Local Love: 6 Ventura County Wines from Local Vines paired with Watkins Beef, Ventura Fresh Fish #WinePW

This is my 1000 post on Wine Predator.

“Congratulations on writing 1000 posts on wine predator!” says WordPress.

As such, it seems appropriate to make it about “Local Love, Local Wine” because while I first started going wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma then worked at Ridge Vineyards in the early and mid-80s, in the mid 1990s, I got back into wine as the Art Predator by writing a newspaper column that included “all that engages the whole soul” from art to literature to film to wine to food, all local. I didn’t make a lot of money in that gig, but I did have trade: free food and drink at many area restaurants.

One of the restaurants, the long gone Nora’s of Ojai, featured wines from The Ojai Vineyard Continue reading

Comforting Montinore’s Biodynamic Lagrein and Teroldego Paired with Instant Pot Italian Pot Roast (recipe)

Montinore and pot roast

As the nights and days cool, and the green leaves go gold and and fall to the ground, our attention turns to comfort food and wine to go with it.

For Sue and I, that means Italian food. Nearing the end of a long Spring under lockdown, when we were released but still concerned, we went for these three red blends made from Italian grape varieties from Four Brix, Lucas and Llewellyn, and Montinore.

Now here we are solidly in Autumn, but at another transition: it’s Election Day, and a good time to once again turn our attention to comfort food and wine, which again means Italian. Later this week, we have Primitivo and Zinfandel from Miraflores in El Dorado, then we compare and contrast a Turley Zinfandel with an Italian Primitivo. We’re pairing these wines with food inspired by The Godfather movies.

But today, we again turn to biodynamic Montinore (and that’s not because, based on all of my friends talking about day drinking today, you can drink more biodynamic wine without getting a hangover!) Continue reading

Women’s History Month: Winemaker Susan Tipton of Acquiesce in Lodi, CA

June 2017 photo at Acquiesce, Lodi by Gwendolyn Alley

When you think of wines from the Lodi area, what comes to mind for most people is ZINFANDEL — and plenty of it!

But in the past few years, particularly thanks to tasting wines from Cantara Cellars as well as participating in twitter tastings and from attending the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi plus a press trip to Lodi last June, I’ve come to appreciate and advocate the range of wines coming from this region of California.

Today I want to introduce you to a winery in Lodi that specializes in white wines from the Rhone Valley: Acquiesce. Continue reading

Experience Central Coast Wines on #CCWineDay Friday May 31, 2013

select central coast wines

select central coast wines

You’re invited to the Second Annual  Central Coast Wine Day, Friday May 31, 2013!

#CCWineDay follows in the footsteps of various #VarietalDays that have been going on for a few years. These include  Cabernet Day, Albarino Day, Tempranillo Day, Pinot Noir Day, Zinfandel Day, and even Wine Tourism Day! (As you can see, I enjoy participating in these varietal days!)

Personally, I say the Central Coast begins with Ventura County, Continue reading

Wine Predator to Do Steven Kent Tasting at The Rafters, Mammoth!

Feeling Witchy? Get Twitchy! Marc Mondavi’s Divining Rod Chard or Cab!

If you listen carefully, these witches seem to say that Winemaker and Water Witch Marc Mondavi’s Divining Rod draws you in to drink! Yes, that’s right–how many wines do you know that were crafted by a bona fide witch??

If you’re looking for a great wine for your favorite witch or warlock for Halloween or other fall festivities, you can’t go wrong with either the Chardonnay or the Cabernet Sauvignon for under $20 (both on sale right now at Vons for under $15!)

After a long day at work, I opened the 2010 Divining Rod Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands to pair with my pasta and shrimp. It was room temperature but I opened it anyway to have a glass while I was getting dinner together. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but I got a lot! I was surprised and impressed at how delicious it was and looked forward to tasting it with dinner after it had some chill time in the refrigerator. It was the perfect accompaniment with dinner–refreshing, citrusy, nice body, not too heavy but enough to stand up to the butter and garlic and shrimp.

With a fresh, clean, bright, nose, the 2010 Divining Rod Chardonnay certainly put a spell on me from beginning to end, making me very happy! Continue reading

4 Grenaches for #GrenacheDay To Lift Your Spirits

Picture of Grenache noir grapes from a vineyar...

Picture of Grenache noir grapes from a vineyard in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please join me in celebrating Grenache Day, today, Friday September 21, 2012 by enjoying a glass of this delightful varietal! You can share what you’re drinking on twitter by using the hashtag #grenacheday.

What is there to say about Grenache?

How about it’s one of the most widely grown varietals on the planet!  However, since grenache is used primarily in blends, many people don’t know they’ve had it or that they like it!

I am one of those people who definitely enjoys grenache –with or without its traditional Rhone blending partners, mourvedre and syrah. In case you’ve  heard the term GSM –the g is for grenache, the m is mourvedre and the s is syrah. I prefer my GSMs to be heavier on the grenache and light on the syrah.

On its own, Grenache can be a bit light for some people, and too fruity. Personally, I like its fruit forward freshness with roast chicken and salads and various cheeses;  tonight we’re going to try it with some chicken legs and thighs that are marinating in fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh rosemary, raw garlic, and a prepared teriyaki sauce. Grenache is nice on the cool side (cellar temperature or colder), great with picnics, or when you want something more hefty than a rose.

Grenache is a red wine that won’t bog you down but instead lift your spirits.

Grenache Day 2012 wines from Ojai Vineyards and Cantara CellarsIn honor of Grenache Day 2012, we tasted four: one from Horse Heaven Hills AVA by Alexandria Nichole, two from Lodi California made by Mike Brown at Cantara Cellars in Camarillo, and one from Thompson Vineyards in Santa Barbara made by Adam Tolmach at Ojai Vineyards.

They were all very different and we loved them all in their own ways. All of them are gorgeous in the glass, which is typical of grenache: super pretty pink and clear, vibrant with a violet tinge on the edge. Continue reading