Barolo in His Blood: Aldo Clerico, Bagna Cauda, and Duck #ItalianFWT

Aldo Clerico and Bagna cauda

Aldo Clerico grew up in the heart of Barolo country in his family’s vineyards in Monforte d’Alba in the Langhe in northern Italy. He studied accounting in college, but in 2004 he returned to his roots to become a wine maker:

“After all, he has Barolo ‘in his blood’, Continue reading

Artistry and the Clos des Amis Field Blend Bottling: Ventura County Vineyards November 2021

FOTM Donna Granata, Gretel Compton, Bruce Freeman

“Artists teach us to see the world with refreshed vision, they force us to ask questions about society, they console us and even enrage us. But, above all, they engage us and remind us of our own role in the world,” says Donna Granata, founder and leader of Focus on the Masters (FOTM), a non-profit, 501(c)(3), art appreciation program that documents, preserves, and presents the lives and works of accomplished contemporary artists, with most of them from here in Ventura County, California.

 

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Dreaming Impossible Dreams: Tilting at Windmills with Tempranillo and Verdejo from Castilla La Mancha #WorldWineTravel

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
Ooh, no matter how hopeless
No matter how far…

the beginning of “The Impossible Dream”
by Mitch Leigh (scroll down for complete lyrics) 
from The Man from La Mancha

Growing up, we had a player piano, and “The Impossible Dream” was one of the 100 player piano rolls I grew up playing and singing. Continue reading

What Wine to Pair with Giving Thanks at Home

LOVE… one another

I love the idea behind Thanksgiving– the idea that we as families and friends, that we as a nation, that we as individuals pause, even during a pandemic, to give thanks, to be grateful for what we have, for the bountiful harvest the earth provides for us year after year. The actual holiday of Thanksgiving and what it represents? Not so much. 

Turkey

The Thanksgiving story we grew up with is largely a myth that erases the people who lived here for millennia before the Pilgrims and the Puritans made their way to these shores. The first Thanksgiving celebration didn’t even take place in Plymouth, Continue reading

For Smoked Holiday Ham, Pair With Carménère from Chile

Carménère from Chile with a holiday ham — smoked!

Carménère is the red Bordeaux grape famous for going extinct — and then found flourishing in Chile under the pseudonym of Merlot! It’s hard to imagine how the two could be confused:  if you taste Carménère from Chile, you’d never guess it was Merlot. While both have cherry fruit and herbal notes, Merlot is much more mellow, mild, and smooth while Carménère is more wild and crazy with notes like jalapeño jelly. But everyone figured that was just the influence of the terroir in Chile until Continue reading

Sparkling Wine Secrets: Crémant from Bordeaux Paired with Bisque, Gourmet Grilled Cheese #winophiles

affordable French sparkling wine aka Crémant

Looking for affordable Bordeaux wines to share with friends and family for the holidays? How about an affordable sparkling wine from Bordeaux? Sparkling wine is made all over France in the Traditional Method, not just in the northern region of Champagne. Made anywhere else but Champagne, sparkling wine from France is called Crémant (French for creamy referencing the creamy bubbles), and while the Southeast has several well known examples, Bordeaux wineries make Crémant also– and it’s surprisingly affordable! 

For your next gathering, consider clinking different by pairing bubbles from Bordeaux with a she crab bisque, a green salad, and a selection of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. These two Crémant would also be wonderful wines for brunch.

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All Hail Zinfandel!


What wine do I recommend for holiday meals? All hail the mighty California ZINFANDEL! That’s right, zinfandel is my go to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter Wine because it works with turkey, ham, and prime rib as well as all those rich crazy side dishes. 

“No better story is told than by a Zinfandel at the table,” says David Lucas of Lucas Vineyards in Lodi.

I’ve long loved zinfandel, and I even worked for the King of Zin– Ridge Vineyards. Continue reading