WBW#80: Four reasons to love “My Derby Wife” Rose by WineGirl Wines

wbw_logoAt the last three wine bloggers conferences, I lucked out both with amazing pre-conference excursions and great conference expeditions as well. In 2010, a small group of us  traveled on a press trip Seattle to Walla Walla and back, tasting along the way. In 2012, on our pre-conference excursion we dined at King Estates then learned about pinot noir with Robin Pffeifer, then went by TRAIN from Eugene to Portland where I was on the infamous #cuffedincarlton bus.

In 2013, I joined the Seattle to Lake Okanagan trip by way of the Lake Chelan AVA and went on the OK Falls hike where I discovered Painted Rock which I wrote about here also. When the announcement that Wine Blogging Wednesday #80 was Dry Rose, I didn’t have to think too hard about which wine I wanted to write about: “My Derby Wife” rose Continue reading

From SeaTac to Lake Chelan: it’s time for WBC13!

After flying in on June 1 and a whirlwind weekend of 3:15 experiment poetry events in Seattle, I’m writing a paper then moving full blast into wine blogging mode! On Tuesday, after a quick trip to Woodinville home of westside tasting rooms for wines grown on the east side of the Cascades, wine writing and blogging gals like Wine Julia, Wine Hooch, Travel Wine Chick, Wild Celtic Rose and I will gather on the rooftop patio of Janice Van Cleve, former President of the Wine Society of Seattle for wine and conversation. Then Wednesday, Wine Julia, Wine Hooch, Travel Wine Chick and I plus 100 or so fellow bloggers will board buses at SEA-Tac for a pre-conference excursion to the Lake Chelan Valley on way up to the Blogger’s Conference in Penticton.

On the bus, there will be box lunches and beverages for everyone from
Blueacre Seafood in Seattle (http://www.blueacreseafood.com/) –I had such a hard time deciding between the WINDSOR COURT & DUNGENESS CRABMEAT SALAD (apple smoked bacon | tomato | avocado | red onions | bleu cheese| hard-boiled egg | lorenzo dressing) the HEART OF ROMAINE CAESAR SALAD (grilled draper valley farms chicken breast | charred lemon dressing | fennel croutons | parmesa) or the HEIRLOOM BEET SALAD (arugula | maytag bleu cheese | pickled onions | grain mustard vinaigrette. Hold the onions please! rio-winery-plane-bottle

It’s going to take us about three hours to drive over the Cascades to the Lake Chelan AVA but every minute on that bus will be worth it! (And fortunately, there are bathrooms on the bus! The last bus I took –from Seattle to WBC10 in Walla Walla–did not!)

Once there, we’ll enjoy a reception at Rio Vista Winery, a riverside winery with stunning gardens and sandy beach. There, we’ll have the option of a

  Seaplane Tour of Lake Chelan!!! Of course I said sign me up!! Continue reading

Experience Central Coast Wines on #CCWineDay Friday May 31, 2013

select central coast wines

select central coast wines

You’re invited to the Second Annual  Central Coast Wine Day, Friday May 31, 2013!

#CCWineDay follows in the footsteps of various #VarietalDays that have been going on for a few years. These include  Cabernet Day, Albarino Day, Tempranillo Day, Pinot Noir Day, Zinfandel Day, and even Wine Tourism Day! (As you can see, I enjoy participating in these varietal days!)

Personally, I say the Central Coast begins with Ventura County, Continue reading

SoCal Ideas for Wine Tourism Day, Sat. May 11 2013

VCwinetourismday

This Saturday, May 11 is Wine Tourism Day, a day to celebrate North America’s wine tourism industry and all those who enjoy the experience of visiting wine country.

According to organizers, “Local wine industry folks in their respective regions — including wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other wine-related businesses — have created special events for people who love anything to do with wine, food, events, travel and fun!”

Events can be anything from wine pairing dinners to music events to structured tastings. Search for an event near you or register for the Great Wine Tour Giveaway.

Or create your own event! You don’t have to visit Napa–head out on Saturday to a winery near you and celebrate! You may be surprised by what you’ll find in a few hours drive. Please post in the comments and tell us which wineries are YOUR favorites to visit?

Read on for Wine Predator’s picks of places to prowl! Continue reading

Part 2: Rafters, Mammoth CA & 2 LaRochelle Pinot Noirs

LaRochelleKissIn part one in this series of posts, I review two white wines from Steven Kent Wines, the luscious LaRochelle Chardonnay (pictured) and the lively Lola, a Bordeaux blend, and I wax enthusiastic about Rafters Restaurant, which is one of three restaurants and four bars at the Sierra Nevada Resort in Mammoth Lakes CA.

We were up in Mammoth for a holiday weekend ski trip where I also had a twitter tasting with Steven Kent Wines and Jim Demetriades, owner of Rafters hosted me! And what a gracious host! I was able to use a beautiful side room for the tasting, sommelier Chip Irmish set me up with the correct glasses I’d need as well as a dump bucket, and an ice bucket. Staff brought water, and either Chef Kerry Mechler or various staff brought out the six dishes that chef had chosen to pair with the six wines.

Here in Part 2, I’ll move from the whites on to the Pinot Noirs, one from Carneros and one from Santa Lucia Highlands, near Monterey. (Want to read about the Lola and the Dutton Chard?)

Continue reading

Rafters, Mammoth CA: Steven Kent Tasting–Lola & Dutton Chardonnay

Last month, after a bluebird afternoon on the slopes at Mammoth Mountain, I participated in a fantastic Twitter Wine tasting featuring Steven Kent Wines hosted by The Rafters Restaurant at the Sierra Nevada Resort 202 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA. Established in 1967; Rafters was recently reborn as a world class restaurant with a 7000 bottle wine list!

Sommelier Chip Irmish had glasses ready and the wines chilled perfectly for me when I dashed back after a few quick turns on the slopes. Continue reading

Wine Predator Makes Finals in Foods From Chile Contest!

FFC_header768223“Congratulations! You’re a Finalist!”

said the Foods from Chile folks in today’s email that arrived at lunchtime.

Just one more step & you could be on your way to taking a foodie dream-trip of a lifetime with Foods From Chile!”

Yes, really! One lucky writer will go on a Guided Culinary Tour of Chile with members of top media publications from April 7th – April 13th 2013 with flight, transportation, and accommodations all included!

The winner  will visit a number of different areas in Chile known for their wines, olive oils, and fruits (for example, the Atacama, Coquimbo and Valparaíso regions), experiencing tours and tastings at vineyards, olive groves, and fruit plantations. The group will meet with local exporters and producers, and eat specially prepared meals at the restaurants of local Chilean chefs. Continue reading

Wine Predator to Do Steven Kent Tasting at The Rafters, Mammoth!

Happy Lunar New Year! Wines to Celebrate & Pair with Asian Cuisine

chinese new year prayerMay you be happy.

May all your thoughts be positive
and your experiences be good.

May you be free of problems, sickness, and sadness.

May your life be long and peaceful
and may you quickly reach enlightenment.

–Metta prayer

The year of the Black Snake begins on Sunday February 10, 2013  with the new moon rising in Aquarius–and I’m celebrating with an Italian wine!

BuddhaTet2013smAccording to Geomancer and Philosopher Paul Ng, the year 2013 is “Mountain-Thunder Rhythm”– a year of conservation, a year of rebuilding, and a year of changes.

Han-Ban.com says that “the year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create.”

The Snake is “enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined.” Hmmn, I wonder which wines are SNAKE wines??

If you will be celebrating with Chinese or another Asian cuisine, you might be wondering what wine to pair with the complex, often spicy dishes. Continue reading

“Spoon Trick” Saves Birthday Bubbles!

For my birthday  in 2011, I was in Egypt. Last year, I had a huge party. This year, I wanted something more quiet.

EgyptBDayCakeOn the eve of my birthday, we drove late into the night to arrive in the first few minutes of my birthday at Benton Hot Springs Bed and Breakfast in eastern California near the Nevada border. Appropriately, we stayed in the “Cowgirl Room”!cowgirlBenton

In the morning, we soaked in an outdoor hot springs fed pool, enjoyed a delicious breakfast, packed up and put on our ski clothes, and drove 45 minutes to Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada where, at lunch, we met up with Tony Fletcher, a dear friend of ours from Burning Man, a fellow wine enthusiast and music buff who was in California on tour for his book about the Smiths and who joined us for a weekend of skiing. Tony even bought me a birthday beer of the local Mammoth brewing IPA which went perfectly with my pulled pork sandwich at the Mill Cafe on the mountain. (Read about Tony’s epic powder day at Mammoth the day before–possibly the best day of skiing in his LIFE!)

Because of a reservation mix-up, for our accommodations the rest of the weekend, Tamarack Lodge upgraded us to a luxury two bedroom cabin where this exquisite bottle of Roederer Champagne waited, chilled, which we enjoyed with oysters I brought from the Jolly Oyster in Ventura plus some rosemary crackers and goat cheese.  It was worth every penny (and since it was room service, I’m sure that was a pretty penny!)

That night, we hamammothbirthdayd dinner at the Lakeside Restaurant (review to follow!). While they have a nice list, I had brought something even better, a Marilyn Remark 2003 syrah that fellow wine blogger David Rodriguez (aka @zensolo on twitter) had given me in November (review to follow!)  All in all, it was a perfectly incredible day!

On Saturday we skied all day and we cooked dinner in: arugula salad with portabellas cooked in a 30 year tawny port and fresh manila clams from the Jolly Oyster with an amazing chardonnay from Ojai Vineyards (review to follow!). For dessert, we had the 30 year tawny and salted chocolate almonds.

Sunday morning as we were packing up, I realized there was one glass remaining of the Roederer. I’d never tried the spoon trick before–imagine my pleasure to discover that it works perfectly and the Champagne paired delightfully with my bagel and lox!

Thanks to Mammoth, Tamarack, The Lakeside, The Mill,  Zensolo, Tony, Benton, and my family for such a wonderful birthday weekend!

PS Do you like the daffodils? Believe it or not, I brought them from home!

#PinotSmackdown: How To Taste Pinot Noir according to Robin Pfeiffer

What follows last week’s #CabernetDay? #PinotSmackdown Thursday Sept. 6, 2012! According to organizer Ed Thralls,

#PinotSmackdown is an all-day global celebration of the world’s most expressive wine grape combined with a knock-down, drag-out cage fight between YOUR FAVORITE Pinot-producing regions! All you need to participate is wine and Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagr.am or your favorite social channel.  Just be sure to use the #PinotSmackdown hashtag!Who makes the best Pinot you’ve ever tasted?  To vote via your tweets, posts, pins, or instagr.am snapshots simply add another 2-character hashtag after #PinotSmackdown and we’ll count the votes so that region gets bragging rights for the year! Voting region hashtags:

  • #OR – Oregon
  • #CA – California
  • #WA – Washington
  • #NY – New York
  • #46 – U.S. The “Other 46″
  • #FR – France
  • #IT – Italy
  • #DE – Germany (Deutschland)
  • #EU – Europe, beyond France, Germany, Italy
  • #CN – Canada
  • #NZ – New Zealand
  • #CH – Chile
  • #AR – Argentina
  • #AU – Australia
  • #SA – South Africa
  • #WD – World, as in none previously listed

For example, if you are drinking a Pinot from a region in California, simply tag the end of your tweets/posts with:      #PinotSmackdown #CA

FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE

This year for the Pinot Noir Smackdown, I’m betting many post-WBC bloggers are rooting for and writing about Oregon Pinot Noir aka #PinotSmackdown #OR. I know that the most memorable pinot noirs for me right now are from my trip last August.

Like many of the 450 attendees to the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, I joined a pre-excursion trip which included a late afternoon drive to the massive and beautiful King Estates for a scrumptious dinner (deserving of its own blog post) followed by an early morning jaunt from our hotel in Eugene to the Pfeiffer Winery in the southern Willamette Valley and in the northwestern part of Lane County.

It took us about 30 minutes to drive the scenic country roads, passing by alpaca farms, hay farms, forest and finally grape vines to arrive at Pfeiffer where we were greeted by Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer, an enthusiastic, energetic, boisterous and attractive couple.

At one time, Danuta was the co-host of the 700 Club. When Pat Robertson ran for President, she started over and came to Oregon to write a book and be on Air America.  Eighteen years ago, she placed an ad describing herself– and looking for a man who could spell. Robin responded with an invitation to go sailing.

On that first date, Robin Pfieffer brought an unlabeled red wine saying, “It’s a little something we make–pinot noir.”

“What’s so hot about pinot noir?” Danuta asked. Continue reading

2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in PDX: Wine Predator to Ignite!

It’s almost that time again–time for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference!

This year we’re meeting in Portland –close to the Willamette Valley home of Oregon’s justly famous pinot noir and pinot gris! I barely scratched the surface with my trip there last July– highlighted by my visit on my last night to Coleman Vineyard south and west of McMinnville (Gotta love Coleman’s Facebook about page which says: Think globally. Eat locally. Dress casually.) More on Coleman soon!

I’ve made the pilgrimage to the Wine Bloggers Conference a regular part of my wine, writing, and blogging education: I attended the inaugural conference in 2008 as well as 2009 in Sonoma, followed by 2010 in Walla Walla. I also attended the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon as a guest of Enoforum Wine.

I keep going back to the Wine Blogger Conferences because I learn so much about writing and wine–two of my favorite activities combined into one!! It’s amazing to try so many wines from so many regions in such a short time. And over the years I’ve made some wonderful friends as well as connections in the business.

This year in Portland, over 350 consumer and industry wine bloggers will gather on Thursday August 16 for a welcome by Oregon Wine Board. Highlights include speed tastings, a keynotes by Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm and Sideways novelist Rex Pickett, plus many sessions on topics related to wine and writing including IgniteWine! where I will be presenting on “Sex, Wine and the Semi-Colon.” I’m currently debating whether I should include real-life examples of typos or mechanical errors that I come across in wine blogs–but I know that will open mine up to criticism and I am sure there are a few mistakes around here too! What do you think? Is it a good idea or not?

For an example of a great IgniteWine presentation, check out the video above!

In the meantime, please subscribe (in the upper right hand corner) so you don’t miss a single drop!