Posts tagged with "wine lovers"

Tuscan Women Cook

A Culinary Immersion Vacation Experience

Have you ever wanted to learn to cook in Italy, to participate in Tuscan cooking classes? And return home with recipes handed down over generations and collected by us since 2000? Each spring and fall, Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo welcome guests from around the world to live, breath and cook as Italians do. Taking advantage of their years of business experience and knowledge, as master event planners, they create an insider’s Tuscan itinerary filled friendly, knowledgeable tour guides, translators, drivers and private cooking classes that only a local resident could access.

Indulge yourself in the Tuscan lifestyle and discover the region’s passion for food and wine in a small group of 18 people or less. The best cooks in all of Tuscany, the local women, or “nonnas,” teach their classes. They’ll share regional techniques, ingredients, and family recipes that have been passed down over the centuries. Put on your apron, gather around the old farmhouse table, get wrist-deep in pasta dough and learn Tuscan cooking from the source. You’ll learn first-hand how to make gnocchi, tagliatelli, and pici— thick strings of handmade eggless pasta made originally in Montefollonico.

Your week with Tuscan Women Cook includes six night’s accommodation at Agriturismo Belagaggio, a restored farmhouse in Montefollonico, breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, cooking classes, daily sightseeing, visits to local artisans, cheese and wine tastings. Full day sight- seeing in Siena with a private guide who has a doctorate in Sienese history. Full translation is provided at all classes. Transportation to all activities is in a Mercedes minibus with private driver.

For wine lovers, Tuscan Women Cook is situated in the heart of Brunello de Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano country, and border on the Chianti wine region. This is the center of the new Italian wine renaissance and a dream locale for your next getaway with family and friends. Wine connoisseurs plan the ultimate Bucket List trip here to sample new wines and visit the spectacular vineyards. Tuscan Women Cook hosts will provide you with exclusive introductions to renowned Tuscan vintners and opportunities to purchase their award-winning wines for their personal cellars.

To learn more about Tuscan Women Cook and view beautiful photos and videos, visit www.TuscanWomenCook.com.

Tuscan women cook, 360 MAGAZINE, Italy, wine, Vaughn Lowery

Tuscan women cook, 360 MAGAZINE, Italy, wine, Vaughn Lowery

Tuscan women cook, 360 MAGAZINE, Italy, wine, Vaughn Lowery

Dreaming Tree Cork Speaker

Now that we are in the midst of Holiday Gift Guide Season, we hope to put the new limited edition Cork Speaker from The Dreaming Tree wines (a California wine brand from winemaker Sean McKenzie and musician Dave Matthews) on your radar!

The first gift set of its kind, The Dreaming Tree Wines Cork Speaker is a limited-edition wine cork that also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, using the bottle to amplify sound, bringing your favorite music to life while simultaneously keeping your favorite wine flavorful! The perfect gift for music and wine lovers alike, The Dreaming Tree Wines Cork Speaker will be sold alongside a bottle of fan-favorite, award-winning Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend, aptly named after the DMB hit, for an affordable $35.00.

Additionally, in continuation with The Dreaming Tree’s commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation, a portion of proceeds from the sale of the Cork Speaker will be donated to Living Lands and Waters and The Wilderness Society, which protect, preserve and restore our nation’s major rivers, watersheds, and forestry areas.

See the Video here: https://vimeo.com/289707546/2fd94febcb

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.


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

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.