Tuesday, February 18, 2014

'Til we meet again...

     If you haven't already heard from the scuttle in one of the Carmel Valley tasting rooms...we are taking a leave of absence from our wine blog.  The blog is not coming down, though, so if you need to reference a Carmel Valley winery or beyond, you will still be able to locate appropriate links on our site.

     It has been almost three and a half years since we started this venture.  We've loved every minute--and glass--of it.  It has been a fun, educational run.  And we've so enjoyed sharing all we learned and experienced on our many wine adventures, here and there. 
     Thank you for tuning into our wine musings.  Here's a toast to you, to friendship, and to good wine.   Salute!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Downton Abbey and Idaho Wine--Another Kind of Pairing

     So there we were in Hailey, Idaho, at a theater owned by Bruce Willis, at a screening of the beginning episode of Season 4 of Downton Abbey.  Many people came in period dress and there was an excited buzz in the air.

     The event sponsors --the local PBS station and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts --conducted a costume competition--a woman dressed as Mrs. Patmore won--followed by a Downton Abbey Trivia Contest.  Lynn correctly answered one of the questions and won a coffee mug with a gold crown with the phrase "Fit for a Queen" on it--queen at last! 
     There was also a lovely pre-screening wine and dessert reception.  The wine was from Idaho, and one we actually knew, since we had visited the winery in Ketchum just the day before.
     Frenchman's Gulch, named after a popular ski run/hiking trail on Mt. Baldy, is a family owned winery dedicated "to making fine wines and living the dream."  The owner creates a limited number of cases of some very fine wines. All the grapes are from vineyards in Eastern Washington, but the wine is made in Ketchum.
     Our favorite was the 2008 Ketchum CuvĂ©e and was the wine served at the screening.  It is a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  It is a medium bodied wine with a nice fruitiness to it.  "The Frugal Tasters" like this wine and call it "a steal" at $18.00.  We bought a bottle, and love the label design and the wax closure on the bottle.
     Another wine we tasted was a Cabernet Sauvignon which was lighter than many Cabs we've had and delicious with some chocolate truffles that Charles, the winemaker, offered us during tasting.  This wine won a Washington Tri City gold award.
     Charles, "a fourth generation farm-kid" as he calls himself, did some viticulture study at UC Davis and spoke enthusiastically about the owner's passion for wine making and the personal, hands-on, low mechanization techniques of the winemaking process at Frenchmen's Gulch.
      The wine is available at the winery--just call (208) 726 0118-- and can be shipped to many states.  Check the website for price and details and for a sense of the ambiance of this high mountain winery.
     And why not be the first on your block to serve an Idaho wine.  Perhaps with an episode of Downton Abbey?  We think you'll like it.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Healthy New Year, Everyone!

       Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet?  Ours usually include health and various ways to maintain it.  Two Carmel Valley establishments are helping us do that.
     Just last month,  Georis Winery put on a seminar on the health benefits of wine and olive oil.  The two presenters were Damien Georis, the winemaker for Georis Winery, and Dr. Stephen Brabeck, a local heart specialist who recently opened an olive oil store right across the street from Georis called Quail and Olive. 
     The new "Clock Room" at the Corkscrew Restaurant was the setting for the tasting and lecture.  We each had a place setting with three wine glasses for red wine tasting and six small plastic cups for olive oil and vinegar tasting.  We were given a packet of information on the history of wine and olive oil production and the health effects of each and there were pieces of Granny Smith apples and bread for palette clearing.  The presentation was informative and entertaining. 
     Here are a few tidbits we learned:
-Both grapes and olives were in cultivation beginning anywhere from 4000 to 6000 B.C.
-The Mediterranean Diet continues to be associated with heart health; both wine and olive oil are players in that diet.
-Moderate wine consumption--2 glasses (5 ounces each) a day for men, one for women--is what may provide some heart health benefits.
 -Resveratrol in wine, red wine especially, has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which are supposed to be good for our hearts.  Tannins are also supposed to have heart protective qualities.
-Olive oil is also good as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.
-Olive oil is best and healthiest if it is extra virgin olive oil and is  "fresh, properly milled and stored" and consumed within six months of harvest.

     Some of the tasting highlights were:
*2010 Georis Estate "La Chapelle", a medium bodied fruity Bordeaux blend;
*Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a good household olive oil, with the Spanish olives grown and milled right here in California;
*Plum Basil Balsamic Vinegar, great in salads;
*Pinot Noir bread baked right at the Corkscrew Restaurant, and made with the dried grape skins and seeds from the Georis grapes-- unique and delish!
     SO, consider visiting the Georis Wine Tasting venue and its across-the-street neighbor, the Quail and Olive.  Both have clubs you can join, and both can ship their products.
 Here's wishing all of you a tasty and healthy 2014!