Marlborough’s Villa Maria Sauv Blanc Organic and Delicious with Oysters or Squid! #WorldWineTravel

Marlborough’s Villa Maria Sauv Blanc with seafood: oysters, squid, anchovies laced salad

Last summer I attended one in person training session of potential members of the US Wine Tasting Team in preparation for the World Blind Wine Tasting Championship. We were tasked to bring bottles of classic wines, wines with classic profiles, wines we suspected would show up in the contest (see the list of wines for the 2022 championship here as well as the list of winners and how various countries places.  Bottles were placed in bags and separated between white and red. No one proctored them to see what the tasting order should be; it was basically random. And yet, what wines did we bring? Which wines were opened? Continue reading

Thanksgiving 2022: Grateful for 15 Years as a Wine Blogger

sunset at Clos des Amis, Ventura County

A few weeks ago, WordPress notified me that 15 years ago I registered my Art Predator blog. A few months later, I signed up for Wine Predator, and I attended my first Wine Media Conference in Sonoma. Nearly 15 years later, in September of 2022, I won the Jancis Robinson Wine Writing Contest on the theme of regenerative viticulture; learn more here.

So much to be grateful for.

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Extinct no more: Carménère from Chile’s Veramonte and TerraNoble


Which grape went extinct in France from phylloxera in 1876 only to be found flourishing in Chile where everyone thought it was merlot? If you answered Carménère, you are correct! Like Merlot, Carménère from Chile has cherry fruit and herbal notes, but that’s where the similarities end. Turns out it wasn’t the terroir that made Carménère from Chile so distinct: checking out a Chilean vineyard, French ampelographer Jean Boursiquot decided on Nov. 24, 1994 that these vines were actually Carménère! We celebrate November 24 now as Carménère’s re-birthday. And you’re invited to join our party! Continue reading

2 for $25: Budget Bourgogne Bubbles and Gamay Paired with Baked Camembert and Wine Harvester’s Chicken #Winophiles

Budget Bourgogne Bubbles and Gamay

Bourgogne vs Burgundy? Affordable vs $$$$?

Guess what: Bourgogne is Burgundy in French, so there’s no competition! And affordable or expensive? The region offers both! For November, #Winophiles host Cyndy Rynning takes us to Burgundy, France, to find affordable wines for the holidays. Home to eye-rolling expensive Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Burgundy (aka Bourgogne in French) also offers more affordable red wines like Gamay and sparkling wines like Cremant de Bourgogne.

Looking for affordable still or sparkling wines from the region Continue reading

Zinfandel Day 2022 with SALDO and Slow Wines

2021 SALDO California Zinfandel

What’s my go to wine for Thanksgiving or other holiday meals? While Oprah and others suggest Pinot Noir, for me, there’s a one word answer, ZINFANDEL! There’s a reason this is the fourth most planted grape in California, and it’s not just White Zinfandel: Zinfandel vilified in the traditional way is deliciously juicy, versatile with food, and typically an affordable pleasure. Whether you’re having traditional turkey and all the trimmings, ham, or prime rib, Zinfandel pairs the best with the range of sweet, savory, herbal, and over the top combinations of dishes that define this culinary event for many people. And to remind you of the myriad ZIN-FULpleasures of Zinfandel, ZAP (Zinfandel Advocacy group) brings to us on the second Wednesday of November, ZINFANDEL DAY! Continue reading

Sherry Week 2022: Chapulines and Sherry at #OIV2022MX (wait, WHAT?)

Chapulines and Sherry

There I was, in huge dark windowless exposition hall at the Baja California Convention Center just south of Tijuana and north of Rosarito, minding my own business at the 43rd OIV Congress, looking for a wine to enjoy with my pulpo and marlin tacos, when I was challenged to try bugs with bubbles. WHAT?? Not just any bugs, but crickets. And Louise Hurren was waiting to take a picture. So I went for it: Continue reading

A Vegetarian Feast For The Holidays: “Vegducken” + 5 CA Zins + gratitude for my Zin origins #WinePW

5 CA zinfandel with vegducken and Festive Fall Salad

Many of us of a certain generation or two (thinking Boomers and Gen X) have Zinfandel as an “epiphany” or “gateway” wine. That’s not too surprising as, until 25 years ago, Zinfandel was the most planted grape in California, with an excellent price to quality ratio. Then, in 1998, Continue reading