For Malbec Day: 7 Reasons Why I Love Malbec

Have you discovered Malbec yet?

Chances are you’ve had it in a Bordeaux blend, but you may not have had it by itself because Continue reading

More Oregon Pinot Noir!

When the wine for tonight’s #winechat on Oregon Wine didn’t show, we didn’t let that stop us.

Instead, we followed Plan B: I went into my sample stash and found a bottle of Hawks View Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir and Amy “The Crush” went to good old BevMo to discover the Erath Winery‘s 2012 Pinot Noir on sale for $16.99.

We were in business–the #ORwine business. Which left us with the question of food to pair with these pinots!

Marshall MoneyBags grilled us up a chicken breast with mushrooms, asparagus and basil pesto as well as a chunk of salmon with a simple salt and pepper sand lemon seasoning. We put together an arugula, beet, and goat cheese salad plus we had ham and asparagus, brie and blueberries and a very tasty french baguette. Continue reading

Get Happy, says Blogger of the Week (ME!)

happinessdayToday is the “International Day of Happiness” which in and of itself is worth getting happy about! Read more about the “International Day of Happiness” here.

And watch this fabulously fun and happy video of wine country Porto uploaded and featuring our wine friends from Catavino, Gabriella and Ryan Opaz plus their baby Mica!

Today is also the first day of SPRING here on the northern hemisphere. On a recent drive up the coast through Santa Barbara County wine country, the vines were busy with bud break, a sure sign of spring.

Coming soon: blog posts about four stops on that trip, dinner at Gardens of Avila, wine and cycling at Peloton Cellars in Avila, tasting (and shucking oysters!) at Casa Dumetz, and beer tasting in Los Alamos with Emilio Estevez. Plus, before Women’s History month is out, posts about women winemakers!

And in the southern hemisphere, today is the first day of FALL and so harvest is in full swing.ecct0323quicksip01

And as if that wasn’t enough to be happy about, I’m also celebrating being “Blogger of the Week” published today by the San Jose Mercury Times! Read the article by Jessica Yadegaran here.

Do I look happy? Cheers!

A Toast to Women Wine Makers during Women’s History Month

iwd_squareAs March is Women’s History Month, and Saturday March 8 is International Women’s Day, what better time to focus on women winemakers than now?

That’s the idea of the tweet-up on the first Wednesday evening of March–to taste and tweet about wines made by women March 5, 2014. We’re going to get started at 5pm Pacific Standard Time.

All you need to to do Continue reading

In Praise of Petite Sirah: PS I Love You, Old Creek Ranch Winery + Four Brix!

Every third Friday in February, 800 or so Petite Sirah enthusiasts gather at Rockwall Winery in Alameda CA to sing the praises of Petite Sirah at the always sold out in advance PS I Love You event, Dark and Delicious which features 50 some dark Petite Sirahs paired with 25 or more delicious dishes. Tickets are $65–and if you want one, you better buy it immediately!

Since Que Syrah Sue and I can not make it up north for the festivities, we decided to have our own Dark and Delicious evening at my house in Ventura. We each brought one of our favorite Ventura County winery Petite Sirahs to the table along with various cheeses and other bites.

What to eat with your Petite? Ideas from Ellen Landis at PS I Love You Symposium

Bg4dpUsCAAA1L3D-1My contribution was the Continue reading

Say Howdy, Valentines, to the Year of the Horse with Four Brix’s Scosso

January’s Full Moon ushered in a month of celebrations for the Chinese Year of the Horse which closes with the full moon over Valentine’s Weekend.

timthumbOne of the ways I’m recognizing the Year of the Horse is toasting the new year and the full moon with this bottle of Scosso from Four Brix, a winery based in my hometown of Ventura and which sources fruit from throughout the state.

Scosso has a very festive ruby pink color–perfect for Valentine’s Day! Made from  central coast grown grapes of 63% Sangiovese from the McGourty Vineyards in the Adelaida region in Westside Paso Robles, plus 31% Cabernet sauvignon, and 6% merlot, the 2009 blend offers spice and blackberry, structure and tannins without being overwhelming meaning. Continue reading

Mr Versatile: Ojai Vineyards 2007 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir

The right Pinot Noir can indeed pair with dishes as diverse as pork, fish, and fowl. Continue reading

Birthday Bubbles: NV Veuve Clicquot Rose

As a follow-up to bubbles off the beaten path: What would you do if you came across this bottle of Champagne?

Would you buy a bottle of bubbles with the foil like this, the cage open, the cork escaping?

What if you could get this Champagne for $35 when the regular price is $80?

What if your birthday was coming up? And you wanted some nice bubbles to celebrate your birthday?

This is what happened to me: I was snooping around Continue reading

“The New California Wine” Author Jon Bonne Visits LA 12/15/13

download“I hear you hate California wine.”

That’s the first line in Jon Bonné’s new book, The New California Wine which showed up on my doorstep a few days ago. Since then I’ve discovered for myself why my wine blogging friends have been raving about it–it really is a great book. In fact,  it’s all I can do NOT to drop everything and keep reading it!

I mean, don’t you want to know what comes after that first line?

As a nationally recognized wine authority and the wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonne certainly knows his wine. But it is his historical narratives and personal anecdotes that caught my imagination right away and seduced me into reading far longer than I had planned to–it’s finals, and I have huge piles of research papers to grade. But when I came down with that bug that’s going around, I had a chance to spend a little more time with his book to discover that he offers a seriously comprehensive overview–over 600 wines from long time producers and favorites like Ridge and Ojai Vineyards to the positively youthful Donkey and Goat from the Brandts, and from larger vintners that you can find in a grocery store to tiny ones like William Allen’s Two Shepherds– to guide readers in understanding what’s going on today in California viticulture. Continue reading

#MulledWine: you know you want it

Back in the early 80s, when I was barely legal and going to Foothill community college, I worked at Ridge Winery in the tasting room up on Montebello Road.

For those of you who remember, you are probably laughing because there was no “tasting room” at Ridge –there was only a tasting table outside, a simple picnic table where we had five wines, usually four zins and a claret, lined up along with a basket of fresh bread (from “City of Paris” as I recall); you went inside the cellar where Kathy poured other offerings and helped you make your purchases.

We were having a Christmas party or some sort of potluck as I recall and it was quite cold. I was a newlywed with a Crockpot and as I was going to7chaisspices be at the tasting room all day, I suggested I make mulled wine. After all, there was always plenty of leftover wine lying around that I never got around to drinking during the week so why not pour all those together and mull them?

You can only imagine the look of horror at my suggestion–mull a Ridge wine? Continue reading