Slow Wines, Fast Times: Ventura County Vineyards Growing Great!


Lunch time on bottling day for South Mountain Cabernet made with fruit from Paso Robles; Gretel looking pensive

After 18 wineries in five days last week in El Dorado County and the Lodi AVA, Sue and I made it back home to Ventura, and it looks like the summer is going to be FEVERISHLY HOT and busy as we continue to visit wineries looking to update and add to the Slow Wine Guide.

El Dorado’s Starfield with a full moon rising

This week we started assessing three Ventura County wineries, The Ojai Vineyard, Clos des Amis, and Topa Mountain Vineyard, as well as two from Santa Barbara County, Melville and Camins 2 Dreams with most of the grapes coming from the Sta Rita Hills AVA. All five wineries plus Anna’s Ciders will be featured in my upcoming article for Ventana Monthly’s July/August issue; we did our tasting and wine pairing dinner Monday at Ventura’s Vintage Trailer Park, Waypoint!

wines for my upcoming feature in Ventana against a backdrop of the “Vintner’s Trailer” at Waypoint Ventura

Next week for Slow Wine Guide we’ll visit lots of Santa Barbara wineries and the following week we head further north. (Should we visit you? Email me!)

Before we leave for SB, on Weds July 7 at noon Pacific I’m leading a ZOOM interview and tasting with Luis Duarte, Continue reading

Basque’s Effervescent Txakolina #WorldWineTravel


“To understand the path of wine in the 21st century, consider a bottle of Txakolina,” writes Eric Asimov in “Txakolina, a Simple Pleasure With a Deep Sense of Place.”

While twenty years ago, no one knew Txakolina outside Spanish Basque Country, “where it was the go-to wine with just about anything consumed at a table,” reports Asimov, today “people all over the world have a passing familiarity with this often mildly effervescent wine, even if they don’t know how to pronounce it (chock-oh-LEE-nah).” Continue reading

A Search for Rousillon’s Maury #Winophiles

In 2001, the large sunny coastal yet verdant Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south east of France beside the Mediterranean and north of Spain produced more wine than the entire United States. 

So you’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to find a wine from Maury, located in Roussillon. Or to find one from Roussillon. Continue reading

School’s Out: Ring the Bell with Shades of Summer with L’Ecole’s Chenin Blanc and Grenache Rose

The school bell has rung! School’s out for summer! And we’re celebrating the shades of summer days with a yellow Chenin Blanc and a salmon pink rose both from L’Ecole No. 41!  

And what goes with these wines and warm summer days? How about fresh fish and vegetables cooked on the grill? Continue reading

Go to Italy’s Puglia, Land of Rosati, For the Rosé Days of Summer

Rosé wine from Puglia is called rosato

Rosé in Italian means rosato and rosato in Italy means Puglia because if you’re looking for rosato in Italy, the place to go is Puglia where over 40% of Italy’s rosati (plural for rosato) comes from.

Some even say the birth place of this popular pink drink is Puglia!

Continue reading

A+ Pairings for Asparagus, Arugula, and Artichokes with organic wines from Alsace, Australia, Austria, and Argentina #WinePW

A+ Pairings

  • There’s a wine for every food
    and a food for every wine!
  • The secret is in the sauce…
    and the preparation!

While some insist drink what you like, and pair the wine you like with the food you like BUT while you MAY like it, and everybody’s chemistry is different, some pairings are A+, others awful, and some just all right.

What I like isn’t always what Sue likes. She loves jalapeños, onions, celery; I don’t. In fact, I have a hard time digesting green peppers and onions. I’m not fond of celery, and I really find that celery seed has a strong flavor that hangs around and doesn’t do well with wine.

Over the years of pairing and writing about food and wine pairings has taught us a few tricks– especially when pairing wines with vegetarian dishes.