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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Wildflowers and Wine: Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and Vintners Release Party

Hillsides surrounding the vineyards at Sanford and elsewhere in Southern California are covered in bright yellow mustard flowers; the barley cover crop was chosen to draw excess moisture from the soil in this rainy year.

Looking for a wild flower show? With a side of wine?

If so, head to the 35th Santa Barbara Vintners New Release Spring Weekend for four days of wine, food and fun throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country starting tonight Thursday, April 20 through Sunday, April 23, 2017. Tickets here.

Along the way you will be thrilled by spring green hillsides with yellow mustard, splashes of patches of orange poppies, strips of purple vetch, asters, lupine, and others, plus fields of orangey-yellow fiddleneck along with vines budding out in Chartreuse and Peridot near deep emerald oak trees with bright shiny leaves. Continue reading

Standards: Lodi Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel for an easy midweek meal

“Broken Vine” Lodi Zinfandel

“Honey, can you stop by Ferraros and get some meat sauce?”

When there’s just a little too much going on and you need an easy midweek meal and a glass of wine, what’s your standard response?

That’s the theme for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend: “My Old Stand By.”

For me, that’s when I call my spouse, or he calls me, and says, “Put the pasta water on!” and we pick up either fresh pesto from Trader Joe’s or meat sauce from our favorite local Italian restaurant, Ferraros, and sometimes both! The person at home throws together either a caesar salad (do a three minute boil on the eggs in the pasta water! surprisingly easy!) or a green salad with Sue’s Simple Gorgonzola Dressing, and we have a delicious, inexpensive dinner in less time than it would take to go out and with only a very few dishes.

The key of course, is to have good quality sauce and pasta plus the right wine! And for us, another standard is to eat and drink as sustainably and organically as possible, something that we care about every day, but we will be pointing out this month because

April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day.  Continue reading

Grilled Cheese Game Night with Fun Wines: Black Light White, Q & A Red

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Mammoth Mountain’s record breaking snow January 2017

In California, we have had a long wet dark winter with epic rain and snow.

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record breaking rain in Santa Cruz mountains

 

You’ve probably read about it in the news if you haven’t experienced it yourself.

And while it’s almost March, it’s not over.  Winter is not over.

I know, I know, technically, winter kicks the bucket in three weeks on the equinox Monday March 20 at 3:30am PST and the days will once again be longer than the nights. But there will be more rain and more snow. You can bet on it.

SO WE HAVE THREE MORE WEEKS OR MORE OF WINTER NO MATTER WHAT THE GROUNDHOG OR THE ALMANAC HAS TO SAY!

And while you might be distracted by the Super Bowl, the Grammy’s, the Oscars, and maybe Mardi Gras if you’re lucky (and I happen to be lucky enough to have an awesome Mardi Gras party in Ojai next week to look forward to…)

SPRING and SUMMER TIME PARTIES AND BBQS ARE A LONG WAY OFF!

What to do? How to fend off the darkness, the boredom, the tedium of more snow and rain? How to survive the final three weeks of winter and that first cold month of spring?

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Not a trivial wine for trivia night!

Our answer? Host a game night for friends and family with grilled cheese and fun wine!

For our wines, we chose two: Black Light 2015 white wine blend that comes with a flashlight and Q and A, a red Bordeaux blend. like Black Light and Q and A both from Rubin Family wines! Keep reading for a review of Black Light White and Q & Red along with how to make some fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches!

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Is Garnacha the next “great grape”? Find out Tuesdays in April 6pm PST

beso de vino
Tonight, Tuesday April 21 from 6-7pm PST, is the third night of four focused on “The Next Great Grape: Garnacha” on Wine Studio hosted by Protocol Wine Studio. James Beard Award-winning wine and food writer, WSET Instructor, and public speaker Lyn Farmer aka @FizzFan visited the Cariñena region last June and brings his insights into the history, sights, sounds and tastes to the weekly discussion:

“I believe Cariñena is positioned to take a vibrant place on the world wine stage. It is not (yet) so well known as regions slightly to the north like Ribera del Duero and Rioja, nor is it (yet) so trendy as Priorat and Toro, but Cariñena’s day is coming.”  @FizzFan

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Malbec World Day? World Malbec Day? Reviews of Wines from No + So America

Cairdean Malbec

Amy and I both felt enlightened by the Cairdean Malbec.

April 17 is World Malbec Day! Or is it Malbec World Day? Or just Malbec Day? Regardless, what are some good Malbecs to try? 110ec71a-505b-484e-b1d4-92e6a453e5de I was reminded of this event by Jon Staenberg of Hand of God Wine who urges us to celebrate Malbec World Day by saying the good people of Argentina have proclaimed April 17th as World Malbec Day. Over 100 years ago, Malbec was brought from France to the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina where the constant sun and heat helps the grape to ripeness; Malbec thrives in the hot, dry weather and high elevations of Mendoza creating a typically ripe and lush wine with smooth tannins. Continue reading