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The Best Breakfast Burrito in New Mexico?

16 May
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New Mexico magazine wants to know.  The publication has named the state-wide finalists and is asking readers to vote for their favorite.

Café Naranja has been named one of the finalists.  You can vote for your favorite by clicking here.

Breakfast Burrito at Café Naranja

Breakfast Burrito at Café Naranja

To celebrate the breakfast burrito’s success and its New Mexico heritage, the magazine has created the “New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway.”

You can vote for as many as 10 of your favorites each day of the voting period.  You can submit only one ballot each day.

Cafe NaranjaThe finalists are listed in alphabetical order.  Once you’ve made your ten or fewer choices be sure to scroll to the bottom of the list and hit the “Submit” button.

And remember you can submit a new ballot every day! Voting ends at 11:45pm this Sunday, May 18.

Cast your vote each day by clicking here.

 

 

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Wine Dinner One Week from Tonight

23 Jan
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Profile07-Silhouette08We’ve already started preparing the five-course wine dinner that will take place next Thursday, January 30th.

I spoke with René Schlatter, President and CEO of Merryvale Vineyards, today to finalize details.

The wines have arrived, and our entire staff is excited to provide our guests a memorable experience of great wine and food.

A radio spot about the event is currently running on KTAO radio; you can listen to it here:

 

For details on this fabulous event, click here.  See you Thursday.

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Merryvale-entrance

 

 

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Merryvale Vineyards Returns to The Blonde Bear Tavern

15 Jan
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Merryvale

We are pleased that The Blonde Bear Tavern will be participating once again in this year’s 28th Annual Taos Winter Wine Festival and celebrating the return of René Schlatter from Merryvale Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries.  René and I will be hosting a special wine dinner to guide guests through six of Merryvale’s most notable wines.  We have carefully developed the menu to highlight these wines in a way that will engage the palate of both wine connoisseurs and novice wine lovers alike.  Last year’s dinner proved to be simply magical; we’re working to ensure this year’s will be as well.

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THE WINERY

Merryvale VineyardsThe first winery built in Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition, Merryvale is located in the heart of America’s premier wine region.  The winery’s focus is on crafting elegant, complex wines in the finest European style, yet reflecting the exuberant fruit from the Napa Valley and Sonoma appellations.

Merryvale’s white wines are whole-cluster-pressed to yield the clearest juice, and then fermented with native yeasts in French oak barrels.  The reds are made using traditional European methods and also aged in French oak barrels; they are then bottled unfiltered, which contributes to the rich, round flavors and supple textures.

In 1991, European businessman Jack Schlatter became a partner in Merryvale Vineyards.  A native of Switzerland, Jack’s lifelong love of wine drew him to the Napa Valley.  Within five years, Jack and his family became the sole proprietors of Merryvale Vineyards, expanding vineyard holdings to 75 acres and constructing the Starmont Winery in 2006.

“Napa Valley’s diversity of soils and microclimates allows us to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just a few miles from Cabernet. There’s no other place in the world like it.” says Jack.

Jack has dedicated himself to making sure the winery remained true to its founding vision of crafting fine wines that capture the essence of Napa Valley’s noble vineyards. One of his earliest decisions was to allocate all of the winery’s resources to uncompromised grape quality and winemaking. Dramatic improvements were made in equipment, facilities, wine grape sources and personnel.

“I’ve always said that quality is Merryvale’s life insurance,” he says. As Jack is now looking forward to more free time with his wife, Lilo, their son René is now responsible for the winery’s day-to-day operations.

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RENÉ SCHLATTER

René upholds his family’s integrity in his broad role as president. Working his way up the Merryvale ladder the old-fashioned way, he has held progressively more responsible positions since 1995.  Also born in Switzerland (near Geneva), René grew up an expert skier and all things snow.  He has lived in the U.S. since 1987 and played Division 1 tennis at Trinity University and earned his MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona.  He lives in St. Helena with his wife, Laurence, their three young daughters and two friendly dogs.

Jack and Rene Schlatter

René and Jack Schlatter

That Laurence’s family has owned a winery in Switzerland for five generations provides a special sense of tradition. “It’s very rewarding to continue this family heritage at Merryvale,” says Jack.

Together, Jack and René have developed long term partnerships with some of the best wine grape growers in the Napa Valley, as well as making the careful assessment to acquire three estate vineyards:

  • 70-acre Saint Helena Estate Vineyard on a ridge top high above St. Helena ideal for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to which it is planted
  • 55-acre Stanly Ranch Estate Vineyard on the historic Stanly Ranch in Carneros ideal for the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah grown there
  • Juliana Vineyard in Pope Valley, planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

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In 2006, Merryvale completed construction on a second winery in the Napa Valley’s Carneros region. This state-of-the-art facility, called Starmont after the Merryvale wines of the same label, is “green” with 100% of winery process water being recycled and 54% of the winery operations powered by solar energy. The Schlatters are committed to protecting and preserving the Napa Valley for future generations using sustainable practices. Both wineries and estate vineyards have been Napa Green Certified.

Merryvale produces ultra-premium Napa Valley wines available throughout the US, Europe and Asia. The winery has earned numerous awards and continues to gain critical acclaim for its outstanding wines and hospitality.

merryvale cask room
Merryvale’s historic Cask Room is often cited as Napa Valley’s most enchanting setting for special events. Two stories of century-old 2,000 gallon casks line the stone walls and create an unforgettable ambiance.

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THE WINES

Starmont Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

This wine is sourced from several distinct growing regions within the Napa Valley, including Oak Knoll, and Rutherford, each contributing a different expression of the varietal. The wine is fermented in a combination of neutral French oak (60% of the blend; only 2% new) and stainless steel tanks (40%). The intent is to preserve and enhance the varietal nuances and texture complexity.

Tasting Notes:  Full and lush mouthfeel with refreshing acidity providing for a wonderfully long finish that ends with clean minerality of wet slate, and bright kumquat rind.

MerryvaleSignatureWinesMerryvale Carneros Chardonnay , 2011

Sourced from the Stanly Ranch Estate Vineyard and Hyde Vineyard in Carneros, the fruit for this Chardonnay is carefully sorted, whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented using 100% native yeast. The wine spent 11 months in French oak barrels on the lees.

Tasting Notes:  Displays expressive aromas of pear, papaya, citrus, nectarine, pineapple, toasty oak and spice. The wine is medium weight with a round fleshy texture and a crisp sweet finish.

Merryvale Carneros Pinot Noir, 2010

Sourced from vineyards throughout the Carneros appellation, including Merryvale’s Estate Vineyard on the Stanly Ranch, this wine is a blend of favorite Pinot Noir clones including: Dijon 114, 115, 667, 777, and 823, along with Pommard and Swan. The Dijon clones bring good color, bright focused fruit, and concentration. The Pommard and Swan clones bring nuanced complexity, along with minerality and great texture.  The grapes were handpicked and carefully sorted. The wine was aged for twelve months in French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Notes:  Soft, yet bright entry, round and pleasantly balanced on the mid-palate, medium weight. Finishes with delicate length.

Cabernet Napa Valley Sauvignon, 2008

This Napa Cabernet received choice lots from the Estate Vineyard located in the hills high above St. Helena, as well as fruit from other top Napa vineyards, including Stagecoach and Sugarloaf. The fruit was hand-picked and triple sorted before undergoing extended maceration and a long, cool fermentation for increased flavor, color and aroma. The wine was aged for 18 months in 70% new French oak, including 20% of the wine coming from larger 500 liter (132 gallon) puncheons. The wine only racked twice and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Notes:  Dark red/purple in color with lifted aromas of cassis, blackberry, violets and cedar interwoven with vanilla and toasty oak. The wine is plush and round in the mouth with resolved tannins and great intensity.

Merryvale’s Signature Bordeaux Blend, “Profile”, 2010

Merryvale grapesProfile is Merryvale’s flagship red Bordeaux blend showcasing the very best fruit from each vintage. Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon and all of the Petit Verdot are sourced from the St. Helena Estate Vineyard, planted fifteen years ago.  The favorite lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc are chosen for their concentration, depth of flavor and fine tannin structure to produce a wine that is rich, elegant and opulent. After extended skin contact, native malolactic fermentation in barrel and periodic lees stirring, the wine undergoes extensive tasting and blending until the final version of Profile is complete. The wine was aged the 2009 Profile for 21 months in 100% new French Oak barrels, and an additional year in bottle before release.

Tasting Notes:  Shows powerful aromas of cassis, blackberry, raspberry liqueur, licorice, sweet vanilla bean, complex oak and baking spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Upon entry on the palate, this wine displays a generous, mouth-coating texture, with very fine tannins and exceptional length.

“Antigua” Napa Valley, NV

This dessert wine is 100% Muscat De Frontignan from vintages 1970 to 1983, 1992 to 1994.  It is fortified with fine pot-still brandy, aged in French oak barrels and tanks with 11 years average aging.

Tasting Notes:  Golden/amber in color from its long aging in French oak, the wine is a complex combination of nuts and orange-peel aromas. Thick and rich in the mouth, the nuts and orange-peel theme continues from the entry through the long finish, highlighted by the many subtleties from the fine brandy and time in the barrel.

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THE DINNER

Hors d’Œuvre

Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP drizzled with 10-year old Acetaia Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar
Pecorino Toscano Stagionato DOP with Maria Grammatico’s Quince Paste
Colavolpe Montagnoli Baked Figs wrapped in crispy Pancetta

“Starmont” by Merryvale Sauvignon Blanc

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First Course

Medallions of Lobster Poached in Butter with Creamy Lobster Broth

Merryvale Carneros Chardonnay, 2011

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BBT-bearLogo2Pasta

Mushroom and Veal Agnolotti with Butter and Sage

Merryvale Carneros Pinot Noir, 2010

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Main Course

Four Daughters Land & Cattle Chateaubriand with Simple Red Wine Sauce
Tasting of Potatoes with Black Truffles
Braised Fennel

Merryvale Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

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Dessert

Soufflé au Chocolat with Champagne Sauce

Merryvale’s Signature Bordeaux Blend,  “Profile”, 2012

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Post-Prandial

Merryvale “Antigua”, NV

 

28th ANNUAL TAOS WINTER WINE FESTIVAL

 

405572_258486427550234_226024317463112_676125_971963906_nThis year the Taos Winter Wine Festival will again provide wine enthusiasts many venues to pursue their passion. There are several seminars and dinners scheduled, along with two major tastings:

The Reserve Tasting will be held at the elegant El Monte Sagrado Resort, with many of Taos’ best restaurants serving signature appetizers alongside tastes of reserve wine from owners and winemakers from 36 participating wineries.  This Opening Night Reserve Tasting also features a silent auction of wine to benefit a local non-profit organization.

393613_258487774216766_226024317463112_676147_508633957_nThe Grand Tasting will be held right here in Taos Ski Valley, and will feature more than 155 different wines — and tastes from a dozen of Taos and Taos Ski Valley’s finest restaurants, including The Blonde Bear Tavern.

For more information and tickets, visit the Taos Winter Wine Festival website.  Please stop by our booth to say hello — and after the event, why not come to The Blonde Bear Tavern for dinner and a little more wine?

 

 

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The Merryvale Vineyards Wine Dinner
Thursday, January 30, 2014
6:30 pm
$95 per person plus tax and gratuity

The Blonde Bear Tavern
106 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
575.737.6900 ext. 6996

Reservations required

 

 Winter Wine Festival

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World’s 10 Best Ski Towns for Foodies

10 Dec
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Fodor's

 

From Fodor’s:

“At far too many ski areas across North America, the slopeside food options are dismal, consisting of little more than hamburgers, pizza, and wings eaten off plastic trays. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, some of the world’s best ski areas are known as much for their food as for their slopes and snowfall. For apres-ski cocktails overlooking the French Alps in Courchevel to a multicourse meal at the top of Telluride, here’s where we go to ski and savor.”

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  1. Courchevel, France
  2. Stowe, Vermont
  3. Whistler, British Columbia
  4. Vail, Colorado
  5. Zermatt, Switzerland
  6. Niseko, Japan
  7. Telluride, Colorado
  8. Cortina, Italy
  9. Park City, Utah
  10. Taos, New Mexico

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Plus this:

“The low-key resort of Taos has a surprisingly good mix of restaurants, which are deeply rooted in Southwest and Mexican cuisine but it’s easy to find French, Italian, and Asian food too. “

 

Read the whole thing here.

 

 

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Taos Forecast: Steep Upgrades

20 Nov
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Rainbow Trout

Whole Rainbow Trout with Red Grape Balsamic Sauce, Glazed Carrots, and Baked Potato

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From New Mexico magazine’s Nick Heil.

Here’s what he says about The Blonde Bear Tavern:

We made a few more runs before I knocked off that afternoon and headed to The Blonde Bear Tavern, in the lobby of the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa, for an après beer. What the Ski Valley has in abundant untapped terrain it has long lacked in base-area amenities—at least compared to other A-list resorts in the region. But that’s changing, too, and the Edelweiss offered a glimpse of the future. The Blonde Bear Tavern has a more upscale and cosmopolitan vibe than the other watering holes in the base-area village, with a polished stone bar, leather stools, and a discriminating wine list.

“We want people to come and enjoy a meal in a warm atmosphere that has some sophistication, but that is still casual,” said Jon Mudder, The Blonde Bear’s executive chef and a New York City transplant. “The Ski Valley is always going to have a laid-back attitude, and we don’t want to lose that.”

Read the whole thing here.

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Are You Ready? Part 2

09 Nov
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Ski season is right around the corner and here’s one more short film to get you in the mood.  If you have high-speed Internet, adjust the YouTube settings to allow for HD viewing.

 

After each ski season, I assemble pictures and videos and we show them at our end-of-year staff party. This is the last chapter of four in the film we presented in April.

It’s titled “. . . Of Which We are a Small Part”, because, well, we are — when viewed  from atop Wheeler or Kachina Peaks.  In addition to my own filming, I shamelessly borrowed other pictures and video, some of which I found on the Internet.

As with Part 1, I think it’s a great way to gear up for the 2013 – 2014 season.  We received another 14 inches of show on Tuesday, with more to come.

Bring it on!

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Film Credits:

  • Jay Goebel
  • GoPro
  • Mark Gordon
  • Moby Dickens Bookshop
  • Britt Runyon
  • Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
  • thiago1029
  • Peter Walker
  • Nate Wixom

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Are You Ready? Part 1

02 Nov
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The first day of skiing is less than a month away and this short video will surely get you enthused about the upcoming season.  If you have high-speed Internet, adjust the YouTube settings to allow for HD viewing.

After each season, I assemble pictures and videos and we show them at our end-of-year staff party. This is the second chapter of four in the film we presented last April.

It’s titled “Our Magical Workplace”, because, well, we are lucky enough to work in such a beautiful place.  In addition to my own filming, I shamelessly borrowed other pictures and video, some of which I found on the Internet.

I watched this chapter the other day and think it’s a great way to gear up for the 2013 – 2014 season.  It’s already snowed five times up here, and we’re expecting up to 10 inches on Tuesday.

Bring it on!

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Film Credits:

  • Jay Goebel
  • GoPro
  • Mark Gordon
  • Britt Runyon
  • Sky News 13
  • Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
  • thiago1029
  • Peter Walker
  • Nate Wixom

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Related:

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