06 Jul

Lugana DOC Tasting

Lugana Turbiana Grapes (image courtesy of Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC)Last week, we were welcomed to a delightful tasting of some excellent white wines of the Lugana DOC. The event was organized through Ian Blackburn’s wineLA, a primary source for the LA wine scene. Lugana spans the two Italian regions—Lombardy and Veneto—in the morainic plain south of Lake Garda, but it is relatively small—about 225 square kilometers (about 15 km x 15 km). This DOC produces about 14 million bottles of wine per year, 75% of which is exported. Two-thirds of the exported wine goes to Germany, and the USA is their second largest export market. Yet, so many terrific Lugana wines are not yet exported to the USA. We were lucky enough to try them that day and we hope US importers are taking note, because we want more of them right here at home! Read on…

18 May

Vino California 2015

Vino CaliforniaVino California is a celebration of Italian wine on the West Coast. We were invited to this year’s installment and we can report that it was as good as, or even better than, last year’s event. It attracts a collection of wines from all over Italy, which offers an abundance of grape varietals and styles. The event was held once again at Valentino in Santa Monica, which is a great venue. There were many fine wines on hand that day and we couldn’t taste them all. So, we’re only going to scratch the surface by telling you about the ones we found to be the most interesting and delightful to us. Read on…

07 May

Loire Valley Wines’ Day in LA

Loire Valley Wine MapWe visited France’s Loire Valley last week, at least in our minds, when we joined a trade and media wine tasting event sponsored by Loire Valley Wines in downtown Los Angeles. The Loire Valley has five distinct wine regions—Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Centre–Loire—that extend along the Loire River from the Atlantic Ocean to the Center of France. Each region is comprised of several appellations boasting their particular style and grape varietals. If forced to pick our favorite Loire Valley wine regions (and varietals), we’d have to choose the two most inland (eastern) of the Loire regions—Touraine (Chenin Blanc/Vouvray and Cabernet Franc/Chinon) and Centre–Loire (Sauvignon Blanc/Sancerre & Pouilly Fumé). Of course, that would be merely scratching the surface of what the Loire Valley offers. Read on…

30 Apr

Grand Cercle Des Vins de Bordeaux

Grand Cercle Des Vins de Bordeaux at wineLALast week, we joined a trade and media wine tasting event put on by Ian Blackburn’s wineLA (originally branded as Learn About Wine) for the Grand Cercle Des Vins de Bordeaux, which translates to “Grand Circle Bordeaux Wine”. According to their website, the organization “was established in June 2013 thanks to the will of Alain Raynaud, its president and founder, to unite under a single entity the wines from the Right Bank and Left Bank. The organization is a blending of the earlier separate Grand Cercle organizations for the Right Bank and Left Bank. It includes to date the 138 chateaux from the Right Bank and 57 from the Left Bank.” The translation continues, “In the diversity and complementarity of appellations, terroirs and people, with nearly 200 wines, Grand Circle offers a showcase of Bordeaux wines selected for their high quality.” How true. Read on…

27 Nov

Naked Thanksgiving Wishes

Ardelio Olive TreeWe are thankful for so many things today. Against the backdrop of all the news of such ghastly things happening all over the world, our life seems pretty good indeed. Not everyone shares in this good fortune. Shortly after we launched this blog in March 2008, we wrote Our Adopted Olive Oil, a story about the olive tree in Le Marche, Italy that we adopted from Nudo Italia. (We have four children, so an olive tree was about all the more we could handle.) Our particular tree was number AR-13 in the Ardelio grove and was 66 years old at the time (now 72!). Perhaps, that keeps us feeling a little younger. Read on…

21 Oct

The Food Event 2014

Food Event 2014 LogoIt is uplifting to know that some things continue to be consistently good. This certainly applies to LA Magazine’s The Food Event, the ninth installment of which took place this past Sunday afternoon at Saddlerock Ranch (home to Semler and Saddlerock wines) in Malibu’s Santa Monica Mountains. This year, the weather was perfect and the food samples were excellent. The event has a greater focus on food than on wine, but we did discover some very nice wines and enjoyed a variety of other beverages. After many years of holding this event, the event organizers have found the right balance of restaurants, beverages, activities and capacity. Read on…

15 Jul

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure

LA Garagiste Festival LogoIf you are anything like us, you use your garage for anything but parking your car. A lot of innovative and interesting things happen in garages around the world. Whether people get together to form a new musical group, launch a new art movement or develop the next big thing in technology, they usually start off modestly, taking advantage of whatever resources they can scrape together and work hard to get to the next level. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that this also happens in the wine industry. Garagiste (gar–uh–zhē–stuh) is the term that originated in the Bordeaux region of France. It was used as a put–down of someone who made small amounts of wine in a make–shift setting (which could be a garage) that wasn’t a chateau and who didn’t follow conventional rules. In other words, it was the establishment winemakers’ way to dismiss the little guys. Well, sometimes the little guy tries something different and becomes the next big thing. This past Saturday, we sampled wines from a host of winemakers who each handcraft a small volume of wine. While the production volumes may be small, the wines are not. Read on…