South African Cuisine: Food with spice and wine that’s nice!


What do you know about South African wine? What about South African cuisine? Have you ever tasted either?

If you are typical Americans like Que Syrah Sue and I, you may never have had wine or food from the region! While I had tasted wine in Egypt when I went there January 2011 just before the revolution, I don’t think I’ve had wine from that continent.

But this is changing rapidly as more wine is produced for export. You can even find tasty, inexpensive South African wine at Trader Joes like the one below.


When I heard that Wine Pairing Weekend was focusing on South African wine and food to pair with it, Sue and I got very excited: we had recently tasted and wrote about South African Sauvignon blanc wines for Sauvignon Blanc day, and we were eager to try more!

Sue in particular was engaged by the jalapeño jelly notes in the wines and we were curious how that herbal spiciness might play itself out in other wines from the region.

Right away I contacted the media agency who had sent me the first wines asking if they could send me any others –and they said yes!

Sue got right on to researching the foods and what she found Continue reading

Happy Belated Albarino Day and more from Twisted Oak Winery!

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the Twisted Oak frikken enjoys Albarino

How did I miss Albarino Day–and the accompanying festivities which stretched for a week?

Because as much as I love Albarino, the food friendly white originally from Galicia Spain, I had a good reason–I was backpacking in a remote area of Yosemite National Park and had no cell or internet access!


But I made up for it! On my way from Yosemite to the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, I parked my van first at Twisted Oak Winery, located in the Sierra foothills near Murphys and specializing in Iberian wines like Albarino! Continue reading

Off to the Internat’l Food Bloggers Conference in Sacto & WBC Lodi!


This has been a wonderful summer to learn about wine– and food! This summer I’ve experienced

  • Cusumano wine from Sicily with Sicilian food at Sotto in LA
  • Justin wine and food at the winery’s restaurant where they only offer a five course tasting menu with pairings
  • Rhone food and wine at their event and the meal that Sue prepared at home to pair with Rhone wines
  • Italian food and wine CHEESE vegetarian dinner dinner that Sue prepared
  • South African wine and food that Sue researched and prepared for August’s Wine Pairing Weekend post
    and more!

And now I’m headed to the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento with great food of course and wine too. Then I attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi which, believe it or not, has even better food and lots more wine!


I have always been fascinated and amazed by what happens when you pair wine with food.

Because while I love wine, and certainly enjoy wine with or without food, there’s something magical that happens when you combine the aromas and the flavors of wine with food! Continue reading

National Tequila Day: Try This Super Summer Sipper


While this blog is called “WINE PREDATOR,” I am definitely ALSO on the prowl for spirits! And one of my favorites is TEQUILA.


And while I bet you thought that May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) was National Tequila Day…

because Cinco De Mayo is a day where a lot if us, myself included, take a moment to enjoy tequila, the truth is that July 24, for some inexplicable reason, is National Tequila Day.

And in case you were wondering, National Margarita Day is Feb. 22.

So today I have for you a bit of tequila history, a few fine tequila, and one of my favorite tequila cocktails to make at home. Continue reading

Celebrating National Wine and Cheese Day the Italian Veggie Way


When Que Syrah Sue and I heard that Monday, July 25 is National Wine and Cheese Day, we immediately thought of Italian food!

What goes better with a cheesy pizza or lasagna than a nice red wine like a Chianti or Nero d’Avola? Or a Grillo or Grechetto with a green salad spiced up with cheese? And what about dessert? Tiramisu and cannoli with a Muscato, anyone? And we can’t forget Prosecco! 

Learn more about Italian wine Tuesdays in August from 6-7pm PST on Twitter with #WineStudio! Details below.

As we talked and Sue, who is half Italian, developed the menu for an Italian wine dinner focused on cheese, we then decided to go vegetarian. Who needs meat when you’re having this much cheese?

Our Italian cheeses for National Wine and Cheese Day Mon. July 25, 2016:

creamy Toscana with black pepper, formaggio lagorai, Italian truffle cheese, pecorino Romano, fresh mozzarella, parmigiana regianno, mozzarella ricotta, marcapone

Our Italian wines for National Wine and Cheese Day Mon. July 25, 2016:

Prosecco, Grillo, Grechetto, Nero D’Avola, Chianti, Muscato, Passito

Continue reading

Wine, Song, Summer: How to Celebrate with #GetRhone and #StarsofPinot


Hard to believe but here we are, halfway through July! But there’s still plenty of time and lots to do this summer! This week, I’m heading to LA for several wine and music events, and enjoying some good times around Ventura too.

As I wrote about over on Art Predator, this weekend is Ventura’s 9th annual Surf Rodeo held right on the beach where Seaward Ave. hits the sea.

You can bring a picnic and they have a wine and beer garden. We’ll be there on Sunday to hear headliners the English Beat plus the R & B Bombers, Ska Daddy, and the band of our former neighbor, The Pullman; they will probably even play a song that is written about our laundry! Tonight, however, we’re headed to LA to  hear Baaba Maal at the Annenberg Space for Photography, where they have a beer and wine garden and you’re not allowed to bring in outside alcohol which is too bad because I have some great bottles waiting for a picnic in a park!

If I could, I’d bring Cusumano’s $15 Nero D’Avola 2014. Continue reading