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

Wine Bloggers Head to Santa Barbara County July 11-14, 2014!

WBC14SBI am so excited! On the last night of the Wine Bloggers Conference, organizers announced that the next WBC  will be held in my backyard July 11-13, 2014!

Well okay so Santa Barbara is not exactly in my backyard (although I already have people signing up to camp there) but practically!

In 2014, wine bloggers from around the world will gather in Buellton, in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, near Los Olivos and the Hitching Post of Sideways fame. That’s a little more than an hour drive from my house in Ventura.

Not only I am looking forward to finally (finally!) learning more about the wines growing in my ‘hood, but this time I am definitely getting more involved in every aspect that I can for the conference. 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

Invite Paco & Lola to play on Albarino Day, Thurs. May 9, 2013

albarinoday2013

Like the minerality and acidity of Riesling, the body and white stone fruits of Viognier, and the floral notes of Pinot Gris?

Then you should check out Albarino–and there’s no better day than today, the Second Annual Albariño Day,  Thursday, May 9th, 2013!

The second annual Albarino Day caught me by surprise but fortunately, I have a few bottles of Albarino from Paco & Lola around. I saw it on sale and I went for it because  it is such a wonderful wine with lots of bright acidity with tangerine and lime and  that’s seafood friendly–especially with my beloved fresh raw oysters from Jolly Oyster at the Ventura State Beach!

Plus just a few days ago I picked up two bottles of Old Creek Ranch Winery’s Albarino de Moto (regularly $22) at my son’s school fundraising silent auction! (Old Creek Ranch Winery is a my local pick for Wine Tourism Day; read more about it here).

Unfamiliar with Albarino? Probably because most of this dark green, thick-skinned grape is grown in Spain, with very little of it found in the US. Albariño accounts for 90% of plantings in the Rías Baixas region of Spain. But as it grows in popularity, expect to find more of it here!

Want to join in celebrating Alabarino? 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

Message in a Bottle: Waves, Wines, Words Writing Workshop

I’ve been busy getting all the details figured out for the “Message in a Bottle: Ocean to Ojai” writing workshops that I’m doing with Danika Dinsmore as part of Ojai’s WordFest March 19-27, 2011.

A week or so ago I checked out venues for the winemaker dinner and open mic for Thurs March 24 and stopped by Old Creek Ranch Winery to talk with owner John Whitman and winemaker Michael Meagher. We also enjoyed some tasting: the petit sirah from the barrel is out of this world delicious!

And while I can’t make any promises, it’s looking likely that the cherry trees will be blooming at Old Creek Ranch Winery!

Here are all the fabulous details–menus and wines to come soon!

Message in a Bottle: Ocean to Ojai --Whales, Wines, Words Writing Workshop Writing instructors Gwendolyn Alley of Ventura, California and Danika Dinsmore of Vancouver, British Columbia join forces Thursday, March 24 to offer a unique writing workshop that engages the senses and ignites the imagination. Message in a Bottle: Ocean to Ojai – Waves, Wines, Words, an event during Ojai’s WordFest, will take its participants on a journey that begins with a whale watching cruise, continues at small family owned working ranch, and ends in the majestic Ojai Valley. … Read More

via The Write Alley

Wine Blogging Wednesday #66 Meet Sugar High Fridays

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday host, Jennifer Hamilton of The Domestic Goddess offers a first dual event between WBW and Sugar High Friday which has been going almost as long as WBW: 66 months vs 62.

The Domestic Goddess suggests the following theme: Your Tenderest Twosome:

“Most meals end with dessert and coffee or a glass of liqueur. The focus on the meal is long since gone, as is the wine. Guests are getting sleepy, hosts are getting antsy about the clean-up ahead of them and no one is paying attention to what they’re eating or drinking anymore. I think this is shameful. Every once in a while, dessert deserves the attention given to a main course…

The proper pairing of a sugary confection with a good wine is a difficult thing to maneuver. I have seen it done a few times in restaurants, once or twice at dinner parties and maybe done it once myself – and I almost certainly managed it by accident. Do you go sweeter with the wine than the dessert or match it? Do you go red or white or ice? Do you try to harmonize regions or go completely off the map (so to speak) with your choice…?

Shf_logo You have the chance to decide all this and more for yourself this month with the first ever joint SHF-WBW Dessert-Wine Pairing Event! All bloggers (food, wine or otherwise) are welcome to participate. Post your entry on Wednesday, February 24.”

So what will I taste and write about? You know I love my ports…and I just received a bottle of Twisted Oak Pig Stai in a recent wine shipment. And then there’s that bottle of Kachina Port on the shelf that I got at the Wine Bloggers Conference. But I have a few other ideas up my sleeve…like a 2002 or a 2006 Lillypilly Noble Blend from AUS which I picked up at Grateful Palate Warehouse sales on the advice of owner Dan Phillips and would be a new wine and a new winery for me. Or I could go with a familiar and local winery, Old Creek Ranch Winery, and try their ice wine, a typed of wine I’ve never had before.

So what will I be in the mood for? Something familiar? or something brand new? Guess now I need to do some research in the dessert department to figure out what I want to pair with what!

Thanks, Jennifer, for offering us a challenge!

P.S. I Love You Presents “Dark & Delicious”

Tonight P.S. I Love You, a Petite Sirah advocacy group led by Jo Diaz, presents “Dark & Delicious” to Petite Sirah and foodie fans who can get to the SF Bay Area tonight,  Friday night February 19, 2010.

I am one of those Petite Sirah fans who thought she could get there. But alas, no. Life intervened–my husband had a major accident and that will curtail our travels and activities for the next three months.

And so instead of joining Petite Sirah fans up there to taste PS from 45 wineries, I will join them via cyber space, tasting and tweeting PS I Love You and a blog post too tomorrow. I pulled from my cellar a Twisted Oak PS 2006 from a recent Twisted Few shipment and winemaker Michael Meagher gave me 2007 Napa PS from Old Creek Ranch Winery for the occasion. (Hmmn, I know Twisted Oak is a member of PS I Love You and I bet El Jefe himself will be there tonight; I wonder if Old Creek Ranch Winery is a member yet?)

And instead of trying all those fabulous foods from the amazing restaurants represented at Dark & Delicious, well, since we can’t leave the house because of that injury to my spouse, the plan is to bring food home from Main Course and Prime Steakhouse.

Oh and if this post makes you want to attend, unless you already have tickets, you’ll have to go with me next year because it sold out a week ago.

Wine Blogging Weds #61: At the source & drinking the juice–a visit to Old Creek Ranch Winery

WBWlogo Thanks to Wine Blogging Wednesday founder and this month’s host Lenn Thompson of the blog Lenndevours: The New York Cork Report who prompts us this month to visit a winery–to taste and blog about a wine after visiting the source with bonus points for actually tasting with the winemaker.  Here’s the complete story on his blog.

Where should I go? Well, it wasn’t much of a question as I had limited time available. While I am fortunate to have Sideways wine country practiOld Creek Road Winery open 909cally in my backyard, I simply contacted Michael Meagher, winemaker at Old Creek Ranch Winery, which is about 15 minutes away from my home near the beach and Michael invited me over last Friday for when his first load of grapes arrive–viognier!Winemaker MM at OCRW with 2009 Viognier

To hint at what kind of experience I had: I came home happily covered in grape juice, tasted the delish grenache blanc about to be bottled with the winemaker, and brought home the recently bottled but not yet released and not even labeled yet 2008 viognier!!

A little background: Old Creek Ranch Winery, established in 1981, is up Highway 33 on the Old Creek Ranch between the towns of Ojai and Ventura, California on a historic winery site. On the left is a picture of what remains of that winery; in the foreground is the native food plant, narrow-leaf milkweed, for monarch butterfly larva. historic winery now monarch butterfly preserve

According to the Old Creek Ranch  website:

The Ranch is part of a Spanish 22,000 acre land grant awarded to Don Fernando Tico, dating back to the early history of California. In the late 1800’s Antonio Riva of northern Italy purchased the ranch. He was a chef in Paris, London and later in San Francisco. He built a winery on the ranch at that time.

Wines were made without electricity and utilized gravity as a means to move the wine in the processing. Riva produced wine until about 1942, including the prohibition years. Wine purchasers would leave an order and money on the clothesline and would return later to pickup a jug of red wine left at the base of an oak tree.Old Creek Road ends at the winery

My first experience with Old Creek Ranch Winery Continue reading

Wine Blogging Wednesday #61: Go to the source!

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Wine Blogging Wednesday founder Lenn Thompson of the blog Lenndevours: The New York Cork Report and who started Wine Blogging Wednesday five years ago says he likes “to hop in and host at least once a year. It’s fun to force people to drink what you tell them to. It’s a power rush.” Here’s the complete story. Continues Lenn:

Rather than walking into your local wine shop to pick up a wine for WBW, I want you to actually visit a winery and taste a wine there. Bonus points if you can taste it with the winemaker or the vineyard manager.

Post Wednesday September 16, and let Lenn know you want to play with a comment on his blog or an email.

I’m definitely playing along. I contacted Michael Meagher, winemaker for both Vino V and Old Creek Road Winery, and he invited me over on Friday for when the viognier arrives! So I get to check out harvest and do some tasting with a winemaker! So come back for that post next Wednesday, Sept. 16. Later, over on his blog, Lenn will do a round-up of all the participants.