Yes We Cairanne

ShareA recent trip to France convinced me that, ironically, the best place to drink French wine nowadays is in California. Let me give you an example: a red wine from Cairanne in the Southern Rhône, a 2007 Côte du Rhône Villages from Domaine Catherine le Goeuil, which I bought at Kermit Lynch Wines in [...]

Up Dry Creek, Even Further

ShareDespite the attacks waged by Wine Dictator magazine on poor Dry Creek Valley, after visiting 10 standout Dry Creek producers a couple weeks ago during their Passport party weekend, I remain thoroughly charmed. Although the chief California editor believes Dry Creek lacks a signature varietal, I think it’s clearly zinfandel–in fact, two zins and a [...]

Up Dry Creek

ShareDry Creek Valley just can’t get no respect. Lately James Laube, the chief California taster for the Wine Dictator Spectator magazine, has been pointing thumbs-down on the entire appellation, a bucolic stretch of vineyards and dairy farms tucked into the northwestern corner of Sonoma county. Dry Creek, he laments, has an identity problem: it lacks [...]

Taking a Tequila Break

ShareI just got back from vacation on the Riviera Maya in Mexico and although it’s pretty hard to find fault with 10 days of snorkeling, sunbathing, and shooting tequila, I did miss drinking good wine. When we were on Isla Mujeres and our only source was the local Supermini (now there’s an oxymoron for you), [...]

Cedarville: Rising above the Foothills

ShareIn a landscape of rolling, oak-dotted hills and vineyards producing loads of forgettable wine, one Sierra Foothills winery is determined to make its mark. It’s called Cedarville Vineyard and it’s run by “tech refugees” and UC Davis oenology graduates Jonathan Lachs and Susan Marks. (That’s me with Jonathan at their tasting room.) Cedarville’s acreage is [...]

Sierra Foothills — or Footnote?

ShareNormally the words “emerging wine region” should merit a wine lover’s attention. With demand (and prices) rising for well-known labels, emerging wine regions are often the source of easy-to-find, easy-on-your-wallet palate pleasers. Such is the case, for example, with South Africa or Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France.
Unfortunately, the term can also refer to an [...]

Wine List 2.0

ShareWhat if I told you that the best wine list I ever saw didn’t really exist?
No, it wasn’t in cyberspace or science fiction. It was at Fine’s Cellar, a smart restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona I visited not long after it opened last winter. Partly because the paint was just dry, but mostly because the owner [...]

Rosé Blooming in the Dark

Share“A rosé? I’ve never heard of that.”
Okay: we were in West Hollywood, rooftop-poolside at our hotel, so I admit I wasn’t swimming in a deep demographic pool of enophiles. I’d been shocked all weekend, in fact, at how un-wine-savvy the Los Angeles scene is. Even at the popular sushi spot Koi I felt like a [...]

Getting a Handle on Bandol

ShareDear Wine Girl:
I’m going to Bandol, France in July and looking for tips on visiting the friendlier wineries. Also, do all of them offer tastings and is it a walk-up-and-pay setup?
Thank you,
Bound for Bandol
Dear Bound:
Wine tasting in the south of France is one of my favorite life memories. In 2002, we spent three days tasting [...]

Some Remarks on Mark Ups

ShareOne of the most contentious and (to many wine lovers) depressing things about wine is how much restaurants mark it up. On the average, restaurants will inflate the retail price of a bottle of wine by 100 percent — to cover, they insist, the cost of acquiring, storing, serving, and absorbing the expense of the [...]