Under the Radar Regions: Ventura County says Ghost Wineries Be Gone!

a selection of wines from grapes grown in Ventura County by several Ventura County wineries

Until December 2017’s Thomas Fire that struck Ventura County with a vengeance making it the largest fire in California’s history, most people didn’t know where Ventura County was. I’d tell people we were located north of Los Angeles and south of Santa Barbara — two well known regions, and one of them, Santa Barbara, very well known for wine.

But Ventura County has a long history of flowers, seeds, citrus and more agricultural abundance — including wine grapes.

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The Key to Italian Rose? Chiaretto!

Chiaretto? What’s that? Sue and I figured we’d just pass up this month’s Italian Food Wine Travel Chiaretto prompt — it’s summer, we’re busy, we’re traveling, we’ve got big projects going at home, and what is Chiaretto anyway?

But we got an offer we couldn’t refuse: samples! So we looked at our calendars, and committed to it — still with NO IDEA what we were in for but figuring it was something red.

That’s because even though Sue’s family is from Italy, we don’t speak a whole lot of Italian. Continue reading

NZ’s Villa Maria’s Single Vineyard Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Nor

New Zealand is justly famous for their distinctive sauvignon blanc featuring grapefruit (and herbal notes sometimes described as cat pee!) and pinot noir full of bright fruit and violets.

Recently Sue and I were reminded why we love NZ wine when we participated in a twitter tasting of three from Villa Maria’s Taylor’s Pass Vineyard located on the banks of the Awaretere Valley in Marlborough, a region that gets the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand with 2435 hours a year!  Continue reading

It’s SUMMER! Time for Rosé Wine from Provence, France with Seafood Pasta!

Yesterday was the summer solstice which means today is the first full day of summer!

How better to celebrate with a summery fresh wine like ROSE from Provence in the South of France?

Perhaps that’s why the Provence people decided to name TODAY, the fourth Friday of June, “International Rose Day” Continue reading

On The Barbie: Rack of Lamb with Brothers in Arms Shiraz #WinePW

A Tale of Two Countries

When I found out I was going to be hosting this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend excursion to the Land Down Under, I knew what wines I wanted to open — a 1998 Brothers in Arms Shiraz from Langhorne Creek in South Australia. Sue was surprised to discover that I had in my stash a bottle of 1998 Shiraz — but even more surprised that I wanted to also open a 2005 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon –even if it was made by the famous Australian winemaker Chris Ringland.

“There’s a story here,” I told her. “It’s a Tale of Two Countries — and me.
And I’ve been waiting for years to tell it.”

Of course when you have a wine that old there’s a concern that it may not be any good any more. So we had a back-up Shiraz. Fortunately the 1998 Brothers in Arms Shiraz was spectacular so we wrote up our back up Shiraz from Terlato and Chapoutier in the preview post! 

So what’s the story?  Continue reading

Do you know the way to R A D Rosé? Here’s Six from CA for Rosé Days!

these 5 plus at the last minute I added “a tribute to grace”

Although I drink Rosé all year, as spring moves to summer, they say

‘Tis the season to Rosé all day!

Certainly there is no better wine for summertime picnics, backyard BBQs, and outdoor happy hours!

With the Rose Revolution still going strong for over five years, there is great debate about both the grapes used and the method for making it.

Patrick Comiskey, the LA Times wine writer, and a friend on Facebook, started a thread about Rosé by asking which grape “varieties are exceptional for the purpose of making rosé wines, and varieties which make for poor examples?” This led to a wonderfully educational conversation on the topic of Rosé as well as clarifications about the process in general and that informed his article.

SO–

  • With the second Saturday of June National Rosé Day coming up this weekend, we have six from California for you in this post — just keep reading! (Here’s our post from last year when we compared two from Lodi with two from France!)
  • With the fourth Friday of June newly proclaimed by Provence as  International Rosé Day we will have 3-4 from Provence France for you!
  • With The French Winophiles doing French Rosé the third Saturday in July we will have 3-4 MORE wines from France for you!
  • With August 14 also proclaimed an International Rosé Day we will have 3-4 wines from around the globe for you including South Africa, Italy, and possibly the middle east! (Here’s our post from last year where we wrote about rose from Chile!)
  • That’s somewhere between 12 and 16 bottles of ROSE!

So YES, we will be drinking AND writing about rosé all summer! Subscribe and stay tuned!

To start us off, do you know the difference between:

  • saignée and rosé?
  • one grape variety or a blend of many?
  • how and when you should drink rosé?

If you’re not sure, read on — plus our tasting notes about some rad rosé from California and info about Experience Rosé in Napa at CIA June 16 as well as two events in Ventura on Rosé Day June 9! Continue reading