Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This blog spawned an idea that may lead to a movement. What is the most interesting idea, most innovative suggestion, most forward thinking reduce-reuse-recycle project you can think of, involving corks?

Monday, December 22, 2008

the mis-education of Garry K. McGuire, Jr

Copia needs to go away ascertains George Rose in todays Press Democrat. Agreed.

While it is a wildly decadent idea, a foodie's wet dream. It just never caught on.

When I lived in Napa I never once was enticed to visit Copia. My own loss. But at the same time shows a glaring problem. If you can't even get someone who lives three miles away and is a glorified soulful food enchantress to enter your doors - someone who LIVES for food and wine - how the hell can you get Joe 6-Pack into your gates?

Sadly, perhaps like everything else that is "Americana" the copia concept needs to be dumbed down to a Wonderbread and Concord Grape Jelly level. Because the multigrain farmstead loaves with organic stevia-seeped ollalieberry compote doesn't seem to be catching on . . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Under 30

This article, from the Boston Globe, very credibly discusses the preconceived notions diners may have when encountering a wine sommelier who is young, say under 30 years old.

I am more likely to listen to someone who speaks my language despite age. Someone who can cleanly and succinctly describe a wine to me with words I understand. I respect someone who has taken the time to learn the wine inside and out and isn't relying on information passed down to them from mouth to mouth form vineyard to marketing firm to sales person.

A sommelier shouldn't be stuck in the 80's and recommending Chardonnays and Cabernet's left and right with wild nods to the old school big wineries from old world and new.

Give me someone who has taken the time to hunt down a true gem that stands out in price point, taste and food pairing compatibility.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Urban Wine Association

San Francisco recently launched their own Wine Association and I especially loved their rootsy, folksy, back to basics mantra

"You don't need the big chateaus and the estates and the fountains and the tasting room. You need great grapes, great winemakers, and you're going to make great wines."

Often, when anything gets too popular and too successful - what gets lost is the fundamentals that got you the attention and acclaim in the first place. So this dreary Monday, lets all salute small winemakers with a mission. A mission to produce quality wines n a small scale that are terroir driven and hand crafted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SF Chronicle Top 100 Wines

Jon Bonné and his team of taster's top picks are out. These are some of my favorites that made the list. What are yours?

NV Domaine Carneros Cuvee de la Pompadour Carneros Brut Rosé ($36) Though the Domaine Carneros wines can sometimes feel a tad subdued, veteran winemaker Eileen Crane seems to have brought a bit more edge to the winery's fine rosé, which gives it lovely vibrancy. Clean notes of strawberry and peach are highlighted by a chalky mineral tone. Lifted acidity and the weight of 58 percent Pinot Noir fruit yields a wine with significant depth and versatility.

2006 Alma Rosa El Jabali Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay ($30) Richard Sanford shows his longtime talents with this lavish, ripe single-vineyard Chardonnay. Limpid, orange-driven aromas presage honeyed fig and citrus, with a bit of dry wood presence and a pleasing touch of sweetness on the palate, matched by firm, minerally bite. Balanced, well-defined Chardonnay from a parcel Sanford has farmed since 1983.

2006 Varner Spring Ridge Vineyard Home Block Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($39) Twin brothers Bob and Jim Varner harness their dry-farmed Portola Valley parcels to make some of the most taut, expressive Chardonnay in the country. This release from the original block is serious and tightly wound. White blossom, citrus and golden apple, bolstered by pitch-perfect acidity, wrap around a firm mineral core, giving it tons of aging potential.

2006 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($45) Combine a solid, ripe growing season with Veronique Drouhin's Burgundian winemaking talents and you get a taut, perfumed wine, with darker fruit notes than some - blue plum, blueberry - a minerally edge and a touch of that quintessential barnyard depth. Generous, grippy, seamless Pinot.

And a big Hooraaah, to a great friend of mine, Jeff.
2005 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard Branciforte Creek Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($32) Winemaker Jeff Emery originally apprenticed under founder Ken Burnap, whose pioneering work helped establish the area for Pinot. This bottling's profile is downright aggressive - the tannic grip isn't shy - but gorgeous aromas of pine needle, mint, gray mineral and vibrant red fruit help round out the minerally texture and lifted acidity. By no means the most approachable Pinot, but raw and complex in its expression.

2005 La Sirena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($150) As plush and refined as Heidi Peterson Barrett's Amuse Bouche wines have been lately (and as much as we want to cheer for Merlot), it's still hard to outpace her latest release of La Sirena, which showcases her talents with a pitch-perfect Cabernet vintage. Big, sweet blackberry, rolled tobacco and a bit of roasted almond start things off, with high, taut tones of currants, a chamomile hint and those bold, silken tannins that Barrett finesses to perfection.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dear Santa Baby,

Every year it's the same old, same old.

And we know, it's our fault. Our letter doesn't arrive in the North Pole in time. If only our emails to SantaBaby@Gmail.com actually didn't bounce back.

If you get this. Can we switch up from the usual?

Olive Oil


On second thought. Are you going to bring these things for us for a Christmas Gift? Because if you are, we don't mean to be -- pushy. (We have been good girls and boys this year)
But we're a little bit special and we'd like more than a little bottle of over priced imported EVOO. Can we have the whole tree? Just adopt it for us, kay?

Thanks Santa Baby.

Don't forget to slip a sable under the tree, for me.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not Guilty

La Crema is hosting the kind of party that won't cause you to wake up, heart pounding, at 6AM, worried about the three wine glasses you broke, the 6 people you offended, the stain on the carpet, the tasteless joke you told your host's mother or all the "dancing" you did by yourself on the front lawn to the Say Anything soundtrack you blasted from your car stereo. 

Instead you'll learn something and connect with winemaking technique. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Uruguayan Tannat

You made room for Chilean Carmenere and Pinot Grigio's. There's always space on the shelf for Argentine Malbec.

So how about Uruguayan Tannat?

Acidic and very, very tannic - Tannat is now recognized as the National Grape of Uruguay. It's grown in France, Spain, Australia and in Virginia, here in the States. Used as a blending grape in most places to lighten the load of its astringent body and tight tannins --- in Uruguay the traditional, savory meats of the barbecue are a perfect match for this bold wine.

We like trying new appellations and grapes. You know, being a from a new world appellation ourselves. It's important to open up doors to horizons you've never tasted before.