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FOOD
January 7, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
From respected winemaker Laura Catena, a rich, ample Malbec made from older vines from three vineyards in the Uco Valley of Argentina. The 2011 Luca Malbec, mostly aged in French oak, has an inviting bouquet of black cherries, strawberries, chocolate and tobacco. The wine is smooth and balanced, a classic example of Malbec. Of course, it's a beautiful wine with grilled steaks or chops, with a hearty stew, or braised pork or lamb shanks. Go ahead, throw bold flavors at it. This Malbec can take it. Region: Mendoza, Argentina Price: $26 to $30 Style: Rich and balanced What it goes with: Grilled steaks and chops, hearty stews, braised meats Where to find it: Amazing Grapes Wine Store in Rancho Santa Margarita, (949)
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NEWS
January 7, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
It's a new year, why not drink like it and try something new and unfamiliar. My wish is that in 2014, wine lovers will take a chance and say goodbye, at least every once in a while, to their tried and true, and branch out. This is such a great time to be a wine drinker, especially in Southern California. Take a chance, put yourself in the hands of an enthusiastic sommelier or wine shop clerk (be sure to give them a price range) and discover a grape, a wine or an appellation that's new to you. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
NEWS
December 21, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
These wine books are sure to fit someone on your list, from the aspiring sommelier to the merely curious . To wrap and put under the tree: a couple of serious reference works, a wine atlas that can also be purchased as an eBook, a guide to newly fashionable sherry and a couple of good reads. The most novel, though, is a Scratch & Sniff introduction to wine from a master sommelier who knows his stuff.  "The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert" by Richard Betts (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99)
NEWS
December 20, 2013 | By Anne Harnagel
Join photographer Joanne Heaviland for the “Ultimate Italian Experience.” This 11-day, 10-night excursion starts in Rome and continues on to the picturesque Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean-chic towns of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Included are a photo workshop, an Italian cooking class, a tour of a mozzarella di bufala organic cheese farm, wine tasting and a tour of the island of Capri. Participants also learn photography techniques, including lighting, composition, landscape and portrait photography.
NATIONAL
December 18, 2013 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - He was the onetime golden boy of the Los Angeles wine scene, but Rudy Kurniawan's life as a high-profile collector of rare vintages ended Wednesday when a jury convicted him of fraud for operating a fake wine factory and selling counterfeit wines to fund his lavish lifestyle. Some of the wines Kurniawan sold privately or at auctions fetched more than $5,000 per bottle. But wine experts said Kurniawan's victims went far beyond a few very rich collectors and that his actions cast a cloud over the entire wine world.
NATIONAL
December 18, 2013 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - Wine expert Michael Egan eyed the six bottles of purported 1966 Montrachet sitting at the front of the courtroom. "They wouldn't look out of place in the urology department at Mt. Sinai," Egan said as he noted the cloudy liquid's sickly ocher cast. And they probably wouldn't taste much better than a specimen, according to Egan and other aficionados who testified this week in the fraud trial of Rudy Kurniawan, a onetime boy wonder of the wine world who once enjoyed an enthusiastic following in Los Angeles for his sophisticated palate and eye-popping collection of exquisite reds and whites.
NEWS
December 17, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
Shopping for the wine lover on your list is always tricky -- you're never sure which bottle they already have or have already dismissed. Coastal Pinot Noir would have been perfect last year, but now they're back into Beaujolais. Here are some ideas that will work for anyone, no matter what they're drinking right now. Coravin wine preservation system Hardcore wine buffs have been eying this new wine preservation system since it was introduced this summer. Devised by medical device inventor Greg Lambrecht,  Coravin is a game-changing gadget for preserving wine that allows you to pour a glass of wine without ever removing the cork  - and without oxygen ever touching the wine.
FOOD
December 14, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
The holidays are packed tight with exuberant, noisy parties for work and family. Sometimes you need to give yourself the gift of a quiet dinner with friends. That's exactly the excuse you need to break out that bottle of wine (or several bottles) you've been saving for a special occasion. You could wait forever - and find the wine is over the hill. Or you could make your own occasion, a simple dinner to showcase the wine. Think of it as an evening spent in the company of a few good bottles - and a few good friends.
FOOD
December 14, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
An easygoing Piemontese red from the underappreciated Dolcetto grape, which is sort of the younger cousin of Nebbiolo. Bright and polished, the 2012 Elio Grasso Dolcetto d'Alba tastes like sweet fresh cherries and plums. It's a really pretty wine, with a minerality that gives it depth. Delicious with a salumi and cheese plate, or with crostini topped with chicken livers or beans. I love it with grilled sausages too, and pasta with meat sauce. Region: Piedmont Price: $15 to $19 Style: Bright and polished What it goes with: Salumi, cheese, crostini, grilled sausages, pasta with meat sauce Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949)
TRAVEL
December 13, 2013 | By Michael Mello
SONOITA, Ariz. - Images of emerald grape leaves waving in the summer breeze usually don't fill the pages of Arizona tourism brochures and magazines. Still, they're becoming a more common sight as Arizona's young wine industry grows. That's right: Wine is made in Arizona. I had the same reaction when friends told me about Sonoita, a tiny crossroads about an hour southeast of Tucson, in the southeastern corner of the state brimming with young fields of Mourvèdre and Tempranillo.
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