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20

Jun

Award-winning wines of Chile

Award-winning wines of Chile

by Michelle Kwan


The diverse terroir of Chile makes the region ideal for winemaking, producing varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Carmenère. The “Tapestry of Terroir” comprised the theme of this year’s Wines of Chile Tasting Event held recently at the New York City Metropolitan Pavilion and refers to the natural adaptability of the Chilean landscape towards wine production. Yet, Chile has only recently seen a proliferation of wineries; the necessary investment of considerable time, capital and effort has impeded the development of winemaking in Chile in the past.


But the growing interest in New World wines has placed the country on the map among the world’s wine producers and drinkers alike. Many of Chile’s wineries are only a few decades old, but their present vintages attest to the quality of their wine production methods.

Continue reading “Wines of Chile Tasting Event” »



11

Jun

Sean John Combs, brand ambassador for Ciroc Vodka

Sean John Combs, brand ambassador for Ciroc Vodka

by Jeff Hoyt


Most personalities do their best to make their name a household one, reinforcing their “brand” repeatedly by getting their name out there, via their performances, TV appearances, CDs, DVDs, clothing lines and every media that will have them. But singer/rapper/actor/ producer/mogul/businessman Sean John Combs has bucked that trend, changing his name over and over again while continually staying in the public eye: Diddy; P. Diddy; Puff; Puffy; Puff Daddy; King Combs. Even his clothing lines utilize two different names based on his birth name: Sean John and “Sean by Sean Combs.”


But the multiple Grammy Award winner has only one name for his vodka: Ciroc. When he became a brand ambassador in 2007, the French vodka was only selling about 10,000 cases per month. With the entrepreneur pushing the product, and sharing in the brand’s profits, sales were about 400,000 cases in 2009, and reportedly close to 1,000,000 cases last year. No wonder the singer now refers to himself jokingly as “Ciroc Obama.”

Continue reading “Ciroc Vodka with Sean Combs” »



Front side of Inglenook 2009 CASK Cabernet Sauvignon, featuring 1941 label design

Front side of Inglenook 2009 CASK Cabernet Sauvignon, featuring 1941 label design


If you avoid Inglenook wines because of their subpar reputation, it’s time to rethink that notion. Founded in 1880 by Finnish sea captain Gustave Niebaum, Inglenook was actually one of the earliest and greatest of Napa Valley wine estates. But in 1964, it was broken up and sold off, and the brand became associated with cheap box wines.


Over the past few decades, filmmaker/wine entrepreneur Francis Ford Coppola has devoted a tremendous amount of money and energy to reviving this historic brand. He began buying up parts of the 235-acre estate in 1975, issuing wines under the Niebaum-Coppola label. In 2006, he changed the label to Rubicon Estate, and five years later to Inglenook when he finally completed the estate’s reunification. He also hired Château Margaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules to change the public perception of the Inglenook brand and restore it to its former glory.

Continue reading “Historic Inglenook Winery Restored to Former Glory – Wine News” »



08

Jun

by Sophie Gayot


Throughout 2012, restaurateur Piero Selvaggio will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Valentino, one of Los Angeles’ first fine dining restaurants, featuring Italian cuisine. Watch my exclusive video interview above with Selvaggio to learn some culinary history. You can also watch another video with Valentino chef Nico Chessa
. Valentino will celebrate Father’s Day by offering three “No Corkage Nights” on Thursday, June 14, Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, so diners can bring in their own wine for no additional charge. (Valentino is closed on Sundays.)

Continue reading “Celebrate Father’s Day” »



30

May

Riesling & Co. Tasting invitation

Riesling & Co. Tasting invitation

Riesling & Co. 2011 Vintage Tasting in Tribeca


by Michelle Kwan


German engineering, bratwurst, beer. These three things come to mind when thinking of Germany. But wine? Not so much. Flanked by France and Italy, Europe’s powerhouses of winemaking, Germany has long existed under the shadow of these two regions — despite the fact that Germans began making wine more than eight centuries ago.


The German Winegrowers’ Association has been taking its vintages on tour in parts of Europe and the United States for several years now in an attempt to introduce German wines to the industry and public alike. Germany’s 2011 vintage has proven to be “the best in recent years,” according to Norbert Weber, president of the Association. Germany’s soil works together with the climate to produce primarily Rieslings and Pinot Blancs, with the former most recognized in the industry. Rieslings range from very dry to very fruity depending on the sugar alcohol level at processing, and the versatility of this wine makes it equally ideal for both pairing with food and drinking on its own.

Continue reading “Riesling on the Rise!” »



24

May

Jack and Miles wining and dining Maya and Terra

Jack and Miles wining and dining Maya and Terra

by Barnaby Hughes


First there was Sideways the novel, then Sideways the movie, and now there is Sideways the play. The world premiere production of Sideways is currently running through July 22 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, California.


The novel’s author and first-time playwright Rex Pickett focuses the stage adaptation on the friendship between Miles and Jack and their wine-soaked wanderings through Santa Barbara County wine country in search of sexual satisfaction and the perfect Pinot Noir. To help with their latter quest, performances are paired with complimentary Pinot Noir tastings, courtesy of wine event company Affairs of the Vine.

Continue reading “Sideways in Santa Monica” »



09

May

Red wine weekend

Red wine weekend

by Barb Rybicki


Where can you attempt to get five dozen passport stamps in a single weekend with no jet lag? Passport to Dry Creek Valley, of course. Now in its 23rd year, the sold-out annual wine and food tasting event, held the last weekend of April in Northern Sonoma County, California, once again offered visitors a spectacular whirlwind tour of one of California’s loveliest wine appellations.


The “Zinfamous” region celebrates a century of Zinfandel growing, often by multi-generational families. Boutique, small production wineries lie just around a bend from renowned cult producers. The weekend open house allows eager passport holders to sample the remarkable variety of nuanced conglomerations of grapes, terroir and individual winemaking philosophy.

Continue reading “Passport to Dry Creek Valley” »



Jordan Winery's 40th anniversary celebration at the London West Hollywood

Jordan Winery's 40th anniversary celebration at the London West Hollywood

Top Form at 40


It was 40 centuries ago that the production of wine took place in what is today Armenia and Iran and, yes, China most probably had been making fermented fruit juices another 40 centuries earlier. At 40 years young, John Jordan and Jordan Winery are following in our ancestors’ footsteps and more recently his Mom and Dad, Sally and Tom Jordan, who gave birth to the winery and their son forty years ago. And what an enterprise it is. It took a fortune made in the oil and gas exploration business to power its development. Tom, a geology engineer, had to keep his hands and feet underground to satisfy his thirst.

Continue reading “Jordan Winery Celebrates 40th Anniversary – Wine News” »



23

Apr

Mt. Brave wines

Mt. Brave wines

A Brave New Wine


Native Americans and early settlers hunted animals with bows and arrows so they could feed themselves and their families. But a lucky few wielding those old-school weapons were able to enjoy a gourmet wild game meal on Sunday, washed down by fine Napa Valley red wines, no matter how badly they aimed.


The occasion was the exclusive launch party for the new Mt. Brave wine label at the Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, where three wines and a mini-archery range magically appeared. Mt. Brave winemaker Chris Carpenter, who has worked on other top Kendall-Jackson Napa mountain vineyards such as Lokoya and Cardinale, introduced the inaugural 2008 vintage, which includes 1,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon ($75), 100 cases of Merlot ($60) and 100 cases of Malbec ($60).

Continue reading “Mt. Brave Wines – Wine News” »



Wine on the Go


The term ‘stacked’ takes on new meaning thanks to the creative folks behind Stack Wines (originally marketed as STACKED Wines). Their nifty invention offers a practical way of bringing vino to places — such as the beach or park — where you don’t want to bother with stemware, a corkscrew and the glass bottle itself. The Stack Wines “tower” consists of four individually packaged wine containers (they look like stemless govino wine glasses) that are stacked and separated by a peel-away seal. These are made of a lightweight and shatterproof plastic called Vinoware, and each container holds a serving of 187.5 ml for a total of 750 ml, which is the size of a standard wine bottle. To imbibe, you simple pull one of the cups away and sip! Stack Wines are available in three varietals, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio, and a red blend called Charisma, all sourced in California. The price is about $12 per tower. Stack Wines can be purchased online or at select locations across the United States.

Continue reading “Stack Wines Introduces Innovative Packaging – Wine News” »



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