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The New and Improved Monday Through Thrusday Routine

October 12, 2017 Uncategorized  No comments

We all know how fun it is to pick out a wine and take it to a fine restaurant - especially if we're meeting a group of fun friends who's presence inspires us. Let's face it - being the one who brings the wine allows up to bathe in the accolades of authority and influence (as long as the wines have been well-chosen), and otherwise be the king of ceremonies for the evening (I hope that means we don't have to pick up the tab, as well).

But the more common scenario would be bringing home an excellent bottle while we cook (or bring home) a nice meal on the more mundane nights of Monday through Thursday. And last night, I did just that - in fact, I do this a few nights a week.  And here's last night's cooking play-by-play.

Wanting to enjoy a nice bottle of red wine, I opted for the 2014

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Wine with Mexican Food? Es mejor que lo creas! (you better believe it!)

September 28, 2017 Uncategorized  No comments

scallops!There used to be a Mexican Restaurant in East Los Angeles that was legendary - La Seranata de Garibaldi - which was to me, and many others, a revolutionary discovery of what we deemed Mexican food. They featured fresh grilled fish and seafood, and a number of unbelievably flavorful sauces that equaled the depth of flavors that one could experience at any restaurant in the city. For those who defined Mexican food as a Number 2 Combination at El Coyote, this would forever change their perception, as it did mine.

The restaurant later opened 2 locations on the Westside - one on Pico Blvd., near the Westside Pavillion, and one on 4th Street in Santa Monica near Santa Monica Place, that were so welcomed that they were booked up for weeks in advance.  Sure - it was initially somewhat of a

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A Few of Our Favorite Fall Wines

September 16, 2017 News and OpinionUncategorized  No comments

ridge_geyservilleWith the change of seasons, we often find that our appetite will adapt in tandem. We attempt to phase out the lighter wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (well, not completely - this IS California, after all, and we drink those year round - and especially with Thanksgiving!), and we start to incorporate deeper, more full-bodied  reds to suit the heartier dishes that we begin to crave with the colder weather.  Do you have any yearly favorites? We've certainly got a few, listed below - and we'll be featuring more in upcoming blogs as well.

2015 Ridge Zinfandel Geyserville 50th Vintage

One varietal we love during the holidays is Zinfandel - especially with anything we can throw on the outdoor grill with a nice spicy rub (Tri-tip, Chicken, Turkey, and anything else you can

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A Favorite Pinot Value – 2013 Talbott Kali Hart ($14.95)

January 15, 2016 Uncategorized  No comments

Talbott Kali Hart 2013 Pinot Noir LabelDuring a recent trip to the Monterey peninsula, I made it a point to stop by Talbott's Carmel Valley tasting room.  I've always admired their wines, especially their Kali Hart bottling which represents one of the very finest values in both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

We tasted through all of Talbott's bottlings, and though their higher-end pinot and chardonnay is excellent, the clear value is the Kali Hart.  This wine is 100% estate fruit from Talbott's highly regarded Sleepy Hollow Vineyard.  It's up-front and juicy yet has the depth to age for several years.

Talbott was recently sold to Gallo winery.  Hopefully they allow Talbott to continue the roll they've been on for the last decade.
Buy Here: 2013 Talbott Kali Hart Pinot Noir $14.95

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A Top Notch Tempranillo Blend from… California ($14.95)

October 6, 2015 Uncategorized  No comments

firefall_red_blend_LRGUntil a few years ago, I had only experienced good Tempranillo, make that any Tempranillo, from one place: Spain.  That was until I had Epoch's Tempranillo from Paso Robles.  That is a mind blowing wine that will make you wonder why more California growers aren't experimenting with this grape.

Luckily for those of us "in the know" (the readers of this blog), another winery is doing just that.  As the Sierra Foothills region of California is starting to make a name for itself with Rhone varietals, Firefall, from a single 2400 ft elevation vineyard called "Little Rattlesnake", blends Rhone grapes with 27% Tempranillo to create a delicious red wine.

This is a polished wine with big fruit and great length.  It's a true crowd pleaser and would make a fun wine to throw into a blind

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The Best Chardonnay Values Right Now (from $12.95)

July 22, 2015 Uncategorized  No comments

Summer is white wine season and the best Chardonnay values are coming from France - you know, the people who put Chardonnay on the map!  The Burgundy region of France produces some of the most collectible whites in the world, but if you know where to look, there are great values as well. Burgundy's Mâcon region and neighboring  Pouilly Fuissé are where I look for values and there are none better than two wines from Marie-Pierre Manciat.


The 2012 Les Morizottes is from a 25 year old vineyard and is one heck of a $13 wine.  It already has going on three years of age on it and has a crisp mouthfeel and great length.  It received 89 points from the Wine Advocate with the following rating:


"The 2012 Macon Morizottes is a little delight. The bouquet is very

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Another Winner from Ridge – 2013 Geyserville ($31.95, AG 92-94)

June 17, 2015 Uncategorized  No comments

Ridge GeyservilleAs I've mentioned several times on these pages, Ridge makes a couple of my favorite wines - Geyserville and Lytton Springs.  They are both Zinfandel-based blends, both age-worthy and both remarkably consistent.  They are also some of the best values in American wine.  These are truly top-notch reds in the low $30s.  Compare that to a Cabernet of the same heritage and we would be looking at 2-4x the cost.

Though I haven't had a chance to try either wine this year, I popped a 2012 Geyserville in preparation for this post and only a little over a year after release, it's open for business.  Remarkably, this wine ages well, with some examples from the 70s still drinking well.  Not that it's likely to last that long in my cellar...
Buy Here: 2013 Ridge Geyserville $31.95
Magnums

Halfs

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Another Bigtime Rhone Value – 2011 Chateau de la Negly $16.95

October 27, 2014 Uncategorized  No comments

Negly

Here's another killer value from the up-and-coming Languedoc appellation in France's southern Rhone Valley.  I drank this last week with friends at Chicago's Bite Cafe and it was a big hit at the table.  It's a deeply concentrated blend of 50% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, which in addition to the concentration, features complex dark berry flavors and great length.


In addition to the complex flavors, this wine features a complex name: Chateau de la Negly Coteaux du Languedoc la Clape Cuvee de la Cot.  As I've said before, France, and especially Rhone, needs to take care of their naming conventions and they would sell tons more wine.  This one's naming convention is the name of the winery (Chateau de la Negly) the name of the

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A Top Notch Bubbly for Under $15

December 12, 2013 Uncategorized  No comments

Lucien Albrecht Cremant Brut RoseI wrote this French sparkler up over two years ago, and loved it at the time.  Sparkling wines like this and most Champagnes are made from multiple vintages in order to achieve consistency.  As such, I though it was time to revisit this favorite to see how the blend is in the current release.  But before we do, a quick note on non-vintage (another name for multi-vintage) sparkling wines.

To my palate, generic French sparkling wine, AKA "Crémant" usually beats those of Spain (Cava), Italy (Prosecco), and yes, the United States.  I realize that's a massive generalization, but if I'm at a wine shop looking for a sparkling wine value without any other information, I'll choose a Crémant every time.  French sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it's from the Champagne region and

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Paso’s Founder: Tablas Creek (Wines from $17-$50, RP 90-94)

November 19, 2013 Uncategorized  No comments

Tablas Creek Bottle Shots SmallWith much of the focus in Paso Robles going to Saxum's Justin Smith (justifiably), it's easy to forget that way back in 1989 the Perrin family, of Beaucastel fame, partnered with importer Robert Haas to create a Chateauneuf-du-Pape outpost of sorts on the far west side of Paso Robles.  After a three year stay in quarantine, they founded Tablas Creek Vineyards with vine cuttings from Beaucastel vineyard.  They still operate a nursery to this day and many of Paso's Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and other varietals are descendants of those originals from Beaucastel.  Yes, there were plenty of grapes being grown in Paso, but Tablas Creek, and their Esprit de Beaucastel bottling established it as a premium wine region.

Fast forward a couple of decades and starting with the 2011 vintage, Tablas

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