Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wining at year's end...

JD & the Goddess
Hard to believe it's the last week of 2012. The Goddess of Wine and JD have gone to lots of wine tasting events, lots of dinners, lots of gatherings, lots of wineries. There has been good wine and bad wine - some astonishing in both directions - and a lot of drinkable, but ordinary wine. We've made new friends, said goodbye to some old friends, made discoveries both personal and professional.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wining on New Year's Eve? Try Cheers@All Corked Up!

The First New Year’s Celebration Sponsored by Eve’s Wine 101 is a Perlis Pick: Cheers@All Corked Up

Ring in a new year in a new venue that promises all the bells and whistles, along with wine, beer, live music and an outstanding menu, at Santa Clarita’s only Puerto Rican themed restaurant and wine bar: Cheers@All Corked Up.

This year, to ring in the inaugural event, Eve Bushman, owner of Eve’s Wine 101 and editor Michael Perlis have chosen to sponsor the event. “We support all locally-run wine events, but never two on the same night,” Eve began. “And Cheers@All Corked Up is our choice this year as we were looking for something new and exciting for our wine friends to try.”

Guests with reservations will be able to select in advance one of four tasty main entrees in a four-course plated dinner created by Chef Dominik. While seated in one of two expansive dining rooms, guests have a choice of being close to the live music (The Bobby Cuba Band followed by the multi-talented G3 Band) in the main room or wine-ing and dining with pals in the VIP room.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exciting news from Santa Clarita...

 Santa Clarita Valley’s
First Winery Crush Pad Opens
Soon to Follow:
First Beer and Winemaking Supply Store
SANTA CLARITA, CA – 14 December 2012 – Local Santa Clarita commercial winemakers Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper, owners of Pulchella Winery, are pleased to announce the relocation of their winery from Paso Robles to Valencia, as well as the opening of the first certified winemaking facility of its kind in the Santa Clarita Valley to service the Ventura, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, Southern California Los Angeles and Temecula area vineyard owners, winemakers, distributors, restaurant owners or anyone else looking to have their wines produced in a professional facility by professional winemakers with a proven track record. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wining with the Garagistes...

Having attended last year's Garagiste Festival debut at the gorgeous Windfall Farms outside of Paso Robles, I was looking forward to the 2nd Annual Garagiste Festival with great anticipation. As with the sophomore year of any project, some things were great and some not so much.

Organizers/Founders Stewart McLennan, Doug Minnick, Lisa Dinsmore, and Melanie Webber expanded the fest over 4 days, including winemaker dinners and other special events. JD and I chose to avoid the dinners (about which we heard nothing but praise), and bought the VIP package in order to attend the seminars on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wining in general...

Maybe it's the unrelenting ugliness of the Presidential electioneering, or the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, or it's just that time of year when we reflect about where we are in our lives...despite some pretty wonderful people and things, the Goddess of Wine is feeling a bit low. [Note: Post-election day, feeling much better, thanks.]

Waiting for a wine bar to open in Burbank. We hope it will happen in December, but there are still details and discussions taking place at various levels, so it may not be for another month or two. When it does open, there is an opportunity for me to have a local spot to spread the good word about wine. Fingers crossed!

Have a couple of Wine Camp classes scheduled for LearnAboutWine in December for which I'm grateful, and yet, something feels anticlimactic at this point in the year. But enough with doom and gloom, let's talk about the wonderful and fun things I've been doing:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wining to help...Pour Into Sandy Hurricane Relief

Pour Into Sandy
Hurricane Relief
News Release                                                      For Immediate Release

Media contact: Eve Bushman,

SANTA CLARITA-November 5, 2012 – In an effort to offer assistance to those hurt by Hurricane Sandy, members of the community of Santa Clarita, with the assistance of Cheers at All Corked Up restaurant (, Eve’s Wine 101 ( and All Corked Up wine storage ( have planned the first wine tasting fundraiser on November 14, 2012 from 6-9 p.m.

This year, to date, the donators include private cellared wines and other items from Steve and Amy Elzer, Michael and Karen Perlis, Larry and Gloria Stahly, Marlee Lauffer, Don and Cheryl Dellepiane, Jason Park, Al Robles and Shelly Schutz.  Wineries to date include Stillman Wines, Clavo Cellars, Zeppelin Winery, Les Deux Chats, Pulchella Winery, Stephen Hemmert Wines, Two Hearts Cellars, Reyes Winery, Alonso Family Vineyards, Nuggucciet Estate Vineyard, Bouquet Vineyard, Bobcat Wines, B & P Winery, Six Foaks and Whistling Vineyard wines.

The idea sprang from Eve’s Wine 101 editor and writer, Michael Perlis, who was quickly joined by Eve’s Wine 101 owner Eve Bushman, Cheers owners Al Robles and Terri Rivera, the managing general partner of All Corked Up, Shelly Schutz, and Robert Reyes of Reyes Winery.

Cheers at All Corked Up is located at: ​26340 Diamond Place Ste 100, Santa Clarita, CA 91350.  Tickets can be reserved in advance by calling 661-259-2000, payable in cash at the door.  100 percent of the event price of $25, and the auction, will go to the American Red Cross. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wining and wining and wining...

It's been a crazy couple of months. Lots of projects at the day job getting in the way of the Goddess' wine plans, but we still managed to get to a few places. We'll start with the most recent and fill things in as we go.

My dear friend, Rico Mandel of Miz en Place, invited me to cover the opening of a new wine bar in Malibu, Malibu Beach Wines. MBW is the brainchild of Jim Palmer, proprietor, grower and winemaker of Malibu Vineyards wines. It's a lovely space, right on Pacific Coast Highway, where you can taste and purchase boutique wines grown in the proposed Malibu AVA and Central Coast. When I say 'boutique' I mean small production, lovingly-tended and passionately-made. The winemakers and wines being spotlighted for this opening event were Jim Palmer and Malibu Vineyards, Carol Hoyt of Hoyt Family Vineyards and Shawn Shai Halahmy of Shai Cellars.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wining by proxy...SF Int'l Wine Competition Double Gold winners...

Once again, I sent JD to taste in my place. This time it was the Tasting Panel magazine tour of Double Gold winner selections from the San Francisco International wine completion. Here are some highlights of that very interesting tasting:

Duplex on Third
This event was at Duplex on Third, just a little west of the Beverly Center in mid-city west, across the street from Cedars –Sinai medical center, a beautiful, fairly new restaurant converted from what had originally been an early 1900’s duplex. There was a nice cheese, fruit and bread spread provided. I overheard that they bake their own bread based on a starter the chef has had for a few years. It was quite good, alone or with the cheese.

Started with a little bubbly, always a great way to begin. 075 Carati 2011 Sparkling Ribolla Gialla, IGT, delle Venezie, Italy $19. Toasty. Good starter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wining by proxy...Slovenia and Croatia...

Once again, the Goddess sent her trusty First Acolyte, JD, to taste some wines in her place. After reading this account, she is sad that she wasn't able to taste these first hand!

9/11/2012 - At Lucques on Melrose - Our host, importer Vinum USA, Inc., began with some historical and geographical background. Like Italy, just across the Adriatic Sea and bordering to the north, Croatia & Slovenia have many different grapes that are special to the region, besides growing grapes from other areas and putting different names to them.

There has been grape growing and wine making in the region for centuries, but real work most likely started with Greek settlers in the fifth century BC, growing during Roman times and continuing through the Middle Ages. Production survived during the occupation by the Ottoman Turks through the Catholic Church’s need for wine in their services. Production flourished again during the Hapsburg Empire.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wining in Lake County...Hawk and Horse Vineyards

Back in May, I received a bottle of wine from a winery with whom I was unfamiliar - Hawk and Horse Vineyards. It was a beautifully packaged bottle of 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, with lots of great information about the winery, a small, family-owned and operated ranch and vineyard estate located in the Red Hills AVA of Northern California. They incorporate both organic and biodynamic methods in their farming, and are Demeter Biodynamic and CCOF Organic certified, and their winemaker is the renowned Richard Peterson. I was excited!

I invited my fellow wineaux, Debra B., to join me for dinner so I could take advantage of her excellent palate to assist with tasting this wine, but we were dismayed to discover upon opening the bottle that the wine was damaged, probably from the brief intense heat spike that occurred during shipment.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cool news from Viña Montes and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!


Montes Wines and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Partner on “Angels in Action” Fundraiser
Viña Montes and its distributors in nine states to donate 10% of proceeds from every bottle sold throughout September
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (August 27, 2012) – This September, Viña Montes and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation invite wine lovers to turn a great summer wine purchase into a charitable donation during their month-long ‘Angels in Action’ fundraiser. Viña Montes, the world-renowned Chilean winery helmed by winemaker Aurelio Montes, has partnered with its distributors in nine states across the U.S. to donate 10 percent of proceeds from every bottle sold from September 1–30.
“We believe Montes has been helped by many guardian angels since we started the winery in 1988,” says Aurelio Montes. “With ‘Angels in Action’ and our ongoing partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the goal is to now be ‘angels’ for others—and to reach beyond our own donation capacity to motivate fans of our wines to help support our efforts.”
‘Angels in Action’ is a joint effort with Montes distributors in nine states: California, Maryland, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida. Viña Montes and the following distributors will each donate 5% of their September wholesale sales, for a total 10% donation:
  1. Titan Wine and Spirits        
  2. Connecticut Distributors
  3. Horizon Beverage Group
  4. Reliable Churchill         
  5. Washington Wholesale
  6. R & R Marketing
  7. Capital Wine & Spirits        
  8. United Distributors
  9. Premier Beverage Group
Aurelio Montes hosted a ticketed tasting event in Los Angeles on June 7th to announce “Angels in Action” and commence its fundraising efforts; all proceeds from the event were donated to CFF. See clips from the event and learn more about “Angels in Action” at 
Media queries and image requests should be directed to Michelle McCue,
About Viña Montes:
Founded in 1988, Viña Montes is the brainchild of Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, both veterans of the wine industry. Along with partners Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, they created Viña Montes with the goal of elevating the quality and reputation of Chilean wines - both in Chile and around the world. In the quarter century since, Viña Montes has played a pivotal role in enhancing awareness, affinity, and acclaim for Chilean wines in more than 100 countries worldwide. In essence, Viña Montes has become the benchmark for premium Chilean wines.
About Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world's leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis and funds more CF research than any other organization. The Foundation's pioneering and successful approach to the development of new drugs for cystic fibrosis has been featured in some of the country's most prestigious and influential publications.
Distributor Partners:
Michelle McCue
McCue Marketing Communications

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tasting Australia and New Zealand...with the Goddess of Wine!

Yes, indeed, it's the next wine class with me, the Goddess of Wine!

Join Denise Lowe, the Goddess of Wine, as she takes you on a tour of the wine regions of Australia and New Zealand - and you never have to leave your seat!

Saturday, September 15th from 1 PM to 3 PM at Fab's Corner Cucina in Sherman Oaks!

The class includes generous tastes of delightful wines from all over Australia and New Zealand, plus tasting notes to take home, large quantities of laughter, and yummy snacks provided by Fab's!

$45 per person gets you a great time on a Saturday afternoon.

Reservations are required as seating is limited! Get your seat today!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wining with Larry and Robert...Tercero at Bistro 45...

Hi everyone! I'm back! Hope the three of you missed me! With all the various things going on in my life, I took a short break from writing the blog. I do want to thank my good friend, Marya Glur, for covering various events for me, and I think I still haven't posted everything that JD has covered for me.

We've had some wonderful tastings with the Wineaux of the Goddess - Tempranillo, Malbec, Rosé - and I will cover the highlights of those tastings later.

We taught a fun class on Old World vs New World wines at Fab's, and we're coming up on the next class - Tasting Spain with the Goddess of Wine! on July 28th.

And we attended a WONDERFUL dinner at Bistro 45 in Pasadena this week - and JD wrote all about it before I could even put my notes together! What a guy! Here's what he had to say about Bistro 45 and Tercero Wines:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tasting Spain with the Goddess on July 28th!

It's time for another wine journey with the Goddess of Wine! Join me and my faithful acolyte, JD, as we take you on a tour of Spain - and you never have to leave your seat!

July 28th from 1 PM to 3 PM at Fab's Corner Cucina in Sherman Oaks!

The class includes generous tastes of 8 delightful wines from all over Spain, plus tasting notes to take home, large quantities of laughter, and yummy snacks provided by Fab's!

$45 per person gets you a great time on a Saturday afternoon.

RSVP by clicking here or on the link at the top right of this page.

Hope to see you!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wining by Proxy...Champagne

When the Goddess of Wine has too many events on her calendar, she enlists the aid of good friend and wineaux, Marya Glur. In this case, Marya was able to both help me and indulge in her favorite beverage.

Wally's Grande Marque Champagne Tasting by Marya Glur

As a Champagne aficionado, I have yearned for a long time to attend the Grande Marque Champagne Tasting organized by Wally's Wines every June. With the help of my dear friend, the Champagne Whoar, LeeAundra Temescu Keany, and her husband, Paul Keany, I was finally able to attend the event this year at the JW Marriott Le Merigot Hotel in Santa Monica on Sunday, June 3. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's the 2012 LA WineFest!

JD and I have been gearing up for this year's LA WineFest, taking place this weekend - June 9 and 10. It's going to be big - hundreds of wines and spirits to taste, delicious food offerings, lifestyle vendors, and for those few who actually want to learn something, classes about wine and spirits, wine and cheese pairing, and more. Join the Goddess and JD!

Saturday classes include:
1:30 PM Dry Creek Valley: A Century of Great Zin
Discover the original Zin – Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel! Wine expert, Dan Fredman, will take you on an exploration of Northern Sonoma’s famed Dry Creek Valley, where Italian and Swiss immigrants have been growing world-class Zinfandel for more than a century. Taste rare and sold-out Zinfandels from top producers, such as Ridge, Wilson, Mauritson, Sbragia, Quivira, and Ferrari-Carano.
30 people only, $30 per person

Friday, May 25, 2012

LA PRIDE can wine along at the LA WineFest!

LA PRIDE guests invited to attend LAWineFest, held in nearby Hollywood; receive $15 off day rate

The 7th Annual LAWineFest, the largest educational wine tasting event in Los Angeles, is extending a special discount to attendees of LA PRIDE, the largest gathering of the LGBT community in Southern California. Both are being held June 9-10th; their close proximity to each other makes it easy for people to enjoy two festive gatherings in one weekend. Guests who enter the code “PRIDE” at check out will receive $15 off the day rate.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wining with Paso Garagiste...Sneak Peek!

It's Garagiste Season!

And no, we don't mean you should put on your orange vest, pull the 12 gauge off the wall and tiptoe into the hills of Paso like Elmer Fudd. 

You should, however, be sure to hightail it down to the first Garagiste mini-event of 2012 which will be taking place this week at 15c Wine Bar in Templeton, CA. Here's the full press release: 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wining Sideways! The play, that is!

SIDEWAYS THE PLAY-World Premiere with wine tastings
Ruskin Group Theatre logoMEDIA ALERT                                                                           
Revised May 9, 2012
Press Contact: Judith Borne (310) 305-7888  or                                                                       
 A WORLD PREMIERE staging at
Ruskin Group Theatre OPENING May 18, 2012
Fridays-Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm through July 22, 2012
TASTINGS OF PINOT NOIR WINES AT PERFORMANCES will include offerings from Sonoma Coast Vineyard,  Dunstan Wines, Sharp Cellars, Silver Mountain, Carlton Cellars, Domaine Gerbuaut, Gioia, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Bouchaine Vineyards, Roots Wines, Leucadia Red, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, Alysian, and more...
Los Angeles, CASideways The Play, adapted by Rex Pickett from his own novel, is the story of two friends - Miles and Jack – and their journey across the Santa Ynez wine country, on one last blowout trip before Jack gets married. Miles and Jack must face their uncertain futures…just as soon as they figure out how to survive their chaotic present.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wining in the Santa Rita Hills...sort of...

Shortly after attending the extremely hot and hard to navigate Santa Barbara County Vintners Festival in Los Olivos, we had the opportunity to sample several of the wines we had missed by showing up for the Santa Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance event at the Wine House in Los Angeles.

JD and I are big fans of the Santa Rita Hills. Cool climates and sea influences help create lean and elegant wines. SRH is a relatively small appellation of approximately 100 square miles. Intersected by the Santa Ynez River, the cool climate appellation is located between the towns of Buellton and Lompoc in Santa Barbara County, California. The Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance includes both vineyards located within the geographical boundaries of the appellation, and those who craft wines from grapes grown there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wining with the Santa Barbara Vintners' Association...

Some of my favorite wines in the world come from Santa Barbara County. So you can imagine my delight when I received the notification that the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association annual celebration of spring, the Vintners' Festival was scheduled for April 21st at a new venue called The Carranza on Zaca Station Road.

We drove up Saturday morning. It was cool and foggy along the coast, but when we emerged from the Gaviota tunnel, we knew we were in for a scorcher. After a hearty breakfast at Mother Hubbard's in Buellton, we headed to The Carranza. It was already almost 90 degrees when we arrived at noon. We were happy to get in early with the media, and immediately discovered there were significant problems with the venue.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Miscellaneous wining...ZAP & Family Winemakers & some random thoughts...

In January, JD and I went north for ZAP - the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers 4-day event. Well, we didn't go for four days, we went for the Grand Tasting. It was immense - over 200 wineries all pouring Zinfandel from all over the world.

Some wineries, like Ian Blackburn's Beekeeper Cellars, poured one wine; others poured anywhere from 3 to 9 wines - all Zins! We were grateful to have been included as media, so that we were able to enter the tasting at 10 a.m., and we still tasted only a fraction of the wines by the time we left at 3:30 p.m. There were writers who reported within 24 - 48 hours that they had tasted hundreds of wines. By my reckoning, we tasted the fruits of around 40 wineries, so maybe we tasted 80 - 100 wines.

It was fascinating to taste the regional differences among all those Zins. I discovered that if I'm going to just sip a Zin, I want Zin from Paso Robles or Lodi, but if I'm going to pair it with food, I want a Zin from Dry Creek. I also realized - well, I knew this already - that I would rather taste fewer wines and have a bit more quality time with the winemakers to get the inside story about their passion and process.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Come and wine with the Goddess on May 12th...

I'm really excited. Why? Because I've chosen the wines for my Old World versus New World class on May 12th and I can hardly wait. For those of you who are afraid it's going to be too geeky - don't worry! The very reason I'm providing this kind of education is to take out the mystery and pretentiousness and provide clarity and ease.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wining with the Wineaux of the Goddess...Merlot...

The April meeting of the Wineaux of the Goddess Marching Band and Chowder Society took place Wednesday evening at Fab's, our home away from home. In attendance were the usual gang of picky palates: Marya Glur, Shawn Shai Halahmy, Rico Mandel, Xochitl Maiman, Debra Bizek, John Dickey, and myself, the Goddess of Wine. Our mission: Merlot!

There's so much information about Merlot, much of it obscured by the unfortunate scene in 2003's Sideways in which the hapless Miles, trying to sabotage a situation to disguise his discomfort at Jack's actions, blurts out, "I'm not drinking any fucking Merlot!" Rex Pickett, the author of Sideways, says he was surprised at the venom with which actor Paul Giamatti said the line - and doubly surprised at the immediate reaction in the wine world: Consumers stopped buying Merlot-based wines, and growers ripped out their Merlot vines and planted Pinot Noir! Heavy sigh...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wining with the Goddess - Old World vs New! Join us!

Wine with the Goddess
Saturday, May 12, 2012, 1 PM

Let's talk about wine - Old World versus New World.
It's not a battle, it's fun!
It’s the Old World versus the New!

  • What's the difference between a Red Burgundy and an Oregon Pinot Noir?
  • Do your French-wine-loving friends make you feel inferior because you love California Chardonnay?
  • Do Old World wines come from classic wine-making regions?
  • Is New World wine from everywhere else?
Join Goddess of Wine Denise Lowe as she leads you from the Old World to the New!
  • Learn about terroir and how it styles wine.
  • Discuss wine-making techniques through the ages.
Class fee of $45 includes 4 flights of wine, small munchies, tasting notes.


About the Goddess of Wine: Denise is certified through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the Wine Academy of Spain, and LearnAboutWine. She is a Professional Member of the Society of Wine Educators, and is a Wine Educator for LearnAboutWine. Her blog, Goddess of Wine, details her adventures in the wine world, accompanied by her faithful acolyte, husband John Dickey.

Join the Goddess for an educational - and fun - experience!

For more information, email or call 818-903-6397.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wining by proxy...kind of...Shai Cellars wine dinner at Fab's Corner Cucina...

The Goddess was ready to write her recap of a truly delicious evening, when First Acolyte, JD, sent her his write-up. What a good Acolyte he is! Here are his thoughts:

Shai Cellars
There was a wonderful winemaker dinner at Fabs Corner Cucina on March 21, 2012. This delectable event, hosted by Amelia Yokel, paired the Shai Cellars wines of Shawn Shai Halahmy with the food creations of Chef Ian Jerde.

OMG. Now that I have that out of the way I’ll move on, starting with a little background.

Fabs is a relaxed and friendly family owned restaurant in Sherman Oaks, California serving mainly Italian-based fare. One can get marinara-sauced or other lighter-sauced dishes along with other things such as Risotto del Giorno. More on the risotto later. There are always specials available which often distract one from trying items on the regular menu: the entrees, the soups, the salads, the appetizers. There are so many delicious choices and don’t forget the yeasty rolls.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wining with the Wineaux of the Goddess...Pinot Noir...

Got together for our monthly meeting of Wineaux of the Goddess at Fab's on 3/14 to do a blind tasting of Pinot Noir from all over the world. Turned out to be a very interesting and tasty evening!

Some basic info about Pinot Noir:
Pinot Noir is often described as being a difficult grape, to grow, to deal with in the winery, and to find truly great examples of, but fans are passionate about this variety, as sensually expressed by the dialogue between Miles and Maya in the 2004 movie Sideways. Difficulties plague Pinot Noir at every step, from propagation to its bottle-aging characteristics. Genetically unstable, the parent vine may produce offspring that bear fruit that is nothing like the parent's in the size and shape of the berry or cluster, and will frequently even have different aromas, flavors, and levels of productivity. There are 46 recognized clones (genetic variants) of Pinot Noir in Dijon, France. Experts estimate there are as many as 200 to possibly 1,000 clones of Pinot Noir worldwide. By comparison, Cabernet Sauvignon has only twelve identifiable clones.