Interviews with California's Winemakers, Wine Experts, and Notable Chefs
Summary: Weekly news andinterviews relating to wine and food in California
Wine Tasting in Southern California & Beyond; Your Guide to Celebrating and Exploring So Cal's unique wineries, wine bars, restaurants and more. A one-of-its-kind compilation of Southern California wineries and information for enjoying wine tasting. It’s great for anyone visiting or living in the area. Read the book for full coverage of wineries, wine focused restaurants, wine bars and more in and around San Diego, Temecula, Laguna Beach, Antelope Valley, Oxnard/Ventura, Rancho Cucamonga and Los Angeles. In addition to winery coverage, the book has a resource guide of wine grape varieties, chapters on tasting wine and serving wine, pairing wine with food, starting a wine tasting group and more. "Wine Tasting in San Diego & Beyond (earlier edition) not only covers a wide spectrum of local information, but also gives the reader a helpful wine education. Ms. Roberts has obviously done a lot of research for such a comprehensive book about the San Diego (and beyond) wine scene." Eric V. Orange, EVO, Founder, www.LocalWineEvents.com
Bob Pepi comes from a long line of Californians, like his famous father Robert Pepi, who founded the family’s Napa Valley winery before it was sold to Jess Jackson more than a decade ago. Then there’s the Italian influence of his mother, a gentle octogenarian with striking features and a welcoming demeanor, who comes from Lucca, a small village in Tuscany. These two cultural influences in Pepi’s life, the Californian-Italian ties, have always been a strong part of who he is, and of the wines that he has made. Like a modern-day Midas, over the past few decades, Pepi has had a finger in more successful wine projects than you could imagine in Sonoma, Napa and even Argentina. In fact, his own project is named Eponymous, because he is not legally allowed to label a wine with his family name.
Highlights from recent San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Event
Joe’s wine career began in 1979 as a sommelier in Chicago’s top restaurant cellars including Charlie Trotter’s. He has worked for wine wholesalers, retailers, and a prominent Napa winery. Joe is the “JUST” the second American to achieve the coveted title “Best Sommelier in the World in French Wines and Spirits” awarded in Paris in 1997. In 1998 Joe was named Bon Appetit Wine & Sprits Professional of the Year. He is a leading wine educator, writer, and consultant, and he conducts wine seminars across the US, UK, Japan, and Australia. Joe is the Chairman of the selective US Court of Master Sommeliers (which has only admitted 140 people worldwide since inception!). The Court of Master Sommeliers encourages improved standards of beverage knowledge and service amongst professionals and others seeking to improve their knowledge and enjoyment of wines. The Court's charter is to further wine education worldwide. Joe is a frequent panelist at top wine events nationwide including Aspen, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Disney Properties, and Pebble Beach. He is a member of numerous professional tasting panels including the Beverage Testing Institute, United Airlines and the Grand Jury Européen.
The San Diego W Hotel's sandy beach lounge was where guests, chefs, winemakers, and purveyors of fine spirits gathered for an evening of music, fun, sipping, and food. Taste of Wine's Frank Mangio, and World of Wine Events promoters Michelle Metter and Ken Loyst shmoozed with some of the big names in the fine food and drink industry. The event kicked-off a week-long lineup of wine and food related events held in San Diego. The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival (held November 12-16) is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Produced by World of Wine Events, the festival benefits the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship program. Now in its fifth year, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival has quickly grown into a world-class wine and culinary extravaganza. The five-day festival features wine tasting seminars, cooking classes by James Beard award-winning chefs, and an elegant Reserve Tasting & Silent Auction. The festival culminates on Saturday, November 15 at the star-studded Grand Event and Fine Wine/Lifestyle Auction. Held on the magnificent San Diego Bay, the festival's Grand Tasting event is flanked by a backdrop of sail boats and sandy shores which perfectly set the event's tone. As of launch time of ths segment, some tickets for Saturday's event were still available. Check your chances for getting in to theis world-known wine and food event by going to http://www.WorldOfWineEvents.com
Wine Review: 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro - Encinitas, California
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods. Held in November, the event benefits the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship program. Over 700 wines, 60 of San Diego’s top fine dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies and exhibitors will participate in the 2008 Festival. Now in its fifth year, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival has quickly grown into a world-class wine and culinary extravaganza. The five-day festival features wine tasting seminars, cooking classes by award- winning chefs, and an elegant Reserve Tasting at one of San Diego's finest hotels. The festival culminates on Saturday at the star-studded Grand Tasting Event and Fine Wine/Lifestyle Auction complete with dueling chef demonstration stages, celebrity cookbook signing tents, entertainment tent, and more. For more information visit www.worldofwineevents.com.
The wines of Jean-Luc Colombo typically reflect an exuberance of fruit and depth of expession. Concentrated and precisely crafted, they resonate with authentic varietal character and thus entice the wine lover's palate. Jean-Luc-Columbo wine comes from the assembling of old vines from various vineyard sites of the Cornas appellation. After a classical vinification with destemming, the wine is aged in oak for 18 months. Les Mejeans is a fine expression of the terroir and appellation of Cornas, while it may be cellared for some years or enjoyed younger while still on its fruit.
Located in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country, Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery is committed to small lot, handcrafted wines from varieties that are grown on the property. The 13 acre, 2500 case per year family run winery has often been described as “boutique” but favors the term “Artisinal” to describe the involvement and passion that goes into the daily operations. Nicholas Palumbo, passionate Viticulturist and budding Enologist, believes in producing only what he grows himself. “I believe there is only two basic ingredients in making fine wines, the fruit itself and the barrels it ages in”. With one foot in modern techniques and the other foot firmly planted in tradition, the wines produced posses a depth and elegance that is becoming harder to find in California wines. Along with his wife Cindy and their four children, Reed, Ryan, Sophia and Dominick, the Palumbo’s believe that the vineyards come first. The 13 acres are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese varietals. A new block of Viognier and Syrah was planted on neighboring properties to round out the line of wines available. Specializing in full-bodied reds, the estate-grown and produced offerings include both single variety bottlings as well as a few special blends, like the very popular Meritage called “Tre Fratelli”. Other blends like the 2005 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon help round out the wine list and showcase the versatility and depth of quality that the Palumbo wines are known for.
Over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine are produced every year, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. Most Bordeaux wine is red, but sweet white wines have also contributed to the region's reputation, and dry white, rosé and sparkling wines (Crémant de Bordeaux) are also produced. Bordeaux wine is made in 9,000 wineries usually called châteaux from the grapes of 13,000 grape growers. There are 57 appellations of Bordeaux wine.
CHAMPAGNE HISTORY A little splash of history . . . No one had to "invent" sparkling wine. Effervescence has always been a natural phenomenon, produced as a result of fermentation. But it took the legendary Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk in the Champagne region of France, to develop a process that could produce a consistently fine sparkling wine and make it commercially viable. In the late 17th century, Dom Perignon discovered that by blending the wine from several of his best vineyards, he could produce a wine greater than any of its components. Intrigued by its naturally sparkling tendencies and helped along by the introduction of glass bottles and corks, Dom Perignon is credited with developing the méthode champenoise, allowing his exquisite cuvée to ferment in individual bottles. When he first tasted his champagne, Dom Perignon is said to have exclaimed, "I am drinking stars!" Today, most of the practices he developed are still in use by champagne makers throughout the world. While some steps of la méthode champenoise have been mechanized, the basic process has remained the same for all these many years. WINE PAIRING FACTS Rules are Meant to be Broken . . . It has been said that when pairing wine with food that red wine goes well with red meat and that white wine pairs well with fish and poultry. However, this rule fails to acknowledge the complexity of ingredients that make up a dish, as well as the wide range of wines available. There are some basic guidelines that can be taken into consideration when selecting a good food/wine pairing. Generally, the chosen wine should complement the dish. Acidic Wines Acidic wines, such as the Thornton NV Brut and 2001 Sauvignon Blanc are exceptional with sour, acidic, or salty food. Thornton sparkling wines generally pair with salty foods because the acidity cuts the saltiness. Sweet Wines Sweet wines, such as the 2002 Muscat Canelli and Cuvée de Frontignan, go well with sweet foods. The sweetness of the wine and the sweetness of the food will cancel each other out. However, be careful not to pair a wine with food that is sweeter than the wine. Dry Wines Dry wines, such as the Thornton 2000 Reserve Merlot, 2000 Nebbiolo, 2000 Côte Red, have a high level of tannins and will make bitter foods taste less bitter. Tannic wines are also calmed by protein, making rare beef an excellent choice for pairing. Light-body and Full-body Wines There are many other aspects of wine pairing to take into consideration. Try pairing light-bodied wines with lighter food and fuller-bodied wines with heartier, more flavorful, richer and fattier dishes. Also, consider how the food is prepared. Is there a sauce, seasoning or dominant flavor of the dish? How is the food cooked? If poached or steamed, a delicate wine would pair appropriately. If grilled, braised, roasted or sautéed, a more flavorful wine would pair well. Pairing Flavors Match the flavors of the food with the wine. It is important to read the wine notes or the back of the label for information on what flavors are dominant in a wine. For example, the cranberry taste of Thornton Cuvée Rouge goes with holiday turkey for the same reason that cranberry relish does. Try creating new flavor sensations by pairing opposites. Very hot or spicy food works best with sweet dessert wines, such as the 2002 Muscat Canelli. The goal of pairing wine and food is synergy and balance. The food and wine should complement one another, and not be overpowering. The "perfect match" will bring out the nuances and enhance the flavors and unique characters of both the food and the wine. Bon
Frank Mangio's Top Ten Tastings for 2007 This year has been a huge one for wine sales, an increase in wine events and the many individuals in the industry that I have met who have a passion for wine. As the Italians would say…”finche c’e vini c’e sperenza” (as long as there is wine, there is hope.) I have attended roughly 200 wine events this year, always seeking wines that I can call my own. If your palate is like mine, it is constantly changing. What might have been lovely last year is so last year’s news. This year I found 3 Cabs from Napa to merit my 10….last year there was none. Italy is again represented with 2 entries. Nearby Temecula keeps getting better and this year a cab whose grapes come from above and beyond the appellation scored in the ten. There was a repeat from last year, a delicious old vine Zinfandel from Sonoma. Chile also repeated with a consistently wonderful Syrah. And rounding out the ten, an oh-so-smooth Shiraz from Australia. The wines are listed alphabetically and not by rank. All are excellent for the varietal they represent. Prices listed may vary and are mostly taken from actual purchases or the winery websites. ÿ Antinori Toscana Tignanello, Italy, 2004. $75. The trophy wine of the Piero Antinori family. The ’04 harvest bloomed beautifully all over Italy for this “Super Tuscan,” a blend of Cab, Cab Franc and Sangiovese. Concentrated and velvety, this vintage is close to the heavenly ’97 harvest. www.italianwinemerchant.com. ÿ B Cellars Blend 24, Napa Valley Ca, 2004. $36. 75% Cab, 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah, this ’04 does well to typify the exciting yield of the ’04 Napa harvest. Sweet red fruit fills the palate with fresh raspberry and currants. Fine balance on the finish. www.bcellars.com. ÿ Bogle Reserve Petite Syrah, Clarksburg Ca, 2004. $20. The top “PS” varietal at the big San Diego Wine and Food Festival. Has a heady scent of ripe fruit with spicy oak evidence from14 months in French and 1 year in American Oak. Nice backbone…could age 10 years. www.boglewinery.com. ÿ Chateau St Jean Cabernet, Napa Valley CA, 2004. $19. Highly acclaimed veteran winery that doesn’t disappoint, it’s a lavish wine with smooth tannins and smoky flavor; a pleasing price. www.chateaustjean.com. ÿ Gaja Sperss Nebbiolo, Piedmont Italy, 2001. $50. In keeping with the powerful character of the Nebbiolo brand, this is a wine for the ages, from the legendary hand of Angelo Gaja. ( Accompanying photo shows daughter Gaia with this writer.) 94% Nebbiolo, 6% Barbera; 12 months in small oak, 12 months in large casks. Classic hints of the land: tar, licorice and a touch of truffles. www.terlato.com ÿ Montes Syrah, Chile, 2005. $25. A repeat from last year’s ‘04, this hot appellation should be in anyone’s collection. The ’05 has some Viognier in the mix. From the Colchagua Valley. Sweet texture. www.monteswines.com. ÿ Pedroncelli Dry Creek Zinfandel, Sonoma CA, 2005. $14. This “mother clone” old vine Zin shows style and class with a deep garnet hue. Demands respect as any matriarch would. www.pedroncelli.com. ÿ Robert Mondavi Cabernet, Napa Valley, CA, 2004. $20. The final touch of the Mondavi family before they got bought out. Every bit as great as the “reserve” that cost over 4 times a much as this gem. www.mondaviwines.com. ÿ South Coast Wild Horse Cabernet, Temecula, CA, 2003. $28. Best of class medaled at the CA State Fair, these cab grapes come from high ground Palomar Mt. area. Ripe and big…from the hand of award-winning winemaker John McPherson. www.wineresort.com. ÿ Schild Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2005. $17. 400 acres of estate vineyards, about 1/3 devoted to luscious Shiraz. 25 year old vines. www.schildestate.com. More news at www.TasteOfWineTV.BlogSpot.com
Recipes Shrimp Boats - Cut NatureSweet tomatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully slice off a small amount of the rounded bottom of tomatoes to stabilize tomatoes and set upright on a serving platter. Gently scoop seeds and pulp from tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and turn tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine or white wine vinegar, Dijon, mayonnaise, oregano and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Finely chop shrimp and add to a large bowl. Combine the shrimp, corn, bell pepper, celery, red onion, parsley, chervil and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour dressing over shrimp mixture, tossing gently to coat. Taste mixture again and adjust seasoning and dressing if necessary. Spoon the shrimp salad into halved D’Vines tomatoes, set upright on a serving and garnish with fresh parsley and sprigs of fresh chervil. 2 packages NatureSweet D’Vines tomatoes (approximately 12 tomatoes per package) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 pounds medium peeled, deveined and cooked shrimp, chopped 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon white wine or white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard ¼ cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill ½ cup of thawed frozen corn ½ cup minced red bell pepper ½ cup minced celery ½ cup minced red onion 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves 24 sprigs of fresh chervil & , parsley for garnish Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Yield: 12 servings of 2 appetizers each NatureSweet D’Vines Caprese Stack Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F Lay out the puff pastry on a lightly flour dusted surface. Roll out the pastry to between a 1/8-inch – ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut into as many rounds as possible. Brush the pastry with the egg white. Transfer puff pastry rounds to un-greased baking sheets, about ½-inch apart. Bake pastry rounds until pastry puffs for approximately 20 mins.and cool to room temp. Add vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture is thick and syrupy, for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Slice the mozzarella into ¼-inch thick slices. Using a 1 – 1 ½-inch round cutter, cut the mozzarella into as many rounds as possible. Cut the D’Vines tomatoes in half lengthwise. Using a small, very sharp paring knife, cut a very thin small slice off the rounded side just to stabilize the tomato so it will set upright when placed onto the mozzarella and pesto. To assemble, place a piece of mozzarella on the puff pastry round, dab pesto in the center of the mozzarella. Lay the D’Vines tomato on top, with the cut side facing. Drizzle balsamic syrup over the top, then a light drizzle of organic olive oil. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, garnish with a basil leaf and serve. 1 (17 ¼-ounce package) puff pastry – two sheets, thawed Flour, for dusting 1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to a thick syrup 2 pounds fresh Burrata mozzarella, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds 1 package NatureSweet D’Vines tomatoes, approximately 16 tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise Basil-arugula pesto, recipe follows Extra virgin olive oil. Fleur de sel & Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Fresh basil, for garnish Basil Arugula Pesto 1 ½ cups baby arugula, stemmed 2 cups basil leaves, washed and dried ½ cup fresh herbs (parsley and mint) 4 cloves garlic, chopped ¼ cup pine nuts lightly toasted ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan ½ cup olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Add all ingredients, except the olive oil to a blender Process until the ingredients form a smooth paste. Add the olive oil in a stream until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: 30 servings
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Since 1927, when John Pedroncelli, Sr. purchased vineyard and a small winery in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, two elements remain unchanged: the exceptional place the Pedroncelli family farms vineyards, and the family's dedication to making fine wines. From selling grapes to home winemakers during prohibition in order to keep the vineyards going, to growing a small base of business during the 1930s and 1940s,to the second generation joining their father: son John becoming winemaker in 1948 followed by Jim in 1955 as sales director, to 1963 when the winery was officially purchased by John and Jim from their father, to growing the line of wines in the 1960s with vineyard expansion and diversification, to the boom time of the 1970s and 1980s along with many changes and additions to our sales base including national sales and export, the third generation coming on board and vineyard replanting in the 1990s to the 21st century where the fourth generation is coming up the ranks...and it is still a family owned business. Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards 1220 Canyon Road Geyserville, CA 95441 (707) 857-3531 (800) 836-3894 Fax: (707) 857-3812 E-Mail General: email@example.com Julie Pedroncelli St. John, VP Marketing: firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Morehouse, VP Sales: email@example.com Shirley Buchignani, Tasting Room Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org Ed St. John VP Sales and Marketing: email@example.com