Weekend Wine Warriors: #SauvBlanc Friday, Santa Barbara Nat Hist Museum Sat

YOU’RE INVITED FRIDAY June 24 2011:

“Please join us online, all day, from any time zone on Friday, June 24, 2011 to raise a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. By searching for conversations online mentioning #SauvBlanc you can see what the conversation is all about. By adding #SauvBlanc in your own online posts, you are PART of the conversation. Be a part of the wine tasting too – open a bottle (or several) of Sauvignon Blanc and let everyone know what you think, what food you enjoy along side the wine, what occasions are ideal for the wine, your favorite memories of the wine…it’s all relevant, it’s all fun!”

For Sauvignon Blanc Day, we enjoyed a 2009 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. Lots of lovely acidity and citrus, grapefruit, lime, lemon, a hit of white peach and nectarine, a screw top, and reasonable 12.5% alcohol.Widely available at a grocery store or restaurant near you for under $15; I found it on clearance for $7. I opened it on Wednesday and it was still in great shape by Friday.

I’m especially fond of this wine with arugala pesto so in honor of Sauvignon Blanc Day, my husband stuffed then grilled organic chicken breasts with oyster mushrooms, asparagus and my homemade arugala, rosemary and basil pesto with pine nuts and organic olive oil. On the side, I prepared a salad of organic arugala, basil, and cherokee tomatoes, all fresh from the farmers market, with fresh mozzarella and pine nuts. They all played well together!

June 25 will be quite a day for Santa Barbarians! Saturday is the HUGE Solstice Parade. Wildly decorated people will take over State Street and dance their way from one end to the other, concluding at a park where people can see the floats, dance to live music, and check out vendors. It goes on until 4pm but wine enthusiasts will bug out at 2pm and drive up the hill to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum because YOU’RE INVITED SATURDAY June 25:

Saturday, June 25, 2011 2:00–5:00 PM
Tickets are still available day of/at the door $95.

“SWIRL, SIP, & SAVOR
…wines from more than 70 Central Coast premier wineries complemented with savory and sweet delectable delights at the Santa Barbara Wine Festival™. Escape for an afternoon and enjoy the refreshing ambiance of being in nature as you take pleasure in tantalizing tastings of food and wine. This is a must-do summertime favorite and the wine festival you cannot miss. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s exhibits and science education programs for school children.”

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a wonderful venue and a chance to mix it up with the beautiful people of Santa Barbara for a good cause–my son and another mom and her two boys were just up there a month ago to see the butterflies, the exhibits, the creek, and the raptors in rehab. The 70 Central Coast premier wineries and restaurants presenting savory and sweet delectable delights are all top notch. This is one classy event!

Read more about The Santa Barbara Wine Festival at the SB Museum of Natural History  on their blog. We were going to be out of town so I didn’t get myself a ticket–now we’re going to be here and I have to admit that, as much as I’d like to go, $95 is out of this Wine Predator’s budget!

Ventura County Wine Trail Celebration at Heritage Square Benefits FoodShare

Tomorrow’s 4th Annual Ventura County Wine Trail Celebration showcases the best local wineries as well as fine restaurants and local attractions and includes tastings of great artisan wines, delectable appetizers, and live music.

It’s also a launch for the latest edition of the Ventura County Wine Trail map which lists 17 wineries, but I couldn’t tell you which ones will be pouring except Herzog which publishes the map, did the facebook event page, and sent me a message telling me to visit them at Table #30.

Ventura County Wineries which might be participating include: Continue reading

Pretty in Pink–Salmon & Pinot Noir: Father’s Day for Our Super Heroes

Since the Alaskan Copper River Salmon we found for Father’s Day was out of our budget at $33 pound, we made do with some fresh King salmon, simply prepared and lightly grilled with lemon, olive oil, pepper, and kosher salt.

And it was lovely, served with asparagus and basmati rice, for my husband, son and 90 year old father-in-law. The wine I chose was a 2006 Michel-Schlumberger pinot noir “Le Fou” and for dessert, I made a fresh strawberry and blueberry gallette with vanilla quark and vanilla ice cream which we enjoyed with a Penfold’s port. Yummy!

A little more about the wine: at the end of the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference, I went with a group to Michel-Schlumberger for a vineyard walk and wine tasting.  M-S is located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma, a region most famous for its zinfandels, but M-S specializes in Bordeaux blends as well as a rhone blend and a small amount of pinot noir–a grape that very few people grow in Dry Creek, hence the name of the wine “Le Fou” or “The Fool.” Very generously, M-S gave us a 50% discount on any wine we chose to purchase that day. I invested in a case, most of which is gone, save a bottle or two of The Fool –since I bought 6 that day! (I think it retails around $30 so we got it for $15).

“Le Fou” grows on a steep slope in the most western portion of Dry Creek Valley,  on an eastern facing slope, a spot where the coastal fog creeps in and cools the vines making it possible to grow this “prickly” grape. The alcohol levels are still a bit high for a pinot (14.6% it says on the bottle) but the wine is nicely balanced–it doesn’t come across as too hot.

Be sure to serve this red wine (like all reds)  at cellar temp, not room temp. (That means in the low 60s not the 80s!)

What I like most is how complex it is: this pinot noir is not one of those simple one note strawberry pinots; it has a lot of bramble berries–raspberry, certainly, and blackberry, even a hit of blueberry (ok, not a bramble but a bush…) and some solid fresh cherry. There’s a bit of earth but it’s not very “truffley” –it’s actually more minerally.  The finish is long and rich.  It has nice body but it’s still a pinot, not a pinot passing as a full bodied wine.

What I also like about the Michel-Schlumberger is the care they take of the land: they have sheep, a pond, nesting birds, a “kitchen” garden, bees, and more. While they are not certified anything, they are sustainable by practice and by heart. I am looking forward to visiting the vineyard again this July with my 7 year old son!

I last tasted the 2006 M-S pinot noir in December during the pinot noir tweet up. I brought a bottle to a fundrasier for WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures), a holiday fair where I helped pour wine. This wine was clearly a favorite and I actually had to set the bottle aside to make sure I got some! I also brought this wine to a tasting at Burning Man; there were some amazing wines there and this one held its own. People were pleasantly surprised to discover it was a pinot noir from Dry Creek!

Not surprisingly, the color isn’t as pretty as it was years ago–it’s going a bit coral around the edges–but it is still pretty in pink.

Read on for our 2009 Father’s Day salmon dinner and wine!

Pretty in Pink Father's Day Celebration for Our Super Hero In the Pink Drink for Pre-Dad’s Day Celebration: Here’s MY SuperHero, sneaking in a nap between chapters of Melvin Beederman, Super Hero, one of their favorite chapter books to read and reread. And reread again. We couldn’t recommend Melvin more. The Dad comes highly recommended too. For the Big Monkey, aka Dad to the Small Boy, catching some extra shut-eye is a favorite weekend pastime. So is putting some sockeye salmon on the grill! Thank goodne … Read More

via Wine Predator

What to Pair with Copper River Salmon: Pinot Noir & other ideas

Since Copper River Salmon is currently available, I thought I’d repost this article from two years ago to remind you to enjoy some CRS while it is in season.

Read on for more about CRS paired with a Babich pinot noir from New Zealand and a Vino V pinot noir from the Santa Barbara area. We also tasted the wine with difference musical selections to see how the aural experience changed out palates.

Get your CRS while you can and enjoy it fresh with a pinot noir or try a Washington merlot! It’s also fabulous with The Ojai Vineyard’s Red (pinot-syrah blend) or White (currently a blend of 41% Riesling, 31% Chardonnay, 28% Viognier)–I tried them both on Friday night, and while they’re both winners, I preferred the more earthy, richer Ojai Red over the minerally Ojai White; both retail under $20.

Looking for something bubbly and cold to pair with your CRS? Try a sparkling rose.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #58: wine & music symbiotics A month or so ago I went to a tasting at Paradise Pantry in downtown Ventura where Vino V winemaker Michael Meagher showed off his chardonnay, his Confundido blend, his pinot noir, and his syrah. I knew the syrah and even used it for the Wine Blogging Wednesday North vs South Challenge, so I was excited to experience the others. At a rushed tasting that night (we had a documentary on loons we’d planned to catch that night and we were on bikes), I … Read More

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Zev Robinson’s Film “Dinastia Vivanco: Giving back to wine what wine has given us” Screens Tonight in SF, Friday in Davis

If only I had mastered being in multiple places at the same time…!

But I’ll be here in Ventura doing the #crushit twitter tasting then attending my son’s elementary school talent show (he and five other students are doing Bill Wither’s classic “Lean on Me” with guitar by a parent!)

If I could, I’d be at tonight’s 6:30pm San Francisco film screening of Zev Robinson’s new documentary Dinastia Vivanco: Giving back to wine what wine has given us at the Viz Cinema, to be followed by a wine tasting. And I’ve already seen the film–Zev sent me an advance copy. We were hoping to arrange a screening in Southern California…

If YOU can make it, reserve your spot: http://dinastavivanco.eventbrite.com/

The film traces the Vivanco family’s 100 year history in wine-making, and what each of the four generations contributed to the development of the business, in a unique story as much about vision, persistence and passion as it is about wine.

As a teenager in the early 60’s, Pedro Vivanco started delivering his family’s wine by bicycle, then rose to become a major but anonymous producer for well-known Rioja brands. In the process, and as a result of 40 years of collecting, he and sons Rafael and Santiago have created what many consider the world’s best wine museum, reflecting their passion for wine culture and philosophy of “giving back to wine what wine has given us.”

Canadian-British filmmaker Zev Robinson first visited the Dinastia Vivanco winery and museum in 2009 to film material for his series of documentaries on Spanish wine, and ended up creating an hour long film on the family saga that has played an essential, but little known role in the transformation of Rioja wine.

Founded in 1915 as a small, personal winery, the film traces the contributions of each of the four generations in building the winery. Now run by winemaker Rafael and Santiago Vivanco, the director of the Museum and Foundation, the documentary uses interviews with the family and others conducted during Zev Robinson’s five filming trips to create a narrative interweaving the family’s history with that of the evolution of La Rioja.

Read a blog post about the making of the film. Read more about it and see a preview: http://zevrobinson.com/video/making-the-dinastia-vivanco-documentary/

Tomorrow Friday June 10 at 5pm, Zev will screen the documentary at UC Davis at the Robert Mondavi Institute. Details here http://aic.ucdavis.edu/cwe/dv/ Advance registration required.

Zev is working on a few other wine related projects including one about the Douro, due to be released September 2011. He’s done two previews; this is the second one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SjhATsAiXY

And he’s doing a documentary about Catavino’s Gabriella and Ryan Opaz and the Wine Bloggers Conference. This preview includes an interview with me from last summer in Walla Walla:

TasteLive: #CrushIt for The Crusher 6/9

Last month’s #PlanetBordeaux Twitter TasteLive tasting was fun but a bit of a fiasco: the wine went to the wrong address! Wine Blogger David Rodriguez waited there until FedEx redelivered then drove back to my house to join the group of wine enthusiasts I had gathered who, while waiting, were tasting wine from Planet Bordeaux, Enoforum, and two Crushpad projects.

By the time the Planet Bordeaux wines arrived that we were supposed to be talking about, everyone on twitter had already tasted through the line-up! We joined in at the last minute with the last rose…

Fortunately, this month’s #CrushUp wines arrived the same day as the Planet Bordeaux wines–plenty of time in advance of the Taste Live on Twitter event Thursday, June 9 from 4-6pm (Pacific time). The Crusher wines are  from Don Sebastiani & Sons and originate in Clarksburg, California, an AVA  in the Central Valley formed in 1984.

How can you participate? Don Sebastiani & Sons will be hosting tweet ups in Sacramento, Seattle, Chicago, and Trenton, NJ at the same time–one big national party live and online. In Sacramento, winemaker Greg Kitchens will lead the discussion and field questions.

You can also pick up The Crusher and tweet and taste along with us–or follow the tweet stream on twitter checking out the hashtag #crushit.  These are the ones we’ll be tasting (and in this order):

The Crusher 2009 Chardonnay
The Crusher 2010 Rose
The Crusher 2009 Pinot Noir
The Crusher 2009 Petite Sirah
The Crusher 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Check out http://www.donandsons.com for info about the wines and the Clarksburg region.