Celebrating 4 Cabernet Franc From South Africa, So America, North America: Napa, No Carolina

Celebrating Cabernet Franc with 4 From Around the World

In the Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc stands alone, usually as a red wine, but sometimes sparkling, or a rose. Just south, in Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc blends in with a team usually led by Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The rest of the world generally followed Bordeaux’s path by growing Cabernet Franc to create a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. While these Bordeaux style blends are certainly delicious, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to enjoy elegant, herbal Cabernet Franc on its own merits. And no better time than Cabernet Franc Day celebrated each year on Dec. 4. As we wrote in “Seven Reasons to Celebrate Cab Franc”-Continue reading

Intriguing Italian Alpine Wine and Cheese: Foradori Bio Teroldego Paired with Their Tyrolean Grey Cow Cheese and Taleggio Mushroom Risotto #ItalianFWT

Foradori ‘s Bio Teroldego

What grows together goes together. This is a famous adage which helps when thinking about wine pairing: choose dishes from the region where the wine grows. But how often do you get to pair a cheese made from cows that graze near the vines and that contribute to the vine’s health and welfare as determined by Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic principles??

Following the Wine Media Conference on Lake Garda in Lombardy, fellow LA Wine Writer Melanie Webber and I rented a tiny manual transmission car, Continue reading

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