29 Jun

STARS of California Wine

Event LogoOn May 25th, we attended the STARS of California Wine tasting event in Beverly Hills, hosted by Ian Blackburn’s wineLA organization. We enjoyed some excellent California wines that day, but our favorite wine of the tasting was the one we tasted first and last that day. Read on…

15 May

Elevating Zinfandel

Event Logo courtesy of wineLACalifornia Zinfandel dates back to at least the 1800s and, by the end of that century, was the most widely planted varietal in California. The Zin vineyards survived Prohibition by selling grapes for the “home market” and religious ceremonial use. By the 1970s, a Zin production accident resulted in a sweet White Zinfandel wine that became a consumer craze almost overnight. But Zinfandel, whether red or white, lacked critical acclaim as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay surpassed it in the fine wine category. That landscape has changed more recently, as top Zinfandel winemakers have consistently produced Zinfandel of ever–higher quality, and we were cordially invited to sample some of the greatest of the great ten days ago at the “Elevating Zinfandel” wine tasting event hosted by Ian Blackburn’s wineLA organization at Republique on South La Brea Avenue. Read on…

12 May

Spring to Loire

Scene at Spring to Loire TastingThe third annual Loire Valley wine tasting titled “Spring to Loire”, sponsored by Loire Valley Wines, took place last week at the Smogshoppe. It seemed a bit smaller (in terms of wines poured as well as the number of people in attendance) than last year’s event, but there were many very good wines on hand. Read on…

30 Apr

Wines of Jura

Jura event logoEarly last week we dropped by Hinoki & The Bird to sample the wines of the Jura region of France. We regret that we couldn’t attend the earlier seminar because the Jura wine region is interesting for its history and its wines. Even so, we were able to sample some wines we hadn’t previously tasted and learned a bit about a wine region that was unfamiliar to us (and, perhaps, it is to you as well). The Jura wine region, also known as the Revermont, consists of about 5,000 acres in a narrow 55–mile long strip located between France’s Burgundy wine region (to the west) and Switzerland (to the east), stretching from around Salins–Les–Bains at the northern end to Saint–Amour in the south. Read on…

09 Mar

STARS of Napa Valley 2016

Event Logo courtesy of wineLANapa Valley is one of the most prestigious wine areas of the world. Does it deserve that status? The answer is an emphatic “yes”, and we were pleased to attend the trade tasting session this past Wednesday for STARS of Napa Valley 2016, planned and flawlessly executed by Ian Blackburn’s wineLA organization at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. There were about thirty fantastic wineries on hand, pouring some of their best wines from recent vintages (mostly 2012 and 2013, but with some surprises thrown in for good measure). With over 100 wines from which to choose and limited time to sample them, we couldn’t taste all of them, but what we sampled that day reconfirmed for us that Napa Valley is hard to beat, especially when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, to name just a few varietals. Read on…

17 Dec

May The Rosé Be With You

Event InvitationIf you can’t get tickets to the opening of Star Wars this week, you are in good company. But don’t despair—you can avoid the crowds and pick up some great sparkling rosés for this holiday season. Two days ago, we attended The Tasting Panel Magazine’s Annual Champagne Tasting event, which showcased nearly 50 sparkling wines, all rosé except for one stray blanc de noirs. What we found was an excellent array of sparklers for this holiday season. While we didn’t care for a very select few, we found the rest of them to be good and we really liked about one–third of them, which speaks very well for the assembled rosés. The suggested retail prices (SRPs) listed at this event varied from $11 to $450 and we list the SRPs of our favorites below as an indication of what you can expect Read on…

19 Nov

Rhone Rangers Ride Again

Rhone Rangers Event LogoTwelve days ago, we ventured to The Reef in downtown Los Angeles to sample wines of the Rhone Rangers, a non–profit educational organization consisting of almost 200 winemakers (initially from California, but now also claiming members from Oregon, Washington, Virginia Michigan, Virginia, Idaho, New York and Arizona) who create wine in the style of the reds (such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Petite Sirah) and whites (such as Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc) of France’s Rhône Valley. To qualify as a Rhone Ranger wine, the winery must be a member of the organization and 75% of the wine’s content must include one or more of the 22 traditional Rhone grape varieties as approved by the French government for the wines of the Côtes du Rhone, twelve varieties of which are known to be planted in the USA. Roughly 50 wineries were on hand, many hailing from Paso Robles and the Santa Ynez Valley, a few from places such as Monarch Beach to the South and Fiddletown, Templeton and Shandon to the north, several from the northern California counties of Lake, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma and even one from Walla Walla, Washington. This very diverse spread of winemakers with a singular focus on Rhone varietals came together that day to present about 200 wines, more than we could sample in the limited time we had that day. So, what did we find? Read on…