Weekend Wrap-Up: Raley's Grape Escape
Over the weekend, I ventured downtown to Raley’s Grape Escape, hosted in Cesar Chavez Park, and am very glad I did. Local restaurants and wineries came together to put on an event that was well worth the $35 ticket. My favorite restaurant picks include: Mulvaney’s that served savory mini meatballs and local fresh strawberries filled with chocolate and frosting, Morgan’s Central Valley Bistro dished-up an out-of-this-world truffle mac-and-cheese (that screamed for seconds and thirds), and Crush 29 offered some tender and sweet lamb lollipops that paired well with local zinfandels (and Amador is full of them!). The food was impressive and kept me going as I worked my way to all the winery stations.
Some locals (including myself) sometimes forget that Sacramento is surrounded by wine country—and not just Sonoma and Napa—Amador County, Sutter Creek, Placer County, and Shenandoah Valley all offer amazing wines and are just a short trip from Sacramento. My newest favorite after the “Grape Escape” is Holly’s Hill Vineyards located in Placerville that makes Rhone-style wines. I tasted the 2009 Viognier and couldn’t get enough—crisp and fruity with a long finish. I cannot wait to visit the tasting room and try more of their wonderful offerings. And Bogle Winery (which is even closer to Sacramento in Clarksburg) offered a delicious and affordable Sauvignon Blanc that was refreshing on such a warm evening.
The Grape Escape was a reminder that Sacramento is full of great restaurant options and is just a short distance from wine country (without the trendiness and pretentiousness of Napa). It was also a great way to taste the local foods, drink good local wines, and spend time with friends without ever leaving the city limits. I am already looking forward to next year.