc).  Mike Carter, the sales coordinator for Urban Adventures, read about my visit to Toronto and also saw my articles about my two Urban Adventure tours in New York City (Lower East Side and Beyond Broadway). He picked me up at my hotel the morning of day three and we did a two-hour walking tour through St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District (theaters, restaurants, galleries, etc). Since 1803, the St. Lawrence Market has been Toronto’s culinary focal point, with its 120 vendors, merchants and artisans. We spent most of the time with Robert Biancolin at Carousel Bakery and Sandwich Bar (30 years at the market) and his world-famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich.  After my Urban Adventure, Mike brought me to the meeting point for the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour. It is technically called City Sightseeing Toronto and uses double decker buses with open- top seating. There were 21 stops and I stayed aboard for the full go round, getting off at the waterfront for the free 45-minute harbor cruise that was included in the package. I walked along the waterfront after my cruise and back to my hotel.

On day two I went to Taste of Toronto, which offered afternoon and evening sessions. There was a total of six to choose from running over the four-day festival, with each session lasting between four and five hours. There were over 50 restaurant dishes, artisan stalls, chef demonstrations and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to sample. The highlight of my day was sitting next to Chef Rick Moonen in the VIP tent. I suddenly realized we knew each other from his time in New York City at Oceana, where he earned three stars from the New York Times. Rick now operates RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. He invited me to his cooking demo, where I made a tasty salmon dish. The Taste folks supplied me with a press pass for the noon-4 p.m. session. They generously added $20 Canadian (about $15 US) to

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You might have noticed I planned no nighttime activities. I was so tired after each of my first three days that I was in bed by 10 p.m. I plotted out my last full day to once again use the Hop On Hop Off service (my pass was good for two days) and this time visit many of the attractions. My first visit was to Casa Loma, the home built by Sir Henry Pellatt, and constructed between 1911-1914 in the Gothic Revival style. It has 98 rooms, 30 bathrooms, 25 fireplaces, three bowling alleys, a shooting gallery, a library with 10,000 volumes, a 1,700-bottle wine cellar, five acres of gardens and an 800foot tunnel leading to the carriage house. Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6


RAMBLE ABOUT Porter Airlines www.flyporter.com Le Germain Maple Leaf Garden Hotel www.legermainhotels.com CN Tower www.cntower.ca Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada Railway Museum www.torontorailwaymuseum.com www.steamwhistle.ca Taste of Toronto www.tasteoftoronto.com Hockey Hall of Fame www.hhof.com Urban Adventures www.torontourbanadventures.com Carousel Bakery and Sandwich Bar www.stlawrencemarket.com City Sightseeing Toronto www.citysightseeingtoronto.com Casa Loma www.casaloma.org The Bata Shoe Museum www.batashoemuseum.ca Royal Ontario Museum www.rom.on.ca Art Gallery of Ontario www.ago.net Tall Ship Kajama www.greatlakesschooner.com

After Casa Loma I stopped at three museums on my pass list. The Bata Shoe Museum had 13,000 pairs of shoes from around the world, and was probably my least favorite visit of the trip. A block away was ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)   The Gardiner Museum. Six million artifacts in Canada’s largest museum with more than one million visitors a year. It is a museum of art, world culture and natural history.  A short ride back on the bus and I was at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO was designed by Frank Gehry and contains works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Rembrandt.  I rushed back to the harbor front and made the 1 1/2 hour Tall Ship Kajama cruise by about ten seconds. It is a three-mastered 165-foot cargo schooner built in 1930 that holds 225 passengers. They sail on the harbor as well as on Lake Ontario.  The next morning, I took a taxi for the 10-minute ride back to Billy Bishop Airport. There were flight delays because several planes were late leaving their destination. The nice lady at the Porter Airlines counter put me on an earlier flight and I was back at Newark Airport on time. I miss Toronto already. For More Information- www.seetorontonow.com

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The Food And Wine Chain Turtle Soup... The Almost Forgotten Delicacy! Story by Christopher J. Davies, photos supplied by Commander’s Palace.

Over a century ago, Turtle Soup was earmarked in many a home cook’s favorite cookbook. It is said this was U.S. President Howard Taft’s favorite food. So seriously did he take this dish that he even selected a special chef for the White House who was a master at cooking a good Turtle Soup. Today a small group of restaurants across the country have Turtle Soup on their regular menus, with the largest concentration of them found in America’s foodiest city, New Orleans! Of the dozen or so restaurants in NOLA making Turtle Soup, Commander’s Place is ground zero for this delicacy.

and enjoying his cuisine last year. One of my favorites was the Turtle Soup. Commander’s Wine Guy Dan Davis even offered up a wine pairing for the soup!

Their creole version is thick and stew-like. It is usually topped off at your table with a drop of sherry. No, it does not taste like chicken, but more like a veal stew.

The recipe serves 12 people. Leftover soup freezes very well. Word of caution — use only snapping turtles or farmraised turtles. Sea Turtles may not be used, as they are poisonous to humans, and illegal to catch!

At the helm of Commander’s Palace is Executive Chef Tory McPhail, a young and highly talented Culinarian. Chef McPhail is credited with restoring Commander’s to the culinary magnitude bestowed upon the restaurant when renowned Chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse were running the kitchen. We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Tory

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I asked Chef Tory if he would be kind enough to share his recipe.

After researching the cost of turtle meat, Commander’s Palace’s Turtle Soup is a real bargain at $8.50 a bowl!

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT Suppliers: Snapping Turtle Meat, Bone-In (2LB) Wholey: Cost-$48 plus shipping www.wholey.com/snapping-turtle-meat Turtle Meat, Bone-In (2LB) Farm-raised Cajun Grocer: Cost-$50.40 www.cajungrocer.com/turtle-meat-bone-in.html

Food For Thought Turtle Soup Recipe By Tory McPhail Executive Chef, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans INGREDIENTS 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter 2 1/2 pounds turtle meat (see Note), cut in medium dice (beef, or a combination of lean beef and veal stew meat may be substituted) Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is almost evaporated. Add the onions, celery, garlic and peppers, stirring constantly, then add the thyme, oregano, and bay leaves, and sauté for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables have caramelized. Add the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, periodically skimming away any fat that comes to the top. While the stock is simmering, make a roux in a separate pot: Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a small saucepan and add the flour a little at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to burn the roux. After all the flour has been added, cook for about 3 minutes until the roux smells nutty, is pale in color, and has the consistency of wet sand. Set aside until the soup is ready. Using a whisk, vigorously stir the roux into the soup a little at a time to prevent lumping. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking on the bottom. Add the sherry, bring to a boil, add the hot sauce and the Worcestershire, and simmer, skimming any fat or foam that comes to the top. Add the lemon juice and tomatoes, and return to a simmer. Add the spinach and the chopped egg, bring to a simmer, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. This soup freezes well. Note: We use alligator snapping turtles, a farm-raised, fresh-water species available all year. It’s illegal to use sea-raised turtle, so farm-raised is fine. Turtle meat usually comes in 2 1/2-pound portions, so this recipe is written to use that quantity. It freezes well and can be ordered by mail.

2 medium onions, in medium dice 6 stalks celery, in medium dice 1 large head garlic, cloves peeled and minced 3 bell peppers, any color, in medium dice 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme 1 tablespoon ground dried oregano 4 bay leaves 2 quarts Veal Stock 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 bottle (750 ml) dry sherry 1 tablespoon hot sauce or to taste 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 2 large lemons, juiced 3 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped 10 ounces fresh spinach, washed thoroughly, stems removed, coarsely chopped 6 medium eggs, hard-boiled and chopped into large pieces PREPARATION: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large soup pot over medium to high heat. Brown the meat in the hot butter,

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CRUISIN WORLD

Cruisin Through Greece

Story and photographs by Christopher J. Davies. Additional photos by Darcy R. Davies.

This August Darcy and I had the pleasure of celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary by traveling to Venice and boarding Royal Caribbean’s Vision of The Seas for a seven-day cruise to Greece. Day One: Venice, Italy Departed 5:00 p.m.

At 5 p.m. our ship majestically departed the cruise terminal and (with the help of a tugboat) slowly made its way through the Venetian Lagoon past Venice’s iconic port, the Isle of Giudecca and The Basilica of St. Mark. This was truly a “Kodak Moment” as the afternoon light cast an ethereal glow on the lagoon — our view from the ship’s 8th level was stunning! We passed San Marco’s vaporetto platforms where the city’s efficient waterbus taxis whisk residents and tourists to their next destination. Private docks along the basin were awash in luxurious yachts. Soon we passed the iron gates of Giardini ex Reali, the city’s former royal gardens that open to the waterfront. After several hours of relaxing as we drifted past Venetian islands, we watched the sun set across the blue horizon from the balcony of our roomy, well-appointed Junior Suite, which included a queen size bed and spacious living room. Even our suite’s bathroom was good sized and had both a shower and a bathtub. As our appetites finally reminded us, it was soon dinner and we headed down for our much-anticipated first dinner onboard. For our first night, we had reserved the ship’s specialty Japanese restaurant Izumi, located on the top level of the ship. There was no advertised surcharge for this restaurant, so we were surprised to find that only the Edamame was complimentary. All steaks, sushi and seafood dishes were priced a la carte, but one taste made us forget about money — the ultra-fresh seafood and tempura were to die for. There was also a remarkable variety of wines by the glass that were available with our premium beverage package. As evening darkened into night and we enjoyed our first night’s sleep, our ship entered the Adriatic Sea. As we awakened the next morning, our ship was cruising smoothly, hugging the Adriatic coast. By about 10 a.m. we began to see the small coastal towns of Croatia, which greatly resembled their Italian counterparts with their ruggedness and terra cotta rooftops. On the top deck, DJs were blasting Euro/Trance/Techno Music as other lucky travelers lounged by the outdoor pools. Meanwhile, the bars were hopping with party-happy guests. Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6

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CRUISIN WORLD Day Two: Kotor, Montenegro Tendered 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

At 2 p.m. we tendered at our first port, Kotor, Montenegro. Formerly part of Yugoslavia, this country was formed in 2006. Admittedly we did not venture from the ship that day. However, after reading up on its history and learning that the Venetians had built this fortified town of winding roads and picturesque sites, I wished we had taken a shore excursion.

Day Three: Corfu, Greece Docked 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

On the third day our ship docked in Corfo, Greece. It was a sunny day — perfect for the Dassia Beach Hotel Package we had pre-booked. After disembarking from our ship, we met our tour guide and boarded an air-conditioned luxury motor coach with panoramic windows. The twentyminute ride to our beach hotel went through the heart of this lively town, surprisingly well populated with people, various businesses and small shops. After arriving at the hotel lobby, Darcy and I walked down a back stairway and out to the beach where there were numerous beach chairs with umbrellas. Small changing room sheds dotted the beach, which was beautiful with warm water. However, it was quite rocky — I advise wearing rubber sandals if you plan to go out in the water. The Ionian Sea was pleasantly lukewarm and motionless except for the occasional wake of a passing jet ski. We also used the hotel’s pool and poolside bar. Unfortunately, Amalthia Restaurant, the hotel’s fancy oceanside restaurant, had closed down its breakfast service and was regretfully closed for lunch. The convenient beachside Grill House was our choice for lunch, a delightful snack bar where we had typical Greek gyros, French fries (5€), and local Greek wine by the glass (6€). Dassia Chandris Hotel & Spa Dassia Bay, Corfu 491 00, Greece T:+30 2661 097100 http://www.chandris.gr/dassia/default-en.html The ship’s “All Aboard” time was 2:00 p.m. Darcy and I returned to our suite by 1:30 p.m. and sat down on our balcony to view the port. Tugboats were approaching the ship to prepare for maneuvering it away from the port in thirty minutes. Below us, the crew was waving to pedestrians in the distance, who were carrying bags of cheesy souvenirs. It was comical to view several tardy passengers, frantically running back to ship before the cables were untied. As we departed, the Captain’s voice came on the ship’s intercom system, playfully shaming the tardy passengers from the 5th deck! Later on we learned from our favorite bartender that cruise ships are subject to heavy fines if they stay docked beyond their scheduled departure time. Once at sea, we decided to sun ourselves on the top deck. While most of the lounge chairs were occupied or had

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CRUISIN WORLD towels draped over them (the universal sign of a reserved chair), we scored open lounge chairs near the bow of the ship. Later that evening we ate at another specialty restaurant, Giovanni’s Table, an Italian Trattoria that required a $25 dining fee per person. The upgrade was certainly well worth the price, though — the food portions were massive enough to sink a ship. I loved the succulent Lamb Chops with Polenta, and Darcy enjoyed the Tagliatelle with rich Wild Boar Ragù. Giovanni’s Table also had a great winesby-the-glass list with plenty to choose from. We selected a $16 Chianti Classico DOCG, which required a $4 surcharge under our premium beverage package ($12 per glass limit).

Day Four: Athens, Greece Docked 12:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

At noon on the following day we finally arrived in Athens! Online research had revealed that the cruise port was about thirty minutes from Athens’ main attractions, so we decided to book the Athens On Your Own Shore Excursion at $59.75 per person. Upon disembarking from the ship, a luxury motor coach awaited us, clearly marked with our excursion number. Onboard, a friendly English-speaking tour guide greeted us with tips and valuable information before the motor coach let us off in front of a statue of Melina Mercori, a Greek actress, singer and politician, conveniently situated across from the Temple of Zeus. Our tour guide recommended that we purchase an Athens Multi-Site Ticket (30€), which provides access to six archaeological sites, not including the Acropolis Museum (5€). Visiting the Temple of Zeus was a jaw-dropping experience; it was amazing to consider that its massive 68-foot tall columns were created in 457 BCE.

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Our pre-trip research led us to the multi-starred Modern Rooftop Restaurant on the 6th floor of the AthensWas Luxury Design Hotel, situated between the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis Museum on Dionysiou Areopagitou, a popular tree-lined pedestrian strip. Once at the Hotel, an elevator takes you to the 5th floor, where you get off and climb a marble stairway up to the 6th floor. The restaurant and bar are modern but petite, and the rooftop patio was even smaller with only about eight tables. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to be seated at a two top with a terrific view of the Acropolis on the horizon. We ordered a bottle of 2015 Vorinos White Wine by Silva Daskalaki Winery (22€), a Greek dry white wine our waiter recommended. Tasting Notes: 2015 Vorinos White Wine by Silva Daskalaki Winery (22€). Organic-Biodynamic, Vintage 2015, PGI Crete, Grape: Vidiano 100%, Alc. 13% The wine had a golden straw color, with floral notes and citrus flavors, a perfect match for our lunch. www.silvawines.gr/en/products_view/3/4/1/Vorinos_White We began our lunch with a Raw Salmon Salad on Romaine with olive oil dressing. The salmon was purple in color, a first for us, and as fresh as if it had been caught earlier that day! A basket of assorted Greek breads arrived as accompaniment to the salmon, some with dates, others with olives and various seeds, including sesame. One pretzel-shaped bread called Koulori was encrusted in sesame and oats. For our entrées, Darcy ordered Pork Tenderloin and Spinach PetalShaped Pasta with Garlic, Capers and Tomatoes, while I feasted on Black Squid Ink Risotto with Shrimp, Clams and Calamari. The presentation and flavors were outstanding! Not to mention the amazing view of the Acropolis, the greatest Greek antiquity of all time! 4.5 out of 5 Stars! Well worth the price! The Modern Rooftop Restaurant AthensWas Luxury Design Hotel 5, Dionysiou Areopagitou Str. 11742 Athens T +30 210 9249954, F +30 210 9245264 After fueling up, we headed toward the Acropolis museum, passing many shops and restaurants with street-side tables under tents or umbrellas and several cart vendors selling bags of nuts and dried fruits.

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CRUISIN WORLD The Acropolis Museum is located in the historical area of Makriyianni, southeast of the mainstay of the Acropolis, on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens. It is a spectacular modern building spanning 150,000 square feet. Interestingly enough, the route to the museum entrance takes you above archeological excavations. The museum has three levels of exhibits displaying ancient sculptures and statues, and was designed by architects to allow natural light to illuminate the exhibits. The museum is designed as a three-dimensional loop, which helps to control the flow of more than 10,000 visitors passing through each exhibit area daily. Permanent main exhibits: •

The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis

The Archaic Gallery

The Parthenon Gallery

• The Propylaia, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion. •

5th century BCE to the 5th century CE

The Acropolis Museum hosts two shops and a restaurant. This is a “must visit” and well worth the 5€ admission price! We had planned to visit the Acropolis, but the walkways up to the actual site take 25-30 minutes each way from the gates. This, combined with heavy crowds and our ship’s tight schedule, made us decide to instead visit some shops and find an outdoor restaurant where we could enjoy a light snack and a glass of wine. We met our motor coach on schedule back at the statue of Melina Mercori at 6:30 p.m. With some of Athens’ rush hour traffic thinning, we returned to our ship at 7 p.m. The ship was set to depart at 8:00 p.m., so fortunately, Captain Slaby would not taunt us for being late. Our dinner reservation was at 8:30 p.m. at Chops Grille ($30 per person), Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse. Upon arrival we were treated like royalty! The décor was modern and we were seated at a private table with a window overlooking the tranquil sea. The selection of seafood and meat dishes was quite extensive, with sizeable portions. We were happy to see a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir on the list, with only a $2 upcharge for the Premium Beverage Plan. For starters we ordered Lobster Bisque and Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Cake. The bisque was rich and luscious with its generous pieces of sweet lobster meat and cognac, resulting in a velvety smooth and creamy bisque. The crab and shrimp cake was served with Rémoulade sauce, the sweet taste of the crab pairing perfectly with the Rémoulade. Acropolis Museum 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens 11742 T: +30 210 9000900 info@theacropolismuseum.gr www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en info@athenswas.gr http://athenswas.gr/en/modern-restaurant-Rooftop https://www.facebook.com/modernrooftopdining/

All photos in this spread were provided by the Acropolis Museum.

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Next up were our entrées, Grilled Alaskan Halibut with Fruit Salsa and Caramelized Orange Drizzle, and a flavorful 10 oz. Filet Mignon, thick cut from the tenderloin with four different sauces to choose from. Sauces • • • •

Sides Cabernet Reduction Classic Béarnaise Green Peppercorn Sauce Chimichurri Sauce

• •

Creamed Spinach Sautéed Wild Mushrooms

For dessert, we skipped the usual sweets and ordered glasses of 15-year-old Tawny Port. Delicious!

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Day Five: Mykonos, Greece Tendered 7:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.

Mykonos is the island of wind! It is one of the thirty islands of The Cyclades, in the southwestern Aegean, and is best known for its party atmosphere and being a favorite playground for the rich and elite. Darcy and I decided to book the Mykonos and Assimomitis Wine Tasting Excursion ($89.75 per person). Since the ship was tendered off shore, we took a five-minute shuttle boat from the ship to the dock at the front of the harbor. This is where we met our friendly English-speaking tour guide, who distributed earpieces to our tour group. The tour guide led us past Mykonos‘ Little Venice section where seaside restaurants specialize in Italian cuisine and fresh seafood. We then visited historic windmills once used to grind local grains and barley into flour. Their large conical shape, long wooden blades and straw-capped tops make them a photographers’ favorite . We took a leisurely stroll through a maze of alleys, winding past residences and small shops. Arriving at the center of these alleys, we came across trendy Matoyianni Street, the narrow “Main Street” of Mykonos, packed with posh shops, art galleries, boutiques, nightclubs and world-renowned fashion house Louis Vuitton.

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Our guide brought us to our designated meeting point for boarding the motor coach to the Mykonos Vioma Farm and Vineyard. The coach pushed through winding and hilly terrain of almost desert-like land. Twenty minutes later we were dropped off near the front gate of the former old monastery vineyard of Maou, Ano Mera. Today the farm produces wine, honey, vegetables and dairy products. When we entered the gates, we passed by a bush style vineyard (no trellis system). The vineyard is farmed with the most natural organic and bio-dynamic practices according to the methods introduced by Rudolph Steiner, who developed the biodynamic approach to agriculture in the early 20th century. The vines are dry farmed (without any irrigation). Mykonos receives less than 16 inches of rainfall annually. Nikos Asimomytis, the proprietor, is a former bank inspector who wished to leave Athens and return to his native soil; when monastery acreage became available for lease, he seized the opportunity and established Mykonos Vioma in 1994. He leases 3.6 hectares of vineyard land where he grows grapes and has twenty beehives. A number of wild farm animals, dogs and Giakoumis, a celebrated donkey, roam the property freely. At the vineyard, we strolled to the outdoor tasting area, shaded from the bright sun by a white vine-covered trellis. Dusty brown hillsides framed our view of the surrounding area. Our host instructed our group of almost fifty guests to take a seat at long tables; wine glasses were on the table in front of our plates and appetizing platters of cheese, olives and tomatoes had been arranged on the table to accompany the wines. A friendly, English-speaking woman personally led our tasting, pouring samples while she discussed the wines. An assistant served the other end of the tables, pouring samples for appreciative guests.

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Wines Tasted: White Wine Varieties: Asyrtiko and Athiri Comments: Dry, smooth with citrus flavors Red Wine Varieties: Mandilari and Agiannitis Comments: Dry, fruity, medium weight Heliophilos- Naturally Sweet Red Wine A late harvest wine made from grapes that have been sundried for ten days. Comments: An elegant non-fortified wine that is perfect for pairing with cheese and Foie Gras. The tasting was fun and informative. I purchased a bottle of white wine to take home at a surprising cost of 5€! Mykonos Vioma Farm and Vineyard GPS COORDINATES: N37.45946° E25.40811° Before visiting the vineyard, please call at: T: +30 22890 71883 & +30 6974 120069 Visiting hours: Daily 11:00 a.m. - 16:00 p.m. mykonosvioma@gmail.com www.mykonosvioma.gr/mykonos-vioma.html After enjoying the wine tasting, we boarded our motor coach, which transported us down the bumpy, wavy terrain to our drop off point near the harbor. With almost two hours free before having to return to the ship, we decided to sample a local restaurant for lunch. We chose Salparo Mykonos Seafood Taverna, with its extensive seafood menu and a wonderful outdoor covered terrace looking onto the beach and harbor below. To start the meal, we ordered a bottle of local dry white wine for 15€, which cooled us down while enjoying tasty appetizers Vo l . 2 2 0 1 6

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of Shrimp Turnovers with sweet hot red chili sauce, Fried Anchovies and Sundried Octopus with olive oil and thymeseasoned hummus. Often on, we chatted with our waiter, who spoke excellent English. His friendly assistant was a very helpful New Jersey native of Greek descent, who gave us some great recommendations about the restaurants’ specialties. After experiencing the delicious seafood appetizers, it would have been all too easy to indulge in two entrées, but we exercised a little restraint and decided to share the Fried Seafood Platter with Jumbo Shrimp, Calamari and Chips. The freshness of all of the dishes was stupendous, as if we had just plucked the shrimp, octopus and squid from the sea ourselves. Although the bright sun was quite intense, a salt-scented ocean breeze cooled us down as we enjoyed our meal. The sunlit view of the traditional white buildings against a backdrop of lapis lazuli sky, with clear water foaming up onto the jagged shore rocks, reminded us once more of Greece’s natural beauty. Down in the harbor, swimmers passed by, enjoying the warmth of a late summer swim. In the distance, The Vision of the Seas (our cruise ship) swayed gently on the water, awaiting our return. 5 out of 5 Stars! Salparo Mykonos Seafood Taverna Kaminaki, Paralia Mykonou Míkonos T: +30 2289 078950 https://www.facebook.com/SalparoMykonos

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Day Six: Argostoli, Greece Docked 12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Argostoli was our last stop before returning to Venice. Argostoli is a harbor town on the island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands. There were several shore excursions available, but because this would be our last opportunity to visit a beach in Greece on our trip, we chose the Makris Gialos Beach Transfer ($29.75 per person). Our motor coach departed the port at 12:45 p.m. Within fifteen minutes, we arrived at the parking lot, up a hillside from the beach. Although our English-speaking tour guide did not provide any information about the island or town, she did let us know about the beachside restaurant and that she could be found near the bar if we needed anything! The path down to the beach was lined with tall pine trees and shrubs. Emerging from the enclosed path onto the narrow, cove-like beach, we immediately noticed the shimmering, crystal-clear water and big straw-covered umbrellas with their wooden reclining chair sets, available for rent at 4€. There were also a dozen white cabanas with canvas roofs and four-sided privacy curtains available for rent (15€) on a first-come, first-served basis. Luck was on our side that day as we secured one for ourselves! The beach was super clean and had a conveniently located bank of bathrooms and outdoor showers. The water was just shy of warm and rippled gently with light waves from water sport activity in the harbor.

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Restaurant waiters worked the beach to take drink orders — we ordered Greek Chardonnay that were delivered to us in small airline-style bottles (6€). After taking a refreshing swim, we headed to the restaurant for lunch. We were happy to see a good selection of traditional Greek dishes, such as Gyros made with beef, lamb or chicken, fresh Greek salads, olives and tapenades. There were many tables available for dining indoors when the heat of the sun was too much, and the staff was friendly and engaging. Surprisingly, considering its location on a beach, the restaurant accepted credit cards, which was a welcome convenience. 4.5 Stars out of 5! Taverna Makris Gialos Restaurant Argostolion 281 00, Greece T: +30 2671 023494

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CRUISIN WORLD We returned to our ship at 6 p.m. After getting dressed, we enjoyed cocktails at the bar with Sophie, our favorite bartender. She was excited to tell us she was getting a promotion to work on a new ship cruising from St. Petersburg, Russia and Scandinavia. That evening for dinner, we chose the open seating plan in the Aquarius Dining Room, which allowed for more flexibility. For the entire cruise we had been seated in our assigned wait staff section to boost familiarity. By this point in the cruise the friendly and engaging servers remembered our habits and favorite wines. The wide selection of meat and seafood dishes, along with other foods offered, was amazing, and the dinner menu seemed to change daily. For our last dinner aboard, we chose Escargots de Bourgogne, Rock Shrimp Cocktail, Horseradish-Crusted Filet of Atlantic Salmon and Aged Hand-Cut Manhattan Strip Steak. Final thoughts: Overall, the cruise experience on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas was outstanding. The cleanliness of the ship, the quality of the food and beverages, its features and attractions and the stops along the way made for a perfect cruising vacation. To top it all off, the staff went out of its way to accommodate the guests’ every need. Cruising for seven days through Greece gave us just a small glimpse of these destinations and what they have to offer. We are now itching to return to Athens and Mykonos and stay several days so we can really explore and discover these fascinating and beautiful places on a more laid-back schedule. Royal Caribbean International Seven Nights Mediterranean Cruise 4.5 Stars! Departing Venice Italy to Greece Cost Breakdown: Junior Suite with Balcony: Premium Beverage Plan (2): Shore Excursions (3) Gratuities plan & additional:

$4,000.00 600.00 358.50 700.00

Total Including Tax

$5,658.00

The price above does not include round trip airfare to Venice and water transportation between the airport and the cruise terminal.

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SPIRITED CHAT

Medley’s Private Stock 10-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon, $90 WCI rating: 91 points

The Bourbon boom has put a strain on supplies for the past decade. With all of the consumer demands, some brands considered watering down their stocks. These days, it is rare to see Bourbon that has some age on it.

Medley Brothers is a 9th generation Bourbon legacy. We applaud the father and son team for bringing back a product that was originally sold by Charles’ great grandfather in the 1800s! This premium Bourbon is strong on the nose, with woody, spicy, sweet corn and grainy notes. The finish is smooth and sweet, with dry lingering spices.

2016 Denver International Spirits Competition – Best of Show Winners! The competition was fierce this year! The spirits industry is growing by leaps and bounds and the DISC received almost 400 entries, reflecting more than a 100% increase in entries versus 2015. This year’s Best of Show Winners (it was a tie):

• Dewars Signature Scotch WhiskyJohn Dewar & Sons, Scotland • Long Road AquavitLong Road Distillers, U.S.A. For the full list of 2016 winners visit: www.denverspiritscomp.com/results.html

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COOKING THE BOOKS FOOD

Project Smoke Seven Steps to Smoked Food Nirvana Author: Steven Raichlen

Rating: Excellent

Publisher: Workman Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8186-6

Format: Soft Cover, 292 pgs.

U.S. Price: $22.95

If you don’t already own a smoker, you’ll be wishing for one by the time you finish this comprehensive “Bible” of smoking. Author Steven Raichlen, America’s “Master Griller” and host of several barbecue-related PBS shows, smokes everything, from traditional, expected foods like beef and pork, to vegetables, desserts and even cocktails. Rather than offering just a book of recipes, however, Project Smoke is full of interesting sidebars, tips, instructions and anecdotes about the history of smoking and the myriad foods and smoking methods found around the world. A fascinating, mouthwatering read and a great gift for the meat-lover in your life.

SPIRITS

Kentucky Bourbon Country The Essential Travel Guide, 2nd Edition Author: Susan Reigler

Rating: Excellent

Publisher: University of Kentucky Press

ISBN: 978 0 8131 6806 7

Format: Soft Cover, 237 pgs.

U.S. Price: $24.95

Part travel guide, part history book, Susan Reigler’s guide is an interesting, comprehensive and in-depth exploration of Kentucky’s most famous product, bourbon. She begins with a brief history of this unique alcohol, including legends of how it was first “discovered,” followed by a description of the bourbon-making process and why the geography of Kentucky is integral to that process. Following this overview, the book guides you through the main regions of Kentucky, with unique anecdotes, historical trivia and facts, must-see places and regional specialties, accented throughout with beautiful photography. Ample space is given to Kentucky’s other claim to fame, racehorses. Find out why the same mineral that’s vital to bourbon contributes to the success of horse-racing. This is an excellent book as a travel guide for the bourbon aficionado.

WINE

Hungarian Wine A Tasting Trip to the New Old World Author: Robert Smyth

Rating: Good

Publisher: Blue Guides Limited

ISBN: 978 1 905131 68 6

Format: Soft Cover, 351 pgs.

U.S. Price: $17.95

Although this book titles itself as a guide to Hungarian wine, it offers so much more for the reader who likes to completely delve into a subject. As explained in the book, Hungarian winemaking actually began in the 9th century, but ebbed and flowed due to historical events, including World War II. The first few pages are dedicated to giving the reader a short timeline and history of the industry, followed by a description of the many Hungarian grape varieties. Subsequent chapters cover the different winemaking regions of Hungary, and also include a travel section on food and accommodations for each region. The book is rich with anecdotes and details, and for someone interested in Hungarian wine, or familiar with Hungary and/or the Hungarian language, it would be a fascinating read. Robert Smyth is a British-born wine journalist who now lives and works in Budapest; he is also very educated in the wine industry, holds the WSET diploma and is a member of the UK Circle of Wine Writers.

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Feature : North By Northwest

Horse Heaven H Wยบashington 34

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Hills n

Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies. Additional photos by Darcy R. Davies

Horse Heaven Hills AVA is home to 27% of Washington state’s vineyard acreage. The region has produced more 100-point awardwinning wines than any other region in Washington. Having run the Denver International Wine Competition for 12 years, I am always amazed to see how many wines from this region consistently take gold medals year after year. So last summer, Darcy and I packed up our T&B camper and made the two- day journey from Denver to Prosser, Washington to discover this territory for ourselves! The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is located in Southern Washington, just north of the Washington-Oregon border. It is part of the Columbia Valley AVA and borders the Yakima Valley AVA on the north and the Columbia River on the south. The area spans a massive 1000 square miles. More than 13,000 acres of grapes were under vine in 2016, amounting to 25% of all vineyards planted in Washington State, the second largest producer of wine next to California.

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The sleepy town of Prosser is ground zero for the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. It is laced with tasting rooms, saloons, casual hotels, B&Bs and a conveniently located Wine Country RV park. The average annual rainfall in Prosser is just nine inches, with an average snowfall of only three inches, exactly the same amount of annual rainfall as Mendoza, Argentina! To say that Prosser is a dry place is an understatement, but it reveals one of its key qualities for successful grape growing. Horse Heaven Hills is the second hottest region in Washington relying on deficit irrigation. Since they do not get too much rainfall, WINE COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL

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vineyard managers can irrigate when necessary and provide the vineyards with just enough water to survive and produce highquality fruit. When I pulled into the Wine Country RV Park, I was impressed with its cleanliness and full hook-ups. It was a bright and blistering afternoon in the high 90s. My camper’s air conditioner was soon on full blast and the Park’s in-ground pool offered a quick way to cool off and relax. Later that evening I strolled over to the Winemakers Loft, where several wineries have their tasting rooms. It was just three blocks away from the Wine Country RV Park. There I met Mike Andrews, owner of Coyote Canyon Winery, at his tasting room. His family has owned many acres in the region for decades. Mike joined the family business in 1974, raising Hereford cattle and growing wheat for 25 years. He saw the potential for growing grapes after seeing the success of some of his neighbor’s vineyards — Don and Linda Mercer had planted the oldest block of grapes in Horse Heaven Hills back in 1972. In 1994, Andrews planted 22 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. In the beginning, he sold all his grapes to large wine producers in the state. By 2005, plantings increased to 435 acres. In 2008, Andrews’ vineyards grew to 1,135 acres and, most recently, in 2015 he planted another 165 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, making his combined vineyards total 1,300 acres under vine! More than two thirds of the plantings are Cabernet Sauvignon (660 acres) and Merlot (266). All in all, Coyote Canyon is growing 26 different varieties of grapes, including Mr. Andrew’s recent favorite, Graciano. A lot of this growth can be tied to the success of Washington’s founding winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, which has grown into one of America’s fastest-growing producers of luxury-level wines. Today, Chateau Ste. Michelle purchases the bulk of all grapes grown in the area. From the beginning, Andrews focused on producing the highestquality grapes on his land. This attention has obviously paid off in spades. His dedication to the land and attention to detail has helped produce more than 25 internationally awarded wines. Today Chateau Ste. Michelle recognizes Coyote Canyon Vineyards by including the vineyard designation on its wine labels.

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In 2006, Coyote Canyon Winery opened its tasting room and began rolling out wines produced from a small percentage of grapes grown on the family’s vineyard. The same year, Mike’s son, Jeff, joined the business, bringing with him both business and legal experience. Fast forward to today — as Coyote Canyon’s vines have matured, their wines keep getting better. The winery is taking Gold medals at a number of nationally recognized wine competitions. At 65, Mike is now as healthy and active as ever, steering the activities in the vineyard and overseeing the wine production. His wife Marti is an accomplished painter and has been creating original paintings for Coyote Canyon’s recently released artist series wines. Mike’s youngest son Macauley Andrews is a tech wizard who helps in the vineyards. He has devised a program that estimates what the final harvest grape yields will be by weighing grape clusters mid-harvest. This has become an integral tool for preparing customers on how much tonnage will be on hand at harvest. Seasoned winemaker Justin Michaud joined the team in 2014, bringing a wealth of experience working at wineries in Washington State and New Zealand. “I’m enjoying working with Coyote Canyon Winery. The Estate Vineyard is growing several interesting varietals and I enjoy showcasing the quality of the vineyard through the expression of well-balanced wines. I am especially excited to work with the Albariño and Roussanne on the white side, working to make them even crisper and more aromatic. For the red side, I’ve enjoyed making the Grenache and other Rhône-style reds from the vineyard and am glad I have a chance to work with Cabernet Sauvignon, which grows exceptionally well here,” said Mr. Michaud. Most of Coyote Canyon’s wines are sold in Washington, at their tasting room and online via their website. Some wines are so limited in production they are offered exclusively to wine club members. Currently, they are seeking distribution in other states, including Colorado. Coyote Canyon Winery

Business Hours:

Tasting Room Winemaker’s Loft • Vintner’s Village 357 Port Avenue, Studio A Prosser, Washington 99350 http://coyotecanyonwinery.com

Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. By App. or to schedule events: Tel. 509-786-7686

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Feature : North By Northwest Mercer Wines The Mercer Family has been raising cattle, sheep and dry land wheat on their 2,500 acres for five generations. Today, the Mercers farm and tend 2,000 acres of grapes under vine. Their plantings represent 18% of the plantings in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Rob Mercer is President of the family business. During my visit, Rob was kind enough to give me a VIP tour of the estate in his vintage Humvee. From the top of the farm, you have an amazing view of the unique 18-acre Spice Cabinet Vineyard leading down to the Columbia River. The unique site is comprised of granite and basalt, similar to areas of the Rhône Valley in France. The expansive Mercer property consists of several elevations, slopes and soil types: folds, lava (Columbia River), granite and basalt, silt loam, sandy loam and Quincy. This provides a great amount of diversity among the vineyards’ blocks. Winemaker Jessica Munnell carefully selects specific blocks for her wines and blending. Rob’s grandfather and uncle planted their original Cabernet Sauvignon block forty-four years ago. Since then, a lot of expansion has taken place, and today, Mercer also supplies Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to Chateau Ste. Michelle. In addition to growing grapes, they also produce vegetables, including 200 acres of organic onions. Mercer produces four different levels of wines, from affordably priced to premium level. • Mercer Canyon — new world, fruit-forward wines • Mercer Estates — traditional • Mercer Reserve — balanced classic style • Eagle & Plow — unique, premium-level wine dedicated to the 911 victims on Flight 93.

Their wines are distributed nationally and sell particularly well in the southeastern states. Rob’s brother Will oversees national sales.

The Mercer winery and tasting room is located 45 minutes from their farm in downtown Prosser. Mercer Winery & Tasting Room 3100 Lee Road Prosser, WA 99350 Tel. 509-786-2097 http://mercerwine.com/

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Feature : North By Northwest

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14 Hands Winery Chateau Ste. Michelle started 14 Hands in 1992 to provide Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon exclusively to onpremise (restaurant) accounts nationwide. The brand has enjoyed tremendous success and brand recognition over the years, starting with an initial production of 85,000 cases and growing to more than 2 million cases sold annually today, making it Washington’s 3rd largest wine brand. Their modern new winery and tasting room opened in April 2014 near downtown Prosser. The wines are now available at restaurants as well as at fine off-premise (wine shops and grocery stores) locations nationwide. During my trip to Prosser, Darcy and I met with 14 Hands winemaker Keith Kenison. Keith has been involved with the brand since the beginning. First learning the ropes from Ste. Michelle’s Chief winemaker Doug Gore, Keith has been promoted through the ranks and has been an integral part of the company’s growth and success. The 14 Hands brand is dedicated to Washington state’s wild horses that roamed the countryside freely. Measuring just 14 hands tall is a term well known in the equestrian world. It does not mean that there are seven winemakers producing the wine. Keith invited us to sit down and taste some of his wines. • • • • • •

14 Hands N/V Brut Rose (4 stars) was a great start! It was dry and food friendly. 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (4.5 stars), $22, was full of citrus and apple flavors. 14 Hands Reserve Chardonnay 2014 (4.5 stars). 100-barrel fermentation. 14 Hands Reserve Syrah 2012 (4 stars). Sold in the tasting room only. Made from fruit supplied by trusted producer Coyote Canyon. Keith admits that when it comes to red wines, Syrah is not going to be the darling of Washington State. That wine, my friends, is the almighty Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 Hands Cabernet Franc 2013 (4.5 stars). A blend of 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Merlot. This wine has beefed-up tannins without the typically grassy notes found in other Francs. 14 Hands Vintage Series Red Blend 2013 (4 stars), $60. A blend of Cabernet Franc (33%), Merlot (39%) and Syrah (28%).

The style of wines Keith produces can be considered fruit forward and food friendly. The winery is a “must visit” if you make it to Prosser. 14 Hands Winery 660 Frontier Rd Prosser, WA 99350 Tel. (509) 786-5514 https://www.14hands.com/

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Feature : North By Northwest

Bunnell Family Cellar and Wine O’Clock Wine Bar and Bistro Ron Bunnell and his wife Susan have been prominent fixtures in the Washington Wine industry. Ron was a well-respected wine maker with Chateau Ste. Michelle, later moving to California where he worked for Charles Krug and Kendall Jackson, before returning to Washington and founding his own wine brand. They recognized that Prosser’s rather simple restaurant offerings were not keeping pace with the area’s ever-growing number of tasting rooms. They decided to create a different experience for visitors by creating a wine bar that offers tasting flights and expertly paired foods with their wines. The 36-seat restaurant with wood-fired pizza oven and patio dining is open on a seasonal basis spring through fall. Wine tourism drops substantially in the winter. Darcy and I had the pleasure of dining at Wine O’Clock. Upon our arrival, we were greeted personally by Susan Bunnell. When she told us they would be serving us a special wine-paired menu, I was ecstatic! Danielle Boyd, one of the restaurant’s assistants, made the meal that much better by visiting our table to describe the dishes and give us backgrounds on each wine.

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Menu Chilled Pea Soup Paired with 2014 Bunnell Family Viognier Savory & Sweet Pizzetta Pears, bacon, green onion, aged white cheddar cheese. Paired with 2014 Wine O’Clock Riesling Granita Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, cucumber juice, honey and Thai basil Ōra King Salmon Meyer Lemon crème, citrus and garden herb farro salad Paired with 2014 Bunnell Family Roussanne, Painted Hills Vineyard & 2014 Newhouse Family Cottontop, Upland Estates Certified Angus New York Steak Blue cheese mashed potatoes, local grey dove wine cap mushrooms, garden thyme, tomatoes and wax beans. Paired with 2013 Bunnell Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Painted Hills Vineyard & Paired with 2010 Bunnell Family Syrah, Discovery Vineyard Chèvre Local cherries, lavender honey, Salinity salts and housemade spice blend Paired with 2013 Bunnell Family Helene The quality of the foods and wines was supreme and the pairings were spot on. The ambiance and décor of the cozy dining area were splendid. I highly recommend making a reservation and treating yourself to a wine-paired meal at Wine O’Clock. Wine is meant to be tasted and enjoyed with food, and the Bunnell Family wines shine bright! You will not be disappointed! Bunnell Family Cellar and Wine O’Clock 548 Cabernet Ct. Prosser, WA 99350 Tel. (509) 786-2197 www.bunnellfamilycellar.com

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Feature : North By Northwest

Willow Crest Wine Estates and Stella’s

McKinley Springs Winery

Willow Crest is best known for its aromatic white wines. Since partnering with the Precept wine group, they have opened a tasting room showcasing wines made by Willow Crest, Apex Cellars and Manzano (a New Mexico winery).

The vineyard was first planted in 1980, providing grapes to Washington wine producers.

The building is elegant and the staff is very friendly and accommodating. Willow Crest serves its wine tastings in Austrian Riedel glassware. Wines tasted: • • • • • • •

Apex Cellars Sparkling Brut (4 stars), $15 Apex Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, stainless steel fermented (4 stars), $20 Willow Crest Sauvignon Blanc (4.5 stars) Willow Crest Cabernet Franc 2013 (4.5 stars) Willow Crest Pinot Gris 2015 (4 stars) Manzano Sweet Red Wine (4.5 stars) Willow Crest Estate Muscat Canelli 2015 (4 stars)

The tasting room also hosts Stella’s Tapas Bar, a seasonal restaurant with Chef Grant Wicklime at the helm. Chef Wicklime is a Prosser native who turns out a lot of creative dishes from his small kitchen — some examples of the tapas are Twice-Baked Jalapeno Poppers, Sliders, Coconut Prawn Skewers, Tacos and Panini. Willow Crest Wine Estates 590 Merlot Drive Prosser, WA 99350 Tel. (509) 786-7999

Established in 2002, McKinley Springs Winery, which takes its name from a spring on the property ( just off of Alderdale Road), is a family-run operation owned by members of Mike Andrews’ family — the winemaker Doug Rowell is Mike’s brother-in-law. The winery also operates a tasting at the Winemakers Loft near Coyote Canyon Winery’s tasting room. There you can find proprietors Doug and Sandy pouring their wines or hosting regular events. Top wines include: • •

McKinley Springs Viognier 2011 (4.5 stars). Light colored, tart apple taste with a long finish. McKinley Springs Bombing Range Red (4.5 stars). Made in 50% French Oak, 50% American Oak. A blend of Syrah (29%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Cabernet Franc (18%), Malbec (18%) and Mourvedre (10%). A dark crimson color, with intense dark cherry and blackberry flavors, it is a rich wine with a long fleshy finish. McKinley Springs Petite Verdot 2011 (4.5 stars). A deep purple color, full of blackberries, black fruit and lavender.

McKinley Springs Winery 357 Port Ave. Prosser, WA 99350 Tel. (509) 786-0004 www.mckinleysprings.com/

I was glad that we visited Prosser and had the opportunity to learn about this notable grape growing area. It was great to meet all of the hard working, honest people who share the passion for producing the superior grapes and wines! For additional tasting notes from our panelists visit www.vinotasting.com

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r e l ax w ith you r favorit e vi ntag e i n de n v er 's l ivin g room. Located in downtown Denver, Denver’s Union Station boasts an eclectic array of the city’s top restaurants and bars. We invite you to explore everything our vibrant gathering space has to offer.

W II N N TE ER I OM NAL S E E F O R Y O U R S E L F AT U N I O N S TAT OE NC IONU NDT ER YNI V RN. ACT O

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PASSIONS & PORTRAITS : Keith Villa

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BM OL UO ME An interview with Keith Villa, Founder and Head Brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies

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PASSIONS & PORTRAITS : Keith Villa

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A little over a year ago, we had the pleasure of attending the 20th anniversary celebration for Blue Moon Brewing Company at their Sandlot Brewery at Denver’s Coors Field. Hundreds of VIPs and corporate employees from Miller Coors were in attendance.

KV:

It definitely has. Really, I came up with the idea for Blue Moon when I was studying in Belgium. I was on the food industry’s campus working on my Ph.D. in brewing.

Keith Villa, Founder and Head Brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewery, was one of those in attendance. We have known Keith for about 10 years. He has been a terrific supporter of our festivals and beverage competitions. When we found him at the party, he offered to introduce us to Pete Coors, former Chairman of Coors Brewing Company. Mr. Coors was cordial and frank. When I congratulated him for twenty great years, he confided with wisdom, “Chris, I almost closed this down seven times. This brand took a lot of work and patience.”

I was exposed to their ways of pairing beer with food, which the Belgians have done for a long, long time. I came back and started Blue Moon. From the start, Blue Moon has paired well with food. We have always done beer events. We were doing beer dinners as early as 1996. This was way before they were popular in the U.S.

I have designed the beer to pair well with food and to be smooth enough to include it in a recipe as you make a dish.

“As a brewery, we’ve come a long way in twenty years, and we’re excited to celebrate this with the people who got us here — our fans — and the things they love most: food, music and great beer,” said Villa.

CD:

Fast forward, we were just here a week ago when you had your grand opening for this fantastic new brewery. This part of Denver is going through, I guess, a major renaissance.

In September of this year, I interviewed Keith at Blue Moon’s new brewery, located in Denver’s River North, or RiNo, neighborhood as it’s locally known. RiNo, “where art is made,” is one of the hottest redevelopment areas in Denver.

KV:

The RiNo District, River North, for those folks that don’t know, is right along the Platte River. It is just north of Downtown Denver. It was in need of a fix up for quite some time.

Several artists started opening up their galleries in this area. After that people started to come little by little.

Now it is really a hub for people to experience beer. There are a lot of good restaurants opening up too.

Under Coors’ leadership, Keith Villa created Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale in 1995, introducing beer drinkers across the country to Belgian-style beers with a creative twist.

KV:

Thanks for visiting us in RiNo! It’s our 21st year, we are actually legal now! In honor of our 21st birthday, we decided to open up our new brewery a couple of weeks ago.

CD:

Can you tell me about Blue Moon’s International Distribution?

KV:

We are in 22 countries as of now. Most notable are Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and Japan. We are also now sold in Santiago, Chile.

CD: CD: KV: CD:

It is really a hot place now. We were fortunate enough to find a 27,000- square-foot warehouse. It was a former plumbing supply warehouse. We We are in a bunch of smaller countries too. We are actually now in leased it and built our brewery and restaurant Italy, which is a great place for craft beer nowadays. here. That’s interesting. We visit Italy several times per year. Recently we We are now considered the anchor tenants of this noticed a small brewery in the small village of Bibbona, which is where area. We want to make sure that we project a Super Tuscan wines are made. really good neighborly image to the folks around here. Because we have some really good Can you tell me about the state of the beer industry in the United neighbors.We want to treat them well and make States? Are there still a lot of new breweries coming online? sure that we showcase our beer and food at We are starting to see a slowdown in the world of craft beer. The the restaurant. whole category experienced explosive growth during the past ten For those readers that are planning to visit Denver, years. Breweries were opening up sometimes at the rate of two to CD: put this place on your Must-Go List! Right alongside three per day. It was causing a huge amount of growing pains Rocky Mountain National Park, The Buckhorn in the United States, keeping up with all of the equipment that Exchange as well taking a tour of Coors Brewery brewers needed. in Golden. Now we are seeing a slowdown. We have 4,600 breweries in the CD: Keith, your food here is also getting rave reviews. I U.S. at last count. It is becoming more competitive at the shelves recently read that Eater has named your restaurant on (retailers) and at the taps at local bars. So what we are seeing their Top 10 Best Restaurant List. industry-wise is a slowdown. KV: Yes! Executive Chef Darrel Jensen and his team of But definitely, our sales are good. Craft beer is still selling very three Sous Chefs are doing an amazing job. well. It’s just a little more competitive. That’s my bird’s-eye view of the market right now. CD: Bringing us back to this brewery and its beers, I noticed that your brewery has a great So you conceived the idea for Blue Moon and its products twenty-one selection of twenty-two different beers available here. years ago? Back then it was a relatively new category. It has taken a long time to get to this point.

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PASSIONS & PORTRAITS : Keith Villa KV:

Yes. Some are extremely limited releases. So limited, to the point that you can only drink them here in RiNo.

A couple examples are our Imperial Porter, made with smoked malt. It comes in at about 10% alcohol. We also have an Imperial Cherry Wheat Beer. We have an oak-aged version of both of those, aged in Bourbon and Whiskey barrels.

We have got some really neat classic styles that we work on. Our brewers are really good! They are doing some classic styles such as Kolsch, a very nice Pale Ale and a German Dunkel, just to name a few!

They are all nicely made and pair well with the dishes that our Executive

Chef Darrel Jensen and his Sous Chefs are creating here. I think it makes for a great evening of delicious beer and food with your significant other.

CD:

There you go folks. Here’s another great reason for visiting Blue Moon Brewery in RiNo! You get to try some rare limited-release beers, that are not available anywhere else, with awesome food!

Keith, I would like to toast to you and your future success!

KV:

Cheers!

Blue Moon Brewery- RiNo District 3750 Chestnut Place Denver, CO 80216 Tel. (303) 728-2337 www.bluemoonbrewingcompany.com/rino-brewery-page

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TRAVEL : Explore like a local

VENEZIA

Discovering Hot Spots & Hidden Gems Story by Christopher J. Davies Photos by Christopher J. Davies & Darcy Davies

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With all of its history, allure and romantic charm, Venice can overwhelm the average traveler. There are so many fascinating attractions, restaurants and museums to explore, one really needs at least a week to experience the enormity of Venice — city on the lagoon. Sadly, many short-term visitors breeze through for just a day or two’s hit and run before embarking on a cruise or boarding a train for elsewhere in Europe. Even with that limited amount of time, they inevitably join the long lines at the city’s number one attraction — Saint Mark’s Basilica — or spend €80 for an expensive but short 40-minute gondola ride. The Vaporetto waterbus system is Venice’s answer to public transportation around the Venetian Islands. If you are staying for multiple days, it is cost effective to purchase a tourist pass: • • • •

One day: Two days: Three days: Seven days:

€20 €30 €40 €60

Must Visits: Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) There is a right way and wrong way to visit Venice’s number one attraction. If you are visiting between April and November, you can beat the lines by reserving an online pass for just €2. The best time to go is 9:45 a.m. when the Basilica first opens. It is hard to believe that initial construction of the Basilica began in the year 978 CE and the original building was completed in 1092. Entering the Basilica is a jaw-dropping experience as you see the massive ceilings, domes and bright gold mosaics. Bring Euros with you as some attractions inside the Basilica have additional fees. Tickets to access St. Mark’s Museum, the Golden Pall and the Treasury of St. Mark’s Basilica can be purchased only on the spot at the time of your visit. • St. Mark’s Museum: full-€5 • Golden Pall: full-€2 • Treasury of St. Mark’s Basilica: full-€3

Reserve online:

www.venetoinside.com/attraction-tickets-in-veneto/tickets/skip-theline-saint-marks-basilica/

Where To Eat   Grand Canal Vinaria Ristorante and Pizzeria This hip restaurant is situated between the Rialto Market and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in an ancient terracotta Venetian palace overlooking rows of gondolas and the Grand Canal. It features indoor and outdoor seating, and in the summer offers value-priced touristic (three-course) lunch menus for €15. The waiters are friendly and wine knowledgeable. Vinaria’s artful marriage of modern and traditional décor, enclosed in aged stone walls, hints at the adventurous menu offered. Regular menu items include: • Fried Dumplings with d’Osvaldo Raw Ham or with Cantabrian Sea Anchovies - €10 • Dice of “Cinta Senese” Pork Lacquered with Modena Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Lettuce and Frozen Mousse of Rennet Apple - €22 • Linguine with Lobster - €20 • Gourmet Pizzas - €10-25

The cuisine has an eclectic Venetian flair, with perfect flavors and textures!

The wine list focuses heavily on Italian wines, but gives a nod to German, French and Slovenian producers as well. Vaporetto Stop: S. Silvestro Vinaria Ristorante & Pizzeria -5 Stars! San Polo, 1097 30125 Venezia, Italy www.vinariaristorante.it/

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Peggy Guggenheim Collection This incredible museum is located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on Venice’s Grand Canal between the Academia Bridge and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute. The museum showcases the personal collection of Peggy Guggenheim, who began supporting emerging artists in the 1930s by purchasing at least one painting. She is said to have become an art addict in 1939, when she began purchasing a painting a day. This impressive collection is one of Europe’s best and holds major works of Cubism, Futurism, Metaphysical painting, European abstraction, avant-garde sculpture, Surrealism and American Abstract Expressionism, by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists. Original works by Picasso, Dali, Gorky, Pollock and many more renowned artists make a visit to the museum a must! After her death, The Peggy Guggenheim Collection became part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which owns the Guggenheim museums worldwide. Quite a few temporary exhibits are hosted during the year. Coming in 2017 — Rita Kernn-Larsen, Surrealist Paintings

Project Rooms, Peggy Guggenheim Collection

February 25 – June 26, 2017

Curated by Gražina Subelytė

Rita Kernn-Larsen (1904–1998) was a prominent Danish Surrealist artist, whom Peggy Guggenheim met in Paris in 1937 and invited to exhibit at her Guggenheim Jeune gallery in London the following year. The museum has a café as well as a gift shop full of books, posters and souvenirs. The outdoor sculpture garden features a gazebo where Peggy Guggenheim often enjoyed her breakfast. She and her fourteen beloved dogs are buried nearby. From Piazza San Marco, take a public waterbus (Vaporetto): • •

Vaporetto no. 2, direction P. Roma, Academia stop Vaporetto no. 1, direction P. Roma, Salute or Academia stop

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Giudecca Where to Stay Away From the Crowds: Giudecca is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, south of the main island. Most tourists never visit because it involves taking a Vaporetto or private water taxi. I prefer staying in Giudecca because it has a more local feel with an excellent view of the overly-crowded main island. If you wish to stay at a hotel, there are several excellent options! Hilton Molino Stucky is a 5-star hotel with an incredible view. Once a humble flour mill, it was converted into a luxury hotel with well-appointed rooms, great restaurants and an amazing rooftop pool and bar. Negroni’s on the rooftop will set you back €15, but the view is breathtaking. King rooms average €200 per night. They also have a complimentary hotel waterbus to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). Note: If you are taking a cruise, there is a special waterbus stop in front of the hotel with quick service to the cruise terminal.

http://molinostuckyhilton.it/en/ Hotel Giudecca Venezia is a 4-star hotel located on a canal in the middle of Giudecca. Room rates start at €100 per night. Address: Calle Ferrando, 409 30133 Venezia, Italy Phone: +39 041 296 0168 http://www.hotelgiudeccavenezia.it/en/ Apartment Rentals Giudecca has many options for apartment rentals. If you are bringing your family, or another couple is traveling with you, apartments are much more cost-effective than hotels. You can find listings online at Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) or Homeaway (www.homeaway.com). It is important that you do your research and carefully read customer reviews. If you are planning to travel in the summer, make sure your apartment has good air conditioning — central air conditioning in all rooms is a must. Summer rentals average $130 per night and higher. Note: There is a big grocery store and several small food purveyors (vegetables and fresh seafood market) on Giudecca for stocking your kitchen with food and wine.

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Restaurants On Giudecca Ristorante Al Storico da Crea This is one of our favorite restaurants in Venice, because it is reasonably priced and never disappoints. Ristorante Al Storico da Crea is off the beaten path, located in a boat yard on the south side of the island near the Redentore Waterbus stop. Follow the signs and walk through an alleyway to the boat yard, where you can see water. The restaurant is located on the second floor of a storage warehouse. To get there you take a long metal staircase up to a deck with tables overlooking the water. There is also an elevator around the other side of the deck that takes you from street to deck level. The décor is properly nautical, with whitewashed walls, ships’ wheels, miniature ship replicas, a wooden bar and fish art on the walls, and the staff is quite friendly and accommodating. For such a tucked-away restaurant, it boasts an impressive wine list, but also serves quaffable local wines (vini di locale) by the half-liter pitcher for €6. As you would expect, simple, ultra-fresh and tasty seafood dishes are their specialty. For example, appetizers include marinated octopus with prawns. The restaurant overlooks the lagoon, which offers a serene view and atmosphere, in marked contrast to the massive crowds just across the water in St. Marks Square! Ristorante Al Storico da Crea   Isola di Giudecca, 212 30133 Venezia, Italy Phone: +39 041 296 0373 Open daily for lunch and dinner

Trattoria Altanella Trattoria Altanella is a small family-owned restaurant located on an active canal in the midst of a neighborhood of apartments and walled-in homes. The restaurant is situated between the Palanca and Redentore Waterbus stops. Walk 200 feet down alley-sized Sestiere Street to find the entrance. Although the building is older, the restaurant was started in 1920 by Nane Stradella and his wife Irma, and is now in its fourth generation of family ownership. While the interior is dark, colorful framed paintings enliven the walls, creating a friendly and artistic atmosphere. There is even a historic drawing of the 19th-century building on the wall. During the summer, guests can eat on the roofed deck, enjoying the cooling sea breeze with excellent views of the canal and lagoon in the distance. The Trattoria’s food and wine prices are more inline with a fine dining establishment. They have a number of fresh fish, pasta and meat dishes, and their wine list is extensive. Try it for a special celebration! Reservations suggested. Trattoria Altanella Sestiere Giudecca, 268 30133 Venezia, Italy Phone: +39 041 522 7780 Open for dinner only, 7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday

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Murano The Island of Murano is a must-see while in Venice, and is world famous for its blown glass vases, glassware and artwork. Known most affectionately as the “Glass Island,” it has several facilities where visitors can tour and observe the glass-blowing process up close. Beautiful hand-blown glass artwork is shipped from Murano to customers and shops around the world. Murano is easy to get to via the Vaporetto. If you want to view glass blowing, get off at Colonna, the first stop. A series of wooden bridges connects the island’s many canals. You will encounter a plethora of gift shops and glass factory outlets selling gorgeous vases, glasses and chandeliers. There is also a store selling a wide variety of mosaic tiles and accessories for artists. Our favorite gallery on the Island of Murano is that of Simone Cenedese, probably the finest contemporary glass artist on the island. His two-story gallery displays original colored glass jewelry, vases, vessels and chandeliers. His staff is very friendly and accommodating. Simone Cenedese’s large “Comet Glass Star” glass sculpture is on display on the Campo San Stefano near the Murano clock tower and the San Pietro Martire Church. Simone Cenedese Fondamenta dei Vetrai, 68 30141 Murano Venezia VE, Italy Phone: +39 041 527 4455 www.simonecenedese.it/ Where to Eat: There are a few dozen restaurants with dreamy canal-side tables. Most boast touristic three-course lunch deals for €15. You can order vino locale by the half liter at €7, or 1.5 liter at €14. Where to Stay on Murano: LaGare Hotel Venezia Mgallery Collection by Sofitel This well-appointed hotel is surrounded by the walls of a former glassmaking furnace. It has 118 modern rooms and a stylish restaurant and bar. The hotel offers a complimentary waterbus shuttle to the Venice airport. Riva Longa, 49 30141 Venice, Italy Phone: +39 041 736250 www.accorhotels.com

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Burano and Mazzorbo Burano is a magical island jam-packed with rainbow-hued houses, canals and wooden footbridges linking the pedestrian walkways. Make sure to bring a camera for lots of photo memories; the island’s spectacular colorful beauty will brighten anyone’s day long after you are back at home! It is also known as “lace island,” famous for its original Burano lace pillows, textiles and clothing. Burano offers good restaurants specializing in ultra-fresh fish and risotto de gò. Many of the restaurants offer touristic three-course lunch deals and vini di locale wines by the pitcher. Mazzorbo Connected to Burano by a wooden pedestrian bridge, the tiny island of Mazzorbo is home to Venissa, a unique wine resort complex operated by the multi-generational Bisol family, one of Italy’s top Prosecco producers. At the Venissa complex, the Bisols planted the Dorona grape, a long-lost Venetian variety, the only operating vineyard in Venice to do so. This golden grape was virtually extinct a decade ago, but was brought back to life by the Bisols, who found some small surveying vines in residents’ vegetable gardens and grafted them onto rootstock. Today their 2-hectare vineyard produces a small annual batch of wine; the wine bottles are labeled with a very expensive, hand-produced gold leaf label, making them a collectible long after the wine has been consumed. The Venissa wine resort has wonderful luxury suites, an Osteria and a famed, Michelin-starred restaurant to satisfy every discriminating gourmand’s palate. The restaurant closes down for winter and reopens in April. Reservations are a must, as this is the Venetian equivalent of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. Venissa Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 3 30142 Mazzorbo, Venezia VE, Italy Phone: +39 041 527 2281 http://venissa.it/en

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Offer for new and qualifying former customers only.Important Terms and Conditions: Qualification: Advertised price requires credit qualification and eAutoPay. Upfront activation and/or receiver upgrade fees may apply based on credit qualification. Offer ends 1/16/17. 2-Year Commitment: Early termination fee of $20/mo. remaining applies if you cancel early. Included in 2-year price guarantee at $39.99 advertised price: Flex Pack plus one add-on Pack, HD service fees, and equipment for 1 TV. Included in 2-year price guarantee at $54.99 advertised price: America's Top 120 Plus programming package, Local channels and Regional Sports Networks (where available), HD service fees, and equipment for 1 TV. Included in 2-year price guarantee for additional cost: Programming package upgrades ($54.99 for AT120+, $64.99 for AT200, $74.99 for AT250), monthly fees for additional receivers ($7 per additional TV, receivers with additional functionality may be $10-$15) and monthly DVR service fees ($10). NOT included in 2-year price guarantee or advertised price (and subject to change): Taxes & surcharges, add-on programming (including premium channels), Protection Plan, and transactional fees. Premium Channels: Subject to credit qualification. After 3 mos., you will be billed $60/mo. for HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz and DISH Movie Pack unless you call to cancel. Other: All packages, programming, features, and functionality are subject to change without notice. After 6 mos., you will be billed $8/mo. for Protection Plan unless you call to cancel. After 2 years, then-current everyday prices for all services apply. For business customers, additional monthly fees may apply. Free standard professional installation only. © 2016 DISH Network L.L.C. All rights reserved. HBO®, Cinemax® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. SHOWTIME is a registered trademark of Showtime Networks Inc., a CBS Company. STARZ and related channels and service marks are property of Starz Entertainment, LLC. With PrimeTime Anytime record ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC plus two channels. With addition of Super Joey record two additional channels. Commercial skip feature is available at varying times, starting the day after airing, for select primetime shows on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC recorded with PrimeTime Anytime. Recording hours vary; 2000 hours based on SD programming. Equipment comparison based on equipment available from major TV providers as of 6/01/16. Watching live and recorded TV anywhere requires an Internet-connected, Sling-enabled DVR and compatible mobile device. All new customers are subject to a one time processing fee.

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Parting Shots

Photo of a giant Cold War statue at Momento Park near Budapest, Hungary

Parting Shots Hungary’s Delicious Wine And Culinary Renaissance

WINE COUNTRY I

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Hungary’s Delicious Wine And Culinary Renaissance

Coming Next Issue: From Paprika to Pinot, we salute Hungary’s ever-improving food and wines! Wine Country International’s founders rediscover Budapest and four top wine regions.

MontepulcianoTuscany’s Amazing Hill Top Wine Town •Grape Expectations: Tempranillo •The Art of Wine YOUR

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Wine Country International (R) Magazine explores the Horse Heaven Hills, Washington,AVA, Venice, Greece and Croatia. This issue's Passion...

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