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  Napa Valley, CA -- Gayot, the highly-respected, 44 year old “Guide to the Good Life,” has lauded the 2005 Jana Cathedral, made by Scott Harvey Wines, in two categories. In Gayot's September 2013 feature, “Best Wines for Pairing with a Steak”, the Cabernet Sauvignon received the highest score of all 10 wines highlighted. “The 2005 Cathedral definitely wows upon entry,” the review begins. “Its intense, concentrated fruit flavors boast plenty of complexity and show an excellent balance of acidity and tannin. Match Cathedral with perfectly marbled wagyu beef or dry-aged Angus steaks.” Gayot also rated Jana Cathedral among “The…
Last week I tasted a wine that had been sent for review. I thought it was terrible, but decided to run it as our August 30 Wine Pick of the Week. This invites some explanation. Each week for the last couple of years Taste California Travel  has chosen a “Pick of the Week” for both beer and wine. In the former category we have used a “man in the street” format, identifying beer fans and asking them to give our readers some brief, spontaneous comments about a brew they're enjoying at the moment. Our wine reviews are similarly short, but…
  Dr. Liz ThachRohnert Park, CA August 28, 2013 - Dr. Liz Thach, MW, the Korbel Professor of Wine Business at Sonoma State University, has been selected for a Fulbright Specialists project in Mendoza, Argentina at the National University of Cuyo, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Thach will teach classes on wine business, wine marketing, and eno-tourism to students in the Masters of Viticulture and Enology, as well as work with faculty on curriculum design. The project runs from March 8 through March 22, 2014. Thach is one of…
Jan Shrem, retiring at age 83. SANTA ROSA, Calif., Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Vintage Wine Estates announced today the acquisition of iconic Clos Pegase Winery and Vineyards. The purchase of the classic Napa Valley estate includes the Calistoga vineyards and a lease of the Los Carneros vineyards which total 450 acres. Jan Shrem, who celebrated his 83rd birthday in July, said, "It is with admiration and respect that I pass the torch of my beloved Clos Pegase to Pat Roney and Vintage Wine Estates. I know they will build upon my success and carry forward my passion for great…
  John and Jim Concannon flank Steve Heimoff and Gus in this Jose Diaz photoby Dan Clarke   Makers of Petite Sirah, ever upping their wine quality, have decided to adopt a more aggressive attitude in promoting the variety. The Eleventh Annual Petite Sirah Symposium was hosted in late July by Concannon Vineyard. The venue was especially appropriate as James Concannon planted Petite Sirah cuttings on his Livermore property back in 1904. Sixty years later his grandsons Joe and Jim were the first to bottle a varietally-labeled Petite Sirah. To suggest that the Concannon family has some history with this…
by Dan Clarke Hospitality We were in a ballroom in San Francisco's venerable St. Francis Hotel. The occasion was a Mondavi Winery dinner celebrating the salubrious effects of wine and its part in a gracious lifestyle. Conversation was lively at my table and just as we were approaching our first course, we heard the rustle of drapes or curtains above us. There was a mezzanine that I hadn't even noticed. Looking up we saw violins and cellos encircling us. The male musicians were in tuxes, the women in their equivalent finery. And then came the sound of all those strings.…
by Dan Clarke A younger Robert Mondavi admires bunch of grapes in front of his new winery. Nature of the Man – Indomitable After a falling out nearly fifty years ago, Robert Mondavi was exiled from Charles Krug, the family winery. Though a financial settlement was reached years later, in the mid-1960s he was adrift and without funds—at least funds necessary to start his own winery. In 1991 a luncheon marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Robert Mondavi Winery was attended by several of the people who'd provided financial backing for the venture. One of them recalled…
by Dan Clarke   I first met Robert Mondavi in 1987. We were entering an elevator at the conclusion of a dinner in San Francisco at which he had been honored. The evening was billed as something like Legends of the Napa Valley and he was one of the 12 legends acknowledged that night. “Hi, I'm Bob Mondavi and this is my wife Margrit,” he said, offering a handshake. Of course, I knew who he was. After all, he was a legend in the world of wine. Though I was covering the event for the California Wine Press, I was…
by Jim Laughren Just as beer drinkers are wise to bolster their knowledge and appreciation of fine wine, so too are wine lovers well served by opening their palates (and possibly snooty attitudes–hey, if this isn’t you, cool, but if the shoe fits... ) to embrace the attributes of great beer. And with the hot and muggy season upon us, what better time to begin the exploration? Before you get your grape-stained cargo shorts all in a twist, no one’s saying that summertime wines aren’t marvelous.San Francisco Giants fans can grab a couple of cold ones inside the park at…
by Jim Laughren Do you love entertaining and sharing great food, great wine, and witty repartee with friends, family, and co-workers?San Francisco Travel Assn/Scott Chernis Are you planning those summer menus, loading them with scrumptious combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables? What’s better than a leisurely weekend brunch for half a dozen close friends, with an array of crisp, fresh-from-the-garden salads and beautifully cooked quiches; or a fun, easy backyard barbeque featuring grilled ribs, chicken or shrimp, with roasted corn-on-the-cob and homemade cole slaw? And who doesn’t love those wonderful dinner parties replete with delightful chilled soups, a stunning citrus-glazed…
Jim Carter. proprietor of South Coast Winery (left), accepts his Winery of the Year Award from Wesley Chesbro, Chairmman of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, and Noreen Evans, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry. Sacramento, CA June 25, 2013. Chief Judges Rick Kushman and Mike Dunne joined representatives of state government this morning in announcing winners of California's State Fair wine competition. Originally scheduled to take place on the west steps of the Capitol Building, ceremonies were moved to a conference room indoors because of the most unseasonal summer rains. South Coast Winery from Temecula…
by Jim Laughren, CWE   Weapons of Mass Confusion, or We’re-So-Cool Intimidation? Offering little actionable information, arranged according to the whims of a newly-acquired sommelier or wine distributor, restaurant wine lists seldom do much to help the customer. Yet this negative can be easily converted to a plus, enhancing your reputation as a sophisticated and knowledgeable diner, even with wine expertise two steps above none whatsoever. You know the scene: a business dinner, with the boss, the head of sales and the folks from finance, and those oh-how-badly-we-want-them prospective clients. Though you’re not (yet) top dog at the table, you…
  June 18, 2013, Rutherford, CA – “Like the Old Vine (Kao Stara Loza),” a documentary about how Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich achieved his American dream, is the winner of the Grand Jury’s Special Award at the 20th annual Oenovideo International Grape & Wine Film Festival in Carcassonne-Minervois, France. From May 30 to June 2, 2013, judges and festival goers viewed 26 films from 14 countries at this international meeting of the worlds of cinema and wine in the medieval city of Carcassonne, France. Mike Grgich and the documentary’s Director, Milka Bariŝić, will join the other…
  Photographer Gerry Parrott captured the moment as hands of Tim Mondavi and Margrit Biever Mondavi set the plaque. The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) has dedicated a stately, old-growth olive tree planted at its St. Helena office in honor of Robert Mondavi, one of the founding members of the wine trade organization. Mondavi's life was celebrated during an intimate ceremony this week at the NVV that included Margrit Biever Mondavi, members of the Mondavi family and winery staff, and representatives of the NVV's Board of Directors and staff. June 18, 2013 marked the 100th anniversary of Robert Mondavi's birth."The concept…
by Jackie Townsend American children don’t grow up with wine as an inherent part of meals as Italian children do. We drink milk, and while wine might be at our tables, lumped in with beer or liquor, we inherit almost a fear of it. It is illegal after all; we might be arrested if caught drinking it under twenty-one, our parents might remind us. Not to mention that it tastes horrible. Since an Italian’s taste for wine is absorbed over time, the idea of getting drunk on it, as this one teenage American did once, is obtuse. My first exposure…
by Dan Clarke Steve Pessagno 1958-2013 Taste California Travel  is saddened to hear of the passing of Steve Pessagno. The proprietor of Pessagno Winery in Monterey County died in his sleep this past weekend at age 55. Though trained as a mechanical engineer, he returned to school take an enology degree at Fresno State. After stints as winemaker at Jekel and Lockwood, Steve was eventually able to begin his own winery, where he made wine from several varieties, most notably Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands. We shared a table at a dinner sponsored by Monterey wineries…
by Dan Clarke Sometimes I have to work on the weekends. Sometimes this is not such a bad thing. Editing a publication that covers both wines and cars, I couldn't pass up Wine, Tunes & Classics. The wineries of Lake County had put together this event, which was to be held at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento. The museum is open year-round and has a fine permanent collection of cars. They also feature rotating exhibits and on this day they were to be celebrating the opening of Elegance in Motion: Cars of the Golden Age. Lake County wineries would…
  Winemaker Michael Roser proudly displays his winning Mouvèdre. Photo by Jeri SwifCooper Vineyards' 2010 Mouvèdre was chosen Best Red Wine, as well as Best of Show by judges for the Amador County Fair. The 2013 edition of this annual competition was held at the Fairgrounds in Plymouth on the first day of June. Also honored was Amador Foothill Winery, whose 2012 Sauvignon Blanc was named Best White Wine of the annual competition. Other wines singled out for recognition include the Best Blush Wine (2012 Barbera Rose from Solune Winegrowers), Best Amador County Rhone (2010 Petite Sirah “Bodacious” from Macchia…
from TASTE News Service Hess Mt. Veeder EstateThe Land Trust of Napa County has received an $11,439 donation from The Hess Collection, generated by the winery's participation in the 1% For the Planet environmental advocacy program. 1% For the Planet is a growing global movement of companies donating 1% of sales for local environmental programs. The Hess Collection is a long-time member, and has often selected the Land Trust as the beneficiary of this annual donation. The 380-acre Archer Taylor Preserve, a permanently protected wildlife habitat managed by the Land Trust, is located near the winery. Each year Hess designates…
from TASTE News Service "balance is critical . . . " --Scott HarveyLower alcohol wine represents Napa Valley winemaker Scott Harvey’s commitment to making wine that is drinkable, enjoyable, and enhances good food. At last, new tastes in wine are catching up to Scott Harvey’s training. The winemaker is not alone in his views about the superiority of lower alcohol wines. According to Richard Halstead, CEO of global market research Wine Intelligence, “Alcoholic strength of wine is an issue that consumers take seriously across the world." According to Drinks International, "there has been widespread criticism of 15.5% alcohol blockbusters and…
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