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Homegrown wine, food, music in Placer this weekend

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Fans of locally-produced food and wine may find something to tempt their palate along the Placer County Wine Trail this weekend. The Placer County Vintners Association will celebrate the Grape Days of Summer Saturday and Sunday with seven local wineries offering their latest vintages to pair with food from local restaurants. Local chef Irie Gengler, who co-owns Source Global Tapas in Granite Bay along with his wife, will be preparing and serving up his own take on a traditional Spanish paella dish at Lone Buffalo Vineyards outside of Auburn. “Paella is a rice dish cooked in a big three-foot pan,” Gengler said. “I’ll start cooking at 9 a.m. and finish it right about 11 a.m. and serve it right out of the pan throughout the day.” As a tribute to Lone Buffalo Vineyards, Gengler is going to prepare the paella with buffalo chorizo and add mussels, clams and fresh shrimp from Ecuador. The dish will serve about 100 people, he said. “We have some pretty significant restaurants that are participating,” said Tina Morarity-Breunig with the Placer County Vintners Association. “Each winery will feature a Mediterranean wine.” Gengler said some wines recently released by Lone Buffalo Vineyards that will pair well with the paella dish are the 2009 “Where the Buffalo Roam,” a Rhone-style blend of syrah, mourvedre and grenache, as well as the 2008 Tatonka Tempranillo, an estate-grown Spanish varietal with notes of dark berry and a hint of sweet vanilla. “We also carry at the restaurant the Lone Buffalo Viognier,” Gengler said. “It’s got a little bit of spice to it, so for a white wine, that would probably be a good pairing as well.” Lone Buffalo Vineyards, located at 2682 Burgard Lane in Auburn, is one of seven participating wineries in the Grape Days of Summer event, now in its second year. Participants can start at any winery they like, purchase a $35 wrist band, which is good for both days of the event, and meander along the trail to each winery. Morarity-Breunig said there will be live music and educational boards at each winery to discuss the various regions the wines come from and what kinds of food pairs well with each wine. There are several entry points for the Placer County Wine Trail, Morarity-Breunig said, and the trail takes about 20 to 25 minutes to drive all the way through. Those coming from Roseville and Granite Bay may want to start at Lone Buffalo Vineyards, which is just off of Auburn Folsom Road, she said. Other starting points include Wise Villa Winery and Casque Wines, located at 4100 Wise Road in Lincoln, and Mount Vernon Winery, at 10850 Mount Vernon Rd. in Auburn, close to I-80. Some Roseville hotels are offering special Grape Days of Summer rates this weekend as well. Hampton Inn & Suites in Roseville is offering rooms for $139 which includes two tickets to Grape Days of Summer and a complimentary hot breakfast. Larkspur Landing in Roseville is offering a queen studio room for $119 and a king executive suite for $139. A complimentary continental breakfast will also be served and Grape Days of Summer Tickets will available for purchase at the front desk. Grape Days of Summer saw about 350 visitors last year, and event organizers said they hope to see it get bigger this year. Grape Days of Summer evolved out of the Placer County Vintners Association’s wish to promote the area as a wine region and bring awareness to the Placer County Wine Trail, Morarity-Breunig said. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT. ---------- What: Placer County Vintners Association’s Grape Days of Summer When: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Placer County Wine Trail; Lincoln, Auburn, Newcastle Participating wineries: Casque Wines and Wise Villa Winery, 4100 Wise Rd., Lincoln, (916) 543-0334 Dono dal Cielo Vineyards, 5960 Wise Road, Newcastle, (916) 434-5495 Fawnridge Winery, 5560 Fawnridge Road, Auburn, (530) 887-9522 Lone Buffalo Vineyards, 2682 Burgard Lane, Auburn, (916) 663-4486 Mt. Vernon Winery, 10850 Mount Vernon Road, Auburn, (530) 823-1111 Viña Castellano Vineyards, 4590 Bell Road, Auburn, (530) 889-2855 Cost: $35 at the door, $25 in advance, $10 designated driver Info: www.placerwine.com