An affair to remember with Black Ridge Vineyards

by Scott Anderson on May 24, 2013

The wine club email from Jennifer Flippen (pictured) at Black Ridge Vineyards (BRV) was well targeted at Dianne and I. It announced “A Wine Affair”, a tantalizing and wonderfully convenient Bacchanalian “event” in Willow Glen, our hometown.

The idea was for Jennifer to personally introduce BRV wine to a new market, and for Siena Bistro to give the community a fun new night out on the town. Essentially, the tasting room was coming to town, and the tasting could accompany a Chef’s menu paired to a tasting flight. So easy and such a great way to sample and enjoy new wines.

We are residents of Willow Glen, BRV is a client of Discovery Map, BRV wine is special, and we enjoy Siena Bistro. The stars were aligned, so we strolled into town, and were seated indoors because the generous patio was at capacity on a warm California spring night.

Soon Jennifer appeared on her wine pouring rounds and gave us the lowdown on the event.

So first, about the event’s name: A Wine Affair. It’s a play on words. The restaurant is “stepping out” on its regular wine list (the regular list is absent BRV), hence having an one-night fling with BRV. Siena Bistro chef and owner, David Wiesner (pictured), has wanted to do something like this for some time and it finally came together in early May.

BRV is an interestingLos Gatos vineyard and winery. First, they are located 5 minutes outside Los Gatos above Lexington Reservoir. They are one of the largest vineyards in the appellation at more than 20 acres under vine, yet produce only 1200 – 1500 cases of ultra-premium wine each year, which is solidly boutique-winery territory. What I infer from this is that they choose the grapes they want and the wine they want, and sell the rest. The result is evident in the bottle.

It’s good news that David intends for the Siena Bistro affairs to continue and become a recurring theme with other wineries in the future. He couldn’t have started with a better vineyard for the opening round!



Black Ridge Vineyards mid-summer banquet and tasting

by Scott Anderson on August 9, 2012

The first Black Ridge Vineyards’ surprise is how close it is to downtown Los Gatos. The Highway 17 exit is just minutes south of Los Gatos, followed by a couple of minutes drive up Black Road.

Shown above is a panoramic scene of the vineyards and winery in the foreground and Lexington Reservoir beyond. The tasting room is closest, followed by the building that hosted a very large sit-down crowd. Furthest away is a private residence. All the buildings follow a Tuscan design theme and are beautifully finished.

The second surprise are the beautiful grounds and scenic vistas so close to Silicon Valley’s flatlands.

We recently attended a special party the winery periodically holds for it’s club members and a lucky few industry guests. In the above photo, guests drink in the view of  San Jose in the distance. The views afforded by this site are a treat.

Any rock’n party needs a rock’n band. The party lay beyond, where massive open doors brought the outdoors in and provided a scenic Santa Cruz Mountains vista.

Inside the cavernous and architecturally-impressive building guests enjoyed delicious Restaurant O fare and of course, Black Ridge Vineyards wines in delicious abundance. In the distance, Black Ridge co-owner Jim Landes displayed several beautifully restored and customized cars.

Jim Landes addressed his invited guests, along with Winery Operations Manager Jennifer Flippen, who organized the day’s festivities. Unfortunately I did not meet the lovely young lady at right, who deftly pulled winners’ lucky numbers from the recesses of a spittoon.

Black Ridge Vineyards is a producer of ultra-premium estate wines, and after listening to Jim speak, I have no doubt they are very discerning winemakers. Of course tasting a wide selection of their current offerings only added strength to my conviction.

 If you like what you see, check out Black Ridge when they’re open to the public every third weekend of the month. And check out their website!




Besos lingerie heats up the night in Los Gatos

by Scott Anderson July 30, 2012 Area Information

    Writing stories about the local “destination” scene is nearly always fun. Visiting wineries, sampling delicious wine and food, meeting interesting people, the list goes on. It’s all good.   And then once in a while something unusual and wonderful happens, like a Besos Lingerie Fashion Show, where I am the invited photographer. Gail [...]

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Bringing history to life at Sierra Toy Soldier store

by Scott Anderson June 20, 2012 Area Information

I’ve heard the owners of Sierra Toy Soldier of Los Gatos say something to the effect of “we bring history to life in three dimensions”. This means touching and feeling it, as well as being able to stare at the historical pieces for however long you please and from any angle you please. The cast [...]

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Picture Perfect Los Gatos Spring Wine Walk

by Scott Anderson May 30, 2012 Events and Activities

Discovery is a big part of Wine Walks. Finding favorite new wines is most folks’ primary interest, and with 33 wineries strutting their stuff there’s ample opportunity to achieve that mission. Then there’s the social aspect. Most Wine Walk participants come in pairs and groups, and soon meet other like-minded tasters with whom to share [...]

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Saratoga Wine Stroll – location, location, location

by Scott Anderson May 23, 2012 Events and Activities

What’s compelling about the Saratoga Wine Strolls?  For starters, the Village is one of the nicer places in the valley to wander around for any reason, much less for discovering and tasting delicious local boutique wines. For those of you who haven’t spent time in Saratoga, what you’ll find is a modern version of an [...]

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Big Basin Vineyards looks as good as it tastes

by Scott Anderson April 25, 2012 Events and Activities

After a scintillating hour and fifteen minute drive in the Mini Cooper S, we arrived at Big Basin Vineyards, 1200 feet elevation, 15 minutes above Boulder Creek. Upon opening the driver’s door, the above scene greeted me.  Vineyard proprietor Bradley Brown must enjoy a fabulous mountain view from his home above the winery and vineyard. [...]

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Fromage Cheese Twins Storm Main Street

by Scott Anderson April 18, 2012 Los Gatos

Meet Don and Eric, identical twins who’ve lived in Los Gatos since 1986 and recently opened Fromage, a cheese store and so much more. They shared a long-term dream of owning a business together. So how do two brothers who grew up in the construction business simultaneously land on Main Street, Los Gatos selling cheese? [...]

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Paradise Portraits

by Scott Anderson April 11, 2012 Area Information

This year’s Pinot Paradise at Villa Ragusa in Campbell was like the previous three we’ve attended. Lots of great Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir, ample and delicious snacks, and a crowd that loves to sample, compare and discuss the finer points of this regal grape. It’s a lot of fun. Last year I chronicled the [...]

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Horsing around in Saratoga and Los Gatos – same time next year

by Scott Anderson February 6, 2012 Area Information

Here’s something that lots of people enjoy – a horse-drawn carriage ride along the streets of two iconic Silicon Valley towns. Of course these would be Los Gatos and Saratoga, the Gem of Silicon Valley and the Gateway to Wine Country. It’s worth noting these events in your calendar because on one day in November [...]

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