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October 20, 2011
The hunt for a red October (and beyond) Here's where to find some of the wines mentioned in this article: Moric's 2008 Burgenland Blaufränkisch is available at Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, ; and Domaine LA, Los Angeles, (323) 932-0280,, about $26. The Pfneiszl 2007 Soproni Kekfrankos is available at the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, ; Larchmont Village Wine, (323)
April 19, 2014
Southern Italy is full of undiscovered gems with tremendous quality for the price. This Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (not to be confused with the much pricier Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) from the Masciarelli estate is one such wine. The vineyards are worked organically, the way the family has always done it. Made from the indigenous Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grape, the 2009 Masciarelli "Marina Cveti" is rich and full-bodied, tasting of crushed blackberries and cherries, with a touch of tobacco and earth.
September 10, 2010
Bodega Wine Bar in Hollywood Where: 6290 Sunset Blvd. When: Open daily at 5 p.m. Price: Nearly all wines at $9 a glass Contact: (323) 464-3400
April 14, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
Wine dinners come and go. Some are fabulous. Some are lame. But here's one that seems destined for the fabulous category, a collaboration between the Culver City gastropub Waterloo & City and the French-accented Central Coast winery Tablas Creek Vineyard this Wednesday. Just look at the menu, which involves a Gloucester Old Spot pig raised on the Tablas Creek estate near Templeton. For those who don't follow pigs obsessively, Old Spot is a much-coveted heritage breed. And big -- sows can weigh up to 500 pounds, the boars a good 100 pounds more.
September 20, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
It's officially a trend. A few days ago Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant in Santa Barbara launched its SOMM Series Wine Club for highly allocated wines. And now Michael Mina and his longtime wine director and sommelier Rajat Parr have started their own high-end wine club called - what else? - the Michael Mina Wine Club .  Since Mina owns 18 restaurants across the country, the idea is to offer members bottles from the wine lists of Mina's restaurants, thereby giving members access to hard-to-find wines from small producers around the world.  Who's picking, or rather, curating the wines?
February 10, 2011
Here are five great Mourvèdre-based wines from Paso Robles, Calif. Because they are produced in small quantities, it may be necessary to order them from the winery. 2007 Anglim Winery Mourvèdre "Hastings Ranch Vineyard" ($34): Quite a spicy wine, with notes of cinnamon, star anise and black pepper. Black plum fruit comes through on the mid-palate and drives through to the finish. 14.9% alcohol. 2007 Edward Sellers Mourvèdre ($35): Dark cherry fruit with black pepper and a gamy "low note" to keep it interesting.
October 23, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
On Thursday, Rivera restaurant sommelier Mark Mendoza will be pouring wines from Patagonia for a special four-course dinner chef/owner John Sedlar has designed around the wines.  Owned by Tuscan Piero Incisa della Rochetta (Sassacaia), Bodega Chacra  makes Pinot Noir and Merlot in the Rio Negro Valley of northern Patagonia, and Sedlar and Mendoza will be pairing the night's special menu with four of their wines.  The cost for the dinner and wines is $95 per person, not including tax and tip. To reserve, call the restaurant at ( 213)
April 14, 2011
Wines on a budget Here are a few favorite wines for less than $15 from the people we interviewed: Simon Cocks of Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese: NV Anton Ohlig Sekt Rosé Extra-Trocken, "50 N" (German sparkling rosé), $14.99; 2009 Hubert Rousseau Gros Plant du Pays Nantais (French white), $13.99; 2009 Monte dos Perdigöes Alenteja DO, Tapada do Barao (Portuguese red), $11.99. 223 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 856-8699 (no website)
May 26, 2011
FOOD Enjoy fine wines, including the best that California has to offer alongside the great vintages from France's Loire Valley during the seventh annual Newport Beach Food & Wine Festival. Four days feature a sampling of more than 60 wines; food-and-wine-pairing seminars with master sommeliers; a winemakers luncheon and more. Balboa Bay Club & Resort, 1221 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach. Thurs. to Sun. Event times and ticket prices vary. (949) 630-4146;
September 15, 2009 | Scott Kraft
When Selena Cuffe sampled South African wines four years ago in Soweto, she didn't wax poetic about their rustic radiance, about plum and berry notes on the nose or hints of vanilla on the palate. That would come with time. What swept her off her feet were the stories behind the labels: black winemakers struggling to survive, post-apartheid, in an industry dominated by whites and in a market suspicious of new players. "It was like a bright light went off in my head," said Cuffe, a high-energy 33-year-old with a Harvard MBA, marketing experience at Proctor & Gamble Co. and a desire, as an African American, to give a hand to black entrepreneurs in South Africa.
April 12, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
The second vintage from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's wine estate in southeast France is a spectacular rosé from an unspectacular year. Made by the Perrin family of the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Château de Beaucastel, the 2013 Château Miraval rosé is elegant and fresh, with a scent of wild strawberries. I could drink this very serious rosé all summer long. Quantities are limited, though, and this one may be gone even before summer gets here. Have it with radishes and butter, with toasts spread with tapenade, crudités, grilled salmon or a simple roast chicken.
April 8, 2014 | By Jay Jones
Now you can try cruise-ship cuisine as well as fine wine without ever setting sail at a Celebrity event in Irvine. Celebrity Cruises  is a driving force behind the Great Wine Festival May 31 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. The cruise line will provide landlubbers with tastes of the fare usually served at sea. Executive chef John Suley and sommelier Chanelle Duarte will welcome guests.  Ten of Celebrity's floating restaurants have won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.
April 7, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
What wines are selling best on ? You might be surprised. There's more than just the expected popular brands of Cabernet and Chardonnay. Curious about what the top-selling wines on are at the moment, I approached the Seattle-based mega-company to see if anyone could tell me. After much back and forth, I got a list of 10: There are some of the expected  - two Pinot Noirs, two Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux-style reds, and a Chardonnay; but there are also the unexpected - a Roussanne, a Semillon, and a sweet Black Muscat.
April 6, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
The gig: Gabriel Weiss is a winemaker with a distinct specialty, kosher wine. He owns the Shirah Wine Co. in Santa Barbara County with brother Shimon Weiss, who handles the business side. Kosher wine can't contain ingredients from animals that aren't kosher - that is, not killed according to Jewish law. In addition, the making and handling of the wine has to be conducted by Jews who observe the Sabbath, the kosher dietary laws and follow other Jewish observances. Cracking the biz: Gabriel Weiss wanted to move from New Jersey to Southern California to use previous training in industrial design to crack into the entertainment business.
March 29, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
This is why Rioja is one of the best values in red wine right now. Where else could you find such a distinguished red from the 2001 vintage for less than $35? This isn't something a shrewd wine merchant put away for a few years but the estate's current release. And what a mature beauty it is - aromas of dried cherry and rose petals, flavors of dark berries and tobacco, ripe tannins and a long, inviting finish. A seamless package. It will go well with just about anything, but I'm thinking lamb - a roast or chops.
March 26, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
When I saw the first tweet about this, I truly thought it was a hoax. But no, it seems wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. is launching a lifestyle magazine. has the story and describes the mag as aimed at "high net-worth individuals and corporate leaders. " In other words, Robb Report territory. And what will his new magazine be called? It's not hard to guess: “100 Points by Robert Parker.” Oh, no. Oh, yes. John Stimpfig reports that The Wine Advocate has signed a deal with publishers Hubert Burda Media to publish the new international lifestyle magazine quarterly.
September 9, 2010 | Patrick Comiskey, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The lower end of the U.S. wine market is a fairly stratified affair, with big players making wines for the masses in mass quantities sufficient to supply a huge national pipeline. But so often these wines have a cookie-cutter, concocted feel to them, or worse, they're guilty of being unspeakably drab. Let's state the obvious: Most cheap wine tastes cheap. Not for nothing has the category earned the brusquely dismissive moniker "plonk. " No one hates plonk more than winemakers, who, the same as everyone else in the world, want affordable wines to drink with their midweek meal, something simple, satisfying and authentic - wines to enjoy and not ponder.
November 29, 2009 | By Rosemary McClure
Bungee jump off a bridge, careen through wild rapids, float on a river through the blackness of a subterranean cave. "If you can dream it, we have it," the Kiwis say. There's no doubt about it: New Zealand offers a great escape, a misty dreamland of tranquil fiords, rugged peaks, frosty glaciers, turquoise alpine lakes and verdant rain forests. But with its wines now ranked alongside some of the world's best, New Zealand also offers visitors a grape escape as well -- a first-class wine destination where travelers can find pleasure year-round in hundreds of tasting rooms.
March 22, 2014 | By Lauren Beale
Steppingstones cross a reflecting pool at the entrance to this contemporary home, which evokes a travertine-encased museum. Designed with expanses of walls for art display and an open floor plan for entertaining, the house centers on a 34-foot-high window-topped gallery that runs the length of the roof and brings in natural light. Location: 2251 Linda Flora Drive, Bel-Air 90077 Asking price: $12.5 million Year built: 2013 House size: Four bedrooms, four bathrooms, 9,372 square feet including guesthouse, breezeways and patios Lot size: 3.2 acres Features: Fourteen-foot-tall ceilings, glass walls, glass-floor library looks down on wine room, upstairs office, deck, guesthouse with kitchen, swimming pool, loggia with fireplace, gated driveway, motor court, three-car garage, canyon views About the area: Last year, 157 single-family homes sold in the 90077 ZIP Code at a median price of $1.945 million, according to DataQuick.
March 21, 2014 | By Jason Wells
A Vacaville man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing $400,000 worth of wine from a Napa County storage facility in a bid to make a tidy profit on the black market, police said. The Valley Wine Warehouse declined to comment Thursday, but American Canyon police told FOX40 that the man, Jose Piña, 31, worked at the facility and had unlimited access. Because the case is still under investigation, American Canyon Police Chief Tracy Stuart told the station she could not provide the names of several store owners who may have purchased the stolen wine.
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