”lavender, sweet lavender;
come and buy my lavender,
hide it in your trousseau, lady fair.
Let its flovely fragrance flow
Over your from head to toe,
lightening on your eyes, your cheek, your hair.”
Cumberkand Clark Flower Song Book 1929
Ask any California gardener and you’ll find that lavender is an herb that is easy to fall in love with—it grows like a dream, has a calming fragrance, and its deep purple hues are treasured by almost everyone. And luscious culinary lavender has endured long past its trending phase to become a gourmet staple. This Saturday, at Matanzas Creek Winery’s 16th Annual Days of Wine and Lavender, you can put your problems aside and escape to a lush lavender oasis in Bennett Valley’s rolling hills. The winery’s breathtaking lavender garden will be in full fragrant bloom and the day is geared towards tasting exquisite wines and sampling all things lavender—from artisan breads dusted with lavender flour to lavender lemonade to Matanzas’ rejuvenating Estate Lavender line. This popular event always sells out early and draws a crowd of 400 from all over California for a leisurely and relaxing summer afternoon. Designed in 1991 by landscaper extraordinaire Robert Kourik, with 5,000 impeccably cultivated plants; this is the largest planting of lavender in northern, CA. It’s surrounded by a border of exotic trees, shrubs and tall grasses and the overall impact is reminiscent of the enclosed secret gardens of classical Europe. If you’ve never been up to Matanzas Creek, the event this Saturday is just about the best introduction you could have to the sprawling estate and its rich offerings.
There will be ample opportunity to taste the wines of Matanzas Creek, featuring Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, and the unique Dénouement ® (day-nu-ma), a fabulous dessert wine made from Sauvignon Blanc that experiences botrytis, or ‘noble rot,’ which is prized in France for its ability to produce stylishly luscious fruit characteristics. Velvety and sophisticated on the palate, this wine is led by aromas of baked peach and honeysuckle which transition elegantly into flavors of baked apricot with hints of brioche and hazelnut. Delicacies featuring edible lavender and that pair well with the wines will be prepared by Matanzas Creek’s estate chefs Justin Wangler and Eric Frischkorn and their culinary team. Last year, Chef Eric Frischkorn prepared out-of-this-world homemade artisan breads featuring lavender. Some of these breads were created from a unique wild yeast starter dough from yeast Frischkorn collected on the vineyard’s grapes. This year, be sure to try his special foccacia with Chardonnay Grapeseed Oil and lavender and his Kalamata Olive Sourdough with herbs de Provence which is made from Frischkorn’s grape sourdough starter.
This year’s menu:
Assorted Local Artisan Cheeses & Charcuterie
Paired with Sauvignon Blanc: Drakes Bay Oyster Shooter with Cucumber Consomme
Paired with Chardonnay: Lavender Honey Glazed Scallops, Sardinian Couscous Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Paired with Merlot: Lavender Roasted Leg of Lamb with Confit Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans & Salsa Verde
Paired with Sauvignon Blanc: Lemon Grass Chicken Lettuce Cups with Toasted Almonds & Pickled Vegetables
White Chocolate Lavender Mousse with Caramelized White Chocolate Cremeux, Lime Streusel & Vanilla Bean Meringue
Justin Wangler assured me that there is a “subtle difference” between various culinary cultivars that fine palates can distinguish. “Lavandula x Intermedia,” commonly named “Grosso,” is a strong and vigorous hybrid, grown on the Matanzas grounds that was developed in France in the early 18oo’s for its heightened oil content. It yields a robust purple violet bloom and produces one of the highest quality culinary grade lavenders to be found and is favored by the culinary team.
This Year’s Highlights Include:
- Learn first hand from winemaker Marcia Monahan, what sets Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc apart from the rest. Featuring a sensory experience by tasting fruits, herbs and spices to discover exotic tasting notes.
- Visit the Journey Tasting Room for an elevated experience and taste amazing wines.
- Indulge in a chair or hand massage while surrounded by our gorgeous estate.
- See a live demonstration how a dish is prepared and why it pairs beautifully with Matanzas Creek wines.
- Take an immerging walk through lavender gardens in high bloom.
- Groove to live music and just have a great time exploring our estate gardens, grounds and vineyards.
- The Lavender Barn will be open with Estate Lavender culinary items, lotions, soaps, massage oils and much more available for purchase. And this is not your ordinary lavender spa line–of course, there’s a pure lavender scent from the finest essential oil. Several lavender products have also been blended with ingredients like tangerine, neroli and rose to create modern invigorating scents. There’s also a men’s line that features a handmade soap with a spicy earthy lavender-infused scent that’s worth stocking up on.
- Tantalize your taste buds by indulging in unique desserts, local cheeses served by local vendors. Try Marshall’s Farm estate lavender-infused honey which utilizes Matanzas Creek’s estate lavender.
Details: Saturday June 30th, 2012, noon to 4 p.m. Tickets: $85 General Public and $70 Wine Club members. Matanzas Creek Winery is located at 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Phone: 800 590-6464
The winery is known for its crisp sauvignon blancs, luxurious chardonnays and fruity, earthy merlots. To learn more, visit www.matanzascreek.com.