In May, I had the opportunity to visit the Clif Family Winery Velo Vino Tasting Room in Napa Valley just south of downtown St. Helena. The tasting room was such a fun and hip bar atmosphere. The tasting room was laid back and casual (unlike some of the tasting rooms in Napa, which have a tendency to be “stuffy”). I had a couple of shots of espresso (it was late in the afternoon), and then moved on to sample some Clif Family Wines (paired with snacks) as part of the Rifugio Food & Wine Pairing, which included a selection of five Clif Family Wines paired with Gary & Kit's Napa Valley specialty food products and a selection of three cheeses.
I had one of my favorite wines of my whole Napa/Sonoma weekend at the Clif Family Winery Velo Vino Tasting Room. I loved it so much I brought home two bottles to enjoy back home in Vermont. The 2011 Riesling ($22, rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine) had hints of pineapple, grapefruit, and honeydew on the nose. Flavors of grapefruit, green apple, and pear were plentiful on the palate. This dry, aromatic wine was paired with the Gary & Kit's Napa Valley Toasted Coconut & Cashews. Wow. The spiciness of the chili pepper flakes mixed with the sweetness of the toasted coconut and salt of the cashews is an explosion of flavor in your mouth that is complimented perfectly by the bright fruit characteristics of the Riesling. Either the Riesling or the mix is tasty on its own, but the pairing is truly incredible.
I had the same pairing tonight during happy hour (at my house), and the wine and mix were just as fabulous as I remembered them being at in Napa. I clearly need to order some more wine and nut mix for another tasting soon.