How We Roll in “Wine Country”: New Video Gets Your Swirl On

 

Don’t try to drink wine while you watch this–you might find yourself missing the spit bucket!

Featuring the Bay Area’s Moe Green, Cameron Washington, and Jairo “Rojah” Vargas of Bayonics, lyrics include lines like these:

“Just one thing missing from this blessed day
a motherf—ing magnum of cuvee chardonnay”

  • “You brag about Mohammed, Buddha and Jesus to worship
    but Thomas Keller’s our god so back the f— up”
  • “Just because we like vino
    Don’t make us shallow
    Ask my n—-s
    Ernest and Julio Gallo.”

“It’s a 100 degrees
but I still wear my beanie.”

Thanks for the shout out to my home vineyards in the 805, yo! (More at the 3 mark).

Like their Facebook page.  Visit: http://www.russianhillprojects.com/

PS There are a few offensive words on this video.
So don’t watch it if you don’t want to hear “that kind” of language. Word. Out.

 

SICILY! And more EXPLOSIVE excitement September 19!

Using spittoon at a wine tasting Français : dé...

Using spittoon at a wine tasting Français : dégustation d’un vin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September 19, 2012 I will definitely be doing wine related activities. And lots of wine tasting. And yes, a lot of spitting too.

First, I was invited to join the September 19 Thirsty Girl Twitter Tasting of Handcraft Wines. Then I was invited to join the next Cafe 140 Twitter Tasting. Then I received an invitation to an industry tasting of the San Francisco International Wine Competition award-winning wines. All on the same day.

Fortunately, September 19 is a day that I can devote to wine tasting.

Then, on Wednesday morning, as I was preparing to run some errands and then post about #CabernetDay and #PinotSmackdown, I checked my email and saw one from Elisabetta Tosi, a wine blogger and the Italian Ambassador to Palate Press.

She was writing to invite me to join a wine blogging tour of the Mt Etna wine region in Sicily. In two weeks. September 19-23.

Organized by Consorzio Tutela Vini Etna D.O.C., in collaboration with Fermenti Digitali and with support of Camera di Commercio di Catania, this is a tour for wine bloggers organized by wine bloggers. How cool but…no way! I had to teach, I had to write papers for grad school, who would get my kid to school…and how could I get a flight at this last-minute that would fit their budget? So I headed off on my errands.

And then it hit me–ITALY! WINE! VOLCANO! YES YES YES YES YES! Of course, YES! What in the world was I thinking? Of course I could make it work in order to go to Sicily and learn about and taste wines grown on the side of THE MOST ACTIVE VOLCANO in the WORLD!

I did a bunch of research. And that made me want to go even more to taste these wines that are getting a lot of attention! And I figured out how to put all the pieces together–except the flight part. There were no flights available for 500 euros. It was going to take 1000 euros to get this California girl onto Sicilian soil.

The bad news is, this September 19 I’m not going to be tasting and writing about wines grown on Mt Etna.

The good news is, they plan to invite me on the next trip planned for spring or possible fall 2013. Which will give me more time to prepare for the trip. And I’ll be home in California September 19 tasting and tweeting away.

You’re invited to join in the fun: you can subscribe and read about my adventures in wine and you can pick up the wines we’ll be tasting. Continue reading

#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

How to Celebrate Cabernet Day 2012

Personally, I can’t imagine a #Cabernet Day better than last year’s at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert. I was joined at my Art Predator and Wine Predator camp in Kidsville by Jim Morris (aka Sonoma Wine Guy on Twitter) and Tony Fletcher (blogger, dj and author of several books on music and musicians including Keith Moon) plus author Mark Lorentzen aka Puma who always brings over $1000 worth of fine wine to Burning Man.

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!

#WBW77 & #WBW78: Good Wines for Bad Days & Can You Say Viognier

Alleigh from “A Glass After Work” hosted the May rendition of Wine Blogging Wednesday by asking us what we want to drink after a bad day at work.

As you can imagine, there was quite the range of answers. I looked at a few of the blog posts and I think I like Talk-A-Vino’s best–I was intrigued by his wine selections and agreed with his criteria. Alleigh’s wine choice, a 2008 zinfandel from Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard definitely sounded like a go to wine for me too! Here’s my submission for WBW #77.

June’s Wine Blogging Wednesday is almost upon us! The theme for WBW#78 taking place next Wednesday June 20 is “Viognier” aka “Get Your Viggy On” hosted by Frank aka “Drink What You Like” which is often wine from Virginia, his home state, and one that is big on “viggy” –Virginia’s “signature” grape. (Seriously!)

I’m down with Viognier, but not hip to “viggy.” Sorry–unless we’re talking about Viggo Mortensen and both Exene and John Doe are in the room and maybe we’re all tossing about lines of haiku or poetry or doing a exquisite corpse or something.

In the meantime, Continue reading

Two SoCal Wine Festivals To Prowl This Weekend!

Wine Predator plans to prowl this weekend at two Southern California wine festivals this weekend: LA WineFest which runs  June 9 and 10, and the 26th Annual Ojai Wine Fest Sunday June 10 from 1-5pm on the shores of Lake Casitas near Ojai, CA. Continue reading

WBW #77: Bad Day? Good Wine!

Where do you turn after a bad day at work? Specifically, May’s Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt from host Alleigh from A Glass After Work asks: what glass of wine do you turn to?

Fortunately, I more often than not come home exhilarated after a day –or a night–at work because my “day” job is usually at night: I teach writing at a community college and day after day, night after night, my students amaze me. I have a job where I make a difference in my students lives, and I get to see them learn and grown over the course of the semester, to discover themselves as writers, as thinkers.  A single mom of 3 told me that our class activities had shown her, reminded her that she’s more than just a mom, but a person with ideas, and that she still “exists.”

But there are definitely THOSE DAYS. Continue reading

Barossa or Queensland Australia? If it’s wine, I want to taste it!

Have you tried any wine from Queensland Australia? Did you even know there were almost 200 wineries there?

I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to see whether I am one of 10 bloggers selected to go to Queensland Australia for a 5 day blogging adventure with ProBlogger Darren Rowse. In my application I said:

I will enthusiastically use my social media “Klout” to share stories about rainforest and Great Barrier Reef biodiversity, artists and poets like Oodgeroo Noonuccal, efforts to be green, and cutting-edge cuisine. Discovering Queensland’s growing wine industry and opportunities for hiking, camping, and other family friendly adventures are also topics of great excitement to me. Continue reading

The Perfect Clock for Wine Bloggers: Cheers, it’s time for an adult beverage!

I’m a seasoned writer and wine blogger, about to hit 300 blog posts over here on Wine Predator (and 1300 on Art Predator!), but even if you’re a beginning wine blogger, with only a few blog posts and wine samples under your belt, you can probably relate to this Writers Clock!

I do have two revisions: instead of “Toss,” it should be delete or trash, then undo!  And instead of “Submit,” it should be “Preview”!

I love that every hour it’s time for an adult beverage! And I think it’s about time for one for me–an Ojai Vineyard Rose in fact, nice and crisp for this warm spring day! This rose is mostly Roll Ranch Syrah from the upper Ojai Valley (read more about Ojai Vineyard’s Roll Ranch Viognier and Syrah) with 5% grenache and 5% riesling. I opened yesterday to have with our Easter ham, mashed potatoes with castella blue cheese and asparagus. Awesome pairing and a super pretty salmon color–or like the pale pink blush on an apricot or a peach…

Ojai Vineyard Rose crab oysters

The Ojai Vineyard rose is also interesting with oysters, which is what I’m enjoying right now: they bring out the minerality in each other, more complexity in both the Pacific and the kumamoto oysters and the rose. Not a sweet but a tangy tangerine, rose flower and dried petals, dried apricot on the long finish.  Barrel fermented in older oak, it’s got a real cork closure, it clocks in at 13% alcohol, and less than 600 cases were made. join the club like I did and you won’t miss out! With my club discount I think it was about $15.

The Ojai Vineyard Rose is NOT your grandmother or aunt’s pink wine or white zinfandel–it is NOT sweet, fruity or anything that they would probably like, except the color. This is a wine that can hold its own with spicey ham, blue cheese potatoes, oysters and crab drenched in butter…

Happy writing!

PS If you’re experiencing some writer’s block and  you just don’t know what to write about, check out this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt–and when the clock strikes “Adult Beverage”–open a bottle of Barossa! Blog posts are due Weds. April 25.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #75 “Singles Night”: Out with Ojai Vineyards Roll Ranch

For Wine Blogging Wednesday #75  Joe Robert’s prompt on 1 Wine Dude says:

  • Your mission is to procure a wine produced from grapes grown in a single vineyard, and tell the world about it on March 21st.
  • You can pick any wine style, made from any grape(s), hailing from any region of the world
  • The only catch is that the wine’s grapes should come from a single vineyard The point is to get as close to a wine coming from one single plot of land as you can, to emphasize how what’s special about that place on Earth gets transmitted to you through that wine

I planned to visit Roll Ranch in the upper Ojai Valley in Ventura County and talk about The Ojai Vineyard‘s wines made from grapes grown there.

But I Just Flat Ran Out of Time. Instead I did the next best thing–I got Annie Any-Day to come over to taste two wines from Ojai Vineyard’s Roll Ranch with me.

Why Annie? Because she had her horses up in Ojai for fifteen years and worked at Rancho Fino in the upper Ojai for nearly two years taking care of 50 Paso Fino horses, horses that can dance to flamenco music, almost like thunder. She has a lot of time on the land, quality time.

When she says that the Ojai Vineyard Viognier reminds her of sweet oat hay from Ojai, she has a certain authority that few have. That oat hay quality is the best oat hay in the world she says–and again she should know, having 40 years experience with horses. It has the most vitality to it, she says, you can feed it to your horses and they feel good. “I would eat it!” she admits with a giggle.

The Ojai Valley gets a lot of sun. In fact it’s famous for its sunny days. It is sunny almost every day of the year. Because the upper Ojai gets so much sun makes it great for sweet oak hay says Annie.

All that sunshine, plus the soil, provides certain conditions which have been harnessed by Adam Tolmach and his basically hands-off approach in his Roll Ranch Viognier and Syrah which I opened last night for the Rhone Rangers twitter tasting hosted by @WilliamSonoma aka William Allen and celebrating the Rhone Rangers event this weekend in San Francisco. Here’s a link to Rhone Rangers tickets and info. Read more about the Rhone event in SF and other things Rhone on William’s blog “Simple Hedonisms.”

The viognier is the color of Ojai sweet oat hay, says Annie, a light golden color, with no green to it. Because the land gets so much sun, the hay is so sweet. But because it is so cool at night, it’s excellent for the grapes.

While I’m down in Ventura cursing the cold foggy evenings, the land is exhaling, and inhaling, drawing the ocean air inland, and the grapes in upper Ojai cool down.

The nose of the Ojai Vineyards Viognier is honeysuckle pineapple, lemon zest, fresh like linens off the line. It gives you a run for your money! In the mouth, it swirls around and tingles your tongue, like when you eat pineapple, and makes you want to Buddha laugh because there’s a spiritual element, a connection with the earth–you feel a clarity like after meditation. It’s an energetic, uplifting wine, it grabs you and makes you alert, elevating your spirit. It offers a full mouth-feel, more in the center of the palate. The finish is velvety, smooth, lingering. Overall, the wine is subtle and graceful, not overwhelming and cloying like some viogniers. Barrel fermented in older oak barrels for 11 months on lees and completing a second ML,  there’s definitely some vanilla here and a wonderful richness. The winemaker says it could handle 10 years in cellar.

2005 Roll Ranch Syrah: I could just sniff this 2005 Roll Ranch Syrah all day–it smells that good. Annie says the layers it exhibits reminds her of the striped Topa Topas–the one that hosts the iconic pink moment, the mountain range behind the Ojai Valley. When you’re in the upper Ojai, the air is so clear you feel as if the mountains are close enough to touch.

There’s a legend attributed to the Chumash that says  all you need to do is hang your head over the top of the Topas, and the wind will take your cares away.

Well, this wine is a lot easier to climb then the Topas and will accomplish the same goal. Just take one whiff, let the smell of this syrah expand in your lungs and release the stress from your mind. Drinking this wine is like watching a glass blower take a blob of material and turn it into something intricate, expansive, amazing.

That same hot summer Ojai sun that makes that sweet oat grass hay ripens the Roll Ranch fruit into a super intense mind blowing expansive experience. It smells like a sunny day in a blackberry field–warm, earthy, ripe, rich, with plenty of tannins to balance and let you out this one away for years. You can smell your wine 6″ from your nose–you can smell your neighbor’s wine. If you’re using the right glass, that is–more on wine glasses in a post soon!

Ojai’s transverse range is one of the few places in the world where black oil seeps out of the ground and there’s a bit of that oily, petroleum earth and graphite plus a bit of warm cedar in the wine:

You don’t have to go sit in a mineral spa–just sip this syrah and you’ll get all the benefits of soaking in a hot tub!

This syrah is viscous like oil and it rolls off your tongue, offers plenty of black and blue fruit,  and the finish lasts and lasts with a black cherry on top. Just a superb wine, in a gorgeous bottle with a deep punt and massive shoulders built to carry it over time. It’s almost a shame that I opened this 2005 syrah in 2012–it could have gone for a few more years!

Just because I didn’t get to visit Roll Ranch for this blog post doesn’t mean I’ve given up on going there. Look for part two in this series of posts about Ojai Vineyard’s Roll Ranch. I plan to take horsewoman Annie Any-Day and geologist Bacchus Schmaccus with me; we’ll probably hook up with an assistant winemaker and maybe a cellar rat! Who knows, they might even put us to work out there before we retire to the tasting room in Ojai! Subscribe (that’s the box in the upper right hand corner) and you get part 2 in your in-box!