Earlier this year, the Lady and I had a chance to stay at a continually refurbished gem in one of our fav places on earth: Carmel-by-the-Sea (FB, Tw, IG, YT). We hadn’t had a chance to stay at the Hofsas House Hotel (FB, Tw, Blog) in a number of years, so we were excited to be granted a media weekend stay at the centrally located property, courtesy of the hotel and Chatterbox Wine Marketing. Family owned and operated for over 60 years, the Hofsas is a longtime landmark for the entire Monterey Peninsula, with its Bavarian charm and singular ocean views atop the hill in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The final day of our brilliant #OleWinos trip was spent in a little appellation in the northern part of Spain, tucked in between still snowy mountains (if only we had that snow and rain in California!): DO Bierzo (WL, FB, Tw). Our group was finishing up our stay across Spain, hosted by high end #wine group MGWines Group (WL, FB, Tw), in the small, but lovely & ancient, Roman-era town of Ponferrada. It was here that we would visit the previously known property of Bodegas Estafanía (WL, FB), now known better by its main label, Tilenus. Named for the Celtic god, later appropriated by the Romans for their own Mars god of war, their label features a Roman coin that was once found in their very old vine vineyards. It is those very vineyards that sparked an image of ancientness themselves in my mind, with their Dantesque hand-vines reaching towards the sky, during our soggy visit to their longtime home.
More details after the leap!
We continued our #OleWinos adventure with host MGWines Group (WL, FB, Tw), at their stellar Bodegas Lavia (WL, FB, Tw) #wine estate in the Bullas DO (WL, FB). You might remember that I visited DO Bullas a couple years back during our #Murcia8 journey. It was wonderful to be back and to visit a new part of this small Spanish appellation, the smallest in the Murcia region of Spain. It is here that MGWines found the latest jewel in their basket of unique, fine wineries across the multitude of Spanish wine regions. Our host for this trip was again, winemaker Sebastien Boudon. He splits his time between Sierra Salinas and Lavia, which are about 100 km apart from each other. The rain and clouds followed us to Lavia as well, but that didn’t stop us from taking in the striking mountainous surroundings of the Lavia estate.
More details after the leap!
As mentioned in my intro post, I recently took another trip across the globe to my favorite foreign country of Spain. This time I had the great fortune to be hosted by MGWines Group (WL, FB, Tw) in order to tour their luxury #wine properties located across their country. The trip was quite handily organized by Kraynick Consulting. Our first full day was set in the coastal city and wine Denominacion de Origen (DO) of Alicante (WL, FB, Tw, IG, YT). Here were found the unique estate and affordable wine gems from Bodegas Sierra Salinas (WL, FB).
More details after the leap!
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 AVA. Mendocino County (WL, FB, Tw) 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 (WL, FB). 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!
It is quite the rare occasion here at Vinopanion (WL, FB, Tw, IG) when we greenlight a guest post. But, recently a Vinopanion reader contacted us about possible recommendations for a lovely planned trip to Paso Robles Wine Country (WL, FB, Tw). We had been in Paso again earlier in the year, for my Wildflower Triathlon. One of our favourites that trip was Proulx Wines (WL, FB, IG) along Vineyard Drive, which Roy Jurgens and his Lady (and pooch!) were also able to visit. Proulx’ array of estate dry rosés really rocked our vinous world. I asked Roy for a recap of their own favorite Rhone-styled wineries and he sent back a fantastic, thorough recap. So now, let’s let Vinopanion Roy Jurgens take it away, with their tour of Paso food and wines!
It’s been quite some time since the last post in our “5 Questions With…” series, but after tasting a phenomenal #wine and then learning its even more interesting backstory, I decided a revival was needed! I think it’s no non-surprise for my regular readers that we are huge fans of rosé here at #Vinopanion. YC Media sent me a bottle earlier this year by a brand new producer from one of the finest regions in the world Provence, France. I was thoroughly blown away by this first time effort; the 2013 release from Mirabeau Wine (WL, FB, Tw, YT, IG) had all the characteristics that make up a complex, yet extremely tasty rosé: crisp acidity, juicy red fruits, fresh herbs, and even some fine floral notes. I was hooked. Then I found out that this wine was made by a former financier that completely upped and moved his family to Provence to make wine, job-quitting included. I had to know more.
And so here we are, 5 Questions with Stephen Cronk of Mirabeau Wine, after the leap!
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.
The Chevalière of the French bubbly scene in Napa is the elegant and indomitable, Domaine Chandon (WL, FB, Tw). 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!
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: