21 Dec

Down to the Wire

Anthropologie Candelabra Transformed for ChristmasExperiencing last minute gift syndrome? Can’t think of a single thing to get the wine imbiber on your list? Well, my friends, today is your lucky day! I’m just (barely) recovering from one of the most hectic Decembers on record and I’ve got suggestions for you that should satisfy both your time frame and your wallet.

Normally, we here at Wine Imbiber have our act together and post our Gift Guide much earlier. But, this year, I (Leah—the head elf) got called to jury duty the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend and lost a major chunk of time from my already tight schedule. Luckily, Christmas actually came early this year for me as my Pinterest habit paid off big–time for me the week before Thanksgiving. Read on…

25 Nov

Release the Killer Bees

Ian Blackburn speaking at the 2011 Beekeeper Zinfandel release eventWe interviewed Ian Blackburn two years ago as he was celebrating the creation of Beekeeper Cellars and the inaugural release of his excellent 2009 Beekeeper Zinfandel, so we were eager to attend a recent event marking the release of his third vintage, the 2011 Beekeeper Zinfandel, a single vineyard designate wine from the Madrone Spring Vineyard in the Rockpile appellation of Sonoma County. This event was structured as a vertical tasting of Ian’s first three Beekeeper vintages. Ian, who has been working on his Master of Wine degree, is the founder of Learn About Wine, a premier source for wine education and events in Southern California, hosting unique classes, events and tours. When we spoke two years ago, Ian explained that he undertook the Beekeeper project in order to “learn by doing,” and it appears he really has learned a lot by making his own wine. Read on…

14 Nov

What’s New in Italian Wines?

Event LogosWe love Italian wines and, not content to simply drink Italian wines, we decided to get out and see what’s new. So, we recently attended some seminars and tastings to see what we could discover. Among our targets were the Kobrand Tour Italia 2013 and the Simply Italian Great Wines US Tour 2013. The Kobrand seminar featured a discussion of seven great wines and winemaking philosophies, followed by an open tasting of a range of wines the presenters and some others had on hand to offer. The Simply Italian event included several seminars (covering topics from wine regulation to regional wine information) throughout the day as well as an open tasting of wines from the Veneto region. And we learned a lot! Read on…

14 Oct

Pinot in the City

Pinot in the City LogoWe’ve written a lot about Oregon Pinot Noir in the past year or so. Well, last month, the Willamette Valley came to Los Angeles for the Pinot in the City event. We approached the tasting in our usual random fashion and, to our surprise, we wondered if something was wrong with our palates. The Pinots from the first four wineries we tasted (mostly but not exclusively from the 2010 vintage) had almost no fruit flavor. We were stunned. We looked at each other and asked whether it was us, or whether something strange was happening. Well, in short order, our concerns were allayed. Turns out, we just randomly stopped at some tables with wines that really had very little fruit flavor. Most of the remaining Pinot Noirs in the two large tasting halls were excellent. In fact, the initial experience made the rest of the tasting event thoroughly enjoyable. Read on…

30 Sep


Kawaba beerAlthough we don’t normally write about beer at the Wine Imbiber, we’ve always enjoyed beer and have tasted quite a few over the years from many countries. These days, we normally order beer with sushi (or Japanese food in general) as well as Chinese food. Mexican food is another cuisine that finds us asking for a brew (although Leah typically orders a margarita). And, of course, there’s nothing much better than a burger, fries and an ice–cold beer when we barbeque. Although we love our wine, beer is inevitably our choice to accompany sushi. After all, beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan (no surprise). For as long as I can remember, our sushi beer of choice has been Kirin, Asahi or Sapporo, in that order. I typically don’t stray from that list. So, I was intrigued when I recently received two sample bottles of microbrew (or craft beer) from a local representative of Kawaba. Ka-What? Read on…

04 Jun

Oregon Wine Country Tour (Part Three)

Interstate LogoIn Part One of this series, we reported on some of the wineries in and about the Chehalem Mountains AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In Part Two, we covered some of the best the Dundee Hill’s AVA has to offer. In this third and final part, we highlight two great wineries that don’t fall within the same AVA.

Penner–Ash Wine Cellars, along Highway 240 on the eastern edge of the Yamhill–Carlton District AVA (between the towns of Yamhill and Newberg), is one of our favorite Oregon wineries. At UC Davis, Lynn Penner–Ash shifted from Botany to Viticulture and finally Enology and worked at Read on…

16 May

The Big Traveling Potluck

Big Traveling Potluck 2013 LogoWe may not have been posting the last few months, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been actively furthering our imbibing cause. Hell no! The Wine Imbiber and I have been attending a plethora of events (Rich is just busy just tending to his day job right now—write ups will follow eventually). In the meantime, I recently went to a food blogger event with my daughter, Brynn (formerly known as the college spawn, but now that she’s graduated, working and running her own website, I’ve dropped her much–loved moniker). It was quite the experience for both of us, and much different from all the food & wine events I usually go to with Rich. Don’t get me wrong, food & drink aficionados run rampant at both types of events. And there’s always something to be learned at each as well. This event just had a completely different vibe to it that was very endearing. Not that winos aren’t a lovable lot…this group just has a different agenda. To give you an idea of what I mean, “Food, Inspiration, and Above All, Community” was proudly emblazoned inside the front cover of the event’s brochure. Read on…