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Napa in the Valley

Published: Wed, September 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

If You Go...

What: Wine Academy — An Evening with Gabrielle Leonhard

Where: Avalon Golf and Country Club at Squaw Creek, 761 Youngstown-Kingsville Road, Vienna

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 26

Reservations: Avalon nonmembers can log on to www.myvalleyvino.com to reserve a table. Avalon members, call the club.

If You Go

What: Wine Academy — An Evening with Gabrielle Leonhard.

Where: Avalon Golf and Country Club at Squaw Creek, 761 Youngstown-Kingsville Road, Vienna.

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 26.

Reservations: Avalon nonmembers can log on to www.myvalleyvino.com to reserve a table. Avalon members, call the club.

Staff report


Gabrielle Leonhard, head of winemaking and master blender for the prestigious Gabrielle Collection, will be visiting our Valley on Sept. 26 as part of local wine club Valley Vino’s Wine Academy series. This is the first time the local club has attracted a Napa winemaker for an event.

Although Leonhard has established herself among the elite Napa winemakers, her family roots date back to Germany in the 1920s, and her great uncle’s decision to immigrate to Ohio. The family landed in Dayton, where Leonhard was born and lived for five years. They eventually moved to California, where she learned about food and wine from her mother.

“My mom would go out into the local farm community, with me tagging along, to buy her meats, vegetables and fruits. It was the European way as she knew it, and as I realize now, a farm-to-table approach to living. That is carried forward today at our Napa Valley Estate Vineyard.”

The influence of Leonhard’s mother is palpable when you speak with her, and it is reflected in multifaceted lifestyle businesses she has built at her estate. In addition to the wines, Leonhard offers culinary products such as herb-infused sea salts, extra virgin olive oil and natural bee honey infused with lavender. Winemaking, however, still is her priority.

“I am not interested in producing wines that are formula driven and homogenous, rather wines that speak honestly of their terroir. Wine should be a delightful exploration — of the vintage year, its pairing with food and its interaction with your palate. It must be fun to consume!”

The event on Sept. 26 will reflect Leonhard’s passion for the food-wine experience. Guests will taste four wines and each will be specially paired with a dinner course. Leonhard will give a detailed explanation of how she made each wine and how the decision was made for the menu pairing.

Gabrielle’s wines, along with some from Pietro Family Vineyards (owned by Leonhard’s husband) will be featured at the event.

Here’s a look at the wines of the Gabrielle Collection:

2008 Vertex

Blend: 50% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 8% Cab Franc, 5% Petite Syrah.

Tasting Notes: Enjoy aromas of red fruits and roses with flavors of red raspberry, wild blackberry, toast and mocha. A stylish, sip- pable wine that also pairs well with a wide range of foods.

2009 Juxtaposition

Blend: 75% Cabernet, 25% Syrah.

Tasting Notes: This wine makes a statement – aromas burst out of the glass, then flavors of deep blueberry, Bing cherry, rich earth, leather and dark chocolate.

2009 Equilateral

100% Cabernet

Tasting Notes: A bold experience with sensual depth and richness. Flavors of cassis, black cherry, with finely grained tannins and just the right amount of oak aging.

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