February 15, 2014
On a recent girlfriends weekend, I had a wonderful experience at the chef's table at Root 246 in Solvang, Calif. For $88 each, we were treated to a multicourse chef-designed meal with wine (or beer) pairings. Chef Seth Nelson and his staff could not have been more welcoming. Dining in the kitchen was a fun first. The food and wine were excellent, and the experience was first rate. Root 246 , 420 Alisal Road, Solvang, Calif.; (805) 686-8681, http://www.root-246.com . Jane Kimball Ladera Ranch
February 14, 2014 |
Have you ever tried the beets and berries at Rustic Canyon? Because the dish is kind of mind-blowing when you think about it, a mess of roasted beets and purple quinoa in a rustic pottery bowl. There are herbs scattered over the top, and a few crisply roasted pistachios, and a few chunks of buttery, ripe Reed avocado, along with a seedy smear of slightly unripe mashed berries that seems to be there more for its fragrance and acidity than for any particular flavor. There may be a hint of dairy, and I seem to remember a version of this dish with creamed horseradish, but it could probably pass as one of those vegan feel-good bowls at a place like Real Food Daily or Café Gratitude - at least until you realize that you have powered your way to the bottom without half realizing it, and that the berries are doing unspeakably wonderful things to the avocado and that this may be the first bowl of quinoa you have eaten with pleasure since the last time you went to Peru.
February 14, 2014 |
Typically, wine clubs have had about as much coolness factor as the old Columbia Record Club. No serious wine drinkers would have ever considered joining such a club. But now a handful of new wine clubs is changing the game with selections focused on Santa Barbara wines, grand cru Burgundy or natural wines. Bottles are hand-picked, often highly allocated (i.e. hard to find), come with tasting notes and/or recipes - and inside is something you'd actually like to drink. Some clubs cater to what you already like.
February 13, 2014 |
Hard to believe, but the 2005 is the latest release of the LAN Gran Reserva. Rioja works on a different time scale than the rest of the wine world, releasing its reds only when they're ready to drink. The 2005, mostly Tempranillo with just 10% each Mazuelo and Garnacha, still tastes youthful. Such a pretty wine with notes of cherry, spice and earth - and a pleasant rasp of tannin. Perfect for a plate of jamón ibérico and chorizo. Region: Rioja, Spain Price: About $20 Style: Supple and balanced What it goes with: Prosciutto or serrano ham, beans with chorizo, baby lamb chops Where to find it: BestWinesOnline, (888)
February 7, 2014 |
If you're one of the impatient ones, and have to have a bottle of Brangelina's latest rosé from Provence right now, you'll have to jet over to London or France. That's right. The first bottles of 2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé will be sold first in France and England. There's been a waiting list for the wine since last year and the people on it were notified by email that they could sign on Thursday and buy one case of six bottles each. Just in time for Valentine's Day. Go to the website and you'll be informed very politely, in French, that the reservation list for the first bottles of the 2013 vintage is now closed.
February 7, 2014 |
Prosecco producers from Italy's Veneto region are courting the Chinese market with a slick website --translated into Chinese. It's a smart move to get in early as the Chinese wine market explodes. According to the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, exports to Asia have increased 78.9% from 2010 to 2012. With this website, they want to nudge sales further in that direction. California producers, however, were earlier in the game. In 2012, Wine Institute (a trade organization of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses)