By Emma Krasov. Photography by Yuri Krasov
The Three Graces in Greek mythology represented the divine beauty, joy, and elegance, and provided their services to gods as well as mere mortals during lavish feasts and festive gatherings. Well, those ancients unquestionably knew how to eat, drink and be merry!
If there’s anything worth breaking your COVID-19-induced isolation and venturing out into the California Wine Country, it’s Bricoleur Vineyards’ Tasting Experiences. First of all, they are outstandingly delicious, joyful and elegant. Secondly, they accommodate couples and small groups that can finally get together in the most gorgeous nature setting and enjoy communicating and sharing food and drink. Thirdly, the sanitary measures implemented by the winery don’t leave any doubts in the safety of this adventure.
Upon arrival on the premises, you get complimentary protection, like hand sanitizer, disposable gloves and face masks. All staff members use PPE, dispose of gloves and wash their hands before and after each tasting session. Wine tasting stations are mostly outdoors, and all are thoroughly cleaned between the sessions.
A number of guests on any given day is limited to the available properly distanced seating areas, so make sure to schedule an appointment at least a week, better yet a couple weeks in advance.
When you finally enter the paradise of beauty and good taste, you are greeted with a glass of crisp Bricoleur bubbles—North Coast Brut Sparkling, offered at the welcome table by your hosts, most likely one or both of Bricoleur co-founders, a father-daughter team of Mark Hanson, Founder and CEO, and Sarah Citron, Founder and VP of Marketing.
Wine tasting flights, accompanied by Seasonal Bites from the estate kitchen, include four or six of the signature wines, some of them bearing the unique label Flying by the Seat of our Pants, which refers to the dream-chasing, risk-taking, and the flight of hope of the founders of this very new and rather accomplished despite its young age winery.
Currently, the “Homegrown” wine lists is comprised of 2018 Estate Pinot Noir Rosé (raspberries, peach, white flowers), 2018 Estate Unoaked Chardonnay (nutty, green apple, citrus), 2018 Estate Chardonnay (rich, oaky, lemon) and 2017 Estate Pinot Noir (complex, raspberry, cedar), while “The Local List” derived mostly from Kick Ranch area in Santa Rosa, includes 2018 Kick Ranch Grenache Rosé (crisp, mango, strawberries), 2018 Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc (lemongrass, lime, peach), 2018 Kick Ranch Viognier (unusual, dry, citrus, apple), 2018 Estate Chardonnay, 2017 Estate Pinot Noir, and 2017 Alexander Valley Zinfandel (smooth, jammy, blackberry).
Seated in the dappled shade of kiwi plant trellises, or at the open-air arched Pavilion overlooking the estate’s vineyard, you can indulge in a feast of pairings, brought to you by the team of excellent Bricoleur wine and food experts—Cary Gott, Winemaker, Tom Pierson, Assistant Winemaker, Shane McAnelly, Executive Chef, and Evan Castro, Sous Chef.
For the healthiest amuse bouche, try a sip of Chilled Estate Squash Soup of estate grown herbs flavored with nepitella oil (a combined aroma of oregano and mint), and a spoonful of Mushroom Salad with Quinoa and Radish Top Pesto. The latter is something of a culinary discovery by the amply talented Chef McAnelly. Radish tops, usually discarded without a second thought, are elevated to the status of a decisive, sought-after ingredient in his kitchen. Same goes for the turnip top pesto—another wonderful Chef’s find making appearance in Summer Squash Pizza, made perfect with a thin pliable crust, estate olive oil and straight-from-the-garden veggies, various peppers, lemon zest, and lots and lots of mozzarella, fontina, and Parmesan.
The Estate Spread, one of the Bricoleur’s Tasting Experiences, presents A Specially Curated Veggie-Focused Board, where you might find an array of earthly delights: beet hummus made with estate-grown beets, chickpeas, cumin, lemon juice, estate olive oil, and toasted pita tips; buttermilk biscuits with pimiento cream cheese; Swiss chard dip of estate greens with a side of house-made potato chips, and roasted squash and avocado skewers, seasoned with an array of zesty herbs and spices.
Besides the exquisite Estate Spread, there’s also The Classic Spread (house-cured meats, local cheeses and seasonal garden goods), and a much larger fare, The Essential Picnic (a bottle of Kick Ranch Grenache Rosé with an array of unique appetizers, salads, pickles, nuts, chips, dips, and cookies).
That would be especially good if instead of tasting different wines (all excellent, by the way!) you’d prefer to have a bottle of your own, and to picnic with your group nearby the Bricoleur’s rose garden, which features over 80 different varieties of roses and is framed by tiny peach trees bearing fruit, or by the pond with two gorgeous black swans and a flock of ducks, or by the larger pond where little birds make their home on an islet covered with tall reeds.
No matter what you decide to do here, your outing will be as lavish, beautiful and joyful as in the best of those ancient pre-virus days. Thankfully, the three graces of good times are still with us, and nowhere as prominent as at Bricoleur Vineyards.
Bricoleur Vineyards is located at 7394 Starr Rd, Windsor, California. Find out more and make a reservation at: (707) 857-5700 or https://www.bricoleurvineyards.com/