Tastings in our own backyard

Summer draws in the crowds, and with them family and friends who come from near and far to visit the glorious wine country. We gather for good times around the table at the best restaurants, finest wineries, and quaint tasting rooms. As the conversations grow over a good glass of vino, we can quickly turn into the local guide, giving them tips on where to go, what to do, and what to drink during their time here.

With all this talk about wine, we rarely know what the business owners are tasting in their own backyards: What do they love to drink and what do they love to do?

Lloyd Davis, owner of Corner 103, talks up Passaggio’s Grenache Blanc 2016 on sale in the Plaza’s “Vine Alley.” “What I like about this wine, is it’s very light, crisp, and aromatic. Similar to a sauvignon blanc, the Grenache has a lot more character. It’s a more interesting wine.” As for what Lloyd loves to do when he’s not in the Corner 103’s tasting room — Indulge in a delicious homemade meal paired perfectly with a fine wine. The other evening, he opened a bottle of Passaggio’s grenache and enjoyed it with fresh oysters and a seafood medley meal. Yum!

La Casa reveals ‘el gran secreto’

The heat calls for a refreshing libation. La Casa has just the secret. What better way to cool down than with La Casa’s nice and tasty sangria? Tony Leyva, bartender at La Casa, gifts this recipe with locals in hopes they can enjoy it with their loved ones, whether it be during a warm night at La Casa or chilling out at home.

La Casa’s Sangria Recipe


• ½ ounce Brandy

• ½ ounce Orange Liqueur

• 4 ounces Red Wine

• ½ ounce Pomegranate juice

• 1 ounce Apple juice

• 3 ounces Orange Juice

• 16-ounce glass of ice


Pour the ingredients into a 16-ounce glass or shaker, then stir or shake together until well mixed. Then pour over a full glass of ice (12 ounce). Garnish with an orange or apple slice.

Go big or go home: Where to find large format wines

In the case of magnums, bigger is better. They make a statement, a grand appearance, during those special occasions. According to Pangloss Cellars on the Plaza, magnums are famous, not only for their size but considered a preferred way to age a wine more slowly. There is simply more wine and less air contained inside each bottle. A magnum, 1.5 liters in size, can make a lot of people happy in just one sitting. Can you imagine the nirvana a 3-liter bottle can induce? Here is a mere mention of the small number of tasting rooms selling magnums: Pangloss Cellars, Enoteca de la Santina, Falcor, Sonoma-Loeb, Hawkes, Kamen, Highway 12, Ledson’s Zina-Lounge and Walt Wines. Stroll the Plaza for yourself and see if you can’t find that big fish in a sea of Sonoma wines.

Got local wine news? Email The Spill at monica.dashwood@att.net.