Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Glamorous Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are here again and I'm here and happy to offer my assistance. I've pulled together a lovely little Gift Guide full of Glamorous and downright delicious gift recommendations for your loved ones or maybe a little something to gift yourself!

For the Oenophile:

Master Sommelier Andrea Immer has created a simplified solution to the somewhat frustrating question, "What glass do I use with which wine?" Her answer... The One. Through extensive testing and comparing of grape-specific shapes she created an ideal glass ( One for sparkling/white wine, One for Red ) that optimizes these shapes plus they are break resistant, dishwasher safe and better yet, available on Amazon Prime.

Of course the next question would be ...What do I fill The One glass with?

Sonoma's Buena Vista Winery, credited with being the first in the U.S. to introduce Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine making, has an exciting new offering. They now are making a Champagne themselves and sourcing their fruit from the Grand Cru villages of Ambonnay, Bouzy and Louvois. La Victoire Brut Champagne with its notes of lime blossom, brioche and honey would be the perfect companion to lobster or as an impressive gift for the Champagne lover in your life.

Prefer a red to keep you cozy and warm? Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone Valley in France and the holidays go hand and hand offering notes of juniper, rich baking spices, cassis and black raspberries. Paul Autard's Cote Ronde is a wonderful option and their 2012 ( fantastic vintage ) is   available on

For the Gourmand:

Jean-Charles Boisset, an ultimate lover of luxury has done it again now offering one time Fromage ( cheese ) and Caviar Gift Boxes or annual Fromage, Caviar and Gourmand memberships. The Fromage Gift Box offers 3-4 cheese hand selected by their cheese monger and the Caviar Gift Box offers 2 ( 1 oz ) selections such as Petrossian in a beautiful black insulted box.

Sugarfina, candy for adults, offers the ultimate in decadent treats such as Champagne gummy bears made of Dom Perignon, gummy roses made with Whispering Angel Rose and Simgle Malt Scotch Cordials all packaged in sleek little cubes for perfect stocking stuffers.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pali Wine Co.Tasting Room Moves South

Pali Wine Co. named by two entrepreneurs Tim Perr and Scott Knight after their hometown of Pacific Palisades on the west side of Los Angeles is dedicated to making small lots of Pinot Noir. On November 6 Pali officially opened their third tasting room ( the other two are in Santa Barbara and Lompoc ). Little Italy in San Diego has always been a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike and even more so now that Pali Wine Co. has created another home here. I attended the opening and was extremely impressed. First and foremost, as a big fan of Pali's wines, I am thrilled that I can visit them right in the heart of Little Italy.

The tasting room has multiple levels including a roof top deck with a fabulous view, space for private parties and a beautiful bar. They are offering small bites to pair with the wines and on the night of the opening we were treated to a sneak preview of their beautiful cheese and charcuterie boards which included mimolette cheese, one of my favorites. As well as having a variety of Pali Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays available by a flight or by the glasss they are also offering their second label Tower 15. Tower 15 focuses on premium Bordeaux and Rhone blends. My favorite two Pinot Noirs from the opening were Pali's Huntington from Santa Barbara County and their Riviera from the Sonoma Coast.

What makes the Pali Wine Co. tasting room experience even better as a local? They offer select wines on tap for purchase by the refillable bottle/growler to take home. These refilable bottles are perfect for any occasion but especially as the gift that keeps on giving during this upcoming holiday season.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rosé All Day

As summer is in full swing, I thought I'd chat about my favorite Rosés, new and old. One of the most fantastic things about Rosé is that it's so refreshing on its own, but also pairs so wonderfully with classic summer fare...strawberry salads, watermelon and feta, BBQ chicken and pork ribs to name a few!

I'm always hunting for new Rosé wines each season as well as restocking some of my favorites.

Some of my newer finds this year so far are:

Goldeneye, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, CA

Big Table Farm, Laughing Pig Rosé, Willamette Valley, OR

Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Rosé, Long Island, NY

M, Minuty, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, Provence, France

Château Léoube, Rosé de Léoube, Côtes de Provence, Provence, France

My annual favorites

Croteaux, Jolie, Cabernet Franc, Rosé, Long Island, NY

Domaine Tempier, Rosé, Bandol, France

Domaine Saint Lucie, MIP, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France

Chateau d'Esclans, Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, France

Chateau du Campuget, Tradition Rosé, Costieres de Nimes

Go out there, try some of these favorites, explore and find some of your own.

Seize the day with Rosé!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Wines & Beer to Pair with Your Euro 2016 Viewing Pleasure

Excitedly the Euro Cup this year is being hosted by France. While I've begun to watch the matches I was thinking how fun to pair them with wines and beer from and near France!

I've looked at all the stadium locations and as the Euro Cup is for most of the month of June you have plenty of time to join in the fun!

Bordeaux - What must drink Bordeaux of course!? Intimidated? Go to your local retailer and tell them what you're comfortable paying. As expensive as Bordeaux can be you can also find some great values at $20-25 for a Cabernet or Merlot based red blend and often even better for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc based Bordeaux Blanc! Trader Joe's also has excellent value Bordeaux for a day of Bordeuax, Burgers and Euro Cup!

Lens Agglo - As beer is king here, being so close to Belgium, and within the region of Artois,
Stella Artois seems the logical and delicious choice. Not in the mood for beer? Why not try their Cidre?

Lille Metropole - Lille is right on the border of Flanders in Belgium so my suggestion would be a Flemish red. They are known for their tart, fruity character so if you're a fan of sours, these are your beers! Rodenbach Grand Cru is an excellent option. Not a fan of sours? Lille has been called a miniature Paris and is also known for having a Champagne bar located in the 17th century Convent Les  Minimes so why not go Champagne? But this time with a classic, such as Moet Rose Impérial. 

Lyon - Hailed as the Gastronomic Capitol of France and just south of Burgundy...go there for your wine! If you're feeling like a white wine I'd go with a Pouilly-Fuisse, a delicious style of Chardonnay. It's a crowd pleaser! A great red option is a Cru Beaujolais like Fleurie, it's light, bright and tastes great with a little chill to it.

Marseille - Located in the South of France and not far from Bandol brings me to the suggestion of drinking a refreshing Bandol Blanc, usually consisting of a blend of varietals Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc. Two of my favorite producers are Domaine Tempier and Domaine Terrabrune.

Nice - The French Rivieria requires rose! Whispering Angel is easily found in most markets these days or other favorites are MIP or Minuty, also from Provence.

Paris - What pairs better with Paris than Champagne!? Champagne Lanson, Black Label, Brut is one of the most popular Champagnes found in Bistros all over Paris!

Saint-Denis - A suburb of Paris, having a historic tie to royalty with Kings such as Louis XV taking interest in the city of Saint Denis brought me to the suggestion of Cabernet Franc from Chinon. Chinon is in Loire Valley,  another area in France with a vast history with Kings.

Saint-Etienne -A fascinating city brimming with creativity and the only French city to have been made a UNESCO City of Design. Located within the Rhone-Alps Saint Ettienne
offers wine options from both the Savoie showcasing wines from white varietals rarely found ( Altesse, Jacquere and Roussane ) and to the Rhone you can find the wines from the Savoie they are quite fun or go with a tried and true Cotes du Rhone red blend such as from M. Chapoutier's Belleruche

Toulouse - Nicknamed the "Pink City" with it's terra cotta bricks in most of the buildings, with a Spanish influence due to proximity to the Spanish border a "pink" wine seems perfect! One of my favorites from the nearby Languedoc-Rousillon region is Domaine De Fonsainte's Grus de Gris Rose.

Cheers & enjoy the matches!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Off-Season is My Favorite Season

Last week I gave myself something, a break, well, almost...I answered a few work emails but for the most part, I disconnected. I went to Park City for about 5 days during their off-season. What does that mean you may ask? For Park City, the winter is peak season, between the skiing, snowboarding and of course, The Sundance Film Festival. Summer kicks off in Park City roughly around an event called Savor the Summit that is usually towards the end of June.

I was there at that sweet spot ( in my opinion ) where the ground wasn't as muddy, the spring flowers were in bloom ( lots of Lilacs! ), less crowds at bars, restaurants and fantastic hotel rates! I stayed at the Marriott Summit Watch which was perfectly located on Main Street, for under half the price of peak season in a Villa with a hot tub, fireplace and a full kitchen. As Main Street has so much to taste, see and do, there was not even a need for me to rent a car. If I needed to go anywhere I just used Uber!

                                          Riverhorse on Main

During my visit my favorite restaurant was Riverhorse on Main  where I enjoyed their bison tartare
( wonderful presentation! ) with a glass of Roederer Estate, Brut and their trio of game....bison with a port reduction sauce, venison chop with shallot butter and elk with huckleberries with a glass of Syrah from the Santa Rita Hills. The service ( thank you Francis! ) , ambiance, food preparation and wine list were spot on!

My other treat to myself during the visit was to go over to the St. Regis Deer Valley to enjoy a Bloody Mary on their Terrace Café of the best, if not the best view in the valley. This might seem a little random but the Bloody Mary was actually created by famed bartender Fernand Petiot in the St. Regis New York in 1934! The St. Regis Deer Valley offered their own version, as well as the original New York version, and versions from Washington, D.C. and Aspen, CO. The Deer Valley version is topped with a wasabi and celery espuma, cayenne pepper, black lava salt and a tube filled with more spices to adjust the heat...delicious!

                                          St. Regis Deer Valley Bloody Mary

The other tradition that the St. Regis Deer Valley shares nightly is their Sunset Sabering Ritual. At around 6:30pm ( earlier during the winter months ) they welcome guests on the Terrace to learn about the history of Champagne sabering from back to the days of Napoleon and then offer a sunset toast.

As I descended on the funicular ( the mountain cart that brings you up and down from the St. Regis, which felt quite James Bond-like ) I smiled and breathed in the fresh, crisp, spring air.

Yes, off-season is indeed, my season.

Other spots I enjoyed during my stay:

Tavern : cozy, dark wood, fireplace, great cocktails and food
The Cabin : fun local bar celebrating the Elkupine and live music nightly
Olympic Park : soar down the mountain on an Alpine Slide
High West Distillery: locally made and blended Whiskeys