Posts tagged with "wine"

Travel California Wine Country’s Back Roads This Summer

California’s northern Central Coast, extending from the San Francisco Bay to Monterey County, is the focus this month as part of Wine Institute’s Wine Country Back Roads series. California is home to dozens of distinct wine regions, including some of the world’s most famous destinations. But hidden among even the high-profile appellations are the wine roads less traveled. These welcoming regions feature stunning rural scenery, delicious wines and, often, fewer visitors. There’s still plenty of time this summer to discover off-the-beaten path wine roads and regions, and the Central Coast is a great place to do it.

The entire Central Coast wine region and Santa Cruz Mountains stretches roughly 250 miles along the California coastline, extending from San Francisco County to Santa Barbara County. Grapes there are among the oldest in the state, planted by Franciscan monks in the late 18th century as they made their way north on El Camino Real (known today as Highway 101). Now hosting thousands of acres of vineyards and hundreds of wineries, California’s Central Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains are home to 14 percent of the state’s winegrapes.

TASTE: Not far from San Francisco, with its famously steep hills and Victorian architecture, you’ll find several hospitable wineries near the East Bay cities of Moraga, Oakland, Berkeley as well as Treasure Island to help you kick off your Central Coast adventure.

Nearby Livermore Valley, 35 miles east of San Francisco, is the one of the state’s oldest wine regions and the genetic source of 80 percent of California’s Chardonnay vines. Along with its iconic Chardonnay, Livermore is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Italian, Rhone and Spanish varieties. Discover the region’s rolling hills and scenic canyons along the Burgundy Wine Trail, or enjoy mountain vistas on the Red Trail.

The Santa Clara Valley, also known today as Silicon Valley, includes more than 30 wineries, many clustered near Gilroy and San Martin. The Santa Cruz Mountains, west of Santa Clara Valley, was among the first American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) to be defined by its steep mountain topography. The area played a pivotal role in California’s winemaking history with viticultural roots going back more than a century. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot predominate on the warmer eastern inland side of the AVA, while Pinot Noir thrives on the coastal side and ridge tops. The region boasts more than 60 wineries. For a scenic overview, try the Silicon Valley Wine Trail in the hillsides above Silicon Valley, or the coastal Corralitos Wine Trail, at the sunny, southern portion of the AVA.

San Benito County, set in an idyllic valley about 75 miles southeast of Santa Cruz, has been growing winegrapes since the mid-1800s, planted by French and German immigrants. The region grows a wide variety of grapes but is best known for Pinot Noir and Syrah. Find wineries near the towns of Hollister and San Juan Bautista.

Heading back to the coast, Monterey County is known or having one of California’s longest growing seasons, thanks to cool marine air that blows in from Monterey Bay. Franciscan friars introduced winegrapes to the area more than 200 years ago, and over 40 varieties are planted there today—including more Chardonnay than in any other county in America. Monterey is also well known for its cool-climate Pinot Noir. With eight distinctive AVAs within its borders and 82 wineries, Monterey offers an array of tasting opportunities. The River Road Wine Trail, set among the canyons and slopes of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, highlights Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with northern Rhône varieties such as Syrah. Beautiful Carmel Valley is renowned for producing rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

TOUR: The Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Passport event on July 20 includes special tastings at more than 40 participating wineries. (As a bonus, passport experiences can be redeemed for a full year after the event.) The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park is nearby with its multiple attractions. Livermore Valley hosts Taste Our Terroir July 25-28, a four-day food and wine affair offering wine tasting adventures, garden tours, food pairing events, seminars, falcon demonstrations and more. Music in the vineyards is a Santa Clara specialty, with performances scheduled at individual wineries throughout the summer. While visiting San Benito County, take a hike among towering rock spires and observe falcons and golden eagles in flight at Pinnacles National Monument, formed by ancient volcanos. On Monterey’s Cannery Row, sample local wines at A Taste of Monterey and visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium or John Steinbeck Museum.

For more information on lodging, dining and upcoming events, see San Francisco Travel, Livermore Valley Wine Country, Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, Discover San Benito County and Monterey Wine Country.
For all of the wine regions included in this series, use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens and picnic areas, and view winery events around the state.

To see Wine Institute’s Back Roads guides to other California wine regions, visit https://discovercaliforniawines.com/media-trade/news.

Adam Sbragia Launches Home Field Red Blend

Fourth Generation Sonoma Winemaker Adam Sbragia Launches Home Field Red Blend

Sbragia Family Vineyards winemaker Adam Sbragia continues his family’s legacy in Dry Creek Valley, launching his own brand, Home Field Red Blend.  Produced from the 2016 vintage, the debut wine is crafted from five grape varieties grown in six different vineyards: Gino’s Estate Zinfandel, La Promessa Estate Zinfandel, Teldeschi Petite Sirah, Forchini Carignane, Andolsen Cabernet and Home Ranch Estate Merlot.

“Born and raised in Dry Creek Valley, I’ve explored every vineyard in every corner of my Home Field to create a modern wine that expresses purity of fruit and my family’s long winemaking history,” remarks Adam.

“I want to extend the winemaking tradition that my great-grandfather started when he came to Dry Creek Valley from Italy in 1904.  Being a 4th generation winemaker, I grew up in the vineyards, riding a tractor with my grandfather Gino and pruning and tasting grapes with my father, Ed Sbragia,” comments Adam.  “I’ve been making wine side by side with my dad for a dozen years.  It’s exciting to take what I’ve learned and make a wine that’s all my own.”

Home Field 2016 Red Blend

Dry Creek Valley | Sonoma County

Inaugural Vintage

The texture of wine, its infinite range of aromas and flavors is all tangled up with soil and climate and history and culture, a spectacular mash-up of people and place, wit and wisdom and everyday life.

Wit | 51% Zinfandel, 8% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah

Wisdom | 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot

Wine | 100% Delicious!

$25/bottle suggested retail price

Available to taste and purchase in both the Sbragia Family Vineyards Tasting Room in Geyserville and Sonoma.

To watch Adam Sbragia’s Home Field Red video visit https://vimeo.com/329161067

Video Credit: Erin Malone at Lightspeed Films 

About

The Sbragia family has been farming and making wine in DCV for over 100 years.  Adam’s great-grandfather came from Tuscany in 1904 and worked in local wineries.  Adam’s grandfather, Gino, acquired his own vineyards near Healdsburg, growing Zinfandel for sale and home winemaking.  In 2006, after 32 years as winemaster at Beringer Vineyards, Adam’s father, Ed Sbragia, opened the doors to Sbragia Family Vineyards at the northern end of Dry Creek Valley.  In addition to launching Home Field Red Blend, Adam continues his position as Sbragia Family Vineyards winemaker.  For more information, visit www.homefieldred.com and www.sbragia.com.

Wine Spectator Announces Winners of 2019 Restaurant Awards

—Dining Destinations Around the World Recognized for their Dedication to Wine

Finding a place to drink great wine around the globe has never been so easy. Wine Spectator has uncorked the winners of the 2019 Restaurant Awardswhich honors the world’s best restaurants for wine. This year, the Restaurant Awards program honors 3,800 dining destinations from all 50 states in the U.S. and 79 countries internationally.

Launched in 1981, the Restaurant Awards are judged on three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence and the Grand Award, with 2,447; 1,244; and 100 winners this year in each respective category. Eight of the Grand Award winners—Alfredo Di Roma Mexico in Mexico City, Fiola in Washington, D.C., Griggeler Stuba in Lech am Arlberg in Austria, Mastro’s Steakhouse at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston; Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Downtown Houston; The Pool in New York City, Ristorante Cracco in Milan and Vantre in Paris—are first timers.

“We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on the destinations around the world that show devotion to their wine program, while also creating a comprehensive global dining guide for our readers to enjoy,” said Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher, Wine Spectator. “Both novice wine lovers and seasoned sommeliers alike actively seek and frequent restaurants with exciting, well-curated wine lists. Bravo to all the 2019 recipients—we raise a glass to you.”

All winners are profiled at Restaurants.WineSpectator.com and in the Restaurant Awards app. The app, available free on the App store, allows iPhone and iPad users to find nearby award-winning restaurants, with maps, plus helpful information about cuisine, wine and pricing.

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 issue, on newsstands July 16.
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 around 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web’s most comprehensive wine site (WineSpectator.com), 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 15,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications, Inc., also publishes Cigar AficionadoWhisky Advocate, Market WatchShanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

The Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Range

AN UNRESERVED STORY OF BITTER & BOTANICALS

The year was 1863 when Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi created their first Martini vermouth and began a lifelong quest to place their stamp on Italian culture. Their infamous partnership created the iconic brand that is MARTINI & ROSSI — a household name synonymous with bold heritage, impeccable craftsmanship and unreserved style. Its latest triumph, the Riserva Speciale Range, represents the height of Italian Aperitivi and the art of balance.

Today, the 8th generation MARTINI & ROSSI Master Artisans Giuseppe “Beppe” Musso and Ivano Tonuttiare following in the foot steps of the brand’s founders as dedicated and passionate craftsmen who guard and preserve its quality and integrity. They are two of only four people worldwide to know Luigi Rossi’s original recipes.

Over a century in the making, the Riserva Speciale Rangeis the first permanent line of expressions within MARTINI & ROSSI to be launched in 25 years. Comprised of two iconic Vermouths di Torino—Rubino and Ambrato— along with an incomparable Bitter Liqueur,the entire process of creating one bottle in the MARTINI & ROSSI Riserva Speciale Range takes over one year. The collection is a homage to the brand’s origins, a celebration of the region’s bounty and the ultimate distillation of the MARTINI & ROSSI legacy of innovation and boldness.,representing a new generation of signature aperitifs that will become the tradition of tomorrow.

A protected name of origin, Vermouth di Torino can only be assigned to expertly crafted vermouths that use 100% Italian wines and Artemisia herbs sourced from the Piedmonte region. The MARTINI & ROSSI Ambrato and Rubino Riserva Speciale Vermouths di Torino acknowledge and pay tributeto this guarded name of origin by employing the same time-honored craft that has been passed down from generation to generation. Born and madein Pessione, these acclaimed products are the most authentic expression of the ingredients and style of the region, honoring over a century of winemaking prowess.

Setting the standard for what a Vermouth di Torino represents, MARTINI &ROSSI Master Artisans Beppe Musso and Ivano Tonutti use the same established production practices developed by the first Master Artisans centuries ago, paying homage to their rich roots and heritage. By law, at least one Artemesia herb must be included in a Vermouth di Torino, but to give them true Italian heart and to create a more complex, complete, and rounded sensation, the Masters chose to use three types of local Artemisia.

All grown in nearby fields in Piedmonte, Artemisia Absinthium, commonly known as Wormwood, brings a strongly bitter-herbal character, Artemisia Pontica adds a touch of anise, and Artemisia Vulgaris provides a floral note.

The terroir of the fragrant pastures is essential to the exceptional quality ofthe botanicals used in both the Ambrato Vermouth di Torino and Rubino Vermouth di Torino. The inclusion of all three types brings a new dimensionto the classic taste of Vermouth.

Ambrato Vermouth di Torino

For the Ambrato Vermouth di Torino, Artemisia is blended with other carefully sourced exotic and local herbs and spices including RomanChamomile, Yellow Cinchona bark and Chinese Rhubarb. The ItalianRoman Chamomile emphasizes the fresh floral notes of the artemisia, while the yellow Cinchona bark brings a fresh, mouthwateringly bitter character. The botanicals are added to a neutral grain spirit, steeped, then placed in rotary drums turning at a slow speed for a period of many weeks to create the extracts – liquid elixirs that will be added tothe final blend.

The botanical extracts for the Ambrato are rested for over two months in Piedmontese Tino casks, reminiscent of the process used in the very early days of the company. This complex practice softens the blend of botanicals, creating the desired balance needed in each.

After the botanical extracts are rested, they are then blended with100% Italian wines selected by Master Blender Beppe Musso. LocalMoscato d’Asti DOCG wines, along with crispy and fresh Italian wines, are used to create the distinctive amber Ambrato Vermouth di Torino, adding their soft honeyed and aromatic sweetness. Along with the local Artemesia, Roman Chamomile, Yellow Cinchona Bark andChinese Rhubarb, the end result is a lightly bitter profile that is her baland floral with just a touch of honey to finish.

Rubino Vermouth di Torino

Italian Holy Thistle and Red Sandalwood were specifically selected to imbue the Rubino Vermouth di Torino with their aromatic character and perfectly compliment the three types of ItalianArtemisia. Scarce and highly prized, the sustainably sourced RedSandalwood imparts a delicate spice and woody, bitter note. TheItalian Holy Thistle brings a cooling, energetic, and bitter taste to the mixture. Using the same production process as with Ambrato, each of the carefully selected botanicals are transformed into precious extracts then rested for over two months in order to create a perfectly balanced, harmonious blend of flavors.

Master Blender Beppe Musso carefully blends the botanic extracts with 100% Italian wines once their resting period has ended. The exquisite Riserva Speciale Rubino is brought to life with small amounts of the full-bodied Lang he DOC Nebbiolo wines. These parcels are known to be dark and fruity, characteristics which shine through in the final product. The wines are blended with the extracts of Artemesia, Italian Holy Thistle and Red Sandalwood resulting in a bright ruby red Vermouth di Torino. The delicate balance of botanicals and wine create a full-bodied, herbal and complex style ofVermouth di Torino with a lingering profile and just a touch of spice.

Bitter Liqueur

The crown jewel in the Riserva Speciale Range is undoubtedly the Bitter Liqueur. Inspired by founder Luigi Rossi’s original recipe from 1872, and usingonly 100% natural ingredients, the MARTINI & ROSSI Bitter has been remastered for today’s modern palate.

To compliment the prized Piedmontese Artemisia, Master Herbalist Ivano Tonutti carefully selected three exotic botanicals: Saffron, Angostura andColumba. The Angostura is a pleasing aromatic bitter that imparts a deep flavor which, along with the Artemisia, provides a solid foundation to theBitter Liqueur. Columba is a harmonious bitter that gives a substantial mouth-filling bitter taste while balancing the other botanicals. Finally, Saffron,the “golden spice,” gives the liquid a wonderful end note, intensifying the aromatic bitter qualities, bringing perfume and a lingering finish to the final product.

In total, over twenty different botanicals are used to encompass the complete range of bitter, each delivering an irreplaceable richness and complexity tothe taste profile through different dimensions of bitterness.

To better harmonize all the aromatic ingredients and add roundness to the bitter notes, the botanical extracts are mixed with sugar and a neutral grain spirit then rested in the same traditional Tino casks used for the MARTINI &ROSSI Riserva Speciale Vermouths di Torino. This resting period creates exceptional harmony and balance, integrating the layers of flavor together to create a complete sensation of bitterness. The final product is a one-of-a-kind, versatile liqueur that adds depth, complexity and balance to any cocktail

Master Herbalist Ivano Tonutti

Hailing from Piedmonte, Ivano Tonutti is the 8th Master Herbalist to follow in the foot steps of the legendary Luigi Rossi. The most complex and precious secret atMARTINI & ROSSI is how the taste, aroma and texture of the hand selected botanicals are captured, and for the last 25 years, Tonutti has been embracing this legacy.

Prior to joining the MARTINI & ROSSI family, Tonutti studied in nearby Turin as apharmacist before taking up his role as a Technical Director within the company.He served a lengthy apprenticeship learning the skills and artistry needed before his appointment of Master Herbalist, the most trusted and celebrated role atMARTINI & ROSSI.

A true expert in botanicals and extraction techniques, Tonutti has an intimate knowledge of and rapport with the over forty natural ingredients that are used inMARTINI & ROSSI recipes. Under his guidance, his team of virtuosos ensure every individual botanical meets each rigorous standard set down by the company even before the fundamental taste components are extracted. Hundreds of samples are tasted and rejected until each requirement is met ensuring complete consistency and balance across the Riserva Speciale Range.

MASTER BLENDER GIUSEPPE “BEPPE” MUSSO

Originally from a village just outside the MARTINI & ROSSI home of Pessione, Italy, Giuseppe Musso is the Master Blender for the iconic brand and best known as “Beppe.” He is one of the very few responsible for the century-old recipes atCasa Martini, working to preserve the taste, quality and style of the Riserva Speciale Vermouths di Torino and Bitter Liqueur.

A student of the world-renowned Scuola Enologica di Alba, once Musso completed his training he worked for 10 years as a winemaker producing celebrated wines such as Barolos, Barbarescos, Moscatos and Asti Spumantes. He was always, however, drawn to his native Piedmonte, and returned home to join the MARTINI & ROSSI team where he began working with the quality assurance group getting to know each expression intimately.

In 1993, he was then honored with the opportunity to join Luciano Boero, theMARTINI & ROSSI Master Blender of over thirty years and become part of his team of winemakers. After 18 years of training under his tutelage, Musso succeeded Boero’s tenure once he retired from the company. Now, Musso, with the assistance of his curated team of artisans, sources each wine and leads the delicate blending process of marrying them with the bespoke botanical extracts within the MARTINI & ROSSI portfolio of vermouths and bitter.

NORTH AMERICAN BRAND AMBASSADOR FABIO RAFFAELLI

For almost two decades, Fabio Raffaelli has developed and contributed to bar programs at some of the world’s finest dining institutions, and today, he holds the title of the first-ever MARTINI &ROSSI North American Brand Ambassador. In this role, Raffaelli champions the iconic brand’s acclaimed heritage-rich expressions, and most recently the newly debuted Riserva Speciale Range.

Raffaelli has cultivated a respected reputation thanks to a keen attention to detail, expert palate and high standard for exceptional service. Born in Italy, Raffaelli has bartended in some of the most prestigious bars and restaurants across Europe. He has collaborated with internationally respected chefs including Alain Ducasse, Ferran Adrià, and Gordon Ramsay, as well as the celebrated legendary bartender Salvatore Calabrese. Raffaelli gained a reputation for his service-driven style and impeccable elegance before moving to the U.S.

In 2009 Raffaelli crossed the Atlantic to New York City to bring his expertise in Italian cocktails, spirits and wine to the Michelin Starred Italian restaurant Del Posto. With an expertise and focus on highlighting the diversity and complexity of Italian spirits, Raffaelli completely redesigned the bar program once he arrived, which earned well-deserved praise and critical acclaim. Continuing his career in fine dining, Raffaelli worked with renowned chef Daniel Boulud at DANIEL on the UpperEast Side. During his tenure there, he engineered the restaurant’s show-stopping table-side cocktail service and curated a rotating seasonal menu of cocktails, each highlighting a different spirit, preparation and presentation.

Today, in his role as North American Brand Ambassador and as the face of the brand in NorthAmerica, Raffaelli utilizes his Italian spirits prowess and innate style to raise awareness and build loyalty for the MARTINI & ROSSI Riserva Speciale Range.

Mix Up These Delectable Cocktails For National Tequila Day

If there is ever a food holiday that needs to be celebrate and acknowledged as a national holiday, it is National Tequila Day on July 24. Whether you prefer the sweetness of the Añejo or the smoothness of the Blanco, we have got you covered with flavorful bevvies from margaritas to a spicy beso caliente! Have your own fiesta at home with these five recipes below!

Cardamom Margarita

INGREDIENTS

2oz of Cardamom-infused DeLeon Platinum tequila

1oz lime juice

.5oz Gum Syrup

PREPERATION

Infuse 10 grams of cardamom in a 750 ml bottle of DeLeon Platinum for 20-30 minutes.

Add ice, 1oz lime juice, 0.5oz gum syrup, and 2oz of cardamom-infused DeLeon Platinum in a shaker.

Strain & serve.

Garnish with a cardamom pod.

GLASSWARE

Margarita

GARNISH

Cardamom seeds

DeLeon Paloma 

INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz DeLeon Reposado tequila

1 oz grapefruit juice

.75 oz lime juice

.5 oz simple syrup

Pinch of Kosher salt

Club Soda

PREPARATION

Shake all ingredients with ice & strain over fresh ice into glass.

Top with Club Soda

GLASSWARE

Highball/Collins glass

GARNISH

Grapefruit wedge

Twisted Maria

INGREDIENTS

1.5oz DeLeon Platinum tequila

1oz Watermelon Juice

3 Cherry tomatoes on Vine

.5oz Lime Juice

1tsp Agave

PREPARATION

Mull 3 cherry tomatoes in a shaker

Blend 3-4 pieces of watermelon or 1oz of watermelon juice into a shaker

Add in remaining ingredients and pinch of salt

Shake, strain and pour over ice

GLASSWARE

Rocks Glass/Collins

GARNISH

Lime Wedge and Tomato

Raspberry Sour

 

INGREDIENTS

1.5oz DeLeon Añejo

.75oz Lemon

.5oz Simple syrup

4-5 muddied raspberries

PREPARATION

Muddle raspberries in a shaker, add remaining ingredients and strain over a coupe

GLASSWARE

Coupe

GARNISH

Raspberries on a cocktail pick

Beso Caliente

 INGREDIENTS

1.5oz DeLeon Reposado tequila

.75oz lemon juice

1 oz simple syrup

4-6 dashes Angostura bitters

PREPARATION

Shake first three ingredients with ice & strain into a small coupe glass

Float Angostura bitters

GLASSWARE

Either small coupe glass or rocks glass over ice

360 magazine, Leah Van Dale (Carmella)

Leah Van Dale (Carmella)

E! Total Divas and WWE superstar, Leah Van Dale (Carmella), is well known for her fierce attitude and even fiercer physique, but there is a lot more to the fitness queen who boasts over two million followers on Instagram alone.

Leah has been involved with fitness her entire life. She has been dancing since she was three-years old and before making a name for herself in WWE, she was a cheerleader in the NFL and NBA (New England Patriots and Lakers.)

Leah earned her first success in WWE as the final pick for the 2016 draft to fill out SmackDown LIVE’s Women’s division.

From that point forward Leah’s résumé began to expand at lightning speed. She won the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Match (and the second), defeated Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and won the second-ever WrestleMania Women’s, Battle Royal. Her competitiveness is matched by her creativity, which exploded in the freewheeling sideshow of the Mixed Match Challenge, where she joined forces with R-Truth to originate an endearing seven-second dance break en route to winning the competition.

From the field to the court, to the ring, and beyond–Leah is consistently proving that there isn’t anything she can’t accomplish.

She most recently has expanded her career as a successful business woman with her new wine brand, Capo Cagna.

Capo Cagna truly aligns with who Leah is as someone who is fearless on and off camera. Loosely translating to “Boss Bitch” in Italian, Leah describes a Capo Cagna as “a strong, successful, and independent woman.” Leah focuses on inspiring women to feel strong, empowered, and unapologetically themselves.

Leah’s career is a testament to hard work, perseverance and making the most of every opportunity that comes your way.

Cool Down this Summer with Red Wine Cocktails

Red wine isn’t the first thing that pops into your head for summer drinking. In fact, Rosé and spritz’s take the crown as the go-to cool down sips. But, it’s incredibly versatile and a simple addition to your favorite summer refreshment. Before you realize, you be swapping out the Aperol spritz for a red wine mule.

A bourbon barrel-aged red, like 1000 Stories (SRP $18.99), makes for the perfect topper or mixer in a summer cocktail, like the ones below. The added caramel notes and a hint of smoke from the bourbon barrel make the perfect pairing for a hot day.

Gold Rush Red Mule
* 4 oz. 1000 Stories Gold Rush Red
* .5 oz. Marschino
* .5 oz. Crème de Mure
* ginger beer
* Rosemary sprig garnish
Add the wine and liqueurs to a copper mug filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir with a bar spoon to incorporate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Prospectors’ Proof Sour
* 2 oz. Rye Whiskey
* .75 oz. lemon juice
* 1 oz. simple syrup
* .5 oz. 1000 Stories Prospectors’ Proof
Shake the rye whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass and fill with fresh ice. Float red wine over the top of the cocktail.

1000 Stories Splash
* 2 oz. Partida Tequila Blanco
* 1.5 oz. 1000 Stories Zinfandel
* .5 oz. fresh lime juice
* .5 oz. agave nectar
* 2 oz. grapefruit soda
* lime wedge for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a glass.

Napa Valley’s First Wine History Museum and Tasting Salon

Jean-Charles Boisset Introduces Napa Valley’s First Wine History Museum and Tasting Salon: 1881 Napa  

1881 Napa Showcases Napa Valley Wines and History in Historic Victorian Home Adjacent to the Oakville Grocery

Napa Valley’s first wine history museum and tasting salon, is now open. Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Boisset Collection, has created an homage to Napa Valley, with a tasting room that showcases wines from Napa Valley’s distinct sub-appellations, a museum where guests can explore Napa’s rich wine history, an extensive collection of historic wine relics from Europe and the United States and original artifacts from the Early California Wine Trade Archive. 1881 Napa is located in a historic Victorian home built in 1874 next to Oakville Grocery (founded in 1881) in Oakville, California, both of which were purchased by Boisset Collection at the beginning of the year.

“Napa Valley has a powerful place in American wine history and 1881 Napa puts the region in perspective on the world stage,” said Boisset, who grew up in Burgundy, France imbued with a passion for wine and learning as the son of vintners and the grandson of educators. “An extraordinary amount has been accomplished in this enclave in a short amount of time and we want to create a destination that celebrates Napa’s long history and its pioneering founders while exploring Napa’s incredibly diverseterroir in one destination.”

The gateway to Napa Valley, 1881 Napa is must-stop for wine enthusiasts, providing guests the opportunity to discover Napa Valley’s AVAs for the first time, or to explore some of their favorite appellations more deeply. Napa Valley was the first AVA designated in California in 1981 and within the region are 16 sub-AVAs that contain more geological diversity than any other wine region, leading to dramatically different wines within Napa Valley.

Located in a building more than 140 years old that was reimagined by renowned architect Howard Backen, 1881 Napa is next door to Oakville Grocery, the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. The two centerpieces of the space — a 48-light Baccarat crystal Zenith chandelier and a reproduction of an 1895 map of Napa County on canvas hanging from the ceiling — provide a dramatic environment to explore the varied wines of the valley, while displays highlighting the unique stories and soils of each appellation surround the tasting room.

The wine museum in 1881 Napa is open to the public with complimentary visitation. A self-guided tour up to and along the museum’s second-floor mezzanine tells the history of Napa Valley, introduces the founders and influential early pioneers  of the region and presents a robust collection of wine ephemera, including historic winemaking, vineyard, nursery and cooperage as well as displays curated and organized by the Early California Wine Trade Museum featuring local historic wine artifacts from the collections of Dean Walters and John O’Neill. From the mezzanine, guests have an open view to the tasting room below.

Alcoves hold soil samples from the various regions, along with 1881 Napa wines and descriptions of the appellations written by best-selling and award-winning author of The Wine Bible and wine expert Karen MacNeil. MacNeil also helped develop the various tasting options, which include comparative flights such as “Majestic Mountains Versus Plush Valley” and “Is it Cool to be Hot or Hot to be Cool?” as well as an option to “Embark on a Journey Throughout the Valley” by tasting Cabernet Sauvignons from 12 different sub-AVAs. In addition to the site-specific Cabs, guests can enjoy wines from a blend of Napa Valley grapes, including a sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, rosé, Chardonnay, red blend, Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon — all wines crafted exclusively for 1881 Napa by Winemaker Thane Knutson to reflect the diversity of Napa Valley. After sampling the broad range of Napa Valley styles, guests can discover which AVAs they like the most and purchase wines from 1881 Napa as well Oakville Grocery.

1881 Napa is located at 7856 St. Helena Highway in Oakville and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made here.

About Boisset Collection
Boisset is a family-owned collection of historic and unique wineries and lifestyle destinations led by Jean-Charles Boisset and bound together by a common vision: authentic, terroir-driven wines in harmony with their history, their future and the land and people essential to their existence. With more than 25 historical and prestigious still and sparkling wineries in the world’s preeminent terroirs, including Burgundy, Beaujolais, Jura, the Rhône Valley, the south of France and California’s Russian River Valley and the Napa Valley. Its California wineries include DeLoach Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards, Buena Vista Winery and JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset; its French properties feature Domaine de la Vougeraie, Jean-Claude Boisset, Bouchard Aîné et Fils, J. Moreau et Fils, Louis Bouillot, Domaines Henri Maire, Fortant and Bonpas. Each house retains its unique history, identity and style, and all are united in the pursuit of fine wines expressive of their terroir. Wine is at the center of Boisset’s mission, and is complemented by spirits, beer, cider, gourmet foods and luxury goods, both of its own design and from partnerships with historic companies such as Baccarat, Lalique, St. Louis, Riedel, Christofle, and Bernardaud. To learn more about the Boisset Collection, please visit www.boissetcollection.com.

Featured image credit: Alexander Rubin

The Taste Returns

Los Angeles Times’ annual celebration of the Southern California culinary scene returns with events in L.A. and Costa Mesa. The pop-up block parties will take place at the Paramount Pictures Studios backlot over Labor Day weekend (Friday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 1) and The MET over two days in October (Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19).

Hosted by The Times’ Food staff, each edition of The Taste will include three individual events. Unlimited tastings from the region’s best restaurants, a variety of wine, beer and seasonal cocktails, plus access to cooking demonstrations and talks by renowned chefs are included with admission. Tickets, ranging from $80 to $115, are on sale now at latimes.com/TheTaste. Early birds can take advantage of $20 off the ticket price with offer code SAVE20.

Photo credit: Courtesy of LA Times The Taste

BEYOND YOUR BUCKET LIST × SOUTH AFRICA

Go Beyond Your Bucket List in South Africa

With United Airlines’ new direct flight launching from Newark to Cape Town this December, South Africa is becoming more accessible than ever before. As an increasing number of travelers move beyond typical bucket list trips and seek out meaningful, unique experiences, they will find South Africa has everything they’re looking for. The South African Tourism Board has launched the #MeetSouthAfricaMondays campaign to introduce travelers to some of the country’s lesser-known but most compelling experiences, curated by long-term citizens and lovers of South Africa.

• Accessible Art in Woodstock

• Rediscover Durban

• Johannesburg’s Revitalized Art Scene

• Marine Life of the South African Coast

• Adventures in Drakensburg

• Panoramic Views on the Panorama Route

• World-Class Winelands

• Tastes of a Township: 4Roomed eKasi Culture

The Urban: Arts and Culture Redefined

Accessible Art in Woodstock
All across Woodstock, a suburb of Cape Town, buildings are covered in colorful art, painted by local and international artists. “The movement was founded by a longstanding group of artists that were painting in Woodstock but who wanted to take their art from the studios into the streets,” says Juma Mkwela, a tour guide who leads visitors on street art walking tours of the area. “We wanted to inspire, we wanted to educate, and we wanted to tell stories that hadn’t been told. Today, we have more than 100 pieces here by local and international artists.” High-end restaurants like The Test Kitchen and bustling, artsy watering holes like Casa Woodstock Bar populate the neighborhood, creating a vibrancy to match that of Woodstock’s colorful painted buildings. 

Rediscover Durban

Undergoing its second wave of urban revitalisation, Durban has elements that appeal to every kind of tourist — everything from beautiful beaches and perfect weather to high-caliber musicians, fusion food, and world-class distilleries can be found along the city’s streets. According to Jonas Barausse, urban storyteller and Durban local, “Durban really appeals to someone who wants to discover, who wants to peel back the layers of a city. Entrepreneurs are doing some really amazing stuff.” Florida Road, one of Durban’s main strips, is full of life, energy, and color, embodying the city’s spirit. The road is lined with local coffee places and Durban dining staples for travelers who love the bustling atmosphere of city life. Durban’s proximity to coastline, mountains, and some of the world’s best game parks and wildlife make it a perfect stop on a South African vacation.

Johannesburg’s Revitalized Art Scene

One of South Africa’s more well-visited areas, Jo’burg is known for its social life, spirit, and history. Maboneng is the modern center of the art scene in Johannesburg, populated by galleries, boutiques, bars, and restaurants. For a lesser known side of Jo’burg, Charles Nbube suggests visiting his home township of Soweto. “Despite past struggles, it’s a very progressive township, full of historical sights and activities and reignited life,” Charles says. “There’s bungee jumping and quad biking at the Soweto Towers; cycling and tuk tuk tours from Leto’s Backpackers. And there’s Hector Pieterson Memorial, where you can learn about the 1976 Soweto Uprising. The wounds are the scars of the past are still open in this township, but nobody’s crying here.”

The Wild Side: Pursuing Natural Splendors Beyond the Safari

Marine Life of the South African Coast

Take a safari path less traveled by hopping on a boat. Voyage around the Dyer Island system in Gansbaai to spot the Marine Big Five: the great white shark, African penguin, southern right whale, cape fur seal and dolphins. “I challenge anyone to find another place on Earth that can offer such diversity so close to shore,” says Alison Towner, marine expert and guide with Marine Dynamics. For the ultimate shark cage diving experience, try to visit from May to September when they’re in the highest density. Also according to Alison, “peak season for southern right whale watching is October and November.”

Adventures in Drakensberg

South African topography is much more than its famed safari plains. The mountains and valleys of the Drakensberg contain the largest concentration of hiking trails in South Africa, as well as around 300 species of plants that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Beyond hiking, the mountains are the perfect host for adventure activities such as rock climbing, ziplining, horseback riding, paragliding, whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning, and abseiling. According to James Seymour, a South African mountaineering guide, the mountains’ most “unmissable” activity is a helicopter trip over the Drakensberg. Unique flora and fauna, dense population of antelopes, and ancient rock art hidden in stunning vistas make the Drakensberg one of only 20 places in the world that have been recognized twice by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

Panoramic Views on the Panorama Route

The most scenic and diverse geographical features of South Africa can be found along the Panorama Route, an aptly named 1,242 miles of road in the often-overlooked province of Mpumalanga. The road passes around the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world and provides access to unique geographical features such as Lisbon Falls, Graskop Gorge, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. From God’s Window, a viewpoint 2,297 feet above the lush forest below, it is said that on a clear day you can see to the ocean in Mozambique. Beyond natural marvels, the Panorama Route allows a glimpse of local culture outside of urban centers. “Support the local community by buying their arts and crafts that they sell at sights along The Panorama Route,” suggests David Quihampton, who has been a Mpumalanga tour guide for fifteen years.

The Gourmet: Wine and Food

World-Class Winelands

Less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, South Africa’s Cape Winelands are “the best wine destination in the world,” according to Andre Morgenthal, who has worked in the wine industry for nearly thirty years. Within a three-hour radius visitors can easily see ten different wine regions, from Constantia to Stellenbosch, each with their own specialty varietals. Like other wine power-houses of the world, the Winelands have a long history of excellence. In recent decades, however, the Winelands have redefined themselves, bringing together European influence with their own country’s flair. “Pinotage is our national grape,” says Andre, claiming the grape as the region’s flag bearer for red wine. “It’s producing beautiful, world-acclaimed wines.”

Tastes of a Township

For authentic South African cuisine, visit the Cape Town restaurant 4Roomed eKasi Culture. The restaurant’s founder, Abigail Mbalo, a contestant on Master Chef South Africa, named her restaurant in  honor of the standard four-roomed homes found in townships across the country. “With our cuisine, we want to tell stories about growing up in a township. We want to evoke nostalgia and pride,” Abigail says. Her restaurant revamps traditional recipes with fresh ideas and fresh ingredients from the backyard garden. Guests enjoy offerings such as a pumpkin and pap dish called umqa, to which Abigail adds butternut, nutmeg, and truffle oil, or the dessert, amkhekhe, based on a popular scone and made modern with citrus, chocolate, and a yuzu syrup. Surrounded by fast food and frantic lifestyles, the restaurant allows guests to slow down and get a delicious taste of South Africa’s history and culture.