Luxury Champagne For Valentine’s Day

The Internet is packed to the rafters with gift guides for Valentine’s Day. So here is one more. Except this one is better than most of the others. Because the benefits of a spa treatment will be completely eradicated by the stress of getting stuck in traffic on the way home. A piece of jewelry is likely to get tossed into a box and forgotten. And some sort of fancy underwear may (or may not) be only mildly appreciated in … The post Luxury Champagne For Valentine’s Day appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Past Meets Present at the Culver Hotel Prohibition Ball

If any good came of Prohibition, it’s the parties celebrating the end of it. While over half the states in the US had gone dry way before the Volstead Act went into effect, the “prohibition of alcoholic beverages” officially kicked off on January 16, 1920. This meant that the “manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, possession or distribution” of any beverage of at least .5% alcohol was illegal–except under specific circumstances, such as religious ceremonies and medical necessity. It’s safe to say … The post Past Meets Present at the Culver Hotel Prohibition Ball appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Lest Ye Be Judged: Guest Judging At The LA International Wine Competition

When I check in at the long registration table at the Sheraton at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, my Bordeaux host hears my name and bounds across the room to greet me. Jana Kravitz is pretty, stressed, and very, very French…or pretty, French and very, very stressed… either way, she ushers me into a ballroom filled with round banquet tables covered in white tablecloths, before introducing me to the five other judges where I’ve been assigned. On the walk over, I feel like one of those President/CEO … The post Lest Ye Be Judged: Guest Judging At The LA International Wine Competition appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Ravenswood: Joel Peterson and his Powerful Elixirs

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore - What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking `Nevermore.’ In Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” a bird comes out of the night and leaves an indelible mark… … The post Ravenswood: Joel Peterson and his Powerful Elixirs appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Drinking Out Of The Box… RED

When we last left you, we’d started on an exciting foray into the wonderful world of boxed wine. We’d done this because, while far less sexy, boxed wines (approximately four bottles per 3 liter box) are a better comparative value than their bottled counterparts. And because the plastic bladder inside the box collapses as the wine is emptied, boxed wines are naturally protected against oxygen spoilage, so they are usually good for around four weeks once they’ve been opened. A … The post Drinking Out Of The Box… RED appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Drinking Out Of The Box… WHITE

  Boxed wines might not have the sexy cache of something in a green bottle one pulls off the shelf of a dark and dusty cellar, but they’re being increasingly recognized as both a great economical and environmental choice. While a little oxygen can help open up a wine (especially younger ones), too much exposure will quickly ruin it. For all of today’s technology, there aren’t many ways to keep this from happening to a traditional bottle of wine, especially … The post Drinking Out Of The Box… WHITE appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Abalone, You’ve Met Your Match

Abalone – those algae-eating, sea dwelling creatures, which are so delectable to otters and so strange to look at as they creep along the ocean floor – are part of the phylum Mollusca. They share this group with squid, clams, scallops, sea slugs and octopuses. So it’s no wonder they’re so tasty. This deliciousness, enjoyed by both sea otters and humans alike, has led to a steep decline in wild abalone, but new advancements in abalone farming. I got to … The post Abalone, You’ve Met Your Match appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Try Some Wine! Win A Contest! Tapena Is Here To Help.

“Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” – Sarah Bernhardt With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d talk to you a little about love. …And the Spanish company, Freixenet (known for it’s world-famous black-bottled Cava, Cordon Negro). Love is what built Freixenet. In the late 1800s, Pedro Ferrer Bosch, whose family owned La Freixeneda – a farming estate dating back to the 12th Century – and had been making wine since the … The post Try Some Wine! Win A Contest! Tapena Is Here To Help. appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Pop! Go The Bubbles: What To Pour For Your Most Sparkly Occasions

Whether it’s New Years Eve, Valentine’s Day, Easter brunch – or any festive holiday – sparkling wines are a wonderful way to celebrate. In fact, a good bubbly can turn even a regular ol’ Wednesday night into a special occasion. So go on, indulge a little! This list features fizzies from $15 and up, so no matter what your budget, you’re sure to find something to sip. La Marca Prosecco: ($15) Prosecco is to Italy as Crémant is to France. … The post Pop! Go The Bubbles: What To Pour For Your Most Sparkly Occasions appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

A Pause And A Chat With Pali Winemaker, Aaron Walker

I’m overscheduled. This should be obvious to everyone who knows me, but for some reason, I seem to keep missing the memo. “Hey Arianna, can you meet the winemaker for Pali Wine Company, Aaron Walker, at Delphine, at 6:30, after you get off work at 6:00, before your dinner with Dalla Terra importer Brian Larky, at Hatfield’s, at 7:30?” “Oh sure. I don’t see why not.” Because I live in a magical land where I can fly through the sky, … The post A Pause And A Chat With Pali Winemaker, Aaron Walker appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Going Straight To My Head

  Psst…Did you see it?   GrapeSmart (and, specifically, yours truly), was just featured in The Tasting Panel magazine’s November 2011 edition!   But enough about me. Let’s talk about me!   Well. Why don’t I just let you read for yourself… Cheers to GrapeSmart! Psst…Did you see it? GrapeSmart (and, specifically, yours truly), was just featured in The Tasting Panel magazine’s November 2011 edition! But enough about me. Let’s talk about me! Well. Why don’t I just let you … The post Going Straight To My Head appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Montecillo Rioja: Great Value. Great Vino (Not Virginian)

I’ve been writing about Rioja a lot these days. Maybe that’s what inspired the good folks at Bodegas Montecillo to send me two bottles from their winery in Rioja Alta, Spain. I received a 2007 Montecillo Crianza ($12) and a 2003 Reserva ($18). I’m glad I did; these were great wines, and the QPR can’t be beat. The 2007 Montecillo Crianza, made from 100% Tempranillo, is aged in French oak (which is a bit unusual; most Spanish wines are aged … The post Montecillo Rioja: Great Value. Great Vino (Not Virginian) appeared first on GrapeSmart.net.

Domodimonti: Italian for “Natural Wine”

Imagine if you were from Italy, but couldn’t enjoy your country’s renowned wines. That was the case with Dr. Francesco Bellini – internationally acclaimed bio-chemist and sufferer of wine allergies.   But in 2003, Dr. Bellini and his wife, Marisa, [.....]

Talk Nerdy To Me

Being a founding member of a Seattle based wine group titled “Cork Dorks,” it should come as no surprise that I have fallen in love with a brand that talks nerdy to me. Wines of Substance is a Washington winery [.....]

Viva Veneto

For all of its culinary popularity, Italy’s wines seem to struggle to enjoy the same kind of international obsession. It’s not that they aren’t loved – quite the contrary; after several thousand years of fermenting grape juice, the Italians have [.....]

Exploring Italy: Soave

This summer, I’m all about the Italians. I recently wrote a post about Gavi, that you may or may not have seen on Palate Press. In it, I asked readers to think about moving away from their more familiar Chardonnays [.....]