SANTA ROSA, Calif.
When in Sonoma wine country, you expect rolling hills. Check. You expect fine wine. Check. You expect Dungeness crab. Say what?
Last weekend, it wasn’t the wine that drew me to Sonoma but the promise of crab. A few months ago I signed up for a pruning seminar and crab feed put on by Portalupi Wine, a boutique winery with a tasting room in downtown Healdsburg. My friend Jason joined me on a beautiful spring day (in winter!) as we made the drive to Dolinsek Ranch in Santa Rosa.
Dolinsek is one of the small wine grape growers that Portalupi sources for its wine, and we started the day with a tour of the vineyards and a pruning demonstration. This is the time when farmers prune their grape fields to ensure the vines grow out the right way and produce the most fruit. After strolling through some of the old vine pinot (some as old as 104 years), we made our way to the nearby Vinehill Druid Hall, a community center, for our crab feed.
Everyone dined on cheese and salami, followed by an Italian salad and pesto pasta salad, and then the featured dish of Dungeness crab, which they got earlier in the morning from Bodega Bay. We washed this all done with some Portalupi Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Vermentino.
Even though the crab was served chilled, it was a delicious afternoon made more delicious by the fun company and the amazing setting of Russian River Valley. It was a perfect way to catch the waning days of Dungeness crab season.
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