Happy Halloween 2019! For the dearly departed, try Exitus

I am one of those people who just LOVES Halloween! I’ve always enjoyed dressing up and racing around at night collecting candy– and now at Burning Man collecting experiences! My son always had creative costume ideas that challenged us– one year we BOTH went as Hermes and the outfits were almost completely homemade from thrift store finds.

Another year my red head went as Tintin (with Snowy of course!) and another year my redhead went as the Riddler; this year I borrowed components for my own take on the Riddler in a vintage black petticoat, tails, and tophat! Rarely did our outfits come out of a box.

So what might pair with an outside of the box Halloween — and a not from a box costume? How about an outside of the box wine like Exitus?

Exitus is definitely a departure from your typical red wine!

For those of you who insist on pairing Halloween candy with wine, here’s a guide: Continue reading

#MerlotMe: 3 under $30 from Chile, CA, WA

More #MerlotMe! October is #MerlotMe month and we have three under $30 from three regions of the world to recommend to you.

Previously we compared four merlot from France and California that also were under $30, and we wrote about two from Washington’s L’Ecole No 41 (one at $25 and the other at $37).

Clearly there is plenty of excellent merlot to be found in the under $30 price range! (Is this still part of the Sideways effect of no Merlot Miles?)

Seared ahi with a rub of Italian herbs plus crespelle with ricotta and spinach

On Tuesday, Sue and I were already doing an Italian themed dinner with herbed seared tuna to pair with two Tuscan wines, a Chianti and a Vermentino for this Saturday’s Italian Food Wine Travel taste of Tuscany: read “Tasting Tuscany: Tuna, Beans, EVOO, Chianti, Vermentino #ItalianFWT here  with recipes for the crespelles pictured above and the rub for the tuna as well as the bean recipe.

As we suspected the meal would go with merlot, we decided to open these three bottles up and sample them. What a great idea! Continue reading

Ventura County Vineyards October 2019: Final Harvest and #MerlotMe!


Gretel and Angie are in there somewhere picking… overgrown Viognier and Syrah vineyard in upper Ojai, California.

On Friday, Oct. 25, the final bin of grapes came in to Clos des Amis where I have been interning since January with monthly posts about the experience (here’s September; scroll down for the complete list). Continue reading

Ghost Winery Flora Springs for Halloween

How to get in the spirit of Halloween? With spirits of course!

Here at Wine Predator, we’re keen on wine — that’s our chosen spirit.

And what better spirit for Halloween than one made at a ghost winery like Napa Valley’s Flora Springs that seriously gets into the spirit of this special occasion (and others as well?) Continue reading

From Cahors: Organic Château du Cèdre Malbec with French Charcuterie #Winophiles

When most Americans think Malbec, they think Argentina. In part, that’s because Argentinean Malbec is affordable and available here in the US, plus it’s full of juicy blue fruit that can be enjoyed alone or with food.

But in France, the name for Malbec is Cahors. And it’s time for Americans to discover Malbec from its ancestral home– France. Today we recommend an organic one that is sans sulfites from Château du Cèdre.

Since 1971 when Cahors became an AOC, the dominant grape in a wine from the region is Malbec (also known as “Côt”, “Côt Noir” or “Auxerrois”), with at least 70%. The remainder is generally Merlot which softens the wine and Tannat which  sharpens it. Continue reading

Understanding the Mind of the Soil: A Walk and Talk in Vineyards of Vincent Charlot #ChampagneDay

Vincent Charlot holds what’s most precious — a healthy living soil.

For Vincent Charlot, making the best champagne he can means he must “understand the mind of the soil.”

After several weeks of warm fall days with cool nights ideal for harvest in Champagne, his grapes were in, and the rain had begun falling, gently, and irregularly down for a few days.

Vincent Charlot only takes the best grapes from the vineyards which meant there was plenty of fruit hanging on the vines for us to sample during our visit!

And while rain had been predicted for our vineyard visit, the skies only held fluffy clouds when we pulled into the small parking area at the edge of the village of Mardeuil where we were meeting Vincent Charlot who had promised to take us into his vineyards. Continue reading