Seven Ports Prepared and Paired with Winter Fare

I will always remember my introduction to Port wine.

I had thrown my first “Warm Up The Winter” party with my house mates at our big old Craftsman house on the bluff above downtown Santa Cruz. We were celebrating that we got our hot tub fixed and I made my first batch of porter for the occasion.  Continue reading

For #CarménèreDay, check out these 4 from Chile’s Concha y Toro

November is full of “wine days” — days set aside to celebrate certain wines. For example, Merlot Day is Nov. 7 (for unknown reasons), Tempranillo Day is set each year by TAPAS and is usually around the second week of November, then Beaujolais Day is always the third Thursday in November because that’s the day they release the Beaujolais Nouveau, Zinfandel Day is the third Wednesday placing it squarely in advance of Thanksgiving, and followed by Carménère Day Nov. 24

These wines are all relatively known and easy to find but what about Carménère?

Nov. 24 is Carménère Day because Nov. 24 is the day in 1994 that someone figured out that those vineyards of vines in Chile and the wines they were making from them weren’t actually Merlot but Carménère.

Seriously. 1994.  Continue reading

Celebrating Zinfandel Day with Lodi: Cantara Cellars Vertical Tasting plus a Cline Old Vine

Just in time for the holiday season, today we celebrate that quintessential California wine, Zinfandel, on Zinfandel Day which is held the third Wednesday of each November.

The fifth most popular wine in the U.S., Zinfandel places around fourth in California in terms of production of fruit.

So says Mike Brown, winemaker and co-cowner of Cantara Cellars which uses primarly Lodi fruit in the wines they make in their Camarillo facility — and the wines we chose to toast on Zinfandel Day and to discuss below! Learn more about Cantara here in my interview with co-owner Chris. Continue reading

Not Just Nouveau: Cru Beaujolais and Pairings for #Thanksgiving

Today’s the third Thursday of November which means it’s Beaujolais Day, the day that the Beaujolais Nouveau is released.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine that was picked just a few weeks before, fermented, and bottled. It’s bright and fresh and meant to drink young. This was the first wine of the vintage but also, if you’d run out of wine, the first wine available. It’s a moment to reflect on the past year — and our hopes for the future!

Beaujolais Day is the perfect time to celebrate all wine from Beaujolais — and Gamay Beaujolais the grape too — as well as this year’s harvest.

Beaujolais is a great wine to pair with Thanksgiving meals — from appetizers through to roast turkey and many of the sides. Today we have a cheese plate, a pear salad, roasted carrots, and fried chicken! Go here to read how in 2016 we paired Beaujolais with pumpkin soup, gourmet mini-pizzas, and a persimmon salad; or here to read about how in 2017 we paired Beaujolais with a dried cherry and pomegranate salad, roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and Coq au vin.  Both posts link to posts from the #Winophiles with reviews and pairings for Beaujolais. And back in 2010, we paired a Beaujolais with pork loin.  And here are more pairings! 

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Together We Rise: The Ojai Vineyard’s 2001 Vin du Soleil GSM for #WinePW

A little less than a year ago, on Monday December 4. the Thomas Fire erupted near Thomas Aquinas College between Santa Paula and Ojai off highway 150. In  spoken word performance piece that I co-created with Rasika Mathur and performed with her at the Lobero Theater, I point out that the Thomas Fire was started by “Thomas” Edison and I ask whether it will convince Doubting Thomas of climate change. At the event, Rob Write also performed the song featured in the video below.

This was on the heels of Continue reading

Another California #WineCountry Fire and updates on a few festivals

As I write this, Ventura County is under fire once again. And that includes the Malibu AVA located near the ridge by the Mulholland Highway between the Pacific Coast Highway and the 101 freeway, which is under siege from the Woolsey Fire which started near the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks where 12 people were killed at a College Night by a man who also killed himself a few hours before on Weds. Nov. 7, 2018. Read more about Thousand Oaks in this personal essay here by Suzanne Roberts.

In addition to evacuation of people and pets, exotic animals are on the run also: Malibu Wines desperately needs help evacuating their giraffes that are part of the wild animal safari jeep safari they offer among the vines.

I imagine the zebras and other animals from the Malibu Wines Safari fit fine in the horse trailers but how do you move a giraffe — especially when the LA Zoo was also having to evacuate their animals because of a fire in the hills above Griffith Park.



UPDATE: Malibu Wine Safaris lied– they left animals behind.

As of 6pm, the fire had made it to the Pacific and most of the Malibu AVA had been hit with fire.

6pm Nov. 9, 2018; the Malibu AVA is on the ocean side of the 101 FWY and is entirely in the orange and red area

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