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In 2018, Maude Restaurant shifted the concept to highlight wine regions around the world. They covered Rioja, Burgundy, Central Coast, Piemonte in 2018 and started 2019 with Western Australia. When the Maude team picks their next location, the team (chefs and wine team) travel together for an immersive trip. They do this trip in secret as they do not let us, the customers, know what the next region is until one month prior to its launch. To date, most of the regions have been quite a distance from Los Angeles and the team has slipped away for up to a week to explore the region. For the April - June menu, Maude ventured to Sonoma County. Sonoma, with its proximity to the Russian River and sixty miles of California coastline, was the inspiration for the spring menu.The team flew up on a Saturday night after service and spent a whirlwind weekend in Sonoma where they foraged, fished and learned about fermentation. They then created a menu retelling their experience to us. Back in March, I attended an "Off the Menu" meal at Maude which was a sort of research and development of the Sonoma menu. Looking back and comparing the menus, I see the evolution of most of these dishes but for the Sonoma menu, the dishes were perfected and delicious. Our meal began with the Biodynamic Preparation. Inspired by a visit to the winery Littorai, where winemaker Ted Lemon farms biodynamically, there were five small bites displayed on a wood and wire tray, similar to what is used in biodynamic farming. The amuses included an oyster with yarro root, tempura stinging nettle, ramps, soft kogi panna cotta and sourdough bread with oak bark butter.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register. As we look back at history, we can always find markers where something shifted and altered the future. Each of these significant markers have changed paradigms in life. These are game-changers, such as the invention of the car, the smart phone and every technology we use today.
We can also find markers in the wine industry that have transformed the industry. Breakthroughs in winemaking technique, heralded births of new regions and cultural moments have resulted in wines that have changed the world of wine as we know it.
“Over time, there are wines that changed our perspective in one way or another. These wines transcend their flavor. These are wines with history and they conjure memories. Each in their own way has changed the world of wine,” explained Ray Isle, executive editor of Food and Wine Magazine, as he moderated a panel at the 11th Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine.
Along with four sommeliers — Eugenio Jardim, Shelley Lindgren, Kelli White and Master Sommelier Fred Dame — we tasted through eight wines that have changed the world of wine.
One of my favorite weekend getaways is to Sonoma. Making Healdsburg the home base, it is centrally located between the Dry Creek Valley (known for Zinfandel) and the Russian River Valley (known for Pinot Noir). With two days in the area, spend a day in each valley, but if you have more time, it's even better!  Here are some of my favorite wineries to visit: Russian River Valley  Arista Winery  7015 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448 If you are looking for a divine Russan River Valley Pinot Noir, then look no further than Arista Winery. Founded by the McWilliams family in 2002, they have dedicated themselves to working with local growers and practice sustainable farming. Beyond amazing wines, the vineyard boasts beautiful Japanese water gardens, mountain and vineyard vistas and a traditional tasting room. The tranquil environment is perfect for picnics, gatherings and intimate tastings. Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-5pm