“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

I Made The List! Plus 5 Wine Blogs “I” Read

Following Vintank’s blog post last week listing the 9 most influential wine bloggers, several commenters observed the list was limited to one gender–male. The comments section has quite a ruckus going on–some of it insightful and provocative.

Last year, following the publication of a similar list and various online discussions about it and the fact that it too was a list of male wine bloggers, Jo Diaz posted her list of women bloggers. (If you need a refresher about this, you can do so here.)

This year, two bloggers responded with their own lists–and I made both of them! Continue reading

Wine How To Redux: Avoiding Palate Fatigue

Nearly two years ago I wrote the following blog post about palate fatigue. It’s one of the Top 10 posts on this site so I thought maybe I should review my advice and see if I still agree with it!

Fortunately, I do.

During the past week, I tasted a lot of wine: about 2 dozen wines at Bridlewood with winemaker David Hopkins, 15-20 wines at three Ventura County wineries on Friday, a couple of bottles on Saturday at home for blog posts, on Sunday another 20 or more wines at 4 Ventura County Wineries,  two more wines on Monday, then on Tuesday about 50 wines at an industry event in Los Angeles. That’s a lot of wine, but I didn’t have any problems with palate fatigue (no hangovers, either).

And I’m preparing for Dark & Delicious where I will taste as many as 50 different Petit Sirahs! Insert image of red wine tongue here!

So in addition to the ideas about palate fatigue in the post below, I’ve learned this about attending tastings:

1) Drink lots of liquids before (and after) the tasting; don’t drink water during. I like protein shakes before.

2) If you taste a lot of wine often, you don’t get palate fatigue like you do as a beginner.

3) Dump. Spit. Dump. Spit. Dump. Spit. You’re not going to offend anyone!

4) When in doubt, don’t drive. When your palate is fatigued, maybe this is a sign for you to stop tasting. There was a woman at the tasting Tuesday who insisted she could drive home. While I prayed the valet didn’t give her her keys, we went for sushi and let the traffic die down. I didn’t want to be on any road she was on.

5) Wear dark clothes!

Keep reading for more tips on what to do about palate fatigue.

Wine How To: Avoid Palate Fatigue When I applied for the “dream job” as Caretaker of the Great Barrier Reef I discovered a whole community of fellow applicants–warm, interesting people who share my interests. Same thing around this time as an applicant for the Murphy-Goode’s Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent. One of the cool people is Andy over at Andy’s Goode Life Blog where she’s hosting a blog carnival by asking us to respond to these three questions: When I drink red wine … Read More

via Wine Predator

WBW# 68: I Got Gamay, Babe!

Today is Wednesday, Wine Blogging Wednesday, so last night I prepared for my task of “Got Gamay?” by opening up a bottle which is readily available to most consumers. Wondering what I am talking about? (Cue up Sonny and Cher singing a variation of “I Got You, Babe” as “I Got Gamay, Babe!”)

“Drink What You Like” hosts April’s Wine Blogging Wednesday 68 – Got Gamay? where wine bloggers from around the world taste and blog on a common theme each month (thanks to  Lenn Thompson of New York Cork Report who started the monthly event over five years ago!) The host writes, “Gamay is unfortunately best know as the grape that produces Beaujolais Nouveau, popularized by George Duboeuf.”

Since we also had a pork tenderloin planned for dinner, possibly stuffed with canned plums (yum!), I thought I’d double check around the web and see what people had to say about this pairing where I found this article on various chefs’ wine pairings with pork tenderloin.While each chef had a different wine to suggest depending on the presentation of the pork, I found one chef who appreciates beaujolais with the “other” white meat: Continue reading

2010 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Applications To Close Early!

Because the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla Washington has filled up and sold out ALREADY, WBC scholarship applications will NOT be accepted until May as originally planned but closed a month early on Friday!

However, if you still want to apply for a scholarship to the WBC 2010, you can still send in your application over the weekend (like NOW) and it will be reviewed: wbcscholarship at gmail dot com. They need to know the following about you and your blog:

  1. Full Name
  2. Contact information including email and phone number
  3. Blog address and what you’re all about
  4. Requested funds – please be specific, and indicate if you need the registration fee, full or partial hotel, full or partial airfare.  Remember, that times are tough and a lot of people need assistance, so please be honest and realistic about your requirements.
  5. In 250 words or less, please tell us why you would like to attend the WBC and why we should consider your application.

I am now working on my application in hopes that I will receive a scholarship and once again attend the fabulous Wine Bloggers Conference. I’d really like to learn more about Washington wines at the source–Washington!!–and share the experience here on Wine Predator with you as I did in Santa Rosa in 2008 and 2009 as well as in Lisbon 2009.

And if you can, please support the Wine Bloggers Scholarship fund and help send needy wine bloggers to Walla Walla Washington! The fund is $1500 short of its goal to fund 10 bloggers (and hopefully one of those 10 bloggers will be me!)

Wine How To: Avoid Palate Fatigue

Gwendolyn Alley IS Murphy-Goode!  Please vote here:  http://www.areallygoodejob.com/video-view.aspx?vid=MEPRrfj1uHUWhen I applied for the “dream job” as Caretaker of the Great Barrier Reef I discovered a whole community of fellow applicants–warm, interesting people who share my interests. Same thing around this time as an applicant for the Murphy-Goode’s Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent.

One of the cool people is Andy over at Andy’s Goode Life Blog where she’s hosting a blog carnival by asking us to respond to these three questions:

  1. When I drink red wine, I often get the dreaded “red wine teeth,” which is an embarrassing condition to have at a party when I intend on talking, smiling, or otherwise showing my newly wine-stained chompers. And is there any way to reduce this affliction without hampering my enjoyment of red?
  2. What are your tips to avoid “palate fatigue” when tasting so many wines in a session?
  3. Why smell the cork?

Since I discovered I had several stories I wanted to share, I chose to answer all three questions but in different posts since it was getting so long! So here’s my answer to #2. And please head over to Andy’s place and vote for one of my blog posts! Good practice for voting for me over at Murphy-Goode…

2. How do I avoid palate fatigue? I smile at this question, thinking back to the Delicious Wine Tasting in Santa Monica earlier this month. I brought three friends with me, Helen and her partner Grant who both work in the hospitality industry and influence wine selection at the high end restaurants, and my friend David who I’ve learned to rely on for good notes, a delicate palate, and a willingness to drive f I don’t do enough spitting.

Helen does a local TV show called “Tidbits” and we were shooting a segment, so we had a camera and mic. We were interviewing and tasting. It was exhausting, partly because most of the people we were talking with were French and we’re not. Plus our French is awful but our curiousity great. The food had run out early on, right after we’d had something after our nearly 90 minute drive; I’d even heard an organizer make a snide remark about one of my friends “making a meal out of a bread bar.”  So another 90 minutes later, when more bread and cheese arrived, we filled the tiny plates, chose different wines to see what happened with the food, and settled into some couches outside the room to compare notes and take a break.

This is where I answer the question, by the way. Continue reading