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 9, 2013 |
Do San Francisco in style before heading out on a Princess cruise to Alaska's Inside Passage. Uncommon Journeys offers the 10-night cruise with pre-boarding extras: tours of Napa Valley wineries and the city while spending three nights at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. I like this offer for the three-day pre-trip itinerary, and the fact you don't have to go to Seattle or Vancouver , Canada, to board. Elegant Alaska , as the trip is called, also features a welcome dinner at the Presidio Social Club along with a day of wine tastings in the Napa Valley and a day touring San Francisco.
April 9, 2013 |
That bottle of Bordeaux you put aside may become even rarer in the next few decades as climate change could reduce wine grape production in traditional parts of the world and move it elsewhere, researchers say. Danish Cabernet, anyone? Wine grape production's sensitivity to climate makes it a good test case for what could happen over the next several decades. And the land suitable for viticulture in current major wine producing regions could be reduced by 20% to 70% by 2050, depending on the amount of greenhouse gases produced, the researchers said this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
April 9, 2013 |
Wine sales in the United States, including California vintages, reached a record high last year, jumping 2% compared with 2011. Sales totaled 360.1 million cases with an estimated retail value of $34.6 billion, according to the Wine Institute, a San Francisco trade group. Sales of California wines accounted for 58% of the U.S. business. The Golden State shipped 250.2 million 9-liter cases, worth $22 billion, to U.S. and foreign customers. "The U.S. is the largest wine market in the world, with 19 consecutive years of volume growth," Wine Institute President Robert P. Koch said.
April 9, 2013 |
Dim Sum Crawl: Chinatown's Dim Sum Crawl is scheduled to take place on April 18 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The crawl will include dim sum from four different restaurants, including Empress Pavilion, Mandarin Chateau, Hop Woo and Plum Tree Inn, and beer pairings which will be provided by local breweries. Tickets, available online , purchased before Sunday are $50 per person and after that will be sold for $60 per person. www.chinatownla.ticketbud.com/dimsumcrawl . Eagle Rock Brewery dinner at Muddy Leek: On Wednesday, Chef Whitney Flood of Muddy Leek in Culver City is teaming up with Eagle Rock Brewery for a five-course tasting menu to be paired with the brewery's craft beers.
April 8, 2013 |
So Wine Spectator has determined there are good value wines made in California in regions other than the Napa Valley. Sorry, but Napa Valley would be the last California wine region I'd expect to supply bargains unless we're talking Cabernet priced at $50 instead of the $75 the vintner feels is deserved. Okay, maybe Im being a little unfair. Of course you have to look to other regions for good value! Wine just costs too much to produce in Napa Valley. And so the venerable wine mag has ventured into Mendocino County, Sonoma County, the Sierra Foothills and closer to home, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County to ferret out “top-notch California wines under $25.” And by top-notch, they mean wines that have scored 85 points or higher on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale.
April 7, 2013 |
Westlake Village, 38 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, seems farther. It straddles the Ventura County line, its golf courses, man-made lakes and gated estates sprinkled among gentle hills. Some weekend visitors golf. Some loll in the spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village or chase immortality at the California Health & Longevity Institute. (David Murdock, the soon-to-be-90 founder of Dole Foods, owns the hotel and institute.) It's a good place to lie low. My wife, daughter and I spent $142 on lodging (one night, including tax)
April 6, 2013 |
La Rioja Alta is one of the great old Rioja houses, best known for Viña Ardanza, long one of my favorite Riojas. The 2004 Viña Arana is winning me over, though. Made with 95% Tempranillo, rather than Ardanza's 80% (the rest being made up with Garnacha and, in the case of Arana, with Mazuelo), the 2004 has a beautiful balance and grace. It's all in there - dark cherries, licorice, leather and earth. Ready to drink now or put away for a while. Give this terrific Rioja some time in the glass for all its layers to show themselves.
April 5, 2013 |
If, like me, you're holding yourself back from snatching up Tom and Ruth Jones' 16-acre Moraga Vineyards estate in Bel Air, you might want to stop into the Redd Collection in Culver City Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a vertical tasting of wines from the estate. A flight is $50, which is a little steep but certainly a lot more affordable than the property, which is listed at about $29.5 million. (See a slide show here .) The tasting, which is free with a store purchase of $250 or more, consists of three vintages (1999, 2005 and 2010)
April 2, 2013 |
Travelers who like to eat and drink their way through a weekend getaway should check out Fiestas del Mar, a south-of-the-border celebration of wine and seafood in Ensenada, Mexico . The event, April 20 at Ensenada's Hotel Coral and Marina , will focus on Baja's growing culinary marketplace. Events include a ceviche contest, wine and Champagne tastings, hot air balloon rides and live entertainment. “We created Fiestas del Mar to celebrate Ensenada's unique culture and flavor,” said Lizette Sanchez, director of sales and public relations.