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 Lodging, Dining, Wineries and Beer.



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  • July 31, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

    Liberty Creek pinot noir Picmonkey

    Pinot Noir (N/V)


    Liberty Creek


    Alcohol: 11.5%

    Suggested Retail: $11.99* (1.5L)


    “We picked up this bottle of wine in a supermarket. It was large, cheap and labeled Pinot Noir. Our purchase was another waypoint on our perpetual quest to find drinkable versions of this variety at a decent price.

    “Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow well. To do so requires cooler weather than California’s great Central Valley, which is where the grapes for this wine undoubtedly came from. On the other hand, this magnum-sized bottle (1.5L) went for just seven bucks*, or the equivalent of three-fifty for each of two normal-sized bottles. You couldn’t beat the price. We reviewed a similar bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the same producer—and at the same price—a few weeks ago. While it wasn't something we'd want to pour for a special occasion, it wasn’t necessarily bad wine. Wine reviewers and judges for competitions get to experience a lot of flawed wines—products that are not just to our taste, but have some real defects. Neither the Liberty Creek Cabernet, nor their Pinot Noir was flawed in this way. Both exhibited qualities that are traditional in these grape varieties, but they didn’t provide them in abundance. Tasting them was sort of like making a sandwich using soft white bread from a supermarket instead of something really special from a bakery. Either way, the bread would play a necessary role, but basic white bread wouldn’t add much to the experience. So it was with our latest Liberty Creek wine. It was recognizable as Pinot Noir and would make a meal better than one if no wine were on the table, but wouldn’t have your guests talking about how much they enjoyed that aspect of the evening,

    “The non-vintage (N/V) Liberty Creek Pinot Noir, showed some plum and cherry fruit aspects and provided just a smidgen of spice. While we didn’t share the winery’s flowery opinion that it “feels like satin or brushed cotton as you taste it,” we can tell you that we found it easy-drinking. This is no threat to the reputations of Burgundy’s Gevrey-Chambertin or California Pinot Noirs such as Williams Selyem. It is an inexpensive table wine that actually shows some varietal character. To say so is not damning with faint praise. Producing such a wine at very affordable pricing is an accomplishment.”

    Food Affinity: “Don’t worry about pairing with the perfect food companion. Put an open bottle on the table anytime you’re serving something you think might go with red wine. Maybe grilled bratwurst or salmon?”

  • July 31, 2015 Beer Pick of the Week

    Hop Valley Brewing logo 300x300

    Citrus Mistress


    Hop Valley Brewing Co.

    Eugene, Oregon

    Style: IPA

    Alcohol: 6.5%

    IBUs: 80

    Serving Style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft)

    Availability: Seasonal in the Pacific Northwest


    Appearance:   “Dark gold or amber color.”

    Aroma:   “Lightly hoppy. Citrussy”

    Taste:   “Smooth. Slightly mild taste with a moderate hoppy finish. I’m not really an IPA drinker, but I like this. I’d drink this again.”

    Food Affinity:   "Barbecued salmon with a lemon glaze.”


    Bill Easterday July 31 2015 Picmonkey



    Reviewer Bill Easterday is a metal fabricating consultant

  • Beer Industry Contributes $32 Billion Annually to California Economy

    Alaskan Ambrer Dugout Pix Picmonkey

    TASTE News Service July 29, 2015 - A new economic impact study shows America's beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers and retailers, contributes more than $32 billion annually to California's economy and is linked to 201,567 local jobs.

    Jointly commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, the study shows that the industry generates 201,567 jobs in California -- accounting for more than $10 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also contributed $6 billion in the form of business, personal and consumption taxes in 2014.

    "It can be said that beer truly serves America. Beer is more than our nation's favorite adult drink -- it is a powerhouse in job creation, commercial activity and tax revenue," said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which released the study today jointly with NBWA.

    According to the study, the beer industry generates nearly $253 billion in economic activity, produces $48.5 billion in tax revenue and supports 1.75 million jobs. Brewers and beer importers directly employ 49,576 Americans. More than 70 percent of brewing jobs are linked to large and mid-sized brewers and beer importers, and the number of distributor jobs has increased by more than 20 percent in the last decade, to more than 131,307.

    NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser said, "As independent businesses, America's licensed beer distributors are proud to provide more than 130,000 direct jobs with solid wages and great benefits to employees at more than 3,300 facilities, located in every state and congressional district across the country. These independent beer distributors provide significant economic benefits in their communities through local business-to-business commerce, investments in local infrastructure and capital assets and tax revenue. They provide services that improve efficiency for trading partners, especially small brewers and retailers, and they ensure fair prices and a broad selection of products for consumers to enjoy."

    The Beer Serves America study was compiled by an independent economics firm, John Dunham & Associates. It is the most comprehensive was compiled by an independent economics firm, John Dunham & Associates. It is the most comprehensive analysis of the industry available, using data collected directly from private companies, Dun & Bradstreet, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

  • Vintage Wine Estates Confirms Purchase of Sonoma's B.R. Cohn Winery

    BRCohn Logo Picmonkey

    TASTE News Service July 29, 2015 - Pat Roney, President of Vintage Wine Estates, confirmed today the acquisition of B.R. Cohn Winery, located in Glen Ellen, California in Sonoma's Valley of the Moon. In 1974, founder Bruce Cohn transformed a former dairy into the Olive Hill Estate Vineyard, named for the property's grove of 140-year old French Picholine olive trees. In 1984, Cohn built the B.R. Cohn Winery on the estate. B.R. Cohn produces a range of critically acclaimed wines including Cabernet Sauvignon from the 61-acre Olive Hill Vineyard. The estate also produces extra-virgin olive oils and vinegars, and is a popular destination for visitors to Sonoma Valley.

    "We are thrilled to welcome B.R. Cohn Winery into our collection of classic wineries, vineyards and brands. As a family-owned wine company, Vintage Wine Estates is particularly interested in preserving heritage wineries such as B.R. Cohn, and taking them into the future. We are looking forward to carrying on the legacy of B.R. Cohn which we consider one of the crown jewels of Sonoma Valley," commented Roney.

    marco digiulio PicmonkeyMarco DiGiulio B.R. Cohn wines are close to the heart of Marco DiGiulio, Chief Winemaker for Vintage Wine Estates. DiGiulio was the consulting winemaker to B.R. Cohn in 2004 through 2010, assisting in creating an award-winning style. He has a history of making remarkable wines – most notably as Winemaker at Pepi Winery in Oakville and Lokoya, where he made the world-class 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon that received 98 points in the Wine Spectator. DiGiulio now oversees all winemaking for Vintage Wine Estates wineries.

    "Of all the properties I have been privileged to work with, I have a special fondness for B.R. Cohn. I intend to continue to produce wines of the highest quality that reflect the Sonoma Valley style that people have come to know and love," said DiGiulio. Tom Montgomery, B.R. Cohn's current winemaker, will remain in a consulting role for the foreseeable future.

    Other properties in the Vintage Wine Estates collection include Clos Pegase Winery, Girard Winery, Cosentino Winery, Viansa Winery and Sonoma Coast Vineyards. Each has received substantial investment by Vintage Wine Estates in the vineyards, cellar and visitor experience.

    Editor’s note: If you’re planning a visit to BR Cohn or any of the Sonoma Valley wineries first check out the North Coast listings in the Resource Directory of Taste California Travel. There you’ll find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Wineries and Craft Beer purveyors.