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Wine Events To Talk About and Attend (April 10th, 2015)

aaa-blank-imageHere are some spectacular Wine Events we are pleased to mention for this weekend! 

Looking for a “high touch” wine and food celebration? Check out the Eight Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival! The Pebble Beach Food & Wine Fest is the premier West Coast epicurean lifestyle event, matching 250 acclaimed wineries with 75 celebrity chefs in order to create a hedonistic four-day destination on one of the most picturesque strips of coastline in the world. pebblebeachfood and wineThroughout the weekend you'll have access to the very pinnacle of culinary and winery talent at wine tastings, cooking demos, and you will be sure to find some of the most exclusive, unique dining opportunities in the world. Check out http://www.pbfw.com for all the details. 

Simply in the mood to Sip and Savor in the City by the Bay? Check out San Francisco Vintner’s Market this weekend. The SF Vintner’s market is a wine tasting and buying event located at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Up to 200 wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Russian River Valley and beyond will be pouring their favorite wines, including new releases, special collections and hard to find vintages that will be available for you to taste and buy. No more racking your brain trying to remember the name of that great wine, or wasting time trying to actually find a place that sells it. sfvm spring 2015 logo2At the San Francisco Vintners Market you’ll be able to “try and buy.” For more information go to:  http://www.sfvintnersmarket.com.

Looking for something a bit more cozy? Take a Sunday Drive to experience the wonderful Pinot Noir wines and hospitality from Bargetto Winery and get your tickets to their Pinot and Paella Party this Sunday, April 12th. Hurry for this one because it will be a Sell Out! http://bargetto.com/blog/event/bargetto-winery-presents-pinot-and-paella/?instance_id=440

Too busy this weekend doing a Tango with the Taxman?MVAC-2015-STD-All-Combined-sm2 Plan on attending the Mt. Veeder Spring Wine Tasting in San Francisco on Thursday April 16th, from 5 pm to 7 pm. The ultimate in a Wine Tasting Happy Hour. Explore the offerings of 28 different wineries from Mt. Veeder. The Mt. Vedeer appellation is the only one of the five Napa Valley hillside appellations that adjoins the cool Carneros district. Get your specially priced tickets to this fabulous wine tasting event here now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mt-veeder-spring-wine-tasting-in-san-francisco-tickets-16420218315?ref=ecalcalifornia wine festival 2015 OC rev 1

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It Takes Two

It Takes Two

 

All of us have heard about the health benefits of wine. The antioxidants present in wine, particularly in red wine, have been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a glass or two per night is a common suggestion for those looking to lower their bad cholesterol. If you want a refresher, check out my article here!

It turns out, though, that just drinking a glass or two of Pinot Noir each night is not enough. In a new study by the European Society of Cardiology, people who drank wine 5 nights a week had their cholesterol levels tracked over the course of a year. The trial, entitled “In Vino, Veritas,” looked at both men and women, who were divided into two groups; half the participants drank a pinot noir and the other half drank a chardonnay-pinot noir (white) blend. Both wines came from the same vintage and the same region of the Czech Republic. Participants kept a log of their wine and alcohol consumption, medication use, and exercise habits.

This study is extraordinary for a couple reasons. First of all, Professor Milos Taborsky, the lead researcher on the project, was looking for a rise in HDL cholesterol, which is “the main indication of a protective effect against cardiovascular disease.” However, at the end of the year the HDL cholesterol level s were not markedly different from the participants’ beginning stats. This points to the conclusion that neither red nor white wine contributes to the prevention of heart disease. LDL cholesterol was lower in both the red and white groups at one year, while the total cholesterol level was lower for the red wine drinkers only. So while Professor Taborsky concluded that neither red nor white wine “had any impact on study participants as a whole,” consuming either type of wine does appear to have a beneficial effect on the drinker’s cholesterol levels.

This is the first randomized study that attempts to look at the comparative benefits of red wine vs. white wine on cardiovascular health. By controlling the vintage, varietal, and appellation of the wines drunk by the participants, we are able to compare the risks and benefits of the wines in real-life circumstances, rather than posit theories based on our understanding of what should happen. The traditional view of red wine as a healthier option than white wine must be reevaluated in light of these findings.

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Fall Back in Love with Red Wine

Tis the season for red wine!Autumn is coming again, even if it still feels like the heat will never subside here in the Bay Area! With the endless Back to School and Labor Day sales, we're all getting ready for the leaves to change, the wind to pick up, and the cold-weather clothes to come out of storage.

As I look forward to the brisk days of fall (even as I get sunburnt while wearing shorts and tank tops to walk the dog), my taste in wine shifts away from the crisp white and rose that kept me refreshed through the dry summer days and I get excited to break out those full and complex reds that pair perfectly with fall breezes and autumn dinner parties.

For early fall pairing, you have several routes to take. Football season and weekend cookouts need the bold fruit and spice of Livermore, Lodi, and Paso Robles Zin, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Red blends are always welcome, too! They don't have to be anything fancy, since you don't generally keep crystal stemware next to your outdoor grill. Just get something that has a big enough body and tannic grip to stand up to the smoky flavors of the burgers, sausages, and ribs with which the wines are served. Daytime wines are all about power.

 

For the cooler evenings, focus on grapes that show more finesse.

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Wine and Cheese Party Dos and Don'ts

Whether you’re a guest at a friend’s event or planning your own, there are a few tricks to pulling off a successful wine and cheese party:

Don’t skimp on the cheese!

     Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a subtle art picking out the proper cheeses to serve at a wine-and-cheese party. Just make sure you have at least three different options; one soft (like an aged triple-cream brie), one medium (Like Manchego or chevre), and one hard (like parmigiano reggiano). You’re going to have a range of different wines to taste, so don’t worry too much about which wines pair best with which cheeses. Let your guests experiment!

      It’s also helpful to have labels for the cheese you pick, in case attendees are not a fan of bleu cheese or goat cheese. Though in either of these cases, these people are not your friends. Bleu cheese and goat cheese are delicious, and perfect for wine-pairing.

      Also, keep plenty of cheese-knives ready! Disposable plastic knives and forks are not helpful when trying to grab a reasonable portion off a wedge of cheddar. Dinner knives are better, just as long as the blades are sharp and strong enough to handle the hardest of the cheese you have selected.

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Red Wine and Garlic Don't Mix.

Okay, that title is a lie. Garlic is delicious with red wine. Tuscan cuisine wouldn't be the same without either Chianti or garlic-laden bolognese! But there is a time and a place, and I found the antithesis of that time and place this past weekend.

If you've ever driven through Gilroy, CA, you know that the city's motto should probably be one word, all capitalized: GARLIC. You see the signs for fresh garlic and garlic ice cream and garlic preserves and garlic braids, you feel like you've got garlic breath just from driving through on 101, you hear about the Garlic Festival every July.

It's a tragedy that I have had three summers in the Bay Area and this past weekend is the first time that I've been to the Festival that makes the city great. I grew up in Small-Town America, so I know how to deal with crowded town fairs in zillion-degree heat (hint: drink early, bring water, wear sunscreen and comfortable clothes). Add garlic fries and garlic bread and free garlic ice cream to that equation, and I am absolutely on board! Plus, I heard a rumor that they would have a wine tent, and honestly, that's a good enough reason to get me to show up anywhere. So on Saturday, my boyfriend and I showed up at my Gilroy-born friend's house at 9:30am to caravan to the festival, eat our fill of garlic-doused food, and have a built-in excuse to drink before noon.

The wine tent turned out to be the best decision of the day; not only was it not crowded when we arrived, but it was a shaded and mist-sprayer-rigged so we could get a respite from the 95 degree heat outside. There were about ten local wineries pouring samples and full glasses for attendees, almost all of which I had passed on my back-roads drive to the festival. I hadn't tasted most of the wineries' offerings prior to that day, so I made quick work of my drink tickets.

Lightheart Cellars gets a shout-out from me here; Sheldon and George poured the gorgeous Colombard of theirs, and they made a white sangria of it for us to taste as well! Both were perfect for the weather and the occasion, and I may have counted the strawberries and apples in my sangria cup as one of my servings of fruit for the day.

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