Once a month or so, Que Syrah Sue and I sit down with our calendars and a glass or two of wine, we pull out the wine samples, and much like a chess game, we move the bottles of wine around the table as we try to figure out what we’re going to taste, and when, and how, and most importantly, what’s the story we want to tell through the wine. And yesterday was that day we put on the sticky notes for December. Heads up: Sat Dec 3 is gonna be crazy good!
First off, did you know that December is CHAMPAGNE month? Well at least that’s the rumor I heard and I’m sticking with it! Of course, you do know that all that bubbles is not Champagne because Champagne only comes from that region of France. Read more about that in this Champagne day post. So we are going to include as many bubbles as we can this month– from Champagne and other regions around the world ending with Sparkling Wine Day on when else but New Year’s Eve Dec. 31!
Sat. Dec. 3 Italian Food Wine Travel Christmas
December starts off with a bang when we open a bottle of Ferrari sparkling wine from Italy for this month’s Italian Food Wine and Travel Group. This month’s topic is “Christmas in Italy” featuring holiday wines, culinary traditions, or festivals; here’s a preview post with links to participants. For “Italian Holiday Traditions Adapted to California Conditions: 3 dishes with wine” in addition to opening a bottle of Ferrari, we plan to open more bubbles from Prosecco and Lambrusco, plus a Nero D’Avola to pair with homemade raviolis Sue will make with her mom using her Italian grandma’s recipe. She’s also making homemade focaccia, an antipasti, and biscotti for dessert using family recipes and we’re writing about how Italian Christmas traditions found a home in California with her family. Look for that post to be published Sat. Dec. 3; join us for a twitter chat on the topic from 8-9am PST.
Sat. Dec 3 1-2:30pm, Ojai Library: “Liquid Histories: Madeira and Port wine” by Rainer Buschmann, Ph.D., Professor of History, CSUCI
Last month I attended a talk at the Ojai Library on “Southern California’s 19th Century Wine Industry” by Julia Ornelas-Higdon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History at CSUCI; fascinating and informative and local wine luminaries like Adam Tolmach (winemaker and owner of The Ojai Vineyard) attended. So I’m not going to miss this month’s lecture on fortified wine which explores “the multifaceted history behind the marriage between grapes, sugarcane, and strong spirit.” The lecture explains why Madeira became an important place, why it was necessary to fortify wine in the first place, the role of fortified wine in British and American identity, and how Port and Madeira developed in the 20th century. The Ojai Library is located at 111 E. Ojai Ave.
Sat. Dec 3 Ventura Winter Wine Walk, Latitudes 4-7p
On Saturday Dec. 3 from 4-7pm, I’m helping Sue pour wine for Cantara Cellars at Ventura’s Winter Wine Walk. It’s almost sold out so better hurry and get your tickets! Santa’s VIP Holiday Lounge will be catered by Chef Jason Collis from Plated Events plus there’s 65 General Admission tasting locations throughout Downtown Ventura. Each guest receives a tasting cup and a map, plus downtown Main Street is closed to offer a street fair starting at noon, a beautiful festive winter ambiance with live entertainment, holiday lighting, and snow fall from 6:45 pm-8 pm. Proceeds benefit the Downtown Ventura Organization. Come by Latitudes on the corner of Oak and Main Street for a glass of Frankenvine, a blend with lots of Cabernet Franc and say hi! PS Remember to sample, swirl, sniff, sip, and most importantly SPIT!!
Sun. Dec. 4 Cabernet Franc Day and Sat. Dec. 10 Wine Pairing Weekend Does Cab Franc
Speaking of Cabernet Franc, Sunday Dec. 4 is Cabernet Franc Day, and since Sue loves Cab Franc, we are definitely participating in Cabernet Franc Day on Sunday as well as posting on “Winter Comfort Food” paired with Cabernet Franc for Wine Pairing Weekend Sat. Dec. 10. (I can smell the roast cooking already!) We’re also going to be discussing the benefits of joining a wine club — and what a great present to give this holiday season! Learn how to participate in Cab Franc Day and #WinePW from the organizers. Look for our post with Cab Franc from hometown favorites Four Brix plus a winery from Idaho on Sat. Dec. 10!
Mon. Dec. 5 Prohibition Repealed
Maybe December is Champagne or Sparkling Wine Month because December 5 is the day that Prohibition was repealed in the US? Maybe not, but this is certainly a day to celebrate with some bubbly! Or maybe a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from a ghost winery that came back to life after Prohibition like Flora Springs?
Sun Dec. 11 Sparkling Wine Party at the Cave
Sun Dec. 11 from 2-4pm is the annual Champagne and Sparkling Wine Party indoors and outside the Cave in Ventura. Get your ticket soon as this fun party always sells out! The food is excellent as well. PS Remember to sample, swirl, sniff, sip, and most importantly SPIT!!
Sat. Dec. 17 French Fizz
Saturday Dec. 17, I’ll post some notes about some of the wines from the Cave tasting and more when the French Winophiles are writing about French Fizz, with an emphasis on French sparkling wine that’s not from Champagne. We’re planning on pairing these sparklers with fresh local seafood crepes which should be fun and festive.
Soon after, we are going to do a Champagne dinner with oysters and linguini in clam sauce using fresh clams from the Jolly Oyster. We’re hoping to get a post up also about the Piper-Heidsick dinner we attended at the Tuck Room too. Look for that Champagne post before New Year’s Eve!
We’ve also scheduled two dinners to pair with special wines from Napa. One night we have a holiday bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon from Flora Springs, a super Tuscan from Castello di Amorosa, plus a bottle of Napa bubbles TBA and possibly Ehlers Estate Cabernet as well; we’re thinking about osso bucco. On another night, we are talking about pairing a prime rib with three 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Rombauer. We plan to post these before Christmas in time for holiday gift giving.
In addition to these serious wines, we have some fun ones too that you might want to take to a party (yes Black Light comes with a black light flashlight!) as well as some ideas for wine based cocktails!
Sat. Jan. 7 Italian Food Wine Travel: Coastal Italy
Looking into January, on January 7, we will join the Italian Wine Food and Travel group exploring the coast of Italy.
And sometime between Christmas and February, watch for posts about wines from #WineStudio like Troon from Southern Oregon (crazy good Vermentino!), Two Hands Shiraz (at three price points!) from Australia, as well as Malbec from around the world, lunch with South American wine makers, and more!
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