Monthly Archives: March 2010

A Chance to Taste History in the Sonoma Valley

     Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance Executive Director Grant Raeside has announced that tickets are now on sale for the 4th annual Passport to Sonoma Valley, scheduled for May 15-16 at wineries and vineyards throughout historic Sonoma Valley.

     For food and wine aficionados to those looking for a unique travel experience, Passport to Sonoma Valley swings open the cellar doors of California’s oldest and most coveted artisan wineries in celebration of Sonoma’s food, wine and arts scene.

     Visitors to the valley-wide open house will be issued a “passport,” providing them unprecedented access…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

Willamette Valley: Where Wine & History Converge

     From the first Oregon Pinot Noir vine and trailblazing biodynamic vintners to local, organic produce, artisan cheeses and much more, the Willamette Valley is a patchwork of cities and towns that offer unique experiences for every traveler.

     Nestled between the Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains, the Willamette Valley follows the Willamette River for more than 100 miles from the central Cascades through Eugene and north to Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory.

     While Pinot Noir is grown in several areas of the state, it attains star quality primarily in the Willamette Valley…

Posted in Wine Region Profiles

Aussie Wines Benefit from Experience & Creativity

     While writing the Tasting Notes for the wines featured in this week’s Cyber Circle offer (if you haven’t joined the Vinesse Cyber Circle, you’re missing out on some great deals), I was reminded of how difficult things have been for Aussie vintners in recent years.

     After inundating the American marketplace with a number of mass-produced, value-priced wines during the 1990s, economic realities finally set in, forcing a number of marginal Down Under wineries out of business.

     For a while, Australia had a reputation for producing “cheap wine,” even though the top estates continued to craft world-class bottlings…

Posted in Editor's Journal

Wine, Food and Music… Oh, My!

     Tickets are now on sale for Sonoma Jazz +, a three-day feast of wine, food and music that will take over downtown Sonoma May 21-23.

     The festival actually is three events in one: a concert series with headline entertainers, a strolling wine- and food-tasting extravaganza, and a late-night “after-party.”

     Headliners on May 21 include Lizz Wright at 6 p.m., followed by Crosby, Stills and Nash …

Posted in Wine Buzz

Gourmet Mustard Producer's Roots Revealed

     For many years, two iconic restaurants along California’s Mendocino Coast were the Noyo River Restaurant and the Rendezvous – owned by Lionel and Rose Jacobs.

     More dedicated or passionate restaurateurs would be difficult to find. They took every detail seriously – and that included making their own gourmet salad dressings and mustards.

     So popular were these condiments that customers more or less shamed Chef Lionel into making them available to take home…

Posted in Vinesse Style

Beckstoffer Contributes Conservation Easements

     Andy Beckstoffer, recently elected to the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame, has contributed two new conservation easements totaling 92 acres to the Napa County Land Trust

     The two new easements are part of the Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard, which produces fruit for such award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon wines as Schrader GIII, Zahtila and 12C. 

     “What makes Napa Valley unique is the quality of the grapes we grow here,” says Beckstoffer. “We have to preserve that, because if we fall short…

Posted in Wine and the Environment

The Marriage of Art and Wine

     When one visits “wine country,” no matter where it may be, a “bonus” that can be expected is a plethora of gourmet dining opportunities.

     That’s certainly true in the Napa Valley, where multi-starred restaurants share the landscape with rows of pristine grapevines.

     Napa also is home to world-class spas and fabulous shopping.

     Less well known is the valley’s art community. In addition to art galleries at several of the wine estates, there are…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

Film Buffs Prepare for Sonoma Festival

    Thirteen will be the Sonoma International Film Society‘s lucky
number as it holds its 13th annual Sonoma International Film Festival,
April 15-18.

     The festival is scheduled to screen more than 65 films – including
features, documentaries and shorts – in four locations within walking
distance of the Sonoma town square.

     Passes and information are available at and 707-933-2600.

     The Festival will lead off April 15 at the Sebastiani Theatre with
the world premiere of “Coals to Newcastle,” a documentary on…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

Dried Legumes Make Tasty Pairing Partners

     Just hearing the word “legume” can make one think of O.J. Simpson,
a fate that no respectable foodstuff should have to suffer.

     So let’s forget about “The Juice” and talk about the wine –
specifically, which wines make good pairing partners with favas,
chickpeas, lentils, limas, et al.

     Why the interest in legumes? Because they’re already common on
restaurant menus and are becoming more so in home cooking. As a group,
they’re among the more versatile sources of protein, and most are
inexpensive, which means you needn’t…

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes

Thinking Good Thoughts for the People of Chile

    The impact of the big earthquake in Chile wasn’t nearly as dire as
the impact of the big earthquake in Honduras, simply because Chile has
a much more modern infrastructure.

     Even so, damage was substantial, and the wine industry did not
escape the wrath of Mother Nature. For a detailed report from USA
Today, follow this link:

     The larger wine estates and distributors stepped forward quickly with assistance, but it’s feared…

Posted in Editor's Journal
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