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March 20, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
This is a great example of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon in an outstanding vintage. The grapes come from the famous Shea Vineyard in Yamhill County. The result is a Pinot with lovely dark-toned fruit, a pretty nose of rose petals and cherries, and a smooth, silky texture. And you don't need to know a thing about wine or Pinot Noir to appreciate its beauty. It's great with sautéed calf's liver, fried quail, a roast chicken or a pot pie. Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon Price: $33 to $50 Style: Rich and full-bodied What it goes with: Calf's liver, quail, roast chicken, pot pie Where to find it: BestWinesOnline (888)
March 14, 2014 | By Gale Holland
The developer of a skid row apartment building that houses recovering alcoholics and drug addicts said Friday he would appeal a zoning decision that denied a beer and wine permit for a restaurant planned for the ground floor of the complex. Mike Alvidrez, executive director of Skid Row Housing Trust, said the planned restaurant, a former food truck called Great Balls on Tires, could not open with its present business plan unless it gets the permit to operate on the ground floor of the six-story New Genesis Apartments.
March 14, 2014 | By Dean Kuipers
MONTALCINO, Italy - " Scusi ," I said to a well-dressed man in this medieval Tuscan village, where even the gas station was somehow part of the farming landscape. "Can you tell me how to get to Castiglion del Bosco?" "Hmm, yes," he said in English, taking my map, then, " Un momento . " He dialed his cellphone, and I realized he was asking someone for the best route. Not the first or last time we found the Italians to be incredibly helpful. "I can tell you how to get there, but my wine is much better," he said, laughing.
March 12, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
What a beauty. Caprili's 2011 Rosso di Montalcino, 100% Sangiovese grosso, is the perfect food wine, bright and chiseled, with flavors of black cherries, sweet spices and chocolate. Tannins are tight, and there's a lovely slight bitterness at the finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It's wonderful with tagliatelle or fettuccine with meat ragù, grilled portobello mushrooms, grilled meats or roasted birds. Region: Tuscany, Italy Price: $20 to $24 Style: Bright and chiseled What it goes with: Pasta with meat sauce, grilled mushrooms and meats, roasted birds Where to find it: Green Jug in Woodland Hills, (818)
March 7, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
As anybody who follows Italian wine knows, the quality strides made in Tuscany's Chianti Classico region in the last few decades have been enormous. No longer just the default house wine at red sauce Italian restaurants or pizza joints, the best bottles can hold their own against some of the world's  top red wines -- and in fact have a strong presence at high-end Italian and Cal-Med restaurants. But come May, shopping for a nice little Chianti for dinner may become more complicated.
March 4, 2014 | S. Irene Virbila
Not everybody loves sake, so the burning question is what else to drink with your sashimi or nigiri-zushi ? You could opt for a fabulous vintage Champagne if you're lucky enough to be dining at Urusawa and won't mind the $400 per person tab. For the rest of us, here's a selection of wines that work well with sushi. PHOTOS: 10 wines to drink with sushi To find where to buy them, search . Keep in mind that not every local wine shop is listed there.
February 28, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
For the last few years, Stolpman Vineyards in the new Ballard Canyon American Viticultural Area in Santa Barbara County has produced a wine called La Cuadrilla for "the crew. " Its crew works full time under the direction of winemaker Sashi Moorman and vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano. Each year, the crew works an experimental cuadra or block, which rotates throughout the ranch. The grapes from that cuadra are used to make La Cuadrilla, so the blend is slightly different each year.
February 27, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
The French have gotten into fruit-flavored wines in a big way. As if news of declining consumption of wine overall wasn't enough, drinkers in France are snatching up bottles of rosé pamplemousse (grapefruit-flavored rosé) and rosé mandarin or black currant at an ever-growing rate. Sales of flavored wine (and sangria) in France jumped 45.2% in 2013 over 2012's figures, “beating rum, specialty beers, cognac and iced teas,” according to a study by IRI in the beverage trade magazine RayonBoissons.
February 26, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Wine exports from the United States, mainly from California, generated a record high revenue of $1.55 billion in 2013, the Wine Institute reported. It was the fourth record in a row for foreign sales when ranked by value, the San Francisco trade group said. Total sales, 90% from California wineries, were up 16.4% over 2012. QUIZ: How much do you know about California's economy? "Consumers across the globe continue to recognize the quality, diversity and value of California wines, despite significant trade barriers and heavily subsidized foreign competitors," said Wine Institute President Robert P. Koch.
February 23, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
Here's a scenario: You've got a hankering for roast chicken, either from your favorite takeout, a restaurant, or from your own oven. Mine would be Judy Rodger's justly famous bird with bread and arugula salad from her masterful “The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Restaurant.” The beautiful thing about roast chicken is that it pairs with both red and white wines. Nothing too intense and certainly no reds with massive tannins.
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