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!

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Ovation TV presents The Art of: #Wine Country

April 4, 2014

An interesting piece of news crossed my vino desk this week, coming to us from the Ovation (FB, Tw, YT) cable television network.  The Art of series, covering the bleeding edge of non-traditional art,  is in its third season on Ovation. The new season will cover a topic near and dear to VinopanionWineLog.net: wine country.  “The Art Of”: Wine Country” will premiere this Sunday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET. This half hour episode will cover the intersection of #food, #wine, and of course #art within the context of our very own wine country.  Longtime Vinopanion favorites Artesa Vineyard and Winery will be featured, alongside Sonoma Valley Lasseter Family Winery (WL, FB, Tw) and famed Napa farm to fork chef pioneer, Cindy Pawlcyn (FB, Tw). Check it out this weekend!  #theartof

A special video preview of the Artesa segment alongside Vinopanion wine reviews after the break!

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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!

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#Napa: Here comes the rain again (finally)

February 26, 2014

Jerry Brown, Governor of CA, declares a drought - Governor of the State of CAWhile not everyone pays attention to the crazy going-on’s on the Left Coast in California, you might have heard about the quickly accelerating and unprecedented drought that is beginning to devastate its traditional agricultural backbone.  Contained within that agricultural spine are vineyards and winegrowing, of course.  It is here that we get to the crux of why I felt it was so important to share the weather going-ons here in the NorCal: the weather, this third winter in a row, is beginning to severely impact our precious wine grape vineyards here in wine country.

More news after the jump!

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Concha y Toro kicks out a range of great Chilean #wine

February 5, 2014

 Chilean #wine has exploded in the US and around the world over the last decade+. Indeed, during the Lady and my vacation to awesome Belize late last year, we were surrounded by the Wines of Chile, with very few exceptions. While the wines that most of us enjoy in the US are at the very affordable level, say <$12, I have also tasted through some great upper-end Chilean wine tastingsof late, which showed off what the finer, more boutique end of the fine wine range can do from this country. Late last year, I had the chance to attend two tastings that spanned the breadth of wine Chilean wine powerhouse of Concha y Toro (WLFBTwYT).  From affordable to supercrazypremium, these wines showed consistent quality, regardless of their actual price.

I’ll break it down after the jump!

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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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Tasty Beauty: Jordan Estate Tour & Tasting

December 1, 2013

Wine country, almost by definition; is a gorgeous, relaxing, and delicious set of regions to visit.  But how does one choose which region to visit and which wineries to whet one’s vinous whistle?  Sometimes you just want a gorgeous setting, with wine that is at least, enjoyable.  Other times you might just want the best wine that fits your palate, surroundings be damned.  And sometimes you want to go beyond just the wine and have it paired with tasty bites of foodie porn.  Fortunately, you now have at least one destination that takes all of these experiences and wraps them into one 3 hour, vino/foodie heavenly wine timeout from reality: the newly launched Jordan Vineyard & Winery (FB, Tw, YT, Fl, P, WL) “Estate Tour & Tasting.”

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#Wine Gadget Quick Review: CapaBunga

October 15, 2013

Sometimes simpler is better. Occam’s Razor, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything, simple syrup: all things designed around the concept of simplicity, and are proven examples that complexity is not always better.  This brings us to the issue of wine bottle closures, specifically, capping an unfinished bottle for the night.  What’s the best temporary fastener? It is here that the simplicity of CapaBunga (FB, Tw, P) comes into the fore, in that “why didn’t I think of that??” type of manner.

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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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