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.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wineaux of the Goddess - South African Edition...

So far this year, the Goddess and her merry band of Wineaux have been searching out different wine regions of the world. We've tasted the wines of Champagne, the Northern Rhone Valley, Greece, and Argentina, and we continued our trek through the Southern Hemisphere to South Africa. Members could bring either white or red wine, but we would still taste blind.

Some background from Wikipedia: The roots of the South African wine industry can be traced to the explorations of the Dutch East India Company which established a supply station in what is now modern day Cape Town. A Dutch surgeon, Jan van Riebeeck, was given the task of managing the station and planting vineyards to produce wines and grapes intended to ward off scurvy among sailors during their voyages along the Spice Route. The first harvest and crushing took place in 1659, seven years after landing in 1652. After some time, many growers gave up on winemaking, choosing instead to plant orchards and alfalfa fields to feed the growing ostrich feather industry. The growers that did replant with grapevines, chose high yielding grape varieties such as Cinsault. By the early 1900s more than 80 million vines had been replanted, creating a wine glut.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wining by proxy...First Acolyte JD tastes Vibrant Rioja...

Once again, the Goddess of Wine had to stay the course at the earth job, so JD manfully took up the mantle of wine-taster-maven at the Vibrant Rioja Trade Tasting on May 7th at Fleming’s Beverly Hills. Ah...the sacrifices we make in order to bring wine education to the masses!

Some background: Vibrant Rioja is a partnership between the DOCa Rioja and Wines From Spain. As the USA marketing and public relations campaign representing all DOCa Rioja wineries available in the U.S., Vibrant Rioja focuses on trade relations and trade education as well as consumer awareness - while distinguishing the DOCa Rioja as a producer of consistently superior wines through unparalleled quality control, tremendous value, style diversity and food-friendliness.

JD's words and highlights:

Easy to find. Easy parking. Simple check-in. There were several wine stations in the front room with the rest in the back room reached through an aisle lined on one side with booths. Sampled a number of wines; not all of course. There were, as is usually the case, too many and there was difficult access to some locations once the place got busy.

For a while I was noticing certain sea-like notes in some of the wines, especially in the front room. Then I discovered that the restaurant was preparing fish dishes to accompany the tasting. Oops.

There was some food, but scurrying among the wines by the time I thought to check on it, it was gone.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wining with Distinction in Paso...Part 2

The Goddess and JD continued their adventure at the new Cabs of Distinction event presented by the Paso Robles CAB Collective.

Day Two dawned gray and misty in Morro Bay, but it was clear and going to get hot at Windfall Farms in the Templeton/Creston region of Paso Robles. We had a solid breakfast of scones and coffee and vitamins, and headed inland.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wining with Distinction in Paso Robles...Part 1

The Goddess and JD hit the road for yet another event, this time what I'm sure will be the 1st Annual Cabs of Distinction, produced by the recently formed Paso Robles CAB Collective. This group has a very specific goal - to make sure that the world knows about Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux-style varietals. From their website:

Formed in 2012, the Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective (PRCC) strives to promote the full potential of the Paso Robles AVA in producing superior quality, classic and age-worthy Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals to consumers, trade and media worldwide.

The grass-roots non-profit organization was 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 PRCC seeks to improve awareness regarding the distinctive attributes of Paso Robles Cabernet and red Bordeaux varietals through events, education and initiatives that confirm the appellation’s growing reputation for producing luscious, well-rounded Bordeaux wines that compete with like varietals on a global stage.

Wining in Sierra Pelona Valley...

The First Annual Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Festival, hosted by Reyes Winery in Agua Dulce, having been postponed to April 20th after being rained out in February, inaugurated their brand-new event on a sunny, warm, breezy day in a practically perfect location - the middle of a vineyard!

Featuring Agua Dulce Winery, Alonso Family Vineyards, Bob Cat Winery, Coruce Vineyards, Golden Star Vineyards, Harris Wine Biz, High Desert Cellars, Two Hearts Vineyards, Malagon Vinedos, Mascari Vineyard, Reyes Winery, Pulchella Winery, San Antonio Winery, Stephen Hemmert Vineyards, along with lots of local food purveyors including Cheers at All Corked Up, Mickey's Mommas BBQ, Mi Dolce Vita Cupcakery, Truffles n Toffee, Red Haute, Dove Chocolate Discoveries, Porto's Bakery and Cafe, it was quite a party.

The Goddess and faithful acolyte, JD, took a leisurely drive northeast to Agua Dulce, winding through the back roads past the famous Vasquez Rocks - where almost every western and/or scifi movie or TV show has been filmed - through the rural town of Sweetwater, and out to Sierra Highway and the event.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's time for the 8th Annual LA WineFest!

2013 LAWineFest Offers Celeb Chef Demos, Tasting Classes, VIP Access and LA’s Hottest Food Trucks
The Southland’s signature celebration of wine, beer, spirits and food takes place June 8-9, benefiting homegrown charity Food Forward

LOS ANGELES, CA; (May 2, 2013) -- The 8th Annual LAWineFest will prove to be the biggest in its history, showcasing hundreds of award-winning wines from 13 countries, craft brews and artisan cocktails; plus interactive cooking demos with premier LA chefs, entertaining tasting seminars, Twitter-ific food trucks, live music and fab boutiques add to the exciting experience.