Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thoughts on December 24th...

It's been an odd week. Thought I'd have written a post earlier about the delightful day JD and I had last Friday tasting wines at the Cornell Winery and the Rosenthal Winery tasting room and dinner at the Sunset Restaurant, and yet, somehow, I just wasn't getting it together. I'm sure it had something to do with the one-year anniversary of my mom's death on the 20th - been thinking a lot about her this week. Even though she had been mostly lost to us due to Alzheimer's for several years, this past year I kept wanting to talk to her. My mind would play tricks on me - I'd have a thought about something or other, and think, 'Oh, I have to tell Mom about that!' And then I'd remember. I really miss her.

Meanwhile, last week JD and I had a 'stay-cation.' Slept in almost every day. Took our time. Had few actual plans for the week. It was refreshing! After Tuesday evening's special event at Craft, we had a theater management team meeting at our house, where in the middle of the meeting we got to test the stain-stopping ability of white wine over red when JD accidentally spilled a large amount of red wine on the carpet. We quickly opened a bottle of white wine that we had no intention of ever drinking (long story), poured it over the red, sopped up the liquid with paper towels, and it worked surprisingly well! Our friends couldn't believe we just opened a bottle to spill! Pretty funny.

Friday, got up a bit earlier for a doctor's appointment. Got a clean bill of health and a cortisone shot in the shoulder (just bursitis and tendonitis, nothing serious), and headed for a solid breakfast at IHOP. JD had pumpkin pancakes and eggs and stuff; I had the crepe Florentine, which was actually pretty good, although I'm not really sure about the chicken being real chicken. Had an odd consistency. Finished breakfast and headed north.

The Cornell Winery is a wine shop and more, located up in the Agoura Hills, owned by Tim and Denise Skogstrom, that features wines grown and made locally, meaning wineries and vineyards in the Malibu AVA. Tim is a close friend of Ian Blackburn (LearnAboutWine), and Denise and I went to LearnAboutWine School together two years ago, and I was delighted to see, when we entered the store, that another alumna of that class was behind the counter. Deanne welcomed us and then tried to figure out why she knew me. Then, we tasted wines.

2008 Rosenthal Surfrider Sauvignon Blanc - Edna Valley. Clean, grassy nose, with lots of grapefruit and a long finish. $17. Bought 2 bottles.

2008 Republic of Malibu 'Beach Blonde' Chardonnay - 91% local (Malibu)/9% Viognier from Santa Ynez; aged in stainless, 'rested' in oak; winemaker Michael Barnes from Santa Monica; winery in Camarillo. Pale gold color, aromatic light oak in the nose, lightly toasted flavors, very drinkable right now. $22. Bought 1 bottle.

2007 Republic of Malibu 'Pink Lady' - Rose made from Syrah/Grenache from Corral Canyon vineyards. Lovely bright pink color; clean and slightly soapy (in a good way) bouquet; very dry, cherry cola flavor. I liked it; JD not so much. He found the finish oddly bitter. $19. Note: The label displays the Malibu Pink Lady, who briefly appeared above one of the tunnels on Kanan Road back in the 60's.

2007 Cantara Cellars Barbera from Lodi. Deep red in color, big berry nose. Lots of berry fruit and licorice, but not sweet. I would drink this with cheesecake - with berry topping! $32. Bought 1 bottle.

2007 Milan Vineyards 'Maximilian' - Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga Canyon. 50% Merlot/25% Syrah/25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Proprietors Amy and Milan Rubenstein have fashioned a gorgeous deep purple wine, redolent of sweet, yet smoky cherries, deepening and finishing with black pepper. $45. Bought 1 bottle, and am looking forward to drinking it!

2006 Hoyt Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - Malibu. Nose was vegetal, kind of barnyard-ish; taste was green pepper, black pepper and anise in the first sip. Swirled and tasted again - black cherry came to the front! I wondered if there were Cabernet Franc in the mix, but Deanne said that Hoyt's vineyards - extremely local - have a distinct flavor that she can identify blind. $19. Didn't buy, but am still curious about it.

2005 Malibu Valley Vineyards Reserve Syrah - mainly from the Triunfo vineyard off Kanan Road. Deep red color, not much nose, but dark red fruit to taste. Low alcohol, which was nice and unusual for a CA Syrah, but JD and I didn't find it that interesting. $15. And I keep asking what CA winemakers mean when they use the term 'Reserve', as it means nothing legally.

NV Saddlerock Old Vine Tawny Port. Saddlerock is the second label of Malibu Family Wines. Off-sweet with lots of chocolate and cherry and a kind of candied pecan nuttiness going on. Wonder what grapes are actually used. 19% alcohol. $20. Bought 1 bottle.

All during the tasting, we were admiring the wonderful local artists' work displayed throughout the tasting room. We spent much longer there than we planned, but we were having so much fun with Deanne and Deanotta (sp?), that we just stayed and played. We left with 6 bottles of wine and promised to return soon.

Got back on Kanan Road, which becomes Kanan Dume Road, winding thru the Santa Monica mountains to the sea. We turned left on PCH - that's Pacific Coast Highway for those of you not native to Ellay - and looked for the Rosenthal Winery tasting room. The tasting room shares a parking lot with Beau Rivage restaurant - a landmark in its' own right. We've been fortunate to have actually visited the Rosenthal estate (working for LAW - will work for wine!), an extraordinary estate in Newton Canyon, not open to the public. The Malibu Hills Vineyards are situated at elevations between 1,450 to 1,510 feet. To the west of the vineyards is a 1,630-foot ridge making a unique microclimate in the hills above Malibu. We've been fans of Rosenthal for a long time, but had never visited the tasting room!

Sean welcomed us, presented us with the tasting menu and the 'sushi' card for choosing which of the wines we wanted to taste.

2007 Surfrider Riesling - from Arroyo Seco in Monterey. Nose is honeysuckle and jasmine; in the mouth lots of apple and stone fruit with a creamy finish. $20. Bought 1 bottle.

2008 Surfrider Viognier - from Arroyo Grande in San Luis Obispo county. Lovely perfumey nose; slightly sweet, fruity. $21.

Skipped the rest of the whites and hit the reds!

2008 Surfrider Pinot Noir - Edna Valley/Firecreek Vineyard. Light-bodied, cinnamon on the nose, strawberries in the mouth. $27.

2000 Rosenthal Merlot - Malibu Estate - Newton Canyon. Elegant, with with hints of red cherry, plum, exotic spices, and a kiss of oak. Bright berry fruit, smooth mid-palate, and a lingering finish with well-integrated tannins. We liked this wine a lot, and it was on sale!!! for half price. That made it $11.25/bottle. We bought a six-pack, some of which will be under my sister's Xmas tree.

2001 Rosenthal Merlot - Malibu Estate - Newton Canyon. Lots of veggies/green pepper in the nose. I asked about the makeup of the wine, and Sean said there was some Cabernet Franc in the mix, which explains why a Merlot would smell like green pepper. Too much oak for my taste. $25.

2000 Rosenthal Cabernet Sauvignon - Malibu Estate - Newton Canyon. Deep purple color with aromas of oak and spice. The wine tasted a bit tired - maybe the bottle had been open for a while? Still, the tannins were surprisingly firm and there was a strong, black pepper finish. $30.

2001 Rosenthal Cabernet Sauvignon - Malibu Estate - Newton Canyon. Same deep purple color, and similar nose to the 2000, but tastes of blackberries and mint, with sage rounding out both the nose and mouth. Lovely. $35. Bought 1 bottle.

2004 Rosenthal Cabernet Sauvignon - Malibu Estate - Newton Canyon. Consistent with the previous Cabs, elegant and tasty, although this wine could stay in the bottle for while. Tannins were extremely firm. Nice spicy finish. $39.

2005 Surfrider 'Red' - 73% Merlot/26% Cabernet Sauvignon/1% Petit Verdot, all from the Newton Canyon vineyard. Cherries, vanilla, violets on the nose; red fruit and spice on the palate with a bit of oak. Lovely. $29.

Just a note about the Surfrider wines: Since many people associate Malibu with surfing and beautiful beaches, Rosenthal designed a label incorporating this coastal lifestyle with fine wines. Each wine features a different label series that changes with each vintage: California's picturesque coastlines, surfers, Woody's, VW Vans, and wooden long boards are all featured on their various varietals.

These wines support the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots, non-profit, environmental organization that works to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches. For each bottle purchased, a donation is made to this praiseworthy enterprise.

The sun was beginning to get low in the sky, so we headed north on PCH to the Sunset Restaurant, located right on Zuma Beach in Malibu. We've been there a few times, and we're always happy. The setting is extraordinary - right on the beach, dolphins swimming by, perfect sunsets. And the food is good, too! We brought in the bottle of 2001 Rosenthal Cab, showed our LearnAboutWine membership card so they would waive the corkage fee, and settled down with a huge garden salad with goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and pecans (or walnuts?). My hanger steak arrived with perfect, crunchy pommes frites. JD's swordfish steak on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes with Chinese broccoli was also plate-licking good. Dee-lishus!!

The sun set gorgeously while we ate dinner. Got some good shots that I'll post on Facebook later. Took a leisurely drive home to end a perfect day. Now, getting ready for the holiday weekend. Cheers, everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Celebrating with Cambria Wines at Craft...

What a delightful evening! A new kid in town - well, Sonoma - Adam Beaugh, the new Social Media Director for Jackson Family Wines put together a party to celebrate the Wine Enthusiast Magazine #1 ranking of Cambria's 2006 Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir. Adam just moved from Austin, Texas and is not that familiar with LA, so he invited everyone who knew anyone who was blogging or Tweeting about wine.

The celebration was held at Craft, Tom Colicchio's upscale restaurant in Century City. I was anxious to attend this party, because I'm pretty sure I will never be able to afford to eat here on my own dime! This venue is where all the power players in LA meet to be seen - Creative Artists Agency is in the building as well - and I'm on the low end of the power scale, so...

In addition, the evening was in support of the Children's Bureau, a deserving organization working to prevent and treat child abuse. Carmine Salvucci, the Children's Bureau Chief Development Officer, spoke movingly about the work being done to help families end the cycle of violence.

Craft provided a table filled with delicious charcuterie offerings, and cheerful wait staff proffered gorgeous and delectable hors d'oeuvres - which my trusty assistant didn't photograph...we were both too busy chatting up Cambria proprietor Barbara Banke, Winemaker Denise Shurtleff and Wine Enthusiast Editor Steve Heimoff, all while imbibing the lovely wines being highlighted.

The first wine poured was the 2007 Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay. From a vineyard named after one of Barbara's daughters, this Chard startled me a bit with the seriously oaky nose, but after a few minutes of swirling, the oak backed off, revealing the aromas of apples and peach, with a long finish tasting slightly of vanilla.

Wine number two was the 2007 Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir. Julia's Vineyard produces some really wonderful Pinot sourced by several local wineries, including Foxen, Byron, Lane Tanner, and Hitching Post. The 2007 Pinot is dark purple with an earthy nose and medium tannins. It made for easy drinking while hanging out with fellow blogger Eve Bushman (Eve's Wine 101) and various new friends.

Right around 8:15, they started pouring the 2006 Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir, which was what we were all there for. I'll quote what Steve Heimoff wrote about it around 9 months ago in Wine Enthusiast: "This is the best Pinot Noir at this price on the market. Easily. It's picture-perfect cool climate, absolutely dry and silky, with complex flavors of cherries, Mandarin orange, cola, pomegranates, licorice and cinnamon spice, made even richer by smoky oak. Just lovely, and gets even better as it breathes in the glass." I couldn't agree more. I had to stop myself from allowing the waiters to pour more in my glass - after a few pours, that is!

Denise Shurtleff, the winemaker, was kind enough to spend a bit of time with me, describing her work at Cambria, and the Pinot Noir program she's been working on for the past 10 years. She's developed several growing areas - different elevations, different clones - and ferments and ages all the different Pinots in small tanks. Her goal is to create all these wines that are complete wines on their own, and then she blends them to reach her vision of what her Pinot Noir should be. I'm not surprised that the painstaking work she's put in resulted in the 2006 Julia's Vineyard being honored by Wine Enthusiast. It's lovely!

Several things added to the fun of the evening. First, it's always fun to drink with Eve! Second, both of Barbara's daughters - Katherine and Julia - were there helping drink the wines from the vineyards named for them. They're both finally legal drinking age, so they could help! While talking with Steve Heimoff about the crazy evening of historic Bordeaux we had last Friday, a young woman came up, gushing with enthusiasm about Steve's blog and her own writing. I looked at her name - Erin McGrath - and asked her if she was the same EM who was a friend of a friend of ours. She is - and she's now working at the Heritage Wine Company in Pasadena as their Social Media guru!

And finally, just to add to the whole 'small world' trend going on, when JD and I arrived, I noticed a tall blonde who I knew I knew. Couldn't place her, and JD didn't recognize her, but I KNEW I knew her. Around 8:30, during the speech being given by Carmine, she was standing near me with a few other folks who also looked familiar. Carmine thanked Ted Meisel for his contributions to the Children's Bureau, and I realized why I knew these folks - I used to work with them! Ted was the CEO of Overture Services, and the tall blonde was Lynn Loeb, who was the head of Legal. I worked for Overture for over 4 years, until the company was swallowed up by Yahoo! and I was laid off. We had a nice chat, with Ted pretending to remember me - it's been almost 6 years since I was laid off, and we weren't close. He was always a gracious and kind man, and it was a real treat to see him.

So, congratulations to Cambria Winery and the Children's Bureau and Craft for a perfect evening! Cheers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Musings on a birthday weekend...

So, having barely recovered from the amazing wine tasting on Friday night, we continued our explorations in wine and food, stopping at the Magnolia Grille for breakfast on Saturday a.m., followed by a visit to the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City. (Note: I've included the link, but there are some problems with the site.) It's a lovely little shop filled with gourmet cheeses, a diverse and eclectic wine inventory, and delightful snacks and items to delight foodies. We explored the store and then had a wonderful tasting with a knowledgeable young man named Alex.

Alex asked what kinds of cheese we liked - strong or mild - and then led us on a tour of seven or eight cheeses in increasing intensity. When we realized we were loving all the cheeses, we pulled ourselves together and decided on three cheeses to take home with us. We bought 1/4 lb each of Ossau-Iraty sheep cheese, Montgomery Cheddar (raw cow from England), and Twig Farm washed rind raw goat and cow cheese from Vermont. What a great selection - and knowledgeable staff! At the checkout, we added a $4 chocolate chip cookie made by one of the store's staff - it was exceptional, made with gourmet, imported ingredients. We've been pulling off little pieces of it to keep the experience going! Yum!

Spent the rest of the afternoon writing and resting, and then went to the theatre for closing night of the ECT Xmas Cabaret - great fun! Belly dancers, burlesque, music, comedy, all held together with a fairly thin plot, but it all worked.

Sunday a.m., went out to Northridge to have dim sum with Ron and Phyl at the A & W Seafood Restaurant on Reseda Blvd. We've eaten dinner there many times, but R & P have talked up the dim sum. It was WONDERFUL. We got there around 10:45 and were seated right away. Had we gotten there any later, there would have been a wait. When we left around noon, there was a line outside the door, curving around the building! The service was so fast and intense, we were thru most of the meal before I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the beautiful servings! Back to R & P's house for the rest of the day, where we talked and snacked and talked and snacked, and finally came home and crashed. A lovely day.

Monday - birthday! - slept in and had a slow quiet day reading the paper, responding to emails, reading all my birthday greetings on Facebook, and trying to decide where to go for dinner. After reading thru menus and reviews of all the new and trendy places in town, I realized that all I really wanted was a steak. We called the Tam 'o Shanter in Glendale for reservations and they had NO openings. On a Monday night!! So we called the Smoke House, and they were only too happy to fit us in.

We brought a bottle of 2006 Lone Madrone 'Barfandel' - an unfortunately named, but delicious wine. 53% Zinfandel, 21% Barbera, 26% Petit Sirah. Beautiful - a fruit bomb, but in a really good way! It was a great match for the fried calamari appetizer as well as my petit filet with baked sweet potato and creamed spinach, and JD's medallions of filet mignon, veggies and pasta. And the warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit and candied walnuts. Yum!

Got home and found birthday greetings on the answering machine from my old friend, Craig, and then got a surprise call from my old friend, Eric, who wanted to order some wine as a gift. Craig's doing great things in Albuquerque, and I miss him a lot. We've been friends since 10th grade. I've known Eric since 6th grade - we used to live across the street from each other - and hadn't seen each other in over 20 years until we attended our high school reunion in August. He's growing grapes and making wine in Temecula, and we'll go out there in January for a tour of the vineyard. I can hardly wait!

So far, a great birthday!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Historic Bordeaux with LearnAboutWine...

After a quiet week recovering from the flu, my birthday week got off to a grand start: The Historical Bordeaux tasting at LearnAboutWine. Ian outdid himself with this line-up, and JD and I were thrilled to be among the 20 or so guests who were privileged to taste these wines.

There were 3 welcome wines - all tasted blind, and everyone got a chance to guess:
1. 2006 Chablis Premier Cru 'Les Vaucopins' - Domaine Long Depaquit. I recognized the nose and taste, and thought it was something by Jim Clendenen, but it was truly French! Embarrassing - I have this in my own cellar!

2. Chateau Brown White Bordeaux - somehow didn't get the vintage. A lovely golden blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

3. 2004 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc, Napa. We all agreed it was Cab Franc, with some thinking it was Old World and others thinking New. Not many people liked it. I think the bottle was slightly corked.

The welcome wines were paired with glorious appetizers made by Matt Poley of Heirloom Catering. Butternut squash ravioli made a delicious sweet and savory combo. Matt also served a duck confit in a lettuce wrap, guinea hen with sausage and arugula (my fave!), and parmagiano/reggiano cheese balls with red pepper sauce. Yum!

Then we got serious:

1986 Chateau Cheval Blanc, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux – 92RP - $600 value. A blend of Cab Franc and Merlot; the percentages change every year. Medium tannins, black cherry, rich, intense wet earth. Drink thru 2012. A delightful way to start the tasting!

1983 Chateau Latour, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 94WS - $500 value. Beautiful cherry nose, chocolate and meat (yes, meat!) blended with fruit and tannins. Elegant, soft structure. Wonderful.

1995 Chateau Margaux, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 100pts WS - $750 value. Unfortunately, slightly corked, which got worse as the wine opened up. Interestingly, Ian showed us how to eliminate corkiness in the strangest way: Pour the corked wine into a bowl or container lined with plastic wrap and swirl the wine so that the plastic wrap touches all the wine. It removes the cork taint! I would not have believed it if I hadn't done it myself. Note to self: Always make sure to carry plastic wrap!

2005 Chateau Calon Segur, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe - 94RP - $125. Still really closed and young. This wine is made in true Robert Parker style - big, tannic, damp earth, black cherries, asian spices; big structure, short finish at the moment. Parker says to drink from 2020 - 2050. I liked this wine and hope that I will still be alive to enjoy it when it reaches its' full potential!

2003 Chateau Calon Segur, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe - Not a great year. Full-bodied with some exotic softness, similar to the 1982 (say Ian and Martin Weiner, both of whom know these things).

2000 Chateau Calon Segur, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe - $125 value. Opaque purple, nose full of creosote, cherries, cassis, licorice, and hamburger. Well, cooked meat. Not my fave.

The following wines are all Chateau Montrose - a truly historic vertical tasting:

2003 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 100WS/RP97+ - $450 value. How do you even discuss a wine rated 100 points? Dense, black purple in color, tasting of scorched earth, blackberries. Not a lot of joy right now. You can appreciate it, but it's tight and shut down. Drink from 2010 - 2035.

1996 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 92WS/RP91 - $200 value. Wow! What a nose! Crushed berries and vanilla. Drink now, by all means!

1994 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe - Non-classic vintage; rained heavily that year. Still sweet blackcurrant, very pretty and drinkable right now.

1990 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 100RP - $575 value. Big, meaty, very extracted fruit, a huge blockbuster of a wine. Inky ruby in color, black licorice in large amounts. Did I mention Robert Parker rated it 100 points? Whew!

1989 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 97WS/98RP - $400 value. A completely different wine from the 1990. Seems soft compared to it. Sweet nose of minerals, black fruit, cedar, wood; highly extracted fruit, low acid; somehow more evolved than the 1990. Completely drinkable right now, but I'd like to see it in another 5 years.

1982 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 96WS - $295 value. This was the flagship wine for many years. Kirsch, currant, spice, velvety tannins, long finish. Delicious. Much joy.

1970 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 92RP - $295 value. Had a bit of a scare trying to remove the cork. Martin, a true wine expert/educator, confirmed that the wine had been perfectly stored and was in excellent condition. Earthy notes in the nose, as well as dried/stewed fruit and tobacco. Softened up quickly. Lovely and amazing to drink. Still youthful, dark and astringent (in a good way).

1959 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 96WS/RP95 $300 value. The corks were getting very scary at this point, but the wines were still astonishing. Wow. Mushrooms in the nose. A lovely old wine with light fruit, soft tobacco and tannins that softened very quickly.

1899 Chateau Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Estephe, 97 point vintage - valued at $2500. Tasting a 100 year old wine is a special occasion. Not all wines can make this journey, but a great house like Chateau Montrose may. This bottle is a great specimen of history, but it only lasted a few moments once open. Amazingly, the nose and body still had fruit for several minutes. The color changed from amber to dark brown within a few minutes of exposure to the air, and the taste changed from moment to moment. One interesting note: The bottle had no seam - it was hand-blown; something that doesn't happen anymore.

The experience of tasting a wine this old is rare, and Ian had no idea how this bottle would respond to opening, but loving wine as I do, I found the experience to be very inspirational, and definitely qualifies as one of life’s great moments!

We finished the evening with a 1995 Chateau D'Yquem, "Lur-Saluces", Sauternes, – Valued at $300+. D'Yquem is considered the greatest dessert wine in the world. At the Classification of 1855, D'Yquem was put in a class by itself - partly because it wasn't a red wine, but mainly because it was like no other wine. 1995 is said to be a good, not great, vintage, but this gorgeous amber/gold wine was the perfect end to a thrilling evening.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thoughts while down with the swine...flu, that is

The week didn't turn out quite as planned. After our delightful lunch with Ally on Black Friday, we headed up the coast to Malibu, and I suddenly started coughing. A dry cough. Out of nowhere. The last time this happened - in August - it wasn't pretty. We had a nice drive, went home, and I was in bed by 8:30 because I was not feeling well.

Saturday morning, rose early as Ana was coming to clean. Was still coughing a bit, but felt OK. Had breakfast with the gang, got over to Pasadena and got our hairs cut by Gina. By that time I was coughing more and getting worried because it wasn't developing into a cold, but it was definitely something. Went back to bed, had BAD night - high fever, ague (I love that old-fashioned word!), really bad, weird dreams, and the cough that wouldn't stop - and felt bad enough on Sunday that I called the doctor. She listened to my symptoms, said, "It's probably the swine flu, but don't worry about it." I said, "WHAT!!??!!" She suggested that I might just want to ride it out, but I was nervous about it, so she called my pharmacy with a prescription for Tamiflu. Four days later, I'm much better, but have spent most of the week sleeping or watching TV. And pretty much had to reschedule my life for the week. Now I'm just trying to get it together so I'll be OK to teach the LearnAboutWine Wine Camp class on Sunday!

For those who want to get started learning about wine, Wine Camp is a great place to start. We taste some great wines, using them as a basis for understanding how to taste wine, what wine pairs the best with what foods and brings out the best in food, how to purchase and store wine, and there's history, anecdotes, laughs - lots of laughs! This Sunday, we'll be tasting the following wines:

> Scheid, Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey, 2007
> Matanzas Creek, Chardonnay, Sonoma, 2006
> Joseph Faiveley, Macon-Prisse, France, 2006
> Pali "Huntington", Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, 2007
> Rosenthal “Devon Vineyard” Merlot, Malibu, 2000
> Signorello “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2005
> Starlite Vineyards, Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2005

You should join me! The class is casual and fun, and there's wine!