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FOOD
August 26, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
Headed to LACMA to catch the "Pompeii and the Roman Villa" exhibit before it closes Oct. 4? Before you go, put a bottle of this crisp, minerally white from Italy's Campania region (that's Naples/Pompeii and environs) in the fridge to break open when you come home. Served well-chilled, it's refreshing with notes of citrus rind and white pepper. Incidentally, Falanghina is the name of the grape. It's terrific with spaghetti alle vongole , which goes together really quickly. Enjoy it with grilled fish or shrimp too, for easy summer drinking.
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FOOD
August 12, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
What can I say? The kind of weather we've been having the last few weeks cries out for rosé, well chilled and lots of it. Though I will always love Domaine Tempier's Bandol rosé, I just can't justify buying it anymore at close to $40 a bottle. But here's another favorite from the Bandol region from the excellent producer La Bastide Blanche with an equally charming rosé at about half the price. Made from Mourvedre, it's bone-dry, with a hint of rose petals and lavender. I wish I were sitting in the little port at Bandol right now enjoying a bottle of rosé and some soupe de poissons with croutons and a fiery rouille.
FOOD
July 29, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
Pali stands for Palisades and this fledgling wine company is owned by a group of 21 friends and co-workers who live or work -- some both -- in Pacific Palisades and thought it might be nice to own a winery together. Little did they know how much work and effort is involved. But they found a winemaker -- Brian Loring -- and are producing some excellent wines out of Lompoc in the Central Coast.
FOOD
July 22, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
The Sterza family has been growing grapes in the Valpolicella village of Casterna for generations. But in 1998 young David Sterza got together with his cousin Paolo Mascanzoni, and they decided to make their own wine instead of selling the grapes. Valpolicella can be a light, easy wine, but ripasso, especially, can be much more than that.
FOOD
July 15, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
Who would have thunk? A dry Muscat from Malaga in southern Spain, better known for its luscious sweet wines? And yet Spanish wine importer Jorge Ordonez and the late, great sweet wine producer Alois Kracher had the idea to try making a little dry wine from the old Muscat vineyard Ordonez located in the mountains outside the city. This, the third vintage of Botani Sierras de Malaga Moscatel Seco, is a perfect summer aperitif wine.
FOOD
July 8, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
Beaujolais -- the real stuff, not Beaujolais Nouveau, which is an entirely different animal -- makes perfect warm-weather drinking. And this Cote de Brouilly from Nicole Chanrion's Domaine de la Voute des Crozes is a fabulous summer wine. Old-fashioned Gamay Noir with a distinct earthy quality and beautiful balance and texture. Tasting of blueberries one moment, cherries the next, it is pure pleasure to drink. Put it in a Burgundy glass and it takes on the weightier character of a serious wine.
FOOD
July 1, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
Everything you want in a Central Coast Syrah -- ripe, beautiful fruit, wonderful balance and structure, flavors of dark, juicy berries, wild herbs and a touch of smoke. Adam Tolmach's 2006 Santa Barbara County Syrah is a stunner. One of the original Rhone Rangers, he's no newcomer to Syrah and has distilled everything he knows about the grape into his wine.
FOOD
June 24, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila
A truly lovely Pinot Noir from Stoller Vineyards in the Dundee Hills of Oregon. The JV stands for jeunes vignes, as in "junior vines," a younger, high-density planting. The wine Stoller made in 2007 is ripe yet delicate with wonderful berry flavors revved up with sweet spices and an earthy minerality. It's ready to drink now and terrific.
FOOD
June 17, 2009
This is classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that practically jumps out of the glass. The 2008 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc is grassy as newly mown lawn, with round ripe fruit, a snappy acidity and a fine dry finish. And it's a steal at less than $20. Pop open a bottle to enjoy with salted roasted almonds, chilled seafood, grilled fish or a summery vegetable soup -- S.
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