Balletto Vineyards lies in the famous Russian River Valley wine region. With its cool and foggy climate, this area produces wines of great depth and distinction—the 2019 Pinot Noir is one of them. Grape grower John Balletto and winemaker Anthony Beckman create wines that showcase the region’s diverse environments and soils. The weighty red wine’s ($32) plentiful dark fruit and rich aromatics will delight any Pinot lover’s palate.
Grown on sustainably farmed estate vineyards, Balletto says, “Their vines are like family. We want to care for and nurture them as such.”
Balletto Vineyards, 5700 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. 707-568-2455; ballettovineyards.com.
I went to the Artichoke Festival years ago when it was held in Castroville, also known as the “Artichoke Center of the World,” and tried sweet artichoke pie. It was delicious!
The 62nd annual Artichoke Festival will be held at the historic Monterey County Fairgrounds Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12. The theme is “The Heart of the Harvest.” Tickets are on sale now or at the door (family packages are available). Santa Cruz celeb and American Idol finalist James Durbin performs Saturday on the main stage. Wine tasting passes ($25 per person or part of the “It’s a Date” package) are also available.
A bit of well-known trivia: Marilyn Monroe attended the festival in 1948 as Artichoke Queen. artichokefestival.org.
Quri Quinoa Vodka
There’s nothing more fun and thirst-quenching on a hot day than a vodka and tonic with lots of ice. I recently came across an exciting vodka made in Peru, Quri Quinoa Vodka, and it’s delightful. Crafting Quri starts with the world’s best quinoa—sourced from a Peruvian family farm on Lake Titicaca. Glacier water from the Andes is one of the essential ingredients used, along with five different kinds of yeast. A bottle of Quri Vodka is $35 and is available online. shop.qurivodka.com.