#MerlotMe Monday on #MerlotDay 11/7/16

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In October, Sue and I didn’t get Merlittle but Merlot for a month of #MerlotMe! And for these two Merlot fans, it was Merlot of a good thing!

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Puns aside, October was a great month of Merlot here on Wine Predator, and certainly primed the pump for us to really appreciate today, Merlot Day, a day set aside to celebrate all things Merlot. Below read about eleven we tasted last month.  Continue reading

Spur of the Moment Local Grenache Day at Plan B and Cantara Cellars

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Speaking of local wines and wineries that will be attending and pouring at today’s “A Taste of VC”, on last week’s Grenache Day Friday Sept 16, the wine samples of Garnacha from Spain that I was expecting didn’t arrive leaving me free to taste whatever I wanted! I was planning on opening one from The Ojai Vineyard or Twisted Oak from my cellar, but as I was at an afternoon meeting in Camarillo, on my way home I stopped by both Cantara Cellars in Camarillo and Plan B Wine Cellars in Ventura for a spur of the moment locally made Grenache!

Because I couldn’t let Grenache Day go by without drinking one of my favorite wines! Read why here. Continue reading

PS I Love You Hits The Road; Reviews of Petite Sirah by Cantara, Back Patio

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This Sat. Feb. 6, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m,

10 Participating Wineries
will share their Petite Sirah wines

 Vina Robles Hospitality Center
Paso Robles, CA

Barr Estate Winery

Berryessa Gap Vineyards

Cantara Cellars

Clayhouse Wines

Graveyard Vineyards

Gustafson Family Vineyards

Red Soles Winery

Robert Biale Vineyards

Le Cuvier Winery

Vina Robles Winery

PS I Love You’s signature February event “Dark & Delicious” is on the road!

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Continue reading

broken wrist + wine: a tweeted tale

So I must apologize for my absence here on Wine Predator. You see, I broke my wrist. My left wrist. At Thanksgiving. At a parking lot at Mammoth Mountain. I slipped on some black ice in my ski boots and went down HARD.

Which meant that during the final three weeks of the semester at Ventura College and three weeks of winter break I had a broken wrist.

Which meant that I couldn’t even open a bottle of wine. Unless it had a screwtop. And fortunately for me, I had a few from Tercero to enjoy, like this grenache on Dec. 21 for winter solstice:

Which meant that while I could lift a wine glass with my right arm, and get people to help with notes, and participate in plenty of twitter tastings, Continue reading

4 Dessert Wines for Chocolate Day 10/28!

Chocolate is a food of the Gods. So thought the Maya about chocolate and I bet you may agree.

You may not, however, know how time consuming the production of chocolate is: it takes 400 or so cocoa beans to make a single pound of chocolate. Those cocoa beans go through an intense process to go from raw bean to roasted and fermented to ground cocoa to a bar with sweeteners that you want to consume; this process  takes  from two to four days to make one bar of chocolate.

Wine also is a food of the Gods and very time consuming, especially if you want a wine to go with CHOCOLATE like a port or port style dessert wine.

For a BIG birthday, I splurged and bought myself some special Ports which you can read about in Ports: Vertical Heaven. In that post I also explain that Port refers to a wine based fortified beverage from Portugal. Back in the day, the British added brandy to wine so it would last longer. According to Graham Port’s blog, the Instituto do Vinho do Douro e Porto (IVDP), the regulating body for the Douro region, provides these guidelines for identifying a true Port wine:

  • Only fortified wine produced in the Douro Demarcated Region which conforms to the technical characteristics defined by the IVDP is Port
  • The maker must be registered and authorised by the IVDP to produce Port
  • The label must be approved by the IVDP
  • The bottle must bear the IVDP issued and numbered seal of guarantee

For Chocolate Day, I splurged and bought some chocolates and opened one bottle of Port and three dessert wines, and we tasted them together. While not all dessert wines are fortified with port, the ones I tasted are.

Oh yeah baby.

The chocolates: Marich chocolate strawberries, blueberries, and salted cashews; Divine dark chocolate with hazelnuts and cranberries. We also combined the chocolates with Lancaster caramels.

The dessert wines: Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto, Kachina Port Sonoma County CA, Cantara X Lodi CA, Silver Fifty Cask Santa Barbara County. Continue reading

What are you in the mood for this Valentine’s Day?

If you are in the mood for beautiful weather (70s and 80s) and gorgeous sunsets at the beach this Valentine’s Day with a generous helping of great wine and good food, then you should head to Ventura County  for the Valentine n Wine 5 day event starting tomorrow Th. Feb. 12, continuing Friday the 13th, Valentine’s Day, Sunday, and all the way to President’s Day, February 16th.

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balmy Ventura beach sunset Tuesday February 10

In addition to tasting at 11 area wineries plus several more wineries at the Custom Crush facility in Camarillo, with your passport you’ll experience: Continue reading

Help With Bottling at Cantara Cellars Jan 31

10246538_10153050302092673_6306628999263139565_n If you’re not attending ZAP this weekend in SF, and if you’ve ever wondered how wine gets into the bottle, or if you’ve ever wanted to be involved in bottling wine or experience the workings of a winery, tomorrow is your chance Continue reading