Corned Beef and Parade are Old Town Traditions


All prepped for last year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade – (left-to-right) Liv Poulos, Gary Moffat, Spencer Smith!

Over my 15 years in the Historic District, I’ve come to align with a tradition launched decades ago by patrons of Old Town’s notorious “Bermuda Triangle,” the drinking circuit linking three iconic watering holes: the Shanghai, Happy Hour and the California Club (the last joint standing). Each year, at precisely 5:17 p.m., a pathetic excuse of a parade would step off from the top of Lincoln Way and wind down High St. and then into Old Town on Sacramento St.

Some years the procession of classic cars, an antique fire engine and rat vehicles would amount to just a dozen random entries, honking with partiers decked out in green, demonstrating along the route to a terminus of hot corned beef and cold beer queued up in Old Town.  In the last couple of years, though, the event has exploded, attracting upwards of 50 vehicles or more.

While gentrification of Old Town’s version of a St. Patrick’s Day parade might horrify the founders of the event, I’m confident they would appreciate seeing all the smiling faces all along Lincoln Way.  So, don’t miss this year’s rendition on Friday afternoon, with the first car rolling off at 5:17.


Then join us at Carpe Vino and enjoy our regular menu or Chef Alexander’s annual St. Patty’s celebration featuring authentic Irish staples, perfect for a three-course dinner::

–Braised beef, barley and ale soup with root vegetables and Irish Cheddar, $9.

–House corned beef and cabbage with glazed carrot, champ potatoes and whole grain mustard, $23.

–Spiced Guinness stout cake with Bailey’s whipped cream, $9.

BTW, we recommend you stop by the California Club to hoist a brewski. It’s the last vestige of authentic Old Town and we love the joint.




Today’s Deal ~ 2015 ZOLO Torrontes

$11.95/bottle or $9.95/bottle on 6+


SHEESH!! This is a fantastic wine…perfect for summer!!  Back with a vengeance and just in time to get you through hump day is one of Carpe Vino’s BEST-SELLING wines of all time:  The 2015 ZOLO Torrontes.  If you want an INSANELY good, CRISP white wine reminiscent of a sauvignon blanc but on steroids, then this is THE wine for you.  Plus, to top it all off, we’re offering this beaut for just $9.95/bottle on six or more.  Sip after sip, this wine is ready to please!

Indigenous to Argentina, the torrontes grape is their work horse of all white wines.  If you’re unfamiliar with this varietal then think of it as a sauvignon blanc but with elegant floral and peach aromas.  Smooth in texture the wine is simply delightful.  The 2015 ZOLO Torrontes is all 100% Estate grown, sustainably farmed, and hand-crafted from vineyards at 3000 feet in elevation.   Sourced from one of premier grape growing regions of Mendoza, this little number is dialed in.  Aged in stainless steel, low in alcohol, and full of flavor, it is the quintessential wine for the hot days ahead.

How does it taste you ask?  Answer = DELICIOUS!  On the nose you get aromatics HONEYSUCKLE and APRICOTS.  On the palate is where this baby really shines.  It is DRY, has MODERATE ACIDITY and a mouthfeel smooth as SILK.  The ideal food pairing fo the ZOLO Torrontes would be any spicy curry or perhaps your favorite seafood.

So, if you’re ready for one of Argentina’s signature wines with shut the front door, pricing then click the BUY ZOLO NOW button.  At under $10 a bottle this is easily one of the better valued wines out there in the market!

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Winery Tasting Notes: “Grapes are hand harvested and then cooled, then they enter a pneumatic press with a nitrogen blanketing system (the only press of its kind in Argentina). Before and during the gentle pressing of the grapes, nitrogen is introduced which eliminates all contact with oxygen during the whole process. This creates greater aromatic intensity. Overall, the wine is medium straw-colored with a fragrant perfume of honey, spring flowers, and tropical fruits. Ripe, flavorful, dry, and restrained, this is Torrontes at its best. The price makes it a steal.”


Today’s Deal ~ 2012 Maison L’Envoyé $19.99/bottle or $14.99/6+ bottles



In our ever present search of fine delicious wine, the Carpe Vino wine sleuths scored again with a sensational Burgundian Chardonnay from the Mâconnais district.  The 2012 Maison L’Envoyé is a beautiful Bourgogne Blanc that is absolutely STUNNING.  Sourced from two distinct vineyards located in La Roche Vineuse, this elegant wine delivers both on flavor and quality without having to tighten the purse strings.  While our asking price is standard at $19.99/bottle however it’s our discount that will have you ordering this wine by the caseload: $14.99/bottle on 6+ which is the deepest discount you’ll find anywhere online!

The 2012 Maison L’Envoyé was founded by Mark Tarlov who specializes in not only finding elegant Burgundian Wines but also specializes in finding the same Burgundy varietals from Willamette Valley, Oregon as well as Tasmania, Australia.  Tarlov’s philosophy is to champion the unsung village growers of Burgundy who for generations have farmed their vineyards mere feet from some of most esteemed wineries of the region.  As a result, just last year, Maison L’Envoyé was named “Winery to Watch” in 2015 by Wine & Spirits Magazine.

You have to venture out and get this wine!  Once you pour it in your glass you’ll see and taste why.  It exhibits an opulent GOLDEN STRAW hue that is backed by an exquisite bouquet of CITRUS FRUITS and LEMON ZEST.  This wine has a fresh minerality that is complimented by stone fruits of APRICOTS and WHITE NECTARINES.  The finish boasts a BRIGHT ACIDITY that pairs well with roasted turkey, poached salmon or lobster.

Now that I’ve got your attention, here is one of the FINEST-VALUED, BEST-TASTING French Wines that you can get on the market today.  We have the last NINE cases in stock ready for pick up or immediate shipping today.  So, glide your clicking device over the BUY MAISON L’ENVOYÉ NOW button and treat yourself to a lovely wine!

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 Allen Meadows – Burghound Tasting Notes: “There is a hint of grapefruit to the notably ripe soft pear, white flower and apple suffused nose that is trimmed in a discreet bit of oak. The nicely concentrated, round, supple and seductively textured flavors possess an easy-to-like mouth feel where there is just enough wood to notice on the lingering finish. This delicious effort is already approachable though one year of bottle age would add a bit of depth. (6/2014)”


2013 Conundrum Red Wine $17.99/bottle on 6+


One of the most celebrated family’s in all of Napa Valley has got to be the illustrious Wagner Family. From a stout lineage that has brought us wines such as Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon and Belle Glos Pinot Noir, the dynasty continues to show off its mettle by introducing their second vintage of the racy yet refined 2013 Conudrum Red Wine.  True to its name, we can only speculate what this “enigma in bottle” contains, but what we do know is that this beast of a wine will smack you in the mouth with flavor that is down-right delicious and addicting.  Normal winery retail price is $25/bottle but purchase the 2013 Conundrum Red from CV today and amass it for $17.99/bottle on six +!

If you are tired of paying premium for a distinctively bold and flavor rich wine then look no further then Conundrum Red.  It is a smooth sipper that will have you begging for more.  With its DEEP GARNET hue you are immediately drawn to the glass with a nose of DRIED BERRIES, hints of SPICEY CHOCOLATE, and wait for it…BACON!!  You can’t help but see what’s next!  On the palate, you are captivated by the FRUIT FORWARD silky notes of BLACKBERRIES, BLACK PLUMS, and VANILLA that are complimented by balanced tannins making the finish LONG and SMOOTH.

The 2013 Conundrum Red is a wine meant to be enjoyed today, on pizza night, BBQ night, or just relaxing by the fire.  So, don’t wait too long and put me on speed dial or email me back ASAP, because for the money this wine hits the spot!

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Winery Tasting Notes:

“We believe in being both serious and playful, and this wine fits the bill. A rich, dark red, it offers aromas of ripe berries and plums, warmed by a hint of cocoa. Dried fruit and the taste of chocolate-covered cherries come through on the palate, while a wisp of smokiness makes this wine – created from dark red varietals including Zinfandel and Petite Sirah – the perfect complement to grilled meats and full-flavored dishes. Tannins are rounded out by the ripeness of the berries for a texturous but smooth mouth feel. The finish makes us think of lingering at the end of a long evening and still not wanting to go home, with layers of rich flavor that teasingly trail off.”



Wine Club Members – Taste With JAY TONIGHT 6-8PM

imgres.092224Now that we have successfully completed a year of complimentary Saturday afternoon wine tastings for our wine club members we asked ourselves…what next?  Our goal is to give our WC members every opportunity they can to get down to CV and try the next latest/greatest wine, best deal, or hidden gem you never knew about.  We understand that Saturday afternoons just don’t work for everyone so we decided why not taste during the week?  One day we will offer 3 NEW RELEASES…anything from the obvious, a new vintage release, or maybe a completely new winery from California, Oregon, Washington or anywhere in the world.  The following Thursday we will be tasting 3 IMPORTS to help introduce you to wines that your palate may not be familiar with tasting.  We appreciate Import wines from all different regions including, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa to name a few.

ACV_shoot_0012299.123047gain, the goal here is to procure international wines that we know you will want to taste and hopefully purchase for yourself.  Not only are you getting to taste more wines (as part of your WC membership) but you are getting more one-on-one time with CV’s Jay Johnstone that can help you pick the wines that are best for you.

To get this kick started we are tasting NEW RELEASES tonight from 6-8pm in the CV Wine Bar (front window so you can’t miss him) but going forward it will be the 2nd Thursday of the month.  Next Thursday (10/22) we will introduce the IMPORT tasting from 6-8 but going forward it will be the 3rd Thursday of every month!  Again, this is limited to 2 persons per wine club membership and is absolutely complimentary.  No need to make a reservation…just drop on by!



What We Are Tasting Tonight?

By Jay Johnstone

The Senses Estate Vineyards are located in the West Sonoma Coast region.  Specifically right smack dab in the small town of Occidental.  Founded by three childhood friends who grew up on the land, they decided to go into the wine biz and make wine in the True Sonoma Coast region style which is known for delicate, distinguished wines that exhibit great depth and balance.  It was then they enlisted the services of one of the most sought after winemakers in the world Thomas Rivers Brown.  It’s Thomas’ expertise with Burgundian varietals and his love for Occidental’s Sonoma Coast region that makes these wines so amazing and an ideal fit for Senses Winery.  Just to give you a little background on TRB, in 2008 he was the youngest winemaker to score not only one, but two perfect “100 point” ratings from Robert M. Parker, The Wine Advocate.  Then in 2010, Thomas was again awarded two top “100 point” ratings from Wine Spectator’s James Laube. This made Thomas the first American winemaker to ever receive 100 points from Wine Spectator. This same year Thomas was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Food & Wine. Since then, Thomas has gone on to receive three consecutive 100 point ratings from The Wine Advocate.

Betz Famiy Winery is located in Columbia Valley, WA and they specialize in Rhône-Inspired Wines.  Available only to a select few or by mailing list only, the Betz Wines are also some of the most interesting hidden gems you’ll find anywhere.  If you haven’t heard of them, then here is your chance to taste what the best of Columbia Valley has to offer.  Only 28 cases total of Betz Wines were available to the whole state of California for distribution, and Carpe Vino secured the lions share to offer the CV faithful.  Plus, all the wines from 2013 vintage were highly praised by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

2013 Senses B.A. Theriot Chardonnay (Sonoma County) $64.95/bottle

2013 Senses Hillcrest Estate Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) $54.95/bottle

2013 Betz “Cuvee Frangin” Red Wine (Columbia Valley, WA) $35.95/bottle  – unpublished discount: $29.95/bottle on six +

Carpe Vino Featured in SacBee Supplement

On Monday, the Sacramento Bee ran a special supplement titled “A Guide to Sacramento’s Best Restaurants and Dishes”.  It was basically a compilation of reviews of the region’s best restaurants penned during 2014 by critic Blair Anthony Robertson.

It was a pretty cool section, with the full, original reports on the finest joints in Sacramento and beyond.  You can read about Ella’s, The Grange, Mother and of course, Carpe Vino (reviewed last April, click here).  It also featured our friends in Downtown Auburn, Tre Pazzi Trattoria, which earned 3 ½ stars from Robertson.

We just loved the redundancy of seeing our review in print for a second time!

Ciao Bella to this Gorgeous Zinfandel!

Hello Beautiful is right!  Just arrived to Carpe Vino is the fantastic 2012 Bella “Sonoma County” Zinfandel.  Bella Vineyards is a small family operated winery located in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley AVA.  Specializing in small production and winery only wines, Bella wines are a definite must have.  The Sonoma County Zin we have available in store today, is extremely limited. Comprised of the same fruit as their Estate wines from Lily Hill and Big River Ranch Vineyards that can retail for well over 40 bucks, this “beauty” delivers at half the price!  If your not convinced based on that, then perhaps knowing their past vintages of wines have received high acclaim of several 90+ point scores from Wine Advocate.  However, the best reason to snag some of this elegant zin, is the taste.  With bright red fruits up front and a great finish that ends in soft chocolate, this zin is incredible! Due to this amamzing zin’s limited availabilty, you would be hard pressed not to click the “BUY NOW” button today!

2012 Bella Vineyards “Sonoma County” Zinfandel

Bella_zin-152x362.13494819.99/bottle or $17.99/bottle on six +

Blend: 75% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 9% Syrah
Vineyards: Lily Hill – Zinfandel / Big River Ranch – Petite Sirah, Syrah
Alcohol: 14.9%
Case Production: Strictly Limited
Winemaker: Michael Dashe
Cellar Recommendation: Enjoy this wine through 2019

Tasting Notes:
“The 2012 Sonoma County zinfandel entices with a floral bouquet of violets and rose petals.  The palate continues with anise and pretty red fruit, a silky texture and smooth, soft finish.  This wine is approachable and fun, yet structure and deep.”





As always, thank you for your time and I hope we will be putting wine aside for you today!


Saturday Tasting Line-up

This Saturday’s tasting, we are featuring the amazing Martinelli Family Vineyards. The Martinelli Family is among the finest growers of fine wine grapes in all of Sonoma County since the 1880′s.  They have extradordinary sites for great wines, and are among the best producers in California for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and ZinfandelHelen Turely’s influence here (Winemaker from 1993-2010) is evident in the intense flavors and balance of these great wines.  These wines are limited production and each vineyard is hand farmed very carefully, producing only the finest quality fruit.  So, don’t miss your chance to “try before you buy” these wines, because an opportunity to get these exclusive wines is unparalleled.  There will be a nominal tasting fee of $10-per-person, however, the kicker is, we will waive the tasting charge when you purchase a six pack!  We have every expectation that our Wine Club Members will understand why we are doing this, due to value of the wines being tasted.  Here is what we are pouring:



Martinelli “Bella Vigna” Chardonnay 2009 (Russian River Valley)

Marinelli_bellaVigna09ChardSonoma-152x362.102250$39.95/bottle or $34.95/bottle on six +

Winery Tasting Notes:
“This wine is a blend of selected single vineyard Chardonnay estate grapes, with the majority of the grapes coming from our Lolita Ranch and Charles Ranch Vineyards. The 2009 Bella Vigna Chardonnay has flavors of bright lemon, mineral, juicy ripe pear, with a weighty texture in the mouth. Aromas include caramel, toast, lemon and spice.”

Jay’s Take: “Really cool wine, especially with this discount!  This chardonnay sees the same treatment as all their single vineyard, Parker Scoring wines, but at a fraction of the cost.  Lolita Ranch and Charles Ranch Chardonnay’s consistently score in the 90′s year after year.  This vintage won’t be around much longer.”






Martinelli “Bella Vigna” Pinot Noir 2012 (Russian River Valley)

Bella-Vigna-Pinot-Noir.103130$44.95/bottle or Wine Club Discounts Apply

Winery Tasting Notes:
“The 2012 Bella Vigna Pinot Noir exhibits a nose of currant, cherry, licorice and savory tapenade. The palate is supple black and red fruits, generously structured for early enjoyment.”

Jay’s Take: “This vintage of Bella Vigna is easily the best since the highly acclaimed 2002 vintage.  They take wine from barrels of their other single vineyard pinots and then blend them to make this wine.  The flavor of this wine alone will have you buying this wine by the boat load.”






Martinelli “Giuseppe & Luisa” Zinfandel 2012 (Russian River Valley)

MartinelliZin-152x362.103821$64.95/bottle or Wine Club Discounts Apply

Winery Tasting Notes:
The 2012 Giuseppe and Luisa Zinfandel has a superbly ripe nose of blackberry, bright cherry bramble, plum, orange and mint. The palate is poised and centered red raspberry, cassis, golden currants and plum. Drink 2014 – 2022.

Jay’s Take:  “The 2011 vintage received a 94 point score from Parker, and this vintage will likely score higher once it is reviewed.  The “G&L” is made from the Jackhass and Jackass Hill clones which typically retail around 100 bucks and up.”






Martinelli “Terra Felice” Syrah 2009 (Russian River Valley)

Terra-Felice-Syrah.104650$44.95/bottle or $38.95/bottle on six +

Winery Tasting Notes:
“The Terra Felice Syrah is a proprietary blend of some of our best Syrah vineyards. It has aromas of vanilla, sweet tobacco, and bacon, and is laden with flavors of raspberry and currents.”

Jay’s Take: “I cracked this bottle open to try last night, and was immediately captivated.  Also, comprised of the barrels from their single vineyard syrah’s, this baby is the one!”







We’ve generated quite a following with our Saturday series of Wine Club tastings, and this weekend will be no different. But, if you can’t make Saturday’s tasting and want to purchase some of these wines…feel free to use our online order site and enter “JayJ” in the Order Notes Section to make sure you receive the best discounts available.

If you have any questions…feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience by replying to this email or calling me at

530-823-0320 x105.



“Everything Corn” Prix-fixe Starts July 29

Speaking of prix-fixe dinners, our next event—Everything Corn—is set to be plated starting next Tuesday, July 29, and runs through August 3.  While our goal is to strive to devise unique themes every month, some events are so popular, we have no choice but to reprise them each year.  So it is with this fourth edition of Everything Corn.

You’d think it would be a challenge to be creative with something that is such a staple of the American diet (fructose comes to mind).  Not for Chef Alexander. . .he puts his personal twist on the menu that keeps it fresh and inspired every time.  You certainly won’t find corn on the cob anywhere, but consider these menu items and preparations (click here to peruse the full menu):

Popcorn puree, blue corn hominy, corn bread panzanella, puree of white corn soup, corn shoot and wild arugula salad (with raw corn and corn nuts), coconut creamed corn, corn-red curry emulsion, sweet corn bread pudding, Brentwood corn, white corn gelato and sweet corn panna cotta.

To see how these preparations are incorporated into the menu selections, click here for the full story.  Same deal as always, four courses with options for $59++ per person.  Vegetarian options are available (of course), but no substitutions or split plates.

Prime time is filling up on the weekends, so call for reservations ASAP to secure your preferred seating.  Call the restaurant at 530-823-0320 or go online to

It’s gonna be awesome, we guarantee!



Prix-fixe Theme Contest was a Photo Finish

VoteResults.084943With 347 votes cast in our throw-down to select a theme for the August prix-fixe event, the top three finalists very nearly shared the votes equally.  “Hot August Nights” (121) came out on top, however, just two votes in front of  “My Big Fat Greek Island Tour” (119).  “Along the Silk Road” (107) trailed by just 14 votes.

In the view of the judges, all of the finalists were winners, so here’s what we’re going to do.  Chef Alexander will create a prix-fixe menu for top finisher, “Hot August Nights,” submitted separately by Wendy Kan, Curt McMichael and Lindsay Hyatt Bar.  We will award each a dinner for two and a bottle of wine (that Drew selects) during August prix-fixe week.

While there were multiple suggestions for Greek dinners, Milt Champas articulated the theme most succinctly, so he will be awarded a $100 restaurant gift card (and we may implement the idea in the future).  Bruce Tepper’s “Along the Silk Road” inspiration earns him a $50 restaurant gift card.

Our thanks to everyone who participated in the contest.  It truly did produce interesting and creative concepts for potential menu articulation, and it appears that many folks were genuinely excited about being involved.  The contest truly engaged our “community” on two levels. . .noodling the ideas and then having the opportunity to vote for a winner.

Now, we hope everyone comes to try Hot August Nights on for size when we roll out the dinner next month, August 23 to 28.  Better make reservations now (CLICK HERE) or by calling 530-823-0320!

More information
Carpe Vino (Find Us) 1568 Lincoln Way Auburn, CA 95603
Phone Number: 530-823-0320
Get Directions to Carpe Vino
Retail/Wine Bar Hours Tuesday - Saturday
Noon - 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Dining Hours Tuesday - Saturday
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Make A Reservation Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
Reservations are suggested for preferred seating, especially on weekends.