November 23, 2013 |
This is an elegant Napa Valley Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, very much still in the style that won the famous Paris Tasting of 1976 and launched California Chardonnay onto the world wine scene. Silky on the palate, the 2011 has aromas of pear, citrus and honeysuckle. A bright acidity and a discrete touch of oak give the ripe fruit flavors a lift. A wine to savor. This would be a great bottle to take to a holiday dinner with people who would appreciate its finesse. It shows best with shellfish or fish in sauce -- coquilles St. Jacques, lobster with drawn butter or Dungeness crab, but also a simple roast chicken.
June 20, 2013 |
Summer is upon us: Time to start planning for some wine country fun. One event not to miss, especially if Chardonnay is the first thing that leaps to mind when you think wine: the Chardonnay Symposium in the Santa Maria Valley. In its fourth year, the symposium is set to take place July 19-21. The event is scheduled to kick off with a dinner in honor of Central Coast pioneer Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat at the historic Bien Nacido Adobe. He's to be toasted and/or roasted by Bob Linquist of Qupé, Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post, sommelier Raj Parr and winemaker Gavin Chanin.
May 5, 2013 |
Fifty miles north of San Francisco, straddling U.S. Highway 101, sits Santa Rosa, former home of Charles M. Schulz and the gang from "Peanuts. " From the highway, as you boom past at 70 mph, Santa Rosa appears to be just another somewhere on the way to somewhere else. But a short detour east into downtown or west into the wine country quickly proves otherwise. The tab: We spent $163 for a night at the Hotel La Rose, dinner for two at Willi's Wine Bar was $84, including wine, and a lavish picnic from Whole Foods Market came to $43. Gas and incidentals added $100 to the tab. Wine at Bella and Iron Horse vineyards, of course, was extra.
April 14, 2013 |
Pleasanton, Calif., is - no surprise here - a pleasant small city east of San Francisco Bay that was off the beaten track for much of the 20th century and avoided the redevelopment that destroyed the cores of many older cities. Its downtown - filled with tree-lined streets, vintage architecture, restaurants and boutiques - evokes a small town in New England. My good friend Laura, who used to live there, was my guide on our trip. The tab: We spent about $450, including $220 for two nights at the Sheraton and $230 for food and drinks.
April 13, 2013 |
For anyone who loves a leaner, more elegant style of Chardonnay, this is the one. Liquid Farm proprietors Nikki and Jeff Nelson are going for Chardonnay with less oak influence and lower alcohol. Bingo. That's a recipe for a food-friendly wine, and with the help of winemakers Brandon Sparks-Gillis and John Dragonette of Dragonette Cellars, they're making this terrific Chardonnay from Santa Rita Hills grapes. I love its minerality, the sharp, fresh scent of citrus and, well, grape that comes through loud and clear.
April 2, 2013 |
David Rosoff has held the position of general manager at Osteria Mozza since the Los Angeles restaurant opened seven years ago. It doesn't seem like it could possibly be that long, does it? I'm sure it feels like it to Rosoff. But he isn't your garden variety general manager. He has a deep and abiding knowledge of wine, honed at Michael's restaurant in Santa Monica and other venues where his wine lists were a big draw for anyone who cares about wine. “I've spent some time trying to think of something cutting edge and intriguing but at my advanced age, I've come to term with the facts that 1)