Sparkling Wines from Italy: Invitation to join #ItalianFWT Sat. May 6

Guilio Ferrari is a very special cuvee from Ferrari Trento made from grapes grown in the far north of Italy in the Alps

As we near spring and summer time celebrations, my mind turns toward BUBBLES!

And while most people associate bubbles with Champagne, there’s so much more! Sparkling wine is made all around the world, in different styles from Prosecco in Italy to Cava from Spain, as well as sparkling wine made in the traditional way of Champagne France. Continue reading

The People’s March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice — plus wine!

Across the country today, right now, people are marching for climate, jobs, and justice.

It’s an event that’s been in the planning for a year, but in the making for many years.

The wine industry, like other agricultural industries, has taken an active role because when it comes to climate change, the vines that grow wine grapes are being impacted severely: radical and erratic and intense weather is putting whole harvests in jeopardy. Drought then drenching rains makes it hard to plan. And more.

I have said many times that wine is the gateway drug to caring about climate change and global warming. When people see their favorite wines and wineries impacted, they will see it hitting home.

That’s why many of us are taking to the streets today. It is hitting home. Read more about it here.

Read more about what I am doing in Ventura here.

More about the impacts of Climate Change on wine.

2 NZ SBs from Marlborough for Sauvignon Blanc Day

Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day 2017 #1!

As an established wine writer and blogger (since 2008!), I get sent pitches daily about various wines, and often, somewhere near the bottom,  these pitches include offers of samples of wine, which I tend to say yes to because, as you may have guessed, I am fond of wine, and I like learning about wine, trying wine with food, and then writing about what I learn.

And because I like celebrating the various “wine days” like last Monday’s Malbec World Day, or December’s Cabernet Franc Day, and more, and because the wine industry likes celebrating them too, for the past few years, I’ve been pitched for International Sauvignon Blanc Day many times but what is confusing is that in the same year, I can get pitches for two dates: April 24 and May 5!

For example, on April 24, Flora Springs invites us to the “seventh annual global online celebration for one of our favorite varietals, Sauvignon Blanc.”  They will be celebrating with their proprietary clone called “Soliloquy” which UC Davis certified in the 1980s with folks who ordered the 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and/or the 2015 Soliloquy Oakville Sauvignon Blanc in advance. They’re hosting a contest on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SauvBlanc with a mention of @florasprings in tweets or posts. Winners will receive a Flora Springs prize pack sans wine.

For this first round of Sauvignon Blanc Day, we have two Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand: Loveblock’s from Otago (SRP $22) and  The Darling 2016 from Marlborough. For SB Day #2, we have ambitious plans to do a round the world blind tasting of sauvignon blanc from five continents! (See the list of wines below). Continue reading

Wildflowers and Wine: Santa Barbara Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills AVA

Hillsides surrounding the vineyards at Sanford and elsewhere in Southern California are covered in bright yellow mustard flowers; the barley cover crop was chosen to draw excess moisture from the soil in this rainy year.

Looking for a wild flower show? With a side of wine?

If so, head to the Santa Barbara Hills in April… and if you’re lucky you’ll also catch the Vintners New Release Spring Weekend more here.

Along the way you will be thrilled by spring green hillsides with yellow mustard, splashes of patches of orange poppies, strips of purple vetch, asters, lupine, and others, plus fields of orangey-yellow fiddleneck along with vines budding out in Chartreuse and Peridot near deep emerald oak trees with bright shiny leaves. Continue reading

April 17: Happy Malbec World Day! Cheers With Trivento’s 2014 Amado Sur!

Cheers! It’s Malbec World Day!

According to Wikipedia, Malbec World Day is celebrated on April 17 because that is the day in 1853 when “president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento officially made it his mission to transform Argentina’s wine industry” by inviting  French soil expert Michel Aimé Pouget to adapt French varietals, including Malbec, to Argentina.

The whole month of April is Malbec month, so if you missed giving a toast to Malbec tonight, you have about two more weeks! Of course, the Wines of Argentina folk hope it will be a Malbec from Argentina but as the largest production of this wine is from Argentina, chances are pretty good that’s where the wine in your glass will be coming from!

Recently, I traveled to LA to the official residence of the Argentine Consulate to taste wines that are seeking importers or distributers in the US. There I learned more about the wines of Argentina, including of course, Malbec.

A few facts about Malbec and Argentina from Marcelo Pelleriti’s presentation:

  • Malbec is the most planted varietal in Argentina
  • Argentina is the main producer in the world of Malbec
  • Malbec was first brought to Argentina in 1853
  • The oldest Malbec vines in Argentina were planted in 1861
  • Malbec and Malbec blends account for almost half of the entire Argentinean wine category in the U.S.
  • Malbec is grown in three regions in Argentina, in various elevations, and with great variability.

Continue reading

Taco Tuesday: Mexican Mole with French Wine

When you think French wine, you probably think expensive. And you might think of French cuisine or expensive fancy food.

When we got the prompt for this month’s French Winophiles — to go cross-cultural– we started thinking about the wonderful and surprising pair of lamb curry with Grenache and Cab Franc from Meeker Vineyard. We decided we wanted to try a spicy food with an inexpensive (under $20 red wine).

And that led us to something similar but different for this week’s prompt: Mexican mole sauce with French wine. Continue reading

Standards: Lodi Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel for an easy midweek meal

“Broken Vine” Lodi Zinfandel

“Honey, can you stop by Ferraros and get some meat sauce?”

When there’s just a little too much going on and you need an easy midweek meal and a glass of wine, what’s your standard response?

That’s the theme for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend: “My Old Stand By.”

For me, that’s when I call my spouse, or he calls me, and says, “Put the pasta water on!” and we pick up either fresh pesto from Trader Joe’s or meat sauce from our favorite local Italian restaurant, Ferraros, and sometimes both! The person at home throws together either a caesar salad (do a three minute boil on the eggs in the pasta water! surprisingly easy!) or a green salad with Sue’s Simple Gorgonzola Dressing, and we have a delicious, inexpensive dinner in less time than it would take to go out and with only a very few dishes.

The key of course, is to have good quality sauce and pasta plus the right wine! And for us, another standard is to eat and drink as sustainably and organically as possible, something that we care about every day, but we will be pointing out this month because

April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day.  Continue reading