General Wine Stuff
A celebration of Lodi’s old vine Zinfandels
If you have ever uttered the words “I don’t like Zinfandel,” I humbly suggest you are most likely wrong about that. Sure, taste in wines is a hugely subjective thing, but when most people say “I don’t like Zinfandel,” what they almost always mean–whether they realize it or not–is that they don’t like the popular-10-years-ago super jammy, extracted, oaked-to-death, high-ABV fruit monsters that (unfortunately) came to be considered the California style of Zinfandel. While there’s some truth to that, it’s really not representative of what’s currently going on in the state with this variety, and certainly not representative of what’s going on with zins in Lodi. While Lodi is pretty…
2018 California Wine Country calendar – pretty pictures for a great cause!
Along with my usual nature photography calendar (my annual Visionary Light calendar), I’m offering a California wine country calendar this year. It features images from the state’s beautiful wine regions, and I’m donating $5 from the sale of each calendar to the RCU North Coast Fire Relief Fund, which is helping with recovery from this year’s devastating wildfires in Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa counties. Just click this link to see a full preview that shows the 12 included images (and purchase one or a dozen!). They make a great holiday gift, and the funds are going to a great and important cause.
Some photos from California’s 2017 harvest
Just because California (mostly) broke its five-year drought this year did not mean it was a perfect year for growing winegrapes. Growers dealt with devastating floods early in the season–leaving some of Lodi’s most storied vineyards submerged in water until early summer!–and an unprecedented heat spike just as harvest began, with almost two weeks of 100-plus-degree days across the state (which made for an all-hands-on-deck kind of insanity for a while with seemingly everything coming in at once). And then there were the devastating wildfires that tore through Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties at the end of harvest (which reminds me–have you bought your 2018 California Wine Country calendar yet?…
It’s that time again–California Garagistes’ Urban Exposure Los Angeles THIS SATURDAY 7/15
Like wine? Go here. Seriously–of all the wine events I attend each year, I always have the most fun at Garagiste because there’s a little bit of everything. No matter what type of wine you like–got a favorite variety? Favorite style? “Big” wines? Low alcohol wines? It’s all here. In addition to the fantastic variety you’ll find at this festival, I have my own reasons for loving this event. Since my blog is all about story, this gives me a great opportunity to taste my way through small producers I would likely never encounter otherwise–and if I find something I like (and I always do), I’m able to get a…
Markus Niggli and the importance of place.
I have been going in circles for months now over how to tell you about Markus Niggli and his incredible, challenging (and astonishingly good) wines. Writer’s block isn’t generally something I struggle with, but I also rarely come across someone like Markus–or his wines. And yes, I’m going to be throwing out a barrage of highly effusive superlatives here, because in this case it’s fully justified. Flash back to last August, when I was in Lodi for the annual wine bloggers’ conference: I opted to go on the pre-excursion before the conference-proper began, and found myself in an intensive get-to-know-Lodi-wines experience. One of those get-to-know moments was in a shaded…
Adventures in wine and food pairing at Lodi’s beautiful Wine & Roses Hotel
When LoCA’s Randy Caparoso asks if you might possibly have plans to be in Lodi the following weekend, you should probably say YES, even if you live in Los Angeles and did not, in fact, already have plans to be in Lodi. If it were me, that is–and it was, and I did say yes. Randy was leading a culinary wine and food pairing class (“exploration” might be a better word) at Lodi’s beautiful Wine & Roses Hotel a couple of weeks ago along with Executive Chef John Hitchcock, and I happily accepted the offer to cover the event for Lodi Wine. As part of Wine & Roses’ ongoing Cooking…
Acquiesce: Through the looking glass with Lodi’s White(s) Queen
I hope Sue Tipton forgives (or at least has a chuckle over) the literary reference above. As I sat down to write this piece, and thought about how to title it, I realized I was as confounded by how to properly describe her and her outstanding wines as I was the first day I tasted them. And this is a very good thing. I have a great fascination with–and admiration for–winemakers who trust their vision enough to buck trends and defy norms and expectations. Sue Tipton, owner and winemaker of Acquiesce Vineyards in Lodi, California, is one of those mavericks, and the resulting wines prove how great her vision is.…
Greenbar’s Grand Poppy Liqueur–California in a bottle
I do not generally devote an entire blog post to a single wine, or a single bottle of spirits (unless it’s just a quickie kind of review). But this is different. Really different. First, a preamble and a bit of a explanation for why I am so besotted with Greenbar’s Grand Poppy bitter liqueur (or “bitter brandy”). In my work as a nature photographer, my focus for the last year or so has been on my Land/Sea project. The “land” part of that is centered on California’s chaparral ecosystem. What is chaparral, exactly? The technical definition, courtesy of the California Chaparral Institute, is this: Chaparral is a special plant community…
If you go to one wine festival all year, go GARAGISTE!
Wine festivals are fun things to go to–an impressive number of wines to taste as you wander at your own pace. Who wouldn’t have fun doing that? But the California Garagiste Festival, which has its 6th annual event in Paso Robles this weekend, is a little different than your usual wine festival. Why? Story. Everything comes back to story (stay with me, I’ll explain). As I’ve mentioned here previously, and as I detail on my “about” page, story is what took my interest in wine from whatever I could pick up at my local wine shop that tasted good to wanting to know everything about wine, and being able to…
Greenbar Distillery–Los Angeles’ oldest craft spirits producer (since prohibition)–and they’re organic, too!
You could (and should) be excited that LA has a well-established and (really) high quality craft spirits distillery. You should be excited that it’s downtown in the always-lively Arts District (location, location, location!). And you REALLY should be excited that this distillery is not just organic, they’re so focused on sustainability that you reduce your own carbon footprint with every 2 ounces of their spirits you consume. Did you ever think it could be so easy, so fun, so delicious to be kind to the environment? Well, WELCOME TO GREENBAR. I know. I’m excited about it, too. Greenbar had its genesis over 14 years ago when husband and wife team…