My wine travels during the last few years have been nothing short of spectacular. I never want to leave the places in which I am so fortunate to have forged lifelong stories about wine. But it was the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo (Tw, FB, WL) where I *truly* did not want to leave. Through the benign wills of the Strada and Sally Fischer PR, I was able to tack on roughly 30 hrs to the end of a previously scheduled media trip in Tuscany. It was here, in the beautiful wine road of “Terre di Arezzo,” or the lands of the village Arezzo, that I found the beauty of this wine road. Indeed, you can see many of the highlights in my first brief article and short video that I’ve already posted to Vinopanion. I discovered that the beauty of this wine road extends beyond it’s food, landscapes, and wine, but also to its people.
It’s time for another Twitter tasting (2/15 4-6pm PST), and I’m happy to be a part of this one, which features one of the most well-known families in all of American wine. Steven Kent Mirassou (Tw) is the 6th generation of the family Mirassou to devote his life to wine. He grew up working the family’s namesake winery in San Jose, but didn’t actually fully embrace his family’s vinous legacy until 1996. It is then that he teamed with his father to create a Cabernet-driven winery, born out of his father’s previous labels and wine works, that he had moved to the Livermore Valley. It was here that Steven Kent Winery (Tw, FB, YT, WL) was born. Later, he refined his love for Livermore Cab with the singular project Lineage (Tw, FB, YT, WL), and then complemented those efforts by the purchase of La Rochelle Winery (Tw, FB, YT, WL) from his very own cousins, with its focus on Pinot Noir. The Steven Kent Portfolio was complete!
I have some very exciting news to share with my happy and wine-loving Vinopanions! While I hinted at this news earlier this year, I can now announce the official Kickstarter campaign for the fantastic new wine store and web destination, Block122 (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog). Founded by four BOULEVARD restaurant employees, Block122 will showcase the finest, small production producers of wine from the left coast, much of which lies along the meridian 122° west of the Prime Meridian. These boutique wineries are those that many times, only produce wines for 1-2 small stores or restaurants, have no distribution, and can’t even provide an online web store. It is these vinous finds that Block122 will revel in sharing with you on their website with stories, videos, and a retail store; all inclusive, with all snobbery excluded.
Or rather, *I’m* back at ZAP this year! But what is ZAP you say; what is this electric onomatopoeia? Why, it is the annual ritual to celebrate the grape of Zinfandel; as performed by the masters of Zin, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (Twitter, Facebook).
The ZAP organization puts on a week-long festival of Zin every year and this year’s ZAP 2013 Festival runs from January 31 until the ZAP Grand Tasting 2013 on February 2, in San Francisco. Four major events are slated for this year’s run, but many smaller events are happening across the city and the bay, in the weeks leading up to the main events.
It is for you lucky readers that I have procured a special discount for tickets to the Grand Tasting, an event that I’m excited to attend again, after a couple years away. More info after the break!
In May of 2012, I had the fantastic opportunity to visit the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) region of Tuscany, Italy. I attended courtesy of Strada, as organized by Sally Fischer PR. I spent only about a day and a night in a couple of villages along the Strada, including Bucine and Arezzo, itself.
There I visited the beautiful estates of Petrolo (Facebook, WineLog), including a winemaker tour and lunch with Stefano Guidi. I also had a tour, tasting, family dinner, and one night stay at the glorious Fattoria Migliarina (Facebook, WineLog) wine estate and agriturismo destination with the family of Antonio & Carlo Bartolini Baldelli. In this video embedded below, I have collected a few different clips from those beautiful 24hrs during late spring in the heart of the Strada food, wine, and eco travel route.
Welcome, Year 2013 of the Gregorian Calendar! I am normally not one to set New Year’s Resolutions…if you want to accomplish something, just DO IT! Don’t wait until the arbitrary date set by a Pope to change your life. On the other hand, I happen to have a number of things in flux at the moment and today just happens to be the best day to start doing them, following some weeks of
drinking wine contemplation.
First off, and perhaps most importantly for all of you Vinopanions, look for a much higher frequency of postings, including many shorter ones. While I have been rather prolific at reviewing the many wines that I taste and receive as samples, I have not been so good lately at doing actual Vinopanion posts. This will change and as such, the Vinopanion Facebook page will also be a lot more active.
Find out more, after the jump!
Wine gadgets are the perennial gift for the wine lover that we all know in our lives. Let’s be pretty honest with ourselves, however: most wine gadgets are crap. They are the easy gift to give to someone, but the vast majority of wine wingdings out there just do not work, or are just too darn tricky to work to really matter. The preceding reasons are why I usually have an internal sigh when I open a package and see a new wine thingamajig inside. A perfect wine gadget needs to easily and quickly, accomplish what it promises to perform. Lo and behold, a recent sample that came my way from Steinreich Communications actually checks off all three of these boxes. And thus, I’m happy to recommend it’s services as true contendor for a holiday wine gadget gift. I present to you, loyal reader, the Air Cork wine preserver (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube).
This Wednesday 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST, I will be a part of another very cool online wine tasting courtesy of the great folks over at Wines of Chile (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube). Chilean wines have had tremendous success in the US over the last decade and a half, with much of that market penetration coming from their tasty, but value-driven brands. Their discovery of the long lost Bordeaux grape variety of Carménère has further cemented their status in the US drinking game, with that grape becoming their signature wine. Our tasting will be of a different sort however, as Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer (Twitter, Facebook) will be leading the tasting of 12 wines, live from Santiago, Chile. The point of this tasting is not only to drive home the value that can be found in these wines, but to also show off their burgeoning sense of place, as the Chilean wine industry continues to come into its own as an winegrowing nation of international quality.
I will also be writing about this event in a different manner than the norm, here at Vinopanion. Much like a WBC Speed Tasting, I’ll be writing most of my educational and tasting notes in real-time, as I follow Fred Dex and interact with all of the other bloggers tasting from around the world. You can preview the wines after the jump. Check back in on 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST and join in the fun using #BlogChile!
Daily Decadence: The Art of Sensual Living by Sherri Dobay (Twitter, Facebook) is a mashup of a lifetime’s worth of short anecdotes about love, life, art, and wine, all centered around detailed recipes for gourmet cooking. Dobay is well-experienced in a life centered around the luxury of the arts, fine food and wine. After growing up on a horse farm and attending private schools, surrounded by art, she took the opportunity to travel quite extensively throughout the world before settling down in the valley of my hometown, of Napa. She is an accomplished painter, graphic designer, and also the owner of a small wine label called Ruby Kurant Wine. With a foreword by none other than the Senior Editor of Wine Spectator, James Laube, her book promises to return a life back to inspired luxury and sensual awareness within each moment, ie. bring sexy back.
OK, yes…Italy is IT-tal-ly, I know. But still, I was not expecting the wealth of life experience that I encountered in the rolling Tuscan hills of the Chianti Classico (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) wine region. As announced previously, in late May of this year, I had the chance to tour through the majestic, rural countryside of the Chianti Classico DOCG. Much our our time was spent in many of the nine small, ancient villages that dot the rolling hilltops of that portion of Tuscany. They sit above the long-planted vines, gaining sustenance from the fantastic soils that have produced renowned wine for over a thousand years. One of these truly unique villages, Panzano in Chianti, lounges above the Conca d’Oro or “Golden Shell,” considered the most beautiful and highly regarded vineyards in all of the DOCG. It is here that we spent some of the best food and wine moments of my life.