4 To Try in 2020: Italy’s Franciacorta, Friuli, Chianti, Mt. Etna #ItalianFWT

 

From Franciacorta in the north in Lombardy and Friuli in the northeast to Toscana in central west and Sicily in the southwest, Italy is full of wines to discover. With over 2000 indigenous grapes grown in the 20 regions, the range of wines and expressions makes getting to know and understand Italian wine an interesting challenge as I discovered last year during the VinItaly Wine Ambassador Course.

Think it’s time to tune up your Italian wine game in 2020?

Continue reading

Wines Worth Remembering: 2019

Happy New Year!

During this time of reflection, I have a few wines worth remembering — and recommending along with a few blog posts you might want to revisit.

Here on Wine Predator in 2019 we researched, tasted, and wrote about hundreds of wines in 123 posts with 176,090 words averaging 1432 per post.

That’s like writing three novels.

So when it comes time to sort through all of these posts to choose some favorites to submit to year end contests like this one and for year end wrap-ups here on Wine Predator, I asked for some help from some of my loyal readers and friends.

I also asked Sue– but I wanted something different from her — not the best, but ten posts that were the most memorable. Not necessarily her favorite wines or meals but the ones that made the best, the strongest memories for her.

“When first asked to do this task,” says Sue, “I did not realize just how many posts we put out this year. How do you take 116 and pick out 10 of your favorite children. Some are so rich with our experiences. So many experiences, so many memories, such an abundance of fantastic wine and food. I was then told to focus on exceptional wines. Did that make it any easier? I find that my favorites evoked such great times rich with foods that paired beautifully with the wines we served them with.

The most memorable wines come with the most memorable experiences.

“The wine and the food shine together making it a memorable event,” she continues. “I was able to narrow it down to 30 right away. Bringing it down to the 10 most memorable took some time, but here it is:

1. La Maliosa Biodynamic Procanio and pasta Bar w/ Santa Barbara Uni and Muscles. – These were by for some of the most interesting wines I have ever tasted, and the menu took the experience over the top

2. Celebrating Summer with 4 wines from NE Mountains of Italy with 4 Vegetarian Courses – The menu was over the top, and out of my experience. Each wine paired so beautifully with the food making it a most memorable event

3. Understanding the Mind and Soil: A Walk and Talk in the Vineyards of Vincent Charlot – How can I not include one of the moments during our trip of a lifetime to France this year.

4. An Exploration into California Certifications and Sustainable Explainations – I loved the wines and had been wanting to do a post like this for some time. Fabulous wines doing it right for the Earth

5. Chile’s Odfjell Biodynamic Reds and Pastel de Choclo – Every time I research menus and pair the wine of the region with the cusine of the region it is always a hit. These wines were outstanding and with the menu it was over the top

6. Defining Biodynamic Rudy Marchesi and Three Montinore Pinot Noir – While not always in the mood for Pinot Noir, these were fabulous wines done right with a great menu and fantastic write up.

7. Lamb Stew Paired with Cabernet Franc Created by Couples – I love Cabernet Franc, and this post introduced us to Chateau Yvonne where we were later able to visit when we went to France.

8. 3 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore w/ DOCG and Calamari w/ Lemon Caper Sauce – We both love sparkling wine and DOCG really does make a difference with Prosecco, again paired with a fantastic meal.

9. 5 Wines from Spain Paired w/ Paella Red, White, Cava, Rosado? – Fantastic wines and a memorable experience. Thanks Gretel for making the wonderful Paella

10. Diamonds in Dirt, Hawk and Horse’s Biodynamic Wines and Bison Burgers – I love burgers with a great wine. This was not exception.”

For the first contest that I am entering, in the category of Wine Reporting, I chose

For the category of Wine Travel I chose

For the category of Wine Pairing, there are SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM — like probably 100! I considered a few including Rasteau which is a solid post but ended up debating these two which Sue also really liked:

and

Which do you think I chose?

Wish me luck! The winner of this contest gets a trip to Bordeaux!

2019: Going Out With A CHAMBANG

in December 2019, just in time for holiday celebrations and Sparkling Wine Day on New Year’s Eve, Clos des Amis released their Chambang traditional method sparkling wine made from Ventura County Chardonnay.

Disaster.”

That’s how Clos de Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman describes the 2019 harvest in Ventura County. Continue reading

WW2 and Today in Champagne with Harmel’s “The Winemaker’s Wife”

The Winemakers Wife features scenes from Champagne France, past and present

Living in coastal California 75 years after World War II and 100 years after World War I makes it hard to imagine what it was like to live in Europe under the threat of invasion and occupation. Knowing that 6 million Jews were methodically taken from their homes to work in the concentration camps and exterminated is horrible and heartbreaking.

Closer to home, along our coast, round concrete structures remain as sentinels at the shore testifying to our fears of invasion by the Japanese. Worse, Continue reading

Happy Holidays and Holy Holy Highlights of 2019

In “Howl” Allen Ginsberg says:

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!

The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
The nose is holy! The tongue

Continue reading

Carême Organic Vouvray and Lunch at Chateau de Pray #Winophiles

Vincent Carême.

This is a name several people mentioned to us when we said we were looking for organic and biodynamic winemakers in the Loire while we were there as members of the US Wine Tasting Team before the World Wine Championships in nearby Chateau de Chambord. In particular, we were looking for someone to visit in Vouvray. Continue reading

Pinotage, Pumpkin, Mole Tamales? A South Africa and SoCal Xmas Mashup

Both Southern California and South Africa are defined in large part by their exquisite and expansive coastlines — and by having warm weather for the holidays! Throughout the world, Northern European holiday traditions get mixed up with local — and sometimes warm weather cuisines too. Continue reading