2019: Going Out With A CHAMBANG

in December 2019, just in time for holiday celebrations and Sparkling Wine Day on New Year’s Eve, Clos des Amis released their Chambang traditional method sparkling wine made from Ventura County Chardonnay.


That’s how Clos de Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman describes the 2019 harvest in Ventura County. Continue reading

WW2 and Today in Champagne with Harmel’s “The Winemaker’s Wife”

The Winemakers Wife features scenes from Champagne France, past and present

Living in coastal California 75 years after World War II and 100 years after World War I makes it hard to imagine what it was like to live in Europe under the threat of invasion and occupation. Knowing that 6 million Jews were methodically taken from their homes to work in the concentration camps and exterminated is horrible and heartbreaking.

Closer to home, along our coast, round concrete structures remain as sentinels at the shore testifying to our fears of invasion by the Japanese. Worse, Continue reading

Happy Holidays and Holy Holy Highlights of 2019

In “Howl” Allen Ginsberg says:

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!

The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
The nose is holy! The tongue

Continue reading

Carême Organic Vouvray and Lunch at Chateau de Pray #Winophiles

Vincent Carême.

This is a name several people mentioned to us when we said we were looking for organic and biodynamic winemakers in the Loire while we were there as members of the US Wine Tasting Team before the World Wine Championships in nearby Chateau de Chambord. In particular, we were looking for someone to visit in Vouvray. Continue reading

Pinotage, Pumpkin, Mole Tamales? A South Africa and SoCal Xmas Mashup

Both Southern California and South Africa are defined in large part by their exquisite and expansive coastlines — and by having warm weather for the holidays! Throughout the world, Northern European holiday traditions get mixed up with local — and sometimes warm weather cuisines too. Continue reading

2 Biodynamic Loire Pét-Nats: Free Mousse and Bulle Nature #WinePW

Bulle Nature Pét-Nat from the Loire served just outside the troglodyte cave dwelling where we stayed

Can you say oysters in French?

How about cheese?

Or beets?

On our first morning in the Loire, in the small village of Montreiull- Bellay, we walked to the castle across the river that we could see from our accommodations Continue reading