October 5, 2012
Your next getaway is just two hours up the coast from Los Angeles in the Santa Ynez Valley, the heart of Santa Barbara County's wine country. Make plans to visit the Santa Ynez Valley communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang now - when winter daytime highs are in the 60s and 70s and plenty of sunshine beckons you outdoors to go golfing, hiking and cycling. Amid thousands of twinkling lights and holiday trees, during the month of December experience Solvang's Julefest (winter festival)
September 8, 2012 |
2010 Stephan Vineyards "Stephan Ridge by L'Aventure" The Stephan in the name of this Paso Robles blend is none other than Stephan Asseo of the cult estate "L'Aventure. " This beauteous blend of Syrah with 20% Cabernet and 10% Petit Verdot, however, is not in the same elevated price range as L'Aventure bottlings. Made from wines Asseo opted not to use in his estate blend, at $25, the Stephan Ridge is quite the bargain. It's got a beautiful nose of black cherries and red plums, a smooth velvety texture, firm tannins and sweet sweet fruit, making it just the wine for barbecue.
August 18, 2012 |
2011 Ameztoi Rosé Getariako Txakolina "Rubentis" This rosé from the Spanish Basque country is something different. Grown on the hillside vineyards above the small fishing town of Getaria, the Ameztoi "Rubentis" is essentially a pink Txakolina made with a blend of white and red grapes. Ever so slightly pétillant , it has the minerality and a bright citrusy quality that makes it ideal with spicy foods. Open a bottle with fiery Thai or Indian dishes. I love it with ceviche, anything with anchovies or sardines.
August 11, 2012
So now that he's gotten used to drinking down, what is Kyle Meyer drinking at home? Spanish wines. The best values, he says, are in smaller, less-known regions - Jumilla and Campo de Borja, Calatayud or Montsant. "You dig out these little satellite areas to find a progressive guy who maybe didn't put it in too much new wood, so you get this pure expression of the grape. " One example is the 2010 Bodegas Borsao red from Campo di Borja region in Spain, which sells for about $8 to $10 (widely available)
August 10, 2012 |
Itching to escape the heat and head north to wine country? On Saturday afternoon Monterey Wine Country celebrates the festival's 20th anniversary in Carmel. Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door on the day of the event. And get this, designated drivers pay just $15, presumably because they will not be imbibing - or at least as much What's happening? Tastings of Monterey wines, food from local restaurants, music from the Red Beans & Rice jazz band - and of course, an auction.
June 2, 2012 |
It's a fine time for rosé, and where better to find one than from the French Mediterranean. A perfect summer wine, Domaine Ferrer Ribière "F" Rosé from the Côtes Catalanes, is primarily Grenache with some Syrah in the blend. It's pale pink and tastes of rose petals and wild herbs. A fine rosé at a modest price. Region: Languedoc-Roussillon Price: About $11 Style: Dry and aromatic What it goes with: Omelets, vegetable or fish soups, shrimp with garlic, grilled fish Where to find it: K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323)
May 24, 2012
STAGE Long before "Sideways" was a hit Alexander Payne movie, it was an adored novel by Rex Pickett. Now it gets a stage treatment in this adaptation of the story of two guys cruising through wine country as they confront the rest of their adulthood. Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Fri.-July 8. $25. ruskingrouptheatre.com.
May 24, 2012 |
A weeklong road trip through the Santa Ynez Valley wine country drives two middle-aged buddies to unexpected tests of both their varietal and moral palates in “Sideways: The Play.” Adapted by Rex Pickett from his novel (which also spawned the 2004 hit movie), their oenophilial odyssey makes an enjoyable if at times leisurely debut in its stage incarnation at Ruskin Group Theatre. In the comic misadventures of his narrative stand-in, the perpetually unpublished author Miles (John Colella)
December 12, 2011 |
Pedal to vineyards and medieval towns in northern Spain on a seven-day bicycle tour of La Rioja. The rural countryside, villages and castles in the foothills of the Pyrenees are the stars of this trip, which features easy hikes and five to 30 miles a day on a bike (easy to slightly difficult terrain). The trip begins and ends in Pamplona and stops at Puente La Reina, a winery in Olite, to sample Spanish wines, the castle and town of Ujue, Calahorra, a church in Laguardia, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the hill town of Ezcaray and more.