Tasting notes: Wine tasting in Grass Valley, Fawnridge and Van Howd and more

The Foothills Celebration in Grass Valley on Saturday, March 1, is one of the region’s premier wine and food pairing events. Spend the afternoon, from 1-4 p.m., strolling the shops and sites of historic downtown Grass Valley.

Tickets are $35 until February 22 and $45 afterward. The ticket includes unlimited wine tasting from 30 foothill wineries and five food selections from more than 20 restaurants. A $10 designated driver ticket includes five food tastings and bottled water.

For tickets, visit SierraVintners.com or the downtown Grass Valley tasting rooms, Grass Valley Downtown Association and BriarPatch Co-op, among other locations. Special Deal: Mention Code SFWA to receive a $5 discount.

The Dungeness crab season is in full swing. San Francisco columnist Herb Caen said the quintessential Northern California meal was fresh Dungeness crab, French bread and a glass of white wine.

In our region, you can get fresh crab at Ikeda’s in Auburn and the Little Fish Company, which sells seafood at the Foothills Farmers Market in Auburn.

Foothill wines pair well with crab. A favorite is Avanguardia’s Cristallo—dry, crisp, taut and full-bodied. Chardonnay from Smith Vineyard, Bent Metal or Sierra Starr are other choices.

Sierra Starr also makes a “bubbly.” Solune’s Pandora No. 2 and Naggiar’s Viognier also pair well with a Dungeness crab feast.

Fawnridge Winery, Auburn sculptor Douglas Van Howd and World War II “triple ace” Bud Anderson are on a new wine label to help raise money for a statue honoring the local aviation hero.

Anderson is a longtime Auburn resident who grew up in Newcastle.

He is credited with shooting down more than 16 enemy planes while flying a P-51 Mustang in Europe during World War II.

Van Howd is the creator of the life-size monument. His studio and gallery are located by the Auburn Municipal Airport, where the statue will be located.

The labels are on a Fawnridge 2011 Chardonnay called “Triple Ace” and a 2008 Syrah called “Old Crow Red.”

Each day, from March 21-25, different wineries will be pouring $15 flights at the West Shore Café & Inn at Tahoe during aprés ski, and the wines will be paired with a prix fix menu during dinner. WestShoreCafe.com

(Photo: Thomas Thompson)

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