With Love From Provençe: A Biodynamic Red and a Kosher Rose with Steak, Quiche, Soup, Salad

“We loved the vines — the ordered regularity of them against the sprawl of the mountain, the way they changed from bright green to darker green to yellow and red as spring and summer turned to autumn, the blue smoke in the pruning season as the clippings as burned, the pruned stumps studding the fields in the winter– they were meant to be here,” says Peter Mayle in A Year in Provence (page 8).

Clearly, Mayle is meant to be in Provençe as well to regale us with tales and stimulate our taste buds and inspire our desire to travel Continue reading

Sparkling La Vieille Ferme or Rotari: Happy Chinese New Year of the Pig! Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s!

photo by Deniz Nicole

Happy New Year — Chinese Year of the Pig!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

It’s time to SPARKLE!

Regardless of what you’re celebrating and who you’re celebrating with, we’ve got four sparkling wines for you that won’t break the piggy bank: — two from Italy’s Rotari and two from France’s LaVieille Ferme (which in French means “the old farm”).

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, we celebrated the Year of the Pig and Galentines Day when Sue and I were joined by two Burning Man artists, pyropainter Deniz Nicole of Karousal Kandeo and Kaliedescope Kandeo art installations and Margaret Lambert of Elvis Wedding Chapel and Minstrel Cramp theme camps. Continue reading

Get Your Calendars Out: Central and SoCal Highlights Winter, Spring 2019

While I’m cozy on the couch with cognac listening to the cascades of rain come and go, I know soon it will be time to get out and about for more adventures in wine, food, and travel. After all, I am the Wine Predator and I do love to prowl!

Here are a few events that I have on my calendar — and why.

Continue reading

Get to Know Sagrantino #ItalianFWT

One of Italy’s least known high quality red wines, Sagrantino grows on fewer than 2,400 acres planted in Montefalco in the Province of Perugia, the Umbria region of central Italy, north of Rome  inland of Tuscany. Traditionally, Sagrantino was used to make a Passito or sweet dessert wine, but today, it is well known for the dry or secco versions. Continue reading

Pruning: January in Ventura County’s South Mountain Vineyard

Malbec and other red wine vines at the South Mountain Vineyard of Clos des Amis located above the small town of Santa Paula California. Photo by Gwendolyn Alley.

Instead of attending Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, a break in the weather between winter storms found me drinking my morning coffee while driving the windy South Mountain Road from Santa Paula toward Fillmore along the Santa Clara River in Ventura County’s Heritage Valley (check out Pam Strayer’s  Unified coverage here). The day, while dry, was full of moist air from the river and the rains.

On one side of me, bright balls of orange decorated the glossy dark green leafed citrus trees and on the other steep hillsides banded with chalky marine and red sedimentary layers reminded me of what’s underneath. Soon purple lupine, golden poppies, and yellow mustard will splash across the horizon on the glowing verdant hillsides.

Cisco, my faithful Australian cattle dog sidekick, Continue reading

Flora Springs Releases 2016 Trilogy: An Accessible Napa Cab Blend

“When we started making Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 70s, Napa Valley winemakers followed the Bordeaux model,” says Flora Springs Proprietor John Komes. “The general consensus was that high quality Cabs should be built to age for a long period of time. In practical terms this meant that upon release, many Cabernets were simply too big, too tannic and too overpowering to drink; they needed time in the bottle to mellow out. So in 1984 we decided to try something different, Continue reading