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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wineaux of the Goddess - August Meeting - Rioja...

It was getting down to the wire and the Goddess of Wine had still not decided on a wine region to taste, so she thought, "Well, we haven't visited Spain in a while..." and chose Rioja. The group of tasters included First Acolyte JD (new Twitter handle @gowacolyteone), hostess-with-the-mostest Xochitl Maiman, Michelle McCue, Debra Bizek, and lovely-person-we-hadn't-seen-in-way-too-long, Amelia Yokel.

Rioja is a wine region, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca. Qualified Designation of Origin) named after La Rioja, in Spain. Located south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the river Ebro, La Rioja has a continental climate enhanced by the mountains that help to isolate the region and create a moderating effect by protecting the vineyards from the intense winds that are typical of northern Spain. The region is also home to the Oja river (Rio Oja), for which the region was probably named. Most of the region is situated on a plateau, at about 1,500 feet above sea level. The area is subdivided into three regions - Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta, located closer to the mountains, are at slightly higher elevations and have a cooler climate. Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer.

Wining and whining with the #WBC14...

JD & The GoW at #WBC14 Opening
The Goddess of Wine and First Acolyte, JD, attended the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in fabulous downtown Buellton. The weather was perfect, the Marriott Santa Ynez and Zephyr Adventures did a good job accommodating the large group of winos...ahem...bloggers, and people were enthusiastic, outgoing, and cheerful. Mostly. This was my first WBC and will probably be my last. The $95 fee for "Citizen Bloggers" is quite reasonable for what was generously provided, but I'm still wondering if the time spent was worth it - which is why it's taken me so long to write anything about it.

There has been a spate of postings from many bloggers about the conference. The "unsanctioned" events were better than the scheduled events. Or not. There wasn't enough diversity in the presenters. Some bloggers had the best time ever; some not so much. Some were unhappy about "not enough swag". So many opinions, so little discussion. I'm still torn about my experience.

JD and I were happy to meet folks whom we previously knew only online. We also love the region and spend a lot of time there, which may have been both good and bad in terms of what was being offered. A couple of the breakout groups we attended were excellent, especially those dealing with Ballard Canyon and local Syrahs. There were many other events which I found out about after they had occurred. How were some people in the know and others not?


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wineaux of the Goddess - July Meeting - Slovenia!

The Goddess of Wine and her insanely enthusiastic troupe of Wineaux aimed their sights at a small, but highly productive region: Slovenia! 

Slovenia is a country with a long history of winemaking, even longer than France, as the ancient Slovenians were much influenced by the ancient Celts in the centuries before the Common Era. A small country, bordering Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast, it has both indigenous grapes as well as the grapes of the surrounding regions.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting ready to jump...with wine...

I've been stacking up drafts of posts lately. 

Haven't finished the write-ups of the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Key to the Wine Country, or the delicious Wines of Naoussa at Faith and Flower

Haven't put the finishing touches on the Wineaux of the Goddess July taste of Slovenian wines, and most of all, haven't put together my thoughts about the engrossing and exhausting 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.

Usually I can crank out a weekly post, while balancing my day job and extracurricular activities, but I'm stuck right now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wineaux of the Goddess - June Meeting - Hungary!

The Goddess of Wine and her intrepid band of Wineaux continued on their quest of finding new wines with which to test their palates! The region for June: Hungary!

Hungarian wine has a history dating back to at least Roman times. Outside of Hungary, the best-known wines are the white dessert wine Tokaji and the red wine Bull's Blood of Eger (Egri Bikavér), but there are many more. This tasting barely scratched the surface. Tasters included First Acolyte JD, hostess Michelle McCue (who procured the wines and provided a delightful dinner!), Debra Bizek, Marya Glur, Xochitl Maiman, Barbara Barrielle, and the ubiquitous Shawn Shai Halahmy. All the wines were purchased from the Blue Danube Wine Company.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wining in Burbank with KCET and Vintage TV: Napa Valley 2012...

http://www.kcet.org/The Goddess of Wine and JD were invited to an intimate tasting at KCET headquarters in Burbank to meet three Napa winemakers who participated in Vintage: Napa Valley 2012, a six-part series airing nationally on public TV in the US. This series takes viewers behind-the-scenes at three Napa Valley wineries during the 2012 harvest season.

We were treated to a short "sizzle" segment of the series along with the lovely wines created by these exceptional winemakers, followed by a Q and A session. Interestingly, all three women came to wine via science, providing all of them enhanced perspectives on the science - and magic - of winemaking.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Santa Barbara Vintners Launches Key to Wine Country

Exclusive wine & food weekends in Santa Barbara Wine Country June 20-22 & December 6-8

BUELLTON, CA – The Santa Barbara Vintners is pleased to announce the dates and schedule of events for its new Key to Wine Country Experience Weekends June 20-22 and December 6-8, 2014.  These three day wine and food weekends throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country are a wine lover’s opportunity to unlock exclusive experiences and events at over thirty wineries and vineyards. The weekends are similar to passport programs, but more limited, exclusive, and hands-on. Keys are $100 per person per weekend and are limited to 500 sold. Complete details can be found at sbcountywines.com.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wine with the LA Mission College Foundation 12th Annual Springfest!

LA Mission College Foundation 12th Annual Springfest Cuisines Around the
World Class Wines, Food, Music, & Entertainment

Los Angeles, California (15 May 2014) - Los Angeles Mission College Foundationannounced its 12th Annual Springfest Cuisines Around the World, a Food & Wine Festival Fundraiser, to be held Saturday, May 31 2014, from 2pm-6pm at their Culinary Arts Building. Led by Chef Jesse Sanchez, Culinary Instructor and Certified Executive Chef, the award winning Culinary Arts Institute will prepare internationally inspired dishes, and a decadent Pastry Pavilion filled with sumptuous confections.

“What’s inspiring the students this year, is their own global melting pot and the foods they love or even grew up with,” says Chef Jesse Sanchez, Culinary Instructor and Certified Executive Chef. “Los Angeles is a cultural center of the universe, and this will be reflected in the kinds of dishes created for this year’s Springfest Cuisines of the World.”

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wining by Proxy...Le Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux...

Once again, the Goddess was forced to labor at her earth job, so First Acolyte, JD, nobly stepped in to report on the Le Grand Cercle Des Vins De Bordeaux on April 7, 2014. Quelle fortitude! His report:

LEFT & RIGHT BANK GRAND TASTING at CASA DEL MAR in Santa Monica. Thirty eight “winemakers from the… Left and Right Banks of Bordeaux, treated Sommeliers, Wine Buyers and Wine Journalists to an exclusive unveiling of their most prized possessions, ranging from the 2013 “en primeur” vintage (“wine futures”) to… 2010 and 2011 varietals.”

“The Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux came into existence thanks to the aim of Alain Raynaud, its president and founder, to bring together in one entity the wines of the Right and Left Banks. The Cercle Rive Droite, established in July 2002, has represented for the past 10 years a selection of 137 wines whose keyword is excellence. As for the Cercle Rive Gauche, it was founded in April 2013. A parallel association to the Cercle Rive Droite, it groups together 51 wine estates carefully selected for the quality of their wine. The concept is to take advantage of the drive and efficiency of the Cercle Rive Droite, to promote the fine wines of the Médoc, Graves, Sauternes and Barsac. With almost 200 wines, the Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux presents, during its trips abroad, a showcase of Bordeaux wines selected for their high quality. Its vocation is to prove that in Bordeaux there are superb, top-of-the-range and reasonably priced wines!”


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wining by Proxy in Paso Robles with the CAB Collective...Day 2.1...Rare and Reserve...

As mentioned in my previous post, the Goddess of Wine had serious palate fatigue after a delightful lunch at Pomar Junction. As is often the case, JD steps in to take up the slack. Here's the First Acolyte's account of the Paso Robles CAB Collective's Rare and Reserve tasting!

After a delicious lunch and tour at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery we returned to the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. After a brief look around, the Goddess decided she needed to conserve her energy, so on I went. I did not sample all the wineries pouring that afternoon, but most did seem to be back again for this stage.


5th Annual Chardonnay Symposium!




The 5th Annual Chardonnay Symposium Continues to 
Carryout the Mission of the Events Founders

May 6, 2014 (Pismo Beach, CA): The 5th Annual Chardonnay Symposium (TCS) hosted by Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa in Pismo Beach, from May 16-18, 2014, today announced that this year’s TCS will continue to carryout the mission of the event’s founders despite the change in venue and ownership. As the country’s premier event for education and celebration of Chardonnay wines, the mission of TCS remains that of bringing together Chardonnay producers, winemakers, sommeliers, and wine journalists, as well as both food and wine enthusiasts from all over the world, for an in-depth exploration of the world's favorite grape. Now, into its 5th year, TCS participants can expect the same, esoteric and educational experience, in the exploration of the world’s most popular grape varietal.
“We strongly believe in keeping this event alive,” says Brian Talley, Owner and Winegrower of Talley Vineyards, and TCS Industry Consultant. “Since the event was founded by the Santa Maria Valley Vintners Association, we’ve focused on maintaining their momentum by welcoming back the loyal following of the past four years, as well as the newcomers who want to participate and learn more about Chardonnay.  Moreover, we are expanding the scope of wines that will be represented, all the way from Santa Barbara to Napa Valley and Sonoma County, in order to give a more comprehensive look at Chardonnay.”

Friday, May 2, 2014

Wining in Paso Robles with the CAB Collective...Day 2...

Day 2 of the Goddess of Wine's and JD's coverage of the Paso CAB Collective dawned bright and sunny as we headed to the Vintner panel discussion at the Paso Robles Inn.

The Paso CAB Collective was created in 2012 as a "grass-roots non-profit organization...formed with the belief that the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec grown in the Paso Robles appellation—and the subsequent quality of the wines produced—is under-represented in the marketplace and across the wine industry."

The tables in the ballroom were set for a large number of media and sommelier guests, but it appeared that many folks may have had too much fun the night before and decided not to attend. It was their loss, as the discussion was lively and thought-provoking.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wining in Paso Robles with the CAB Collective...Day 1...

As the Goddess of Wine and JD headed north to Paso Robles for the 2nd Annual CABs of DISTINCTION media/trade/sommelier events, it occurred to me that JD and I fell in love with Paso mainly because of the exceptional Bordeaux-style wines we found there over 20 years ago. There were fewer wineries then, and each one seemed to have richly distinctive wines. We belonged to several wine clubs, and were always thrilled to receive boxes full of wonderful wine.

So it's a little odd to hear so many wine pundits touting the wonders of Paso Cabernets as if the region didn't exist before last year when Wine Enthusiast named it Region of the Year. Cabernet is what put Paso on the map, with Rhones and Zinfandel coming close on its heels. Now, as up-and-coming winemakers learn more about Paso and its many microclimates and terroir, more well-made, premium wines are evolving.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wining with the Santa Barbara County Vintners...

The Goddess and JD got to attend the SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS SPRING WEEKEND that took place from April 10 - 13, 2014. We were only there on Saturday, the 12th, but many happy wine lovers were able to attend wine maker lunches and dinners, winery and tasting room open houses, vineyard walks, a golf tournament, a Farm-to-Table picnic and concert event, and the annual Vintners Festival Grand Tasting where over 100 member wineries gathered to present and sell their wines.  

The new location, at Buellton's River View Park, was delightful, and the weather cooperated brilliantly, with a cool, cloudy morning clearing to perfect blue skies and temperatures in the 70's. This event is HUGE. Besides the overwhelming number of wineries and their excellent wines, local restaurants provided delectable offerings of special foods, snacks and confections. Throw in an art show, a sensory demonstration from Allan Hancock College and the Relevé drone flying over the event taking pictures - there was something for everyone!