Ventura County Vineyards April 2020: PASSION at Clos des Amis, VeroVino

Chardonnay at Olivelands in bloom April 28, 2020.

Each month I post about Ventura County Vineyards based often on my time at the vineyards that go into the wines of Clos des Amis.

This is essential work  but with everything going on in the world due to COVID 19 (and KITTENS!), the post is in progress!

I will finish and update it ASAP!

So sorry! Because there is some really exciting news!

Following LODI RULES for Earth Friendly Wines: McKay Cellars Grenache #EarthMonth

By now, everyone on Planet Earth probably knows that April is Earth Month.

And with so many of us practicing #SIP — as in Shelter in Place not Slurping in Place — the only where we can celebrate Earth Day and Earth Month is at home.

So at home it is! With a nice Earth friendly wine in our glasses whether we are #SIP with family or virtually! Continue reading

And now for something completely different! KITTENS!

So this is just to say

I am fostering
the kittens
that came from
the feral mom

and I’ll bet
you were probably
where the wine went

Forgive me
they are precious
so soft
and so young

— with apologies to William Carlos Williams

Yes, last Tuesday I suddenly became a foster mommy for three foundling kittens.

And suddenly my time has been consumed with tending kittens rather than tending this blog!

I’ll be back to wine in no time — I promise! I’ve been tasting and taking notes on a number of really interesting California wines for Sustainable California Wine month and I’m really excited to share them!

Sustainable AUS Shiraz from Yalumba, Wirra Wirra, and Two Hands for #EarthDay

With tasting rooms around the world closed, wineries are struggling. While alcohol consumption may be up, if people are buying wine, they are getting it at the grocery store, not directly from a winery from visiting a tasting room –which means that many organic, biodynamic, and sustainable smaller wineries with a smaller footprint may get lost in the shuffle.

April is Earth Month, so now more than ever purchasing wines that pay attention to the triple bottom line matters. And if you can’t get to the tasting room, because it is closed or too far away, it will be much harder to do so.

“We are very much a wine business that focuses on selling wine directly to our customers and the cellar door is our lifeblood — that is where they first meet us,” said Hugh Hamilton CEO Mary Hamilton here.

In Australia, 30% of wineries could close permanently, Continue reading

In These Dark Times, Drink Wine from Deep in The Cellar: Two from Rhône’s Saint-Joseph #Winophiles

It’s feels almost like every night is “Open That Bottle Night.” That’s the yearly event on the final Saturday of February where we are all urged to open that bottle because why not?

With so many people working at home (if they are working at all), every day seems like Saturday and any day you may lose your sense of smell, sense of taste, or worse to the dreaded COVID-19.

Carpe diem.

Continue reading

An Introduction to Malbec: Wines from around the world, what to pair, when to share #MalbecDay

At the South Mountain winery in Santa Paula CA, Clos des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman contemplates Malbec’s gifts to the world.

“That’s kind of why you like Malbec,” says Clos des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman. “It has some cajones! It’s not just a fruit bomb; it comes back at you. Caught ya, not got ya! It seems like it will be a sweet thing but then it’s sassy.”

With April as Malbec Month, and Malbec Day this Friday, April 17, NOW is the time to share Malbec! But it’s also a great wine to drink all year around — with grilled meats in the summer and braised meats in the winter, and with cheese and cured meats all year.

We’re big fans of Malbec here on Wine Predator. Also known as Cot in its French home just east of Bordeaux in Cahors, Southwest France, and according to one author, a godforsaken grape, we disagree — and so does Argentina where more Malbec is grown in this South American country than anywhere else in the world:

  • 37.53% of the red wine grapes planted in Argentina are Malbec
  • 21.40% of the total cultivated area in the country is Malbec.
  • 163%  increase in plantings of Malbec since 2000 (equivalent to 26,653 ha / 65,862 acres)
  • 85% of Argentinean Malbec is grown in Mendoza
  • leader in volume, quality and exports of Malbec since 2011

We appreciate Malbec’s distinguishing characteristics: Continue reading

White Wines From Around the World Paired with OYSTERS and what’s up with the US Wine Tasting Team! #EarthMonth

“Why then the world’s mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.”
William Shakespeare, from The Merry Wives of Windsor.

With April being Earth Month, and with us all stuck at home, why not take a jaunt around the world via white wines?

And why not try to find ones that are sustainable, organic, or earth friendly?

And why not see which one pairs best with oysters?

AND Why not do it as a blind tasting? With seven white wines from the Northern Hemisphere? To help prepare to compete in the US Wine Tasting Open and the the World Wine Tasting Championship in France?  Continue reading