Madiran: French Basque Wine of Pyrenees With Pintxos #Winophiles

The Basque region of Europe straddles the Pyrenees mountains in Spain and France. Like in the Alps, the rugged terrain made it daunting for invaders and allowed residents of the region to develop their own independent languages, foods, and cultural traditions. Located on the western end of the Pyrenees, the Basque mountains rise steeply on the French side with rare passes and sharp glaciated arcs called cirques while on the Spanish side, you will find more rolling hillsides and extensive viticulture, for example in Navarra.

While a challenging region for grape growing on the French side, Continue reading

Celebrating Climbing Kilimanjaro with Delamotte Champagne


About 18 months ago, I was reflecting on my accomplishments and what I still wanted to do with my life while I still had the will and the physical ability. Continue reading

UNESCO Proclaims Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene A World Heritage Site: Celebrate on Prosecco Day with Rustico DOCG

With Prosecco DOCG celebrating a thirtieth anniversary and with UNESCO proclaiming the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene a World Heritage Site on July 8, there’s lots to celebrate about Prosecco on this Prosecco Day August 13 — and we know which bubbles to recommend as well!


Marchio 50 ENG_Tavola disegno 1

The new UNESCO World Heritage Site “The Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene” is well known for exceptional wines, and with this designation will be protected and preserved to ensure longevity for future generations. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization aka UNESCO declared the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene the 55th Italian “World Heritage Site”.

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New Zealand Sauv Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza #WinePW

Many of my favorite foods pair best with sauvignon blanc: goat cheese and fresh crusty sourdough bread, oysters on the half shell, pesto made of greens, caesar salad with anchovies, greek pizza with artichokes, olives, and feta.

So it was a no brainer when we received a sample of Waipapa Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region to come up with pairing ideas for a warm summer evening with a wine friend visiting from Puerto Rico, David Rodrigues. We added two more wine samples from Brancott and one from Clifford Bay to the round up.

And it was no surprise that the pairings were successful!

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Celebrating Summer with 4 Wines from the NE Mountains of Italy with 4 Vegetarian Courses #ItalianFWT

While I couldn’t get to the mountains of NW Italy, I did take 3 of the 4 wines to the mountains of southern California — Big Bear Lake to be exact!

Who knew the cuisine of the Suditorol region of Italy to be so deliciously seductive? Not me!

Or that Alpine foods combine Italian sophistication and lightness? Not me again!

Or that there are so many wonderful vegetarian choices?

What we found in the northeastern mountains of Italy: specialities from both culinary traditions, Italy and the Alps, a unique cuisine with many enticing dishes along with excellent and unusual wines!  Continue reading

July in the Vineyard: Veraision– When Grapes Get Their Color On!

Veraision on the Clos des Amis Pinot Noir, South Mountain Vineyard, Santa Paula, CA; photo by Gwendolyn Alley

I’m in Tanzania with The Roof of Africa Adventures  preparing to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, go on safari, visit a coffee plantation, and maybe even stop by a vineyard and tastes some wines. I might even attend the “International Conference on Energy, Aquatech and Sustainability” organized by The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology which is happening in Arusha, where I have been staying, Monday August 12.

I may be on vacation, but back home in southern California, it’s full speed ahead toward harvest as grapes go through VERAISION.

Yep, just like everyone else, summertime is sun time, and sun time means getting some color on your skin!

While June’s vineyard report and vocabulary word was ETIOLATION — and something you DON’T want happening in your vineyard, you DO want verasion because this is the word that signifies that the grapes are turning from GREEN to RED and they are ripening up!

That’s right– all red wines start out looking like green grapes.

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Comparing 3 Cabernet Franc: 1 from Chinon, France and 2 from California

How is it that Sue and I came in second place in the US Wine Tasting Open Championships sponsored by Wine Acuity?

I suspect it is tastings like this one where we compared four cabernet franc, two from France (one I wrote about here for #Winophiles) and two from California.

Cabernet Franc as a varietal speaks loud and clear to both Sue and I Continue reading