Taking my #wine kung fu to the next level: #WSET II & Napa Valley Wine Academy

October 10, 2015

406064_562298363799327_175257724_nI have been immersing myself in the study of #wine in a semi-systematic manner for much of the last 8 years.  Indeed, #Vinopanion‘s 8 year anniversary with @WineLog is approaching in the middle of this month. Yet I have slowly realized that something is lacking in my devotion to the knowledge of the vinous delights: focus, structure and external credibility. You’d think that a trained scientist would have recognized this long ago and I did notice these thoughts in the back of my mind a few years back.  But they were always battered back by “where’s the time?” and “I’m still receiving plenty of media travel & event invites,” along with “my wine consulting services continue to expand.” Then I reached last year and I started to recognize some clear patterns in my wine work. While I had plenty of media opportunities and my fellow wine colleagues were continuing to get work, I could see that the pace of my own trade offers beginning to slow down. It was then that I noticed that most of my colleagues began to sport letters after their names on their business cards: they were taking certified educational courses to formalize their wine training. I needed to set up my wine game. It was then that I contacted the good people at Napa Valley Wine Academy (FB, Tw): “help!”

Read the rest of this entry »

A tasty stay at Lula Cellars: Mendocino & Anderson Valley #wine

April 14, 2015

It’s funny how life can connect the dots sometimes, leading to a lovely and serendipitous experience.  This was one of those times (or extended weekends, for that matter). Late last year I was contacted about a possible media stay at the rustic estate of a fine pinot producer in the Anderson Valley AVAMendocino County (WLFBTw) is one of the coolest wine regions in California (if not the coolest), and also happens to be where I married the Lady (Tw) almost 15 years ago. Courtesy of Chalkboard Communications and the hospitality of Jeff Hansen and Dan Reed, we were able to both stay at and visit this region for the first time in 15 years, and taste through the very impressive wines from Jeff and Lula Cellars (WLFB).  Yum! Philo is a *very* small town (Pop: 349), tucked along CA-128 about 30 miles from SE of the seaside village of Mendocino.  It also happens to be the heart of the ANderson Valley and Mendocino County wine regions, with over 20 wineries and wine tasting rooms in extremely close proximity to “downtown”.

The full recap, after the leap!

Read the rest of this entry »

Domaine Chandon & étoile: #Napa’s Classic, Stars

August 13, 2014

The Chevalière of the French bubbly scene in Napa is the elegant and indomitable, Domaine Chandon (WLFBTw).  It is the first French foray into domestic bubbly by the esteemed Moët & Chandon in 1973; the producer of arguably the most famous Champagne in the world: Dom Pérignon. Indeed, when many consumers think of sparkling wine in the US, they think of the name “Chandon.”  And it is at this beautiful estate, biking distance from our home, that we happily enjoyed media passes for their étoile Prestige Tour, followed by lunch at their in-house resto, also named étoile.  We attended courtesy of the winery, and oh!, what a visit it was…

Find all the tasty deets, after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

#SpainLove: Gloria Ferrer’s 22nd Annual Catalan Festival 07/19/14 & 07/20/2014

July 16, 2014

As my lovely #Vinopanion readers already know, I am a *huge* fan of Spain, Spanish culture, food, and of course, #wine!  Indeed, I have had the great fortune to attend media trips to both the Navarra and Murcia wine regions of that Iberian country, and I just hosted two events for #MurciaWine at #WBC14 last weekend.  The Lady Beth Fontaine (Tw) also attended the Murcia trip and we are constantly on the prowl for Spanish culture here in the US (including the fantastic Zuzu in our Napa hometown).  Indeed, our very first trip together to Europe was an epic tour through Spain, finishing with some downtime in the equally beautiful land of Portugal.  It was on this very trip that we discovered our most beloved city in all of this fair world: Barcelona. The jewel of Catalan culture has bewitched us ever since, with its glorious and unique districts, tapas crawls, #Cava sparkling wine, and many MANY amazing sites, architecture and museums. This brings us to the featured event of this love story to Catalunya y España:

The Gloria Ferrer 22nd Annual Catalan Festival, happening this weekend in Sonoma, CA! All the deets, after the leap!

Read the rest of this entry »

Underground Cellar: new #wine marketplace, win a #winecation!

April 16, 2014

As mentioned previously on these vinous epages, the Lady and I have happily ensconced ourselves back in the wine country of our roots.  Our move to #NapaMode has been just about as cool as anyone might ever dream…yes, living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, point zero for #wine & #foodie heaven definitely has its benefits, I won’t blathe.  One thing that we’ve come to learn in this fine place is that you can’t get anything DONE during the weekends, however!  Apparently, when one is surrounded by beautiful land to traverse by bike, foot, or DeLorean; wine to sip and food to savor, you just kinda want to do that every day that you’re not in the grind.  Huh…who’da thunk? 😉

That said…what if you were here on a vacation…that’s free…and filled with free food & wine activities? Why, a #winecation is just the antidote for getting your guilt-free glutton-on! The new wine marketplace Underground Cellar (FB, Tw) has you covered!

More details after the leap!

Read the rest of this entry »

Bubbly: Côté Mas sparkling #wine BrandLive tasting

March 17, 2014

Tomorrow evening at 4PM PDT (03/18/14), I have the very fun opportunity to taste through some new sparkling #wine releases from France that clearly break the affordable mark.  Well-respected Languedoc producer Domaines Paul Mas (WLFBTw) and BrandLive have teamed up to bring Mas’ Limoux AOP sparklers from his Côté Mas label. For centuries, the Mas family has been producing renowned wines from across the Languedoc, with fourth generation patriarch Jean-Claude Mas (Tw) leading the charge since taking over the family company in 2000. Tomorrow night we get to taste his affordable bubbly from two of the AOC from the commune Limoux.

More info after the leap!

Read the rest of this entry »

A #wine return to Spain: Hello #Murcia!

June 20, 2013

It is with great excitement that I can announce my latest media trip abroad: I am headed back to Spain! Two years ago I had the fantastic pleasure to cover the rich wine, food, and cultural mecca of the Kingdom of Navarra.  Now the Lady, Beth Fontaine of Rollerskating With Scissors, and I have the very fortunate chance to dig deep into another part of our favorite foreign food and wine hub: we are headed to the Region of Murcia (FB, YT, Wiki). We will taste the wines of this lesser known Spanish jewel, alongside the tremendous food that can always be counted upon in this Iberian cultural juggernaut.  We will be attending 06/23/ – 06/28/13 courtesy of Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia (INFO), and led by our trusty leader from Navarra, Michael Matilla (Kraynick/ARGOS). Follow along, as we tweet and Facebook with #Murcia8 (TwFB) & #Murcia (TwFB), post photos on FacebookInstagram, and Flickr, and of course, post here at Vinopanion – WineLog.net.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pinot Days, are here again (with a discount)!

June 13, 2012

Oohhh, happy days are here againnn, for Pinot Days (Twitter, Facebook) is BACK again!  My imbibing readers might remember that I’m a rather large fan of this grand tasting, held each year at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, along with a few other cities around the US of A.  While it has become something of a cliché in this enlightened age of Pinot enjoyment, I truly believe that Pinot Noir is a wonderful conduit to the sense of origin that a wine can transmit to one’s happy taste buds.  As such, it is an exhilarating experience to have the chance to taste over 500 Pinot Noir wines from every major domestic growing region (and some international ones). The Pinot Days Grand Festival Public Tasting (06/16/12) provides this unparalleled comparison tasting experience along with a whole bunch mo’ coolness, each and every year. This year I can help you experience this Pinotphoria, with a handy ticket discount. More after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

San Francisco Vintners Market 5 Comes Alive! (Big Discount!)

March 24, 2012

I attend a large number wine events. That might even be an understatement, to which my fine readers can attest! Thus, I feel that it’s saying something to describe an upcoming wine event as one of my favorite series of wine events, ever. The San Francisco Vintners Market (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) wine tastings are those exact events: totally fun, onsite wine purchasing available, and of course, fantastic wines to taste in unlimited amounts. And lucky readers, for round 5 (DING) of the #SFVM, I now have a fat discount so you cats can partake!

Read the rest of this entry »

Speedy Holiday Wine Recommendations

December 13, 2011

The holidays get busy. You barely have time to shop, decorate, make food, attend parties, try not to get drunk and, OH YEAH, still work! All of this stress adds up, manifesting itself in strange ways and differently within each person, as evidenced by the varying types of “holiday spirit” seen in the photo on the right.

You don’t have time for this! Your time is too precious to waste upon wondering which kind of wine to bring to coworker Aaron’s holiday party and wait, is it Aaron or Erin…CRAP, you’re so stressed you can’t even remember! It is with these conundrums in mind that I have constructed my Vinopanion holiday wine recommendations and pairings, listed below. Short, sweet (or dry!) and to the point. Let’s drink.

Read the rest of this entry »

Error establishing a database connection