The Renaissance of Spirits – Absinthe

Getting back to our occasional focus on spirits, we now take a look at absinthe, an anise-flavored spirit derived from botanicals, together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs. Absinthe traditionally has a natural green color and is commonly referred to in historical literature as “la fée verte” (the green fairy). […]

Posted on: 12 June 2017 | 8:30 am

The Wines of Oregon – with Vincent Wine Company

After years of apprenticing in wineries in Oregon and California, owner/winemaker Vincent Fritzsche launched Vincent Wine Company in 2009 to make Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, adding Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc soon thereafter. Vincent intends to be all about low-input wine making, working with several sustainably-farmed vineyards around the Willamette Valley to produce small […]

Posted on: 9 May 2017 | 4:35 pm

2016 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – The Wines of Maison Joseph Drouhin

Founded in Beaune in 1880, Joseph Drouhin was an enterprising young man who came from the Chablis region at the age of 22, and settled in Beaune. His son Maurice succeeded him and began to establish a vineyard domaine for the House, purchasing land in some outstanding appellations such as Clos des Mouches and Clos […]

Posted on: 21 February 2017 | 11:33 am

The Wines of Chile – with Viña Ventisquero

Ventisquero began making wine in 2000. With estate-owned vineyards in Chile’s major wine producing areas: Coastal Maipo, Casablanca, Leyda and Colchagua, along with extensive research into Chile’s terroir, Viña Ventisquero seeks to produce high quality wines and consistently made wines. The winery is led by a young, creative team of entrepreneurs who are creating distinctive, […]

Posted on: 25 January 2017 | 9:28 am

2016 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – Côte de Beaune vs. Côte de Nuits – Part 2

Part 2 of a seminar from the 2016 World of Pinot Noir that takes us through Burgundy’s famed Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits regions. In a “March Madness” motif, moderator Don Kinnan has attendees taste the wines blind, one region against the other. So, join us as we listen to Don Kinnan give […]

Posted on: 18 January 2017 | 7:31 am

2016 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – Côte de Beaune vs. Côte de Nuits – Part 1

In Part 1 of this seminar from the 2016 World of Pinot Noir, Don Kinnan takes us on a taste test through Burgundy’s famed Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits regions, “March Madness style with one region pitted against the other. Which region will be the seminar’s favorites? Who cares. It’s ALL Burgundy! So, […]

Posted on: 11 January 2017 | 7:30 am

Chêne Bleu – with Nicole Rolet

Straddling the corners of four appellations in the Vaucluse area of southeastern France, Chêne Blue made a bold decision deciding to step outside of the AOC system in order to achieve their goal of producing high quality wines. With a southern latitude, in line with Gigondas, and high altitude (more northern and similar to Condrieu), […]

Posted on: 4 January 2017 | 9:20 am

Riesling Update

There has been a lot of hype about how the 2015 vintage has been stupendous for the Riesling grape. Never before have the stars aligned so perfectly as in 2015. Yes, yes, we’ve heard all of this hoopla before. But, all kidding aside, the word on the street, the boulevard, and the highway is that […]

Posted on: 1 January 2017 | 12:15 am

Where’s the Beef? – with Bryan Flannery

Whether it’s steaks, ribs or burgers, in the world of fine cuts of meat, the name Flannery has been a leader in the field. Bryan Flannery Sr., established Bryans Quality Meats within an independent grocery store on California Street in San Francisco in 1963. Still in operation and run by sons Peter and Terry, Bryans […]

Posted on: 22 December 2016 | 2:25 am

The Wines of Puglia – with Castello Monaci

Castello Monaci is located in Puglia’s Salento region, on the “heel of the boot” that is Italy. In this emerging region, Castello Monaci is a benchmark producer crafting wines with the unique characters of Southern Italy’s indigenous grapes Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera. The region of Puglia is drenched in the most intense sunlight in […]

Posted on: 12 September 2016 | 6:27 pm

Siduri Wines – with Adam Lee

Adam Lee and Dianna Novy left their native Texas and moved to the Sonoma County wine country. They spent years working at small, family-owned wineries and using any and all free time learning everything they could about growing grapes and making wine. They made their first Siduri Pinot Noir—named for the Babylonian Goddess of wine—in […]

Posted on: 8 August 2016 | 6:25 pm

The Wines of Montalcino – with Le Chiuse Estate

Located in the north of Montalcino, the Le Chiuse estate lies on the north-east hillside of Montosoli, at about 300 meters elevation, and includes a total of 7ha of vineyards all planted to Sangiovese Grosso. Le Chiuse played a key role in the vineyard holdings of the legendary Biondi-Santi family since the late 18th Century […]

Posted on: 26 July 2016 | 6:28 pm

2016 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – Southern Charm: the Pinots of New Zealand

This seminar from the 2016 World of Pinot Noir features the winemakers from five New Zealand estates discussing the topography, geography, and growing conditions in some of the different regions of New Zealand – Waipara Valley, Central Otago, North Canterbury, and Marlborough. Join us as we listen to Sara Schneider of Sunset Magazine monitor this […]

Posted on: 29 June 2016 | 8:39 pm

Bordeaux Update

Each year, about this time, the Bordelais begin releasing the prices for the latest or current vintage, thus offering the wine for sale as “futures.” This is usually the optimum time to buy the wine at its lowest price – with some caveats of course. First, the wine won’t be released or delivered for another […]

Posted on: 14 June 2016 | 8:30 am

Wineries of Sonoma County – with Kosta Browne

“It was just two of us, we didn’t know what we were getting into.” So begins the “Stories” section on the Kosta Browne website – and, probably the most understated of all winery start-up declarations. Today, as any competent pinophile knows, Kosta Browne is one of the most envied AND revered pinot producers in California. […]

Posted on: 7 June 2016 | 8:30 am

Wineries of the California Central Coast – with Concannon Vineyard

In 1883, with no prior knowledge of wine, much less wine growing, Irish immigrant James Concannon decided to plant a vineyard in the Livermore Valley, south of San Francisco. Importing Cabernet vines from Bordeaux’s Château Margaux, plans called for making sacramental wines, something that would see the family operation through the lean years of prohibition. […]

Posted on: 31 May 2016 | 8:00 am

The Wines of Sicily – with Tenuta Rapitalà

Rapitalà, which translates to “Beautiful Garden of God”, lies between the towns of Camporeale and Alcamo, in the northwest corner of Sicily. In 1968, French count, Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais, married Gigi Guarrasi, a descendant of a great family from Palermo. Together, they embarked on the renovation of the cellars and vineyards of the […]

Posted on: 26 May 2016 | 7:21 pm

Spirits from China – Baijiu

Most people are familiar with distilled spirits such as vodka, gin, rum, and the like. However, there is a customary spirit from China that you may not be familiar with – Baijiu. Traditionally, baijiu was used to celebrate important events and welcome newcomers. Today, baijiu is a symbol for diplomacy and a way to celebrate […]

Posted on: 17 May 2016 | 4:47 pm

Wineries of Anderson Valley – with Foursight Wines

Located in the rolling hills of the coastal region of Mendocino County, Anderson Valley is about two hours north of San Francisco. The valley is about 16 miles long, ranging from less than 1/2 mile to about 1-1/2 miles wide, and is home to a unique group of vineyards and wineries working in Region 1 […]

Posted on: 30 April 2016 | 5:25 pm

The Wines of Hungary – with Royal Tokaji

Tokaji is the world’s original sweet white wine. Historically the wine and the region were called Tokay or even Tokai in English but the wine is more correctly referred to as Tokaji and the region as Tokaj. The Tokaji wine region also has the distinction of being the first in Europe to be classified. At […]

Posted on: 12 April 2016 | 7:49 pm

Wineries of Napa Valley – with Arcudi Wines

It may seem like a long out-of-the-way journey from Massachusetts to France to California, but that’s what Tony Arcudi did. Arcudi spent 20 years working in computer-related fields, first as a missile navigation engineer aboard Navy submarines and later as a product manager for IBM. The transition from that to winemaker—working with wine greats such […]

Posted on: 31 March 2016 | 3:45 pm

Maison Ilan – with Ray Walker

Back in 2009, we spent some time talking to a young man from California who was headed to Burgundy to make wine …or more properly stated, to make Burgundy! Ray Walker has now been making wines in Nuits-Saint-Georges for the last seven vintages under his label, Maison Ilan. So, we thought we’d check in with […]

Posted on: 24 March 2016 | 9:34 am

Petite Sirah – A Test Drive

It all began in 1880 when Dr. François Durif, a grape botanist and grape breeder at the University of Montpellier in Southern France, released a new variety that he named after himself. It grew from a seed he extracted from fruit of the old French variety Peloursin. Dr. Durif didn’t know the pollen source at […]

Posted on: 29 February 2016 | 7:30 am

2015 World of Pinot Noir Seminar – The Wines of Domaine Marc Roy

This seminar from the 2015 World of Pinot Noir is the perfect bookend to the “Latitudes and Longitudes” seminar, where we heard from Pinot producers from around the world. This time, we’re back to the “homeland” of Pinot Noir – France’s Burgundy region, and specifically the wines of Domaine Marc Roy in Gevrey-Chambertin. Join us […]

Posted on: 22 February 2016 | 7:30 am

The Many Shades of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir seems to be grown almost everywhere these days. Of course, we’re all familiar with Pinot from its ancestral home in Burgundy, as well as those from California, and of course Oregon. But, have you ever had Pinot from South Africa? Or, how about Pinot from Germany? Given the many shades of Pinot, we’ve […]

Posted on: 16 February 2016 | 5:53 pm