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  • Pinot Noir Partisan Walter Schug Passes

    Walter Schug PicmonkeyWalter Schug 1935 - 2015By Dan Clarke

    October 12, 2015 – This morning’s Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that Walter Schug passed away on Saturday. He was 80 years old. I met him only a few times, but he seemed the kind of guy I’d have liked to know better.

    Walter and his wife, Gertrud, arrived in California more than half a century ago. They both came from winemaking families and Walter had studied viticulture and enology at Geisenheim before continuing his education at the University of California, Davis.

    In 1966 Gallo hired Walter Schug as Director of Grower Relations and Quality Control. Much of his time was spent working with independent growers supplying grapes to that company. In 1973 he became the first winemaker for Joseph Phelps Vineyards. Though that winery set a high standard for quality, the proprietor chose to abandon making Pinot Noir in an era when that grape was not selling particularly well. Walter chafed and eventually opted to open his own winery, Schug Carneros Estate, in 1980. Though it also produces wines from other grape varieties, the winery is best known as a Pinot Noir specialist.

  • Famed Cajun Chef and Restaurateur Dies

    chef Paul Prudhomme PicmonkeyChef Paul Prudhomme 1940 - 2015

    By Dan Clarke

    October 9, 2015 – Chef Paul Prudhomme has died at age 75 after a brief illness. A native of Opelousas, Louisiana, the young Prudhomme traveled around the United States to expand his culinary horizons beyond the Cajun culture in which he’d grown up. He returned to New Orleans in the 1970s and soon became head chef at that city’s Commander’s Palace, a plum job for any chef, especially one who was relatively young and without formal training.

    In 1979 Paul Prudhomme and his wife, Kay, created their own restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, which became the home base for the rest of his life.

    I met Chef Paul in 1985 or ’86 at an American Culinary Federation meeting. This was an era before the Food Network debuted, but Paul was on television all the time. It’s probably no exaggeration to say he was the best known chef in the country.

  • October 9, 2015 Wine Pick of the Month

    Dry Creek Vnyd 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Picmonkey

    2012 Cabernet Sauvignon


    Dry Creek Vineyard

    Dry Creek Valley

    Alcohol: 14.5%

    Suggested Retail: $25


    Taste California Travel and its predecessor publications have been following the wines from Dry Creek Vineyard for a long time. We’ve appreciated their white wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, whether they carried that varietal identity or the Fumé tag. And, of course, we’ve always been high on their Zinfandels (editor’s note: The Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County is a place name carrying an AVA designation. Within that Dry Creek Valley are many wineries, one of the most prominent being Dry Creek Vineyard).

  • October 9, 2015 Beer Pick of the Week

    Karl Strauss Pintail Ale Picmonkey

    Pintail Pale Ale


    Karl Strauss Brewing Co.

    San Diego

    Style: American Pale Ale

    Alcohol: 5.3%

    IBUs: 47

    Serving Style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft)

    Availability: Year around in most of California


    Appearance:   “I’d say amber or maybe copper-colored.”

    Aroma:   “There seems a good balance of hops and malt in the nose. I get a good whiff of citrus—grapefruit and maybe orange peel.”

    Taste:   “Has more carbonation than in English-style Pale Ale, but isn't fizzy. Good body with some roasted malt in the background. Hoppy in the American style, but not overly so.”

    Food Affinity:   “Rye bread sandwich of sliced cheddar cheese and bell pepper with some stone-ground mustard. Scotch egg.”

      --Guest reviewer Phil Robertson is a waiter in San Diego