Wine

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Prominent Illinois pig farmer Julie Maschhoff led panel of judges at the 2018 Swine, Wine & Spirits event at SOBEWFF

Julie Maschhoff, co-owner of The Maschhoffs LLC and one of the nation’s largest and most successful pork producers, led the judging panel at this year’s Swine, Wine & Spirits event as part of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) in Miami. The Maschhoff family is the fourth largest pork producer in the United States, marketing 5 million pigs each year.

Maschhoff and the panel selected the best pork dish from about a dozen competing chef entries at Sunday’s Swine, Wine & Spirits event. She was also available at the various National Pork Board-sponsored events throughout the week where she shared her insight with consumers and media on all things pork, including pork quality and safety, animal welfare and sustainability.

“Growing up on a livestock farm, we have always focused on providing good animal care – keeping them healthy – and sound environmental stewardship,” said Maschhoff. “Today, as our farm feeds not just our family but other families around the world, it is even more imperative that we share our story of stewardship with consumers. We want consumers to know and have confidence that the pork we produce is a great, safe, healthy choice for their family.”

Through the years, Maschhoff and her husband, Ken, have been strong and consistent voices in educating and informing consumers about the importance of animal agriculture. Maschhoff has been a frequent spokesperson for pig farming through her work with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

The Swine, Wine & Spirits event took place on Sunday, February 25, at the Biltmore Hotel and was hosted by local chef and restaurateur, Giorgio Rapicavoli. Additional judges included: National Pork Board Ambassador and celebrity chef, Richard Ingraham; Executive Chef of Goya Foods, Fernando Desa; and Eddie Zamora of The Yum Yum Foodie online fame.

This is the third year the National Pork Board has been the festival’s official pork sponsor, with pork featured as the event’s preferred protein. The five-day festival ran from Wednesday, February 21 through Sunday, February 25, 2018, and featured culinary events at a variety of venues throughout Miami and the beaches.

Attendees found the National Pork Board at other signature events: Tacos After Dark on Thursday, February 22; Burger Bash on Friday, February 23; and Swine, Wine & Spirits on Sunday, February 25.

“South Beach Wine & Food Festival was the perfect setting to engage with consumers who love pork and have been looking for additional ways to enjoy it,” said Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural marketing at the National Pork Board. “We know that the word ‘pork’ is synonymous with flavor and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to bring such amazing flavor to the festival attendees.”

For more information on the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, visit sobewff.org. Join the conversation with the National Pork Board via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or by using the hashtag #SabrososMomentos. Visit Pork Te Inspira for more on the National Pork Board.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery

 

Named Top U.S. Winery, Announce Partnerships with Celebrity Talent and Events : 

 

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a lifestyle brand centered around wine, announces three major milestones: a three-year designation as the Official Wine Partner of the Screen Actors Guild Awards ® , its first-ever inclusion in Wine Business Monthly’s annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. wineries (they were ranked number 34), and a series of collaborations with food and wine icons. The company, which is experiencing rapid growth fueled by its 300,000-member Wine Club, has penned “Friends of Cooper’s Hawk” agreements with Anne Burrell, Richard Blais, Marcus Samuelsson, Tyler Florence, Fabio Viviani, Boisset Collection, Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Cooper’s Hawk has been hosting Friends of Cooper’s Hawk collaborations for the last 13 years, which include exclusive members-only dinners and wine pairings, as well as the co-creation of limited-production wines. The collaboration wines are sold in the restaurant and available as the Wine of the Month for Wine Club Members.

 

“Our growth is a direct result of our mission to enrich the lives of our Wine Club members,” says Cooper’s Hawk CEO Tim McEnery. “By associating our brand with high-profile events like the SAG Awards and providing access to culinary industry super stars, we strengthen the relationship between our customers and our brand.”

 

About Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants :
Founded in 2005 by CEO Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is built upon the belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections. A lifestyle brand focused on creating memorable moments that enrich lives, Cooper’s Hawk is a fusion of familiar elements – winery, modern casual restaurant, Napa-style tasting room and artisanal retail market – that has combined to create an entirely new hospitality experience. Cooper’s Hawk wines are sourced, blended, aged, bottled and distributed exclusively through Cooper’s Hawk, and have won over 400 awards.

 

Connect with Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants :
Hashtag: TBD
Website: chwinery.com
Instagram: @CHWinery
Twitter: @CHWinery
Facebook.com: /coopershawk

Hello Kitty Wine

The highly sought after collection of Hello Kitty wines, produced by Torti “L’Eleganza del Vino” Wines, returns to the U.S. with its popular varietals with updated packaging designs and two new blends. The Hello Kitty wine lineup now includes a new, award-winning Pinot Noir (recipient of the prestigious Vinitaly 5 Star Wines award in 2017), a new “Sweet Pink” blend, as well as the return of its Sparkling RoséPinot Nero Vinified in White, and a special edition Sparkling Rosé with limited edition packaging.

The wines are produced in the Lombardy region of Italy and feature a new Hello Kittyinspired packaging based on the varietal and style. For example, the “Sweet Pink” bottle boldly features Hello Kitty’s iconic bow and has a glass heart, spreading Hello Kitty’s message of love and friendship to wine connoisseurs everywhere. The Sparkling Rosé wrapped in metallic pink is the perfect gift for holiday parties.

These limited edition Hello Kitty wines are available in several specialty wine stores and grocery channels in the states of California (found statewide inside Vons, Pavilions, and 24 locations of Total Wine & More), Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., and can be purchased online at hellokitty.swvino.com.

Let us know if you have questions or need more information about Hello Kitty wines, or other fun Hello Kitty & Sanrio culinary news in 2018!

Hellfire in Wine Country 

By Matt Villard

It’s been over a month now since devastating wildfires erupted in Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties and burned over 200,000 acres.  That’s over 313 square miles, or nearly the size of San Diego, worth of charred and destroyed land.  

The toll on the wine industry was, and still is huge.  23 properties in the 4 counties reported major fire damage.  The full extent of the damage to the vineyards will not be apparent until next year at bud break when vineyard owners will be able to count dead and damaged vines.  All of the wineries suffered, even if they were not directly in the path of the fire, due to power outages, road blocks, personnel being evacuated, etc.  But, the wineries and vineyards will recover.

However, the devastation to the people and communities will take far more time and care.  42 people are dead.  Over 8,000 structures ( including people’s homes) are destroyed.  Over 100,000 people have been displaced.  For most of those who lost their home, they had very little warning and had to leave everything behind.  Their entire lives went up in flames.  I’ve heard stories and seen pictures from friends of mine about how little time there was to evacuate.  One picture stands out in my mind of ash falling around their car and flames on the horizon as they desperately  loaded their young children and dogs into their cars to race away to safety.  This friend was fortunate enough that their home survived.  Many, many others were not as lucky.  

There are ways you can help.  There are a plethora of good relief funds and donation sites out there.  A quick internet search will yield many results.  A meta-site I found is https://www.northbayfiredonations.com which has a huge listing of links to other relief funds and donation sites.  Here’s  a gofundme page.  Here’s a link to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate donation page.  Please take the time and see if there’s anything you can do to help.


Wine by Design × Houston Astros 

To celebrate the Houston Astros World Series championship, Wine by Design, the exclusive wine licensee of Major League Baseball, is delivering a limited-edition World Series Championship Brut with Rack & Riddle. Rack & Riddle, one of the largest custom wine operations nationwide specializing in sparkling wine, has created the Houston Astros World Series sparkling wine. Wine is available online and at select retail outlets. For more information, visit mlb.com/wine.

“This is our 6th year creating a Limited Edition World Series Sparkling with MLB. We are fortunate to have found such a great partner in Rack and Riddle to create a sparkling wine from one of the most prestigious winemaking regions in California for such a momentous occasion,” said Diane Karle, CEO, Wine by Design.

Wine by Design created championship wines to celebrate the victories of the San Francisco Giants (2012 & 2014), Boston Red Sox (2013), Kansas City Royals (2015) and Chicago Cubs (2016), each of which honored historic moments for those Clubs. This is the first World Series title in franchise history for the Houston Astros, making a truly momentous occasion for their fans.

“This wine is truly worthy of champions like the Houston Astros, with fresh fruit aromas of yellow delicious apple and citrus flower nuanced with tropical notes on the nose. The taste follows through with citrus that livens the palate—begging for another sip or two,” said Rack & Riddle Executive Director of Winemaking, Penny Gadd-Coster. “The beauty of a well-balanced Brut like this is it pairs well with a variety of foods – like World Series-worthy snacks of potato chips, mixed nuts and Spicy Wings! It’s perfect for drinking now, and ages well so you can celebrate with bubbly for months to come.” 

The Houston Astros Championship Brut was crafted in the labor-intensive Méthode Champenoise tradition, and showcases premium grapes from California.

ABOUT RACK & RIDDLE CUSTOM WINE SERVICES:

With its expansion in 2014 to two new locations in Sonoma County, Rack & Riddle is proudly committed to providing pristine facilities where winemakers craft both still and sparkling wines. Rack & Riddle offers complete grape-to-bottle, base-to-bottle, and private label wine programs, and houses nearly 2 million gallons of stainless steel storage and fermentation vessels. An exceptional winemaking team produces 1.2 million cases of wine annually. For more information, visit www.rackandriddle.com.

ABOUT WINE BY DESIGN:

Wine by Design (WBD) is a marketing and management agency, and the leader in delivering wine-based strategic services and premium wine solutions. With an extensive network of wine experts, suppliers and winemakers, WBD provides targeted wine experiences, limited wine releases, and consulting. Founded by Diane Karle, WBD has offices in New York and Napa Valley, one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, and home to many of its industry’s leaders. Visit winebydesignco.com to learn more.

CARR WINERY SANTA BARBARA 

“Work hard, play hard and source really good fruit… it all starts from the fruit!” – Jessica Carr

By Vaughn Lowery

Since 1999, Owner/Winemaker/Sommelier Ryan Carr and wife Jessica Carr have been developing an impeccable assortment of Pinot wines – crisp, juicy and delicious. Established in downtown Santa Barbara, their main tasting room is inside of a quonset hut. If the corrugated structure doesn’t enthrall you to enter, Jessica’s warm smile and innate ability to promote her product will have you become a member of their 800+ wine club. The decor is modern yet industrial with a saloon-ish style bar with wine on tap. Adjacent is an outdoor comfy patio where you and a group of friends can soak up a session while basking in the sunshine. 

Moreover, this eclectic outfit is host to a plethora of music events where indie rock to reggae bands showcase their talent on Friday nights from 6-8pm. Throughout the space are stacked barrels, workers fermenting grapes with monthly rotating provocative art pieces scattered throughout the walls on consignment. Everyone knows grapes love art and when the fruit is happy so is the wine.

Ryan wasn’t available for our private tasting but his presence was prevalent. During harvest, he’s out in the fields picking and sorting fruits. He and Jessica met at the University of Arizona about 20 years ago – he majored in graphic design and she in communications. It was inevitable that Ryan designed the ultra chique labels and she wrote many of their outward facing materials. 

Nothing can stand in the way of their success with such an immense passion for winemaking and a strong business acumen. And, the positive reviews alongside of 90+ scores keep rolling in. Named one of Six California Wineries You Should Know About.

“Carr produces polished, authoritative Pinot Noirs from various Sta. Rita Hills vineyards.” – S.H., Wine Enthusiast

They started with only 15 people almost two decades ago; now with 2 locations and a wine management company (early September they handled the grand opening for sister brand CrossHatch Wines) – they’re invincible. Presently, they have no children, but obviously the grapes are their babies. Angel is their Rottweiler/Shepherd 2yro dog and was rescued from an overcrowded litter. Evidently, the Carrs have huge hearts and it’s known throughout the city.  Everyone we encountered both inside and outside the winery respects their philanthropic endeavors. In fact, they’re always giving back to local charities. 

It’s so refreshing to come across such an amazing winery ambiance only 82 miles from central Los Angeles. We drove up in the Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport Coupe Special Edition to add to this whimsical wine experience. 

*Carr Vineyards & Winery is a small, handcrafted winery producing 4500 cases in downtown Santa Barbara. All of the wines made by Carr are sourced from Santa Barbara County vineyards and are made in a traditional winemaking style to capture the essence of the grape varietal and region. The vast microclimates of Santa Barbara County allow the winery to produce several wines including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese, Grenache, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Carr Winery has two locations for guests to enjoy wine tasting, wines by the glass and wine on tap: The Barrel Room in downtown Santa Barbara and The Warehouse in Santa Ynez.

http://carrwinery.com

Wine Spectator’s 2017 Restaurant Awards

Attention, wine lovers around the world! Wine Spectator has released the winners of the 2017 Restaurant Awards, which recognizes the world’s best wine lists. This year, the Restaurant Awards program honors 3,592 dining destinations from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 75 countries internationally.

The Restaurant Awards began in 1981, and there are three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence and the Grand Award, with 2,335; 1,168; and 89 winners this year in each respective category. Five of the Grand Award winners—Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in New York, Grill 23 & Bar in Boston, Les Climats in Paris, PM & Vänner in Växjö, Sweden, and Wally’s Beverly Hills—are first timers.
“Restaurants continue to raise their game when it comes to wine, and we are particularly proud to present this year’s winners,” said Marvin R. Shanken, Editor & Publisher, Wine Spectator. “As wine becomes more important to diners, the Awards program is thriving—with an increasing number of entries, as well as growing print, digital and social audiences. Wine Spectator congratulates each and every award winner.”

All winners are profiled at Restaurants.WineSpectator.com and in the Restaurant Awards app—both of which were launched last year, and have since been updated with improved features, visuals and performance. The app, available free on the App store, allows iPhone and iPad users to easily find nearby award-winning restaurants, with maps, plus helpful information about cuisine, wine and pricing.

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The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers. Best of Award of Excellence recipients offer more extensive selections with significant vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions.

The Grand Award is the program’s highest honor. This elite group comprises the world’s best wine programs, which deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vantages, excellent harmony with the menu and superior presentation. Wine Spectator carefully assesses each Grand Award candidate, including rigorous independent, on-site inspections of the wine program, cellar, service, ambiance and cuisine of the restaurant.

The full list of award winners is available in print in Wine Spectator’s August 31 issue, on newsstands July 18; online at Restaurants.WineSpectator.com, where visitors can search and access exclusive content; and on iOS via the Restaurant Awards app.
Follow the Restaurant Awards on Twitter and Instagram, with hashtag #WSRestaurantAward.

About Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches more than 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web’s most comprehensive wine site (Wine Spectator Official), mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 18,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications, Inc., also publishes Cigar AficionadoWhisky Advocate, Market WatchShanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

Bordeaux 101 – Bitesize Guide


By Ilona Thompson

Bordeaux, France’s most high-profile wine region, is located in southwestern France, just the north of the Aquitaine region. The city is built on a bend of the river Garonne, and is divided into two parts: the right bank to the east and left bank in the west. At the center of it all is the historic city of Bordeaux, an epicenter of winegrowing, world-class cuisine, art and culture. 


  

With 280,000 acres under vine, farmed by over 6,460 producers, it is the largest wine growing area in the country. Over 707 million bottles are produced, including the famed “First Growths.” 

  

The region has sixty-five appellations, with main regions being Graves, Fronsac, Medoc, Pomerol, Saint Emilion and Côtes de Bordeaux. Interestingly, approximately 8% of the total production of the AOC wines from Bordeaux are made up of dry white wines.   

RIGHT VS. LEFT BANK 

  

The geology and climate of Bordeaux is ideally suited to viticulture. Gravel and limestone soil, well-drained and heavy in minerals and calcium deposits, tied with maritime influences from the Atlantic makes for an excellent blend of environments. Geographically, the region is delineated by rivers. There is an old saying that grand Bordeaux estates enjoy “the river views.” Everything on the left side of the Garonne river, west and south of the region, is referred to as “left bank” Bordeaux. Left bank is home to Graves and Medoc. Everything to the right side of another river, Dordogne, in the northern side, is considered the “right bank.” The area within both is the center of the region. 

  

Bordeaux, known for its outstanding viticulture, in addition to ideal climate and soils has yet another strategic advantage: it was a major port city for centuries. That gave the local vignerons an unprecedented access to the world. Unlike other French wine regions that are landlocked, Bordeaux had a direct link to the vessels and visitors that arrived daily. One of the wares the callers left with? Wine. As the word of Bordeaux being an epitome of wine degustation spread overseas, wealthy merchants and traders across Europe became the world’s first wine collectors. Bordeaux wine’s reputation as a refined drink of the upper-class began to take hold. 

BORDEAUX VARIETIES 

  

The classic roster of red Bordeaux varieties consists of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and, occasionally, Carmenere. Merlot deserves a special mention, as it’s by far the most widely-planted variety, comprising ¾ of all red varieties planted.  The whites are dominated by Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon plantings with a smattering of Muscadelle. There are also small amounts of Colombard, Folle Blanche and Ugni Blanc. 

  

The region’s most prestigious vineyards are located on the “Left Bank” of the Garonne river, with its world-famous clay, gravel and sandstone “terroir” (aka, dirt!) It is a winery’s river bank location that determines the proportion of Merlot to Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend. If the winery is located on the Left Bank, the blend created will have more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot. If the winery is located on the Right Bank instead, the blend will have more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon. 

  

The majority of wine produced in the region is known as “Claret”—an English term that refers to a traditional red Bordeaux blend. 

  

There are plenty of great dry white blends, referred to as “White Bordeaux,” followed by a few “Sauternes” or late harvest wines. While both red and white blends are technically Bordeaux, the classic definition of the term is primarily associated with red wine. 

BORDEAUX CLASSIFICATIONS 

  

There are several Bordeaux classifications, spread across different parts of the region. The famed 1855 one, established by Napoleon Bonaparte, is known as Official Classification. It recognized the “First Growths” of the Medoc area. 

  

They are: 

1.     Château Haut Brion 

2.     Château Lafite Rothschild 

3.     Château Latour 

4.     Château Margaux 

  

100 years later, the 1955 classification of another region, St.-Emilion, updated the list with two more:  Château Ausone  and  Château Cheval Blanc 

  

In 1953, the Official Classification of the Graves took place. Then, in 1973, another brand was added to the First Growth rarified club:  Château Mouton Rothschild. 

  

In 2012, two more Chateaux got the prestigious nod:  Chateau Angelus  and  Chateau Pavie . Oddly, there is yet to appear any official recognition for Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pin, which bears no reflection on their reputation with oenophiles. Chateau Petrus is often the costliest wine from the region. 

  

There is one late harvest wine, or  Sauterne , that is classified as “First Growth” – the famed Chateau d’Yquem. 

  

Many of these prestigious Chateaux wines are sold  en primeur  or as “futures.” Merchants world-wide make a rigorous effort to secure these wines at pre-release or “futures” prices, as they often go up in value after the official release. Many consumers, just as the collectors did all those centuries ago, stock up on precious juice. Despite large production levels, the wines are continuously in high demand. Newer markets, such as Asian countries, are full of consumers who are eager to acquire the prestigious, age-worthy wines.  

BORDEAUX BOOM 

  

One of the Europe’s largest cities, Bordeaux, is a vibrant, dynamic city. Although predominantly known for its wine prowess, Bordeaux is about much more than grapes. A city of over a million inhabitants, it’s a sprawling metropolis that is a study in integration of traditional architecture and modern lifestyle. 

Occasionally referred to as “Little Paris” as a nod to its cobblestone streets and charming disposition, Bordeaux’s recent economic boom has placed it among the liveliest world cities. 

 An astonishing number of restaurants, cafés, parks, and museums sprung up in the last decade. An energetic university community, 60,000-strong, establishes Bordeaux authority in educational circles. 

 Generally, the city has a laid-back vibe, yet enjoys a highly animated cultural, artistic, and music scene. 

 Bordeaux is a flat city, built on river banks, so bicycling is the preferred mode of transportation. With 370 miles of bike trails among a beautiful backdrop, you are highly advised to skip the car and hop on a bike to explore the area’s glory. 

WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK IN BORDEAUX 

  

Touring the vineyards and wine tasting is an obvious choice; one of the best you can make when visiting the region. The second largest wine-growing area in the world makes some of the most well-known wines on the planet. Make sure that you plan your trip thoughtfully. The more care you put in the process, the better the end experiences will be. Most wineries require plenty of advance notices for visiting, so pick your optimal route and see how close you can get to your dream scenario! 

  

Where there is great wine, there will be great food. Gastronomical pleasures are integral to the Bordeaux identity. The city, which is packed of restaurants and eateries of all sorts, is a mecca of cosmopolitan cuisine. Asian, African, Italian, Middle Eastern restaurants supplement an extensive array of classic French restaurants. Rue de Saint Remi is a renown culinary street with a myriad of dining options. Michelin adorned restaurants abound, courtesy of culinary stars such as Joel Robuchon, Bernard Magrez and Gordon Ramsay.