Sunday, February 23, 2014

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure...


Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure Expands – Over Fifty SBC/SYV "Garagiste" Winemakers to Pour March 29th and 30th in Solvang

Tickets now on sale for two days of events and seminars featuring hard-to-find, high-quality, small-production winemakers from Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley; 50% are new festival discoveries; one in four pouring first vintage, 80% have no tasting room.

Paso Robles, CA – February 10, 2014 - Garagiste Events today announced that tickets are now on sale at for its expanded Santa Ynez Valley-based “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure,” which will feature fifty-six of Santa Ynez Valley’s and Santa Barbara County’s high-quality, limited-production commercial “garagiste**” winemakers. The second annual festival will take place on March 29th and 30th, and returns to the beautiful, Mission-style Veterans Memorial Hall in the heart of Solvang, California. Proceeds benefit Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.

Last year’s one-day event sold out and, in response to both consumer and winemaker demand, the non-profit event has expanded to two days.  Like all Garagiste Events festivals, each day will incorporate the festival’s signature tasting seminars, low-crowd experience, high-quality wines, first-time and ‘soon-to-break-out’ discoveries, personal winemaker interaction, diverse varietals (over 20) and renegade spirit. And, with almost fifty percent of the winemakers pouring at the event for the first time - thirteen pouring their first vintage, and over 75% lacking a tasting room - Southern Exposure offers a truly one-time-only opportunity for consumers to discover some of the hottest, yet-to-be-discovered wines, in one of the country’s most up and coming wine regions -- all in person and under one roof.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wineaux of the Goddess - February Edition - Alsace

The Goddess of Wine and her merry band of Wineaux met, as always, on the second Wednesday of the month. Hostess with the Mostess, Xochitl Maiman, put together snacks and dinner designed to go with the wines of the month from the currently French region of Alsace. Tasters included Barbara Barrielle, Debra Bizek, Shawn Shai Halahmy, Rico Mandel, Michelle McCue. All the wines were purchased from K & L Wines in Hollywood.

Some background on Alsace: Almost all Alsatian wine is produced under one of the region's three AOC designations - Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru and Crémant d'Alsace. Unlike most other French wine regions, there is no Vin de pays designation for Alsace. This means that wines that do not qualify for AOC status have to be sold as simple Vin de table de France. This happens in some instances when producers wish to use other grape varieties in their wine, like Domaine Zind-Humbrecht which sells its cuvée Zind, a blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Auxerrois.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2nd Annual Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association Wine Festival

Discover a Heavenly Oasis Just Outside of Downtown
Los Angeles of Decadent Wine+Food+Music at the 2nd Annual Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners 
Wine & Jazz Festival

Los Angeles County (March 27, 2014) - The Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association  2nd Annual Vintners Festival & Jazz In the Vineyard Event on Saturday, April 26, from 11am-4pm, at Reyes Winery in Agua Dulce, just 45 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles, features an unparalleled mix of great locally-produced wine and food, paired with illustrious live jazz music performed in a breathtakingly beautiful vineyard setting. 

“You might say we’ve created a kind of ‘holy trinity’ for voluptuaries of decadent wine+food+music in a heavenly oasis right outside of Downtown Los Angeles,” says Cyndee Donato of Donato Family Vineyard and Antelope Valley Winery, a Winemaker and member of the Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association. “And, the beauty of it is, almost no one knows we’re here, so our guests get to be the first to discover this burgeoning, wine frontier.”

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wining in Lompoc...with LaMontagne...

Back in September 2013, JD and I were happy to meet LaMontagne Winery owner and winemaker, Kimberly Smith. I wrote a short blurb about her delicious wines, and hoped that we would find ourselves tasting them again soon. We were able to make that happen during a short trip to the Central Coast in December. We headed into the Lompoc Wine Ghetto on a surprisingly warm December day, where Kimberly opened her tasting room exclusively for us!

The first thing you need to know about Kimberly is that she is driven to make things happen. When she wondered why she loved Pinot Noir so much, she went back to college to find out what it was about that grape that made her happy. The class changed her life. That was the night she met winemaker, teacher, writer, activist, and all-around Renaissance man, Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe Estate.

She knew right away that he was the guy who had the answers. She asked him to mentor her, and the next morning she was in the vineyard!

Monday, February 3, 2014


The American Riviera hosting the World of Pinot Noir
Pinot-philes converge to taste and learn about wines from the world’s most important regions

Santa Barbara, Ca. - The 14th annual World of Pinot Noir, a 2-day event celebrating that alluring winegrape, will be held February 28-March 1, 2014 at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara California. The new venue is not only a luxurious feast for the senses, but also recognizes Santa Barbara County’s wine country as a place that introduced many to Pinot Noir, as 2014 will be the tenth anniversary of the iconic movie Sideways. “It's hard to believe it has been a decade since Sideways came out", muses Norm Yost of Flying Goat Cellars and this year's World of Pinot Noir President. "Having our event at the Bacara Resort and recognizing the effect of the movie is exciting! We look forward to welcoming those who join us each year, as well as newcomers to our 14th celebration of Pinot Noir."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wineaux of the Goddess - January 2014 Meeting - Bubbles!

Yikes, it's February and I'm just writing up our first Wineaux of the Goddess of 2014! Well, January was quite a month. That's all I'm saying at the moment.

To start off the year, we all brought sparkling wine from all over the world. We tasted in the order of JD pulling the bottles out of the chiller and opening them.

Wine #1 - NV Deligeroy Cremant de Loire, France. Sparkling Cabernet Franc! Who knew? Pale salmon in color with a small, persistent mousse. Yeast and strawberries on the nose, bright green apple on the palate with a slightly bitter, not unpleasant finish. 12.5% alcohol. $14 from K&L.

Wine #2 - 2009 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs, Calistoga, California. 87% Pinot Noir/13% Chardonnay. Clear, pale gold with small bubbles. Not much on the nose, but yeasty apple, a little oak, and an interesting sour cherry finish. We all liked it with the Delice Bourgogne Brie. I must have been enjoying myself - I didn't write the price or vendor. 13% alcohol.