March 23, 2013 |
David Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards has produced some renowned Pinot Noirs from his sprawling Sonoma Coast estate. They're very good. And very expensive. But the estate also makes a second label called "The Bohan-Dillon," which is much more affordable. About one-third of the fruit comes from Hirsch Vineyards, mostly younger vines, and the remainder from neighboring estates. The Bohan-Dillon is made exactly the same way as Hirsch Vineyards' higher-priced Pinots. The 2010 is selling for about $28 if you can still find it; the 2011 is a little more expensive.
March 23, 2013 |
How did Jeff Morgan morph from a nice Jewish boy from New York into a sax player and bandleader in sequined tuxedo, then into one of the leading wine journalists in the United States, and finally into a kosher wine maker in the Napa Valley? And one who makes not just any kosher wines but a Cabernet Sauvignon that garners big points and can easily hold its own against the big boys' Napa Valley Cabs? It's a long story filled with digressions. As a young musician, Morgan went to France to study flute, then got a job as sax player and eventually bandleader at the Grand Casinoin Monte Carlo, developing a love of food and wine.
February 28, 2013 |
I'm always looking to make new friends, which is the way I approach a youth baseball draft - new coaches, new buddies. Twenty guys in a community room of the local church, in creaky chairs the preschoolers usually use. Someone jokes, "Who brought the beer?" but there is no alcohol here, just good dads with good intentions. What a pile of sweethearts these guys turn out to be. I ask one of these poker-faced idiots his opinion of one 9-year-old prospect, and he blurts, "HEY, I WAS GOING TO TAKE HIM!"
February 12, 2013 |
For river cruise fans (and wine fans and flamenco fans), the 108-passenger AmaVida offers a tour of villages and vineyards along Portugal's Douro River that highlights wine tasting, dancing and other cultural activities. The 11-day trip from Kensington Tours starts with two days in Lisbon to explore the capital and then moves on by train to Porto, where the cruise begins. The cruise itinerary includes Barca D'Alva for a show of traditional flamenco dancing, wine tasting in Pinhao, a visit to a 16th-century castle in Alijo and the palace and gardens of Mateus in Regua.
February 8, 2013 |
If I had a spare $29.5 million or so lying around, I'd definitely be in the market for the Moraga Vineyards estate in Bel Air, which is now up for sale. You know those rows of vines you see across the 405 as you ride the tram up to the Getty Museum ? That's it. According to the winery's website, Moraga is the first commercial winery to be bonded in the city of Los Angeles since Prohibition ended in 1933. I was there once, and it really is Shangri-La, the vineyards as meticulously groomed as the romantic Provençal-style garden.
January 26, 2013 |
Syrah doesn't exactly leap to mind when thinking about Oregon reds. But here's a wonderful example from the tiny Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Applegate Valley (that's in southern Oregon). One sip and I was ready to buy a case. Why? Because it's tremendously food-friendly, not overly extracted, a Syrah that's graceful and poised, bright with flavors of cherry and cassis and sporting a snazzy bit of acidity. I don't know what it is about the valley where the grapes are grown, but this wine is reminiscent of Syrah from the northern Rhone.