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

#WineStudio ZOOM with Donnachiara’s Ilaria Petitto

Donnachiara’s falangina paired with shrimp bisque and aglianico paired with seared blue fin tuna.

As I near my 1000 post on this blog, I’ve been reflecting on some of the factors that shaped it and participating in Wine Studio’s educational programs on Tuesday nights at 6pm since 2014 is one of them. Through Tina Morey, I had access to wines I wouldn’t have been able to taste otherwise, and via the educational format with experts and others chiming in on twitter as we taste through wines, I learned a lot. Recently, Tina ended the WineStudio season with a special event hosted by Susannah Gold with Donnachiara’s Ilaria Petitto. For Wine Predator Post #999, here’s my write up from the conversation and my thoughts about the wines and pairings. 

At Donnachiara they say they tend their vines as carefully as window boxes “even though the locations can be distinctly challenging. This process makes for superior vines, grapes, and ultimately wines.”

Donnachiara is located in Campania, which is famous for the beautiful landscape of the Amalfi coast, the volcanic fields of fire and as the home to 10 of the 55 UNESCO sites in Italy; Mount Vesuvius is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The presence of Mount Vesuvius is everywhere, but as Ilaria Petito says in a ZOOM call with members of #WineStudio, “Vesuvius is sleeping; better for us! Thanks to Vesuvious, the soil is volcanic.”

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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

Super Tuscans: Keep Your Sassicaia, I’ll take the Sangiovese #ItalianFWT

Sangiovese lovingSue shows off her purple teeth: we asked these three after a practice for the US Wine Tasting Team!

“Sassicaia, Sassicaia, all they want is Sassicaia!” wailed the young sommelier from China during a tasting lab of Sangiovese  and other Italian indigenous grapes during the VinItaly Wine Ambassador Course in Los Angeles in February 2019.

“How can I get them to try something else?” she asked plaintively. The group of wine professionals gathered weighed in, but none of the suggestions seemed to click. Continue reading

Around the World with Sauvignon Blanc: 7 wines from 5 continents

With Sauvignon Blanc Day on the horizon, Sue and I thought it would be fun to test our knowledge and to compete and contrast wines from around the world in a blind tasting. Imagine our surprise when in response to our request we received six wines from Terlato,  three from NZ Wine Navigator, and three from Brancott to add to samples from Idaho and others! With a dozen to choose from, we selected two wines from the Marlborough region of NZ, one wine each from NZ Wine Navigator and one from Terloto for Sauvignon Blanc Day #1 on April 25  And set aside the rest to choose from for a recent blind testing where

we tasted seven wines from five continents!

It was a warm day in Ojai so instead of paper bags, we wrapped each bottle in foil, used painters tape with sharpie to number them, printed out tasting sheets, made a plate with goat and other cheeses and appetizers including a pesto pasta salad, and away we went!  We grabbed them randomly from the ice chest and plopped the on the table for the tasting. Here are our results: Continue reading

Taco Tuesday with Tequila: Contigo, El Fumador, El Macho

Hello again Taco Tuesday! Last month we paired chicken mole strawberry salad tacos with French wine. And yes Taco Tuesday is a new monthly feature here on Wine Predator!

So guess what we have up our sleeve this month just in time for Cinco de Mayo?

SQUASH TACOS with TEQUILA COCKTAILS!

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