August 14, 2013 |
On a beautiful day in Santa Barbara last Saturday, wine enthusiasts were able to taste unreleased wines from a collection of Santa Barbara County's top vineyards. The Santa Barbara County Wine Futures Tasting was held at the courtyard in front of Les Marchands , a new wine shop and wine bar in the Funk Zone, i.e., on the beach side of the 101. These are the wines you'll want to seek out. Jenni Bonaccorsi was pouring three Bonaccorsi 2011 Pinots, including a stunning one from Cargasacchi Vineyard in Santa Rita Hills with both power and finesse.
August 12, 2013 |
Santa Rita Hills Wine and Fire Weekend Celebration Coming up soon - this Friday through Sunday - Wine and Fire Weekend Celebration in the Santa Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County. Go up for a day or the weekend. It kicks off Friday with a barn party at Sanford and Benedict with fire-grilled flatbreads and live music - and dancing ($48 per person). Drop in Saturday morning for a seminar with Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar newsletter featuring a dozen Santa Rita Hills producers and lunch grilled by the Hitching Post 2 restaurant.
August 3, 2013 |
Restaurants (or at least some) have finally seen the light and are no longer hauling cases of bottled water in, shipped from across the seas. They're creating their own water in house and served in carafes. A new Santa Monica restaurant is going further and dispensing with wine bottles entirely. That's right. Lou Moench, wine director for the new Truxton's American Bistro , is serving wines strictly from cask. “We're going out and sourcing wines that you would normally pay $30 to $80 a bottle for,” co-owner Tim Foley explains in a statement.
August 3, 2013
The Chianti region is large, and while the wines from the Classico region are the best known, for price and quality, look to the lesser-known Chianti Rufina, a small area in the northeastern corner of Chianti proper. Selvapiana is one of the best estates in Rufina, turning out first-rate Sangiovese-based reds. I've been buying its Chianti for years, keeping it on hand for pasta nights and grilled skirt steak or chops. A deep ruby in color, the 2010 Selvapiana tastes of bright cherries and plums, but a touch of earth gives it some weight.
August 3, 2013 |
It was a Thursday night and the place was packed: the Italian American Social Club was saying goodbye to one of its own. Singer Mark Giovi was leaving town, and the dress-for-success crowd sipped martinis and watched him work the room with the verve of a Rat Pack member. Just like the old days. Over more than five decades, the venerable social club and restaurant on Sahara Avenue, a few miles east of The Strip, has seen its good times and bad: Sinatra was once a member here and Dino (Martin)
August 2, 2013 |
Coravin , a company founded by medical device inventor Greg Lambrecht, has introduced 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. A thin, hollow needle is inserted through the cork to extract the wine. As it's poured out, it's replaced with inert argon gas from a small, neat canister so that oxygen never touches the wine. Remove the needle and the cork reseals itself.
July 27, 2013
When I first tasted this lovely white from Steve Matthiasson with his wife, Jill Klein Matthiasson, I thought Loire Valley. But this, surprise, surprise, comes from Napa Valley. A vineyard consultant by day, Matthiasson is part of a new generation of winemakers who work their vineyards sustainably and are intent on making wines that don't taste like everybody else's. The Matthiasson white is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Sémillon and Tocai Friulano. How did he come up with that?
July 22, 2013 |
The biggest champion of Barbera was the late, great Giacomo Bologna of Braida in Barbera d'Asti territory. His "Bricco dell'Uccellone" was as big a leap as Gaja's Cabernet "Darmagi" at the time. Braida, a Barbera specialist, also produces "Montebruna," a young, easygoing Barbera with bright, pure fruit, round and soft on the palate, and just enough tannins to give it some grip. the 2011 Montebruna is almost violet in color. It comes from a vineyard in Rochetta Tanaro and is lighthearted enough for pasta dishes.
July 19, 2013 |
As if there's not enough wine in the world, student researchers at National University of Singapore have figured out how to make wine from papaya - and, get this, the notoriously smelly, yet curiously addictive, durian fruit. Durian, you might recall, is the fruit so obnoxiously stinky, in Indonesia, it's banned from hotel rooms - and planes. My first response is, what does a wine made from the tropical fruit smell and taste like? According to a story from channelnewsasia.com , “the research group expects the papaya wine to be well received by tropical wine lovers.” Christine Lee, a PhD student from the NUS Food Science & Technology Programme, said: "There's no papaya wine available in the tropical Asian region, so this is the oomph factor.
July 17, 2013 |
Wine lovers, prepare to go camping in California's wine country -- no tents required. Sonoma County Winegrowers is offering what it calls "a fantasy boot camp for wine and food enthusiasts" during the September harvest that gives participants a close-up of winemaking, from picking grapes in the field and stomping them to blending wines with a pro. Sonoma County Grape Camp features three days of winery tours, cooking classes and wine blending...