Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wining at the end of the year...

The Goddess of Wine took off a couple of weeks from writing this month because this time of year always stops me in my tracks. Like pretty much everyone, I've been musing on the year that's passed; great moments, terrible losses, everything in between. This year we've lost some dear friends, and happily, made some new ones. We've seen some great theater and some dreadful. Attended some wonderful events, and some...not so much. Like all years, a mix.

This was the year I got my shoulder fixed after damaging it a second time. The first was saving a case a wine from falling at a LearnAboutWine event 5 or 6 years ago, rupturing my rotator cuff in two places; the second was this April, pulling my chair up to my desk and ripping my long-head biceps tendon. Six months post-surgery, I'm doing great, with full rotation and upper arm strength returned.

This year JD also had some relatively minor knee surgery after tearing his miniscus earlier in the year. I fear that this is just the precursor to a full knee replacement, but we'll see how his recovery continues.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess December Meeting - Jerez/Sherry!

After much discussion about how to finish up 2013 - the Year of Regions - the Goddess and Xochitl agreed to do a slightly different tasting: Sherry paired with tapas, one for each wine. Now Sherry isn't something that I run into a lot. In fact, I don't actually remember tasting any Sherry in my life except for the Sherries that were presented in the Spanish wine certification class I took back in 2010, so this was going to be a bit of a stretch. Between discovering just how complex and interesting all these different Sherries are, and Xochitl's perfect pairings, it turned out to be a remarkable and delicious evening.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wining by Proxy...DM Vineyards & Partners Portfolio....

When the Goddess of Wine can't break away from the earth job, First Acolyte JD steps in to cover special wine events. Here are his notes from the DM Vineyards & Partners Trade and Press Portfolio Tasting at the Villa Restaurant in Woodland Hills on December 2nd.

The elegant Villa restaurant is located on a corner in the west San Fernando Valley and has had a number of incarnations over the years. While its address is on the busy Ventura Boulevard, the business actually extends deeply up the side street. This event was on their patio behind, so I can’t say what the restaurant proper is like inside, though from the pictures on their website (http://www.thevillawoodlandhills.com) it looks quite nice. The patio is sunken, paved in used brick with iron fencing and gates, a fountain in the rear upper section and wonderfully grown in with vegetation that secludes and protects from the sun. A fine array of appetizers was set out for the tasting. Judging by that sampling, I would certainly like to try their main menu.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wining...well...Judging Wine in Camarillo...

A couple of months ago, the Goddess of Wine and JD were having a quiet glass of wine at the madport wine lounge (yes, all lower case), and found ourselves in conversation with winemaker Dave Lustig and his wife Nancy. One thing led to another, we exchanged cards and promises to stay in touch. Dave is a prime mover in the Cellarmasters of Los Angeles, a group of passionate home winemakers founded in 1973, who are are dedicated to promoting the culture and hobby of amateur winemaking along with the safe enjoyment of wine [from their website].

Some weeks later, I received an email asking if I would be interested in judging at the 40th Annual US Amateur Wine Competition to be held on November 23rd. If so, would I attend the free clinics on Sensory Evaluation and Wine Judging prior to the event? Of course! The classes proved to be interesting and helpful, and a great introduction to Cellarmasters. Slight disclaimer: I was already familiar with the group, as JD had been a member and purchases most of his winemaking supplies at the Home Wine, Beer and Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills. The shop is owned by John Daume, who also operates Camarillo Custom Crush, where the competition was to take place.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess November - Meeting - Toro!

The Goddess of Wine and her merry band of wine aficionados met to taste the wines of Toro, Spain. As it turned out, almost all the Wineaux brought samples of the noble Spanish grape, Tempranillo, known in Toro as Tinto de Toro. And there was an interesting and unexpected lesson at this tasting.

Some background on Toro mainly from Wikipedia: Toro is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) in the province of Zamora, northwest of Castile and Léon (Spain). The area covered by the DO is in the southeastern corner of Zamora province. Wine has been made in Toro since the end of the 1st century BC, when the ancient Greeks taught the local Celtic tribes. In the Early Middle Ages, the wines from Toro were the first to be traded in the region of the River Duero.

King Alfonso IX granted lands to several religious orders with the understanding that they would plant vines, and many of the existing churches in Toro today were built thanks to the wealth generated by the wine trade. The reputation of the wines from Toro grew and it was sold further afield in cities such as Seville and Palencia. At this time the wine producers built underground wineries (bodegas) in order to obtain better quality wines and to have more effective temperature control. At the end of the 19th century, wine were exported to France during the phylloxera crisis, which did not affect the local vines as they were protected by the sandy soil. The vines of other regions of Spain were replaced by vines from Toro as well. Toro still has a number of very old vineyards with pre-phylloxera Tinta de Toro, which in recent years have been used to source grapes for special cuvées.

Wining in a 'Simply Italian' fashion...

The Goddess of Wine is still catching up on her October events...sigh... On Wednesday, October 30th, JD and I braved the morning traffic over the canyons to reach the Mr. C hotel in Beverly Hills in order to learn about and taste some Italian wines presented by Simply Italian. These intrepid folks had flown in the night before from a similar event in Chicago and, despite their pleasant demeanor, we could see how tired they were.

The first seminar Regulating Italian Wines in Today’s Market presented by Federdoc featuring Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, President, and Paul Wagner, Instructor for Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology department, started late and ran into the set up for the next seminar. The information presented was a brief recap of some of the legislative changes that have taken place regarding the DO/DOCG system in the Mediterranean region. The system protects trademarks and appellations - not just wine, but all foods that are specific to an area. The presentation was somewhat marred by an attendee who obviously needed to let everyone know how much he knew about the regions and the subject, as he continually interrupted and derailed the presentation, not just in the first seminar, but all through the morning, adding to an already problematic day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess - October Meeting - Anderson Valley Edition...

The Wineaux of the Goddess came together for their monthly blind tasting to sample the wines of the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Long known for their gorgeous white wines, the Goddess threw a monkey wrench in the works and specified red wines only.

Some background on this cool climate AVA (from Wikipedia): The name Anderson Valley applies to the region from Yorkville (located in a highland meadow straddling the upper Rancheria Creek and upper Dry Creek watersheds) through Boonville (located on Anderson Creek) and Philo (located on Indian Creek) to Navarro (located on Soda Creek). Rancheria, Anderson, Indian and Soda creeks are tributaries to the Navarro River, which flows north and west through the coastal range to the Pacific Ocean; Dry Creek flows south into the Russian River watershed in Sonoma County. The climate is tempered by cool marine air. Steep hills and mountains surround rolling to nearly level alluvial terraces. Elevation ranges from sea level to 2,500 feet. Annual rainfall ranges from 35 to 80 inches, and the average annual temperature is about 53°F. Towards the coast the summers are cool and moist with frequent fog, while the interior Anderson Valley proper features a warm to hot summer climate similar to nearby interior regions, with daytime highs occasionally in excess of 100 °F (38 °C).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wining in the Santa Ynez Valley...

The Goddess and JD received an invitation from the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Club to attend the Harvest of Love - A Winemaker Affair on September 28th at the Santa Ynez Inn in the tiny hamlet of Santa Ynez. This intimate event featured 6 small wineries: Roark Wine Company, Solminer Wine, Turiya Wines, LaMontagne Winery, Kaena Wines and Shai Cellars in a lovely shady green setting on a perfect California autumn day.

I've mentioned before that I rarely go to big wine events because it's too hard to talk to the people making/selling their wines. At a small event like this one, JD and I were able to meet the wine makers in person (some of whom we already knew) and find out what drives their passion for winemaking.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wining for a good cause...She Dances...

We hope you’ll join us on this very special evening of celebrating hope. Taste some stunning wines and bid on some exciting auction items! All of our wine, food and silent auction items have been generously donated, so every dollar raised will directly benefit the girls in our program who have been rescued from sex-trafficking. Admission is free, and $20 buys you four tasting tickets. 21 and over please. Visit our RSVP page and let us know that you’ll be coming!

A diverse selection of donated wines include selections from Dunn Vineyards, Abeja, Whalebone Vineyards, Peju Province, 3 Saints Vineyards, J Lohr, Lateral, Calabasas Peak Vineyards, and more.

Just a quick note: While the statements and/or opinions from the She Dances organization website are not necessarily in sync with those of the Goddess of Wine, we think this is a cause worth supporting. Cheers to those who work to save the children of the world!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Exciting New for Small Business Owners... Provide Unique Video Advertising with the SCV Unscripted Team

SANTA CLARITA, SEPT. 26 - If you haven’t already heard the buzz, well now you have.  SCV Unscripted is the newest production of Prime Publications, Inc., publishers of The Magazine of Santa Clarita and élite Magazine.  Together with Bonnie Keith, owner of Video Magic Production, and Eve Bushman as host, SCV Unscripted is dedicated to bringing even more awareness and publicity to your business or organization through use of video marketing. 
You may ask, “Why video?”  Using a mix of print as well as video marketing strategies makes the most sense.  With print ads, you have your chance to tell your stories using headlines, images and copy. With video, you can tell your story with movement and emotion.  So why not put your marketing dollars to good use with both?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wining by Proxy...Kobrand Tour d'Italia - Icons of Italian Wine...

Sometimes the Goddess of Wine must send her First Acolyte, JD, to taste wine in her place. Last week, just a day before his knee surgery, JD attended the Kobrand Tour d'Italia 2013 tasting, Icons of Italian Wine at the Sofitel in Los Angeles. Here is his report:

Attended the walk-around tasting at this final stop of the tour. There had been hints of a seminar but could never confirm or connect. As I discovered after I checked in for the tasting and as certain questions were asked during the tasting, there actually was a seminar earlier somewhere in the hotel. Those are usually very educational. Who knows what it covered?

I started with the whites.

Masi Agricola Masianco from Veneto, a blend of 75% Pinot Grigio and 25% of another unfamiliar Italian grape called Verduzzo which added some nice acid and citrus notes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess - September Meeting - Israeli Edition...

September being the month of both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this year, the Goddess of Wine thought it might be nice to taste the wines of Israel. Viticulture has existed in Israel since biblical times. In the book of Deuteronomy, the fruit of the vine was listed as one of the seven blessed species of fruit found in the land of Israel (Deut. 8:8).

The location of Israel along a historic wine trading route between Mesopotamia and Egypt brought winemaking knowledge and influence to the area. Wine played a significant role in Judaism with images of grape growing, harvesting and winemaking often being used to illustrate religious ideals. In Roman times, wine from Israel was exported to Rome with the most sought after wines being vintage, dated with the name of the winemaker inscribed on the amphora. In the 7th century, the Islamic conquest of the Middle East virtually wiped out the region's wine industry with wineries closing down and vineyards, planted with now lost indigenous grape varieties, pulled out. Winemaking was temporarily revived in the Crusader states from around 1100 to 1300 but the return of Islamic rule and the subsequent Jewish Diaspora extinguished the industry once again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wining and dining in Burbank with Luna Vine and Romancing the Bean...

The Goddess occasionally dreams about the perfect evening: No driving required, great food and wine pairings, fun folks, and no cleanup (for the Goddess, that is). Sometimes, the dream comes true.

I've mentioned a few times that a new wine bar is coming to Burbank. It's finally under construction, and should be opening in October. In the meantime, Luna Vine Wine Bar owner Shannan VerGow, her General Manager Nick Caballero, and good friend and colleague Kerry Krull of Romancing the Bean, have been keeping the buzz going with monthly tastings on Magnolia Park's Ladies' Night Out. A week before Labor Day, they collaborated on the first of what I hope will be many more wine dinners.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wine Tasting Returns to Cheers at All Corked Up!

Raise Your Glass:
Wine Tasting Returns to Cheers @ All Corked Up

SANTA CLARITA August 28, 2013 – Taste a selection of international and domestic wines as you support the return of wine tasting to Cheers @ All Corked Up, the only fully-stocked wine bar and restaurant located in the Santa Clarita Valley’s east side and just 10 minutes from the center of town. 

Al Robles and Terri Rivera, the owners of Cheers @ All Corked Up, the venue that supported both Pour Into Haiti and Pour Into Sandy wine tasting events, would like to invite local and non-local, wine beginners and aficionados, back for their first private wine tasting event.

According to Al Robles, the following wineries and distributors are confirmed so far for this event: Cantara Cellars, Gagnon Cellars, Golden Star Vineyards, Reyes Winery, Southern Wine & Spirits, Trinitas Cellars and Wine Warehouse.

“We’re very excited to be offering this event to the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Al Robles.

The event will be held on Sunday afternoon, September 15, from 3 PM to 5:30 PM.  Wine paired appetizers are included, and unlimited tasting, for a $20 per person fee.  Additionally, wines that you taste and enjoy can be purchased; some at a special rate.

Contact Cheers @ All Corked Up at 661-259-2000 to guarantee your spot.  The address is 26340 Diamond Place Suite 100, Santa Clarita, CA 91350 and is located between Soledad Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road just off of Centre Pointe Parkway.  Landmarks include the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on one side and  the WalMart SuperCenter.  www.cheersatallcorkedup.com

Photo courtesy Eve Bushman - which may explain why it's sideways.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wining with Francis Ford Coppola and Mr Chow...

As you know, sometimes the Goddess of Wine can't make it to trade events during the week, and so her trusty First Acolyte, JD, makes the sacrifice to cover and report on said events. This puts JD on the map for various mailing lists - and this week we are both very grateful for that.

JD was invited to a special dinner at Mr Chow in Beverly Hills highlighting the wines of the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Mr. Coppola wasn't there himself, but was ably represented by winemaker Corey Beck, accompanied by an enthusiastic staff of publicists and marketing folks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess - August Meeting...Cava!

All the Wineaux agree: We love, love, love, love Champagne. What's not to love? However, we started off the year of wine region research with Champagne, so when the heat of the summer hit, we asked what other sparkling wine region did we want to check out. The answer: Cava.

Some background from Wikipedia: Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status, most of which is produced in Catalonia. It may be white (blanco) or rosé (rosado). The Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo are the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing Cava. Only wines produced in the méthode champenoise may be labeled Cavas; those produced by other processes may only be called "sparkling wines" (vinos espumosos). About 95% of all Cava is produced in the Penedès area in Catalonia, with the village of Sant Sadurní d'Anoia being home to many of Spain's largest production houses. The two major producers are Codorníu and Freixenet.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Send in the Clones...Chardonnay - Part 2...

Part 2 of the Chardonnay Symposium, where the Goddess of Wine and her trusty acolyte, JD, taste a whole lotta Chardonnay...

After a fascinating morning listening to winemakers discuss Chardonnay clones, we downed the tasty box lunch provided as part of the event (turkey sandwiches with an apple and a cookie - and plenty of water), and got on the bus for the trip to Byron Winery and the Grand Tasting. Once there, we picked up our tasting glasses and got started.

The wineries included Alta Maria ~ Au Bon Climat ~ Baileyana ~ Bien Nacido Vineyards ~ Bridlewood Estate Winery ~ Byron Winery ~ Cambria Winery ~ Chamisal Vineyards ~ Chanin Wine Company ~ Conway Family Wines/Deap Sea ~ Costa de Oro Winery ~ Cottonwood Canyon Winery ~ Deovlet Wines ~ Dierberg Vineyard ~ Eberle Winery ~ Edna Valley Vineyard ~ Falcone Family Vineyards ~ Fess Parker Winery ~ Fontes & Phillips Wines ~ Foxen ~ Gainey Vineyard ~ Hartford Family Winery ~ J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines ~ J. Wilkes Wines ~ Jonata ~ Ken Brown Wines ~ Kenneth Volk Vineyards ~ La Fenetre Wines ~ Laetitia Vineyard & Winery ~ Landmark Vineyards ~ Lucia’s Wine Co ~ Merry Edwards Winery ~ Migration from Duckhorn Wine Company ~ Niven Family Wine Estates ~ Old Town Market, Orcutt ~ Patz & Hall ~ Presqu’ile Winery ~ Qupé Wine Cellars ~ Rancho Sisquoc ~ Riverbench Vineyard & Winery ~ Rusack Vineyards ~ Sanford Winery ~ Sierra Madre Vineyard ~ Solomon Hills Vineyards ~ Talley Vineyards ~ Thomas Fogerty Winery & Vineyard ~ Toretti’s Family Vineyard ~ Wente Vineyards ~ William James Cellars

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Send in the Clones...Chardonnay Clones, Part 1...

Much to our delight, the Goddess of Wine and JD were invited to attend the fourth annual Chardonnay Symposium - the only event of its kind in the United States focusing on the golden grape. This was a chance to taste the world’s (well, mostly California's) most celebrated Chardonnays alongside food pairings designed to enhance the wine experience, with an educational panel session moderated by Wine Enthusiast’s Steve Heimoff.

Although I was looking forward to tasting the diverse selection of Chardonnays, I was most interested in the winemaker panel, titled and subtitled: Bring in the Clones! Chardonnay Clones: Do you care? Should you? Top California winemakers weigh in on everything you ever wondered about clones and selections. The panelists included: Moderator STEVE HEIMOFF, Wine Enthusiast, MATT DEES, Jonata, Santa Ynez Valley, MERRY EDWARDS, Merry Edwards Winery, Russian River Valley, FINTAN DU FRESNE, Chamisal Vineyards, Edna Valley, ECKHARD KAESEKAMP, Guillaume Grapevine Nursery, JEFF STEWART, Hartford Court, Sonoma County, CLARISSA NAGY, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Santa Maria Valley, JAMES ONTIVEROS, Alta Maria Vineyards & Native 9, Santa Maria Valley, and KARL WENTE, Wente Vineyards, Livermore Valley.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rosé at the Tam...

Every month, wine maven, Brien McNally, at the Tam O'Shanter in Glendale, puts together fabulous wine and food pairings, and July 18th tasting was no exception. The Goddess of Wine, JD and their personal winemaker, Shawn Shai Halahmy, headed over to taste.

Nicoise & Bandol
2011 Domaine Dupuy de Lome Rosé, Bandol, Cote d'Azur, France. The nose was a bit hot, with overtones of dried roses and tropical flowers. There was the suggestion of sweetness in the nose, but the palate was dry as a bone! Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault were blended for a very elegant, medium-bodied wine with grapefruit and lemon on the front palate softening to stone fruits on the dry finish. Lovely. ABV 13.5%

Paired with Grilled Swordfish Nicoise Salad containing hard boiled egg, olives, rainbow fingerling potatoes, haricot verts (green beans), tomatoes, and arugula. Perfect!

Wining in a Labyrinth...

The Goddess of Wine's first real outing after shoulder surgery took place on 7/12. JD and I headed up to the coolth of Ventura to meet friend Jodi for lunch at the newly relocated Paradise Pantry. Love the new digs! Lots of room for the Goddess to prowl the wine racks without knocking over anything - as opposed to the first time I visited their old location leaving glass and wine debris in my wake. We started off the day with hearty paninis, a split of Le Grand Courtage for me and a glass each of Verdad Grenache Rose for JD and Jodi.

Having properly fortified ourselves, we walked up the block to the recently opened Labyrinth Winery tasting room. Labyrinth is the brainchild of Ariki (Rick) Hill, a New Zealand native who found his way to California's Central Coast. Besides creating the wines of Labyrinth, Rick is the winemaker for Tantara, another winery high on my list of Pinot Noir producers. Labyrinth has two "brands", one being Labyrinth, the high-end line of Burgundian-style wines, and HAKA (a Maori word descriptive of a dance form encompassing words, actions, history, and life force), consisting of full bodied, bold, assertive, complex wines reflecting the vineyards of the Central Coast.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess - Washington State Edition...

The Goddess of Wine lost the entire month of June to one of the worst colds ever, followed by necessary shoulder surgery, so we're playing catch-up with life. As is our wont, the Wineaux of the Goddess met on the second Wednesday of the month to visit Washington State wines. The instructions were: Wine from any appellation, white or red; bring them pre-bagged for blind tasting.

Some background on Washington State:
Wine grapes have been grown in Washington since the early 1800's, but no one grape has taken the lead in the state. When I think of Washington State, I often think of some of the larger, more commercial wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle or Columbia Crest, but there's a lot more going on at the artisan level than one might think from going to the supermarket. Over 31,000 acres are planted with a wide variety of grapes including Aligote, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Lemberger, Leon Millot, Madeleine Angevine, Madeleine Sylvaner, Malbec, Marechal Foch, Merlot, Muller Thurgau, Muscat Canelli, Muscat Ottonel, Petit Verdot, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot noir, Riesling, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Siegerrebe, Syrah, Viognier, Zinfandel.

Vine 2 Wine Classic Returns to its Wine Classic Origins – Annual Event to be Held Again at Cal Arts

The Goddess of Wine highly recommends this excellent event!

SANTA CLARITA – 15 July 2013 – On Saturday evening, August 17, 2013, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. the Vine 2 Wine Classic returns to the original Wine Classic venue: California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita. The event benefits local non-profit, Circle of Hope, in serving the needs of women in our community with breast cancer.

“We are looking forward to a fabulous event, bigger and better than last year,” commented Circle of Hope Director Ray Tippet. “The rebirth of the amazing Wine Classic, with the addition of the Moe Hafizi Beer Garden. And, we anticipate a sellout crowd of at least 750 people, so, we urge everyone who loves wine or beer, delicious food, live music, and a very enjoyable Saturday night out, to get your tickets online and come to the Vine 2 Wine Classic. It's also our most important fundraiser for our community. You'll love the event.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wining with Wes Hagen...

Petit Vendome
The Goddess and JD had the opportunity to hang at the Petit Vendome in La Canada last weekend and do some tasting with winemaker and philosopher Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA near the quiet hamlet of Buellton.

The Sta. Rita Hills is one of my current favorite AVAs. Its east/west valleys pulling in cold, foggy air from the Pacific and the seabed soils create the perfect environment for stressed (in a good way) vines to produce small clusters, small berries, and great flavor and texture. The wines tend to be lean and elegant, with relatively low alcohol; they're food-friendly and unlike wines from any other region.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wining by Proxy...Castilla-La Mancha...

Yes, once again, the Goddess of Wine had to go to the earth job while First Acolyte, JD, tasted his way through a selection of excellent wines...Here is his account of the Wines from Castilla-La Mancha Grand Tasting at the Bazaar by JoséAndrés located at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills on Thursday, June 6, 2013:

Castilla-La Mancha is the largest Spanish wine region with over 1,240,000 acres under vine divided into 9 D.O.’s (Denominaciones de Origen or Wine Appellations) plus the surrounding Castilla areas in the center of Spain. They have taken as their symbol the great literary figure of Don Quixote de la Mancha with a slogan of “Wines from Don Quixote’s Spain.” This area is mainly a vast expanse of flat, dry land with the temperature extremes of a continental climate. There is a lot of sunshine but limited water, necessitating dry farming.

This was the last stop of a three city leg of the 2013 US Tour. Many of the people flew out that evening back to Spain, some for quick turnarounds to then go to other places in the world. This is besides communicating to their companies at odd hours while on the road. These are some not quite so glamorous and quite fatiguing aspect of the wine industry. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wining by Proxy...Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara...

Shawn & JD prepping
Well, not exactly by proxy. The Goddess of Wine was at Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara, but working for Shai Cellars! First Acolyte, JD, describes the day:

This event took place at the Montecito Country Club, a beautiful location just south of Santa Barbara. The venue itself was located on a grassy meadow as well kept as a putting green with an amazing view of the coast all the way up to the cliffs north of the Santa Barbara harbor.

It being primarily a food event with wine, there were a lot of food tables though with plenty of wine tables interspersed. A great opportunity for pairings. This event has been going on for several years and seemed quite well organized. We were able to park very close to the entrance of the venue to unload. Volunteers unloaded the vehicles and carried the wares up the steps and thence to the tables. These two points are very important when you are dealing with heavy and bulky items like cases of wine and masses of food. Nicely done, thank you.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wining by Proxy...Vino California - An Italian Adventure...

It's killing me that there are so many great trade events during the day - when the Goddess of Wine must spend her time at the earth job...sigh. Luckily, First Acolyte and Staff Writer JD is up to the challenge! His report from the VINO CALIFORNIA GRAND TASTING at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 14th 2013 as follows:

This was part of a week-long celebration of Italian wine organized by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, Tasting Panel magazine and Blue Lifestyle. The celebration included several events taking place throughout the week, including wine dinners and classes at various restaurants and other venues.

The Skirball Center was the site of the Grand tasting and two seminars. I decided to focus on unfamiliar grapes so the seminar I attended certainly was in the right vein. FROM LAGREIN TO NEGROAMARO: Exploring the Rare Varietals of Italy. This consisted of one white, a Pallagrello Bianco by Antichi Vitigni of Campania and 7 reds: Lagrein from Alto Adige, Raboso and Refosco from Veneto, Cesanese from Lazio outside Rome, Negramaro from Salento in Puglia, Pallagrello Nero (also by Antichi Vitigni) and Gaglioppo (also known as Nebbiolo of the South) from Calabria. Presented by Paul Sherman (Sommelier at Valentino restaurant) and joined by Manuel Bronson (Italian Wine Buyer for Wally’s Wine & Spirits) and Meridith May (Publisher/Executive Editor for THE TASTING PANEL magazine). This was a very quick and informative encounter.