D.O. Cigales: #wine with savory quality

October 13, 2014

It would be an understatement to say that the Lady and I love the country of Spain.  We’ve been twice together and I’ve been one additional time, on top of those adventures.  Indeed, two years time we hope to take the pilgrimage of Camino del Santiago, during my sabbatical from work.  The people, the food, the landscapes, and of course the WINE…all of it continues to pull me back to this venerable country.  I was recently introduced to wines from a Spanish Denominación de Origen for which I had little familiarity: Cigales D.O. (WLTwFBYT). Once again, I was presented with wines that show off great complexity and straight-up tastiness, but with nary an expensive price to be seen.

More deets after the jump!

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#NapaQuake: A harvest of recovery

September 11, 2014

Over two weeks have passed since a significant earthquake hit Napa and the surrounding cities, at 3:20am Sunday morning 08/24/14. Named the South Napa earthquake by USGS, the 6.0 quake hit Napa particularly hard, despite what could be considered a quake of intermediate intensity.  Due to the east-west nature of the quake movement, “river valley sediments,” and the fact that the rupture “propagated NNW” in direction, the bulk of the quake’s energy was sent “NNW towards Napa,” according to USGS scientists.  All of these factors resulted in very significant damage that was almost entirely localized to the city of Napa, especially to its historic downtown and to the southwest neighborhood of Browns Valley, my childhood neighborhood and still where my parents reside (ShakeMap copyright USGS).  The Lady and I live about 1 mile NE of Browns Valley, on aforementioned river valley sediment/silt, in fact. It is for these reasons that it can be hard for even other Bay Area residents to understand just how much this earthquake has affected our dear valley. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this natural disaster is that has hit in the middle of an early harvest, so the Valley must recover while still going through its annual vinous renewal.

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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!

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#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!

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#Napa: Back to home and #wine

December 22, 2013

I’m never one to make big leaps in my life.  Yes, about every ten years or so, the lady Beth Fontaine (Tw) and I seem to subconsciously start the process to evaluate our future in the context of our present. Yet, I can’t say that I have ever just done something on a leap of faith, staring at nothing but risk and hoped for reward, but that is the only way that I can explain our rather sudden move back home to Napa Valley.  And so we’re both happy to say that now after a month+ into our new lives back in wine country, that we’ve made a fantastic decision:

Thank you Napa, for welcoming us with open arms, wine bottles, and tasty menus. 🙂

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#Murcia8: Extreme DO’s, beautiful people, & balanced monastrell #wine

October 8, 2013

Take a listen: monastrell wine is on the rise.  Yep, I’m making a call, here in Q4 2013, that the monastrell grape will be a major #wine force across the vinous world in the next few years.  Wine tends to follow cycles and loops in popularity…Napa cab is here to stay yes, ever since it blew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, but then there was chard right along with it, then zin hit, Italian varietals almost did in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but merlot did, big time.  Then sideways pinot took over like a soft-handed monster, and bets on syrah didn’t pan out, while shiraz did (same grape, people).  Now, riesling is on the rise, rosé is finally making it big, malbec has been charging for a few years now and

I PREDICT: monastrell throws down a hammer goblet of good quality, price, and sales.

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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.

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@PureChablis Bliss at Boulevard

April 2, 2013

Ahh, Chablis! One of the only French Appellation d’origine contrôlée, AOC (official wine appellation) to sport a single grape variety for its wines, Chablis has had a tremendously long and stupendously successful history as a wine-growing region.  The first grape vines were planted during the start of the Roman occupation in what is now Burgundy, and Chablis and its pristine Chardonnay grapevines now occupy the northernmost corner of this ancient wine district.  It was this historic wine region that we had the joy to explore last November with Pure Chablis (FBTwWL), during a winemaker dinner designed by Boulevard Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Nancy Oakes.

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ZAP is BACK!

January 11, 2013

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!

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