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Stellenbosch Vineyard’s Wine & Food Pairing Dinner Comes to Vareli in NYC

“Welcome,” says Eduan, offering me a tall glass of something purple and sparkling! I is the Stellenbosch Vineyards Four Secrets Sparkling Shiraz, refreshing and delicious with a hint of oak. And this is one of the four secrets, as it is a blend of vintages with some barrel age to give it texture and weight. I am […]



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Wines from Rias Baixas for Summer

Recently I received four very delicious – and very DIFFERENT  – styles of wine from Rias Baixas, the DO in Galicia (northwest Spain) established in 1988. It is the only exclusively white wine DO in Spain. Though I had been to seminars in the past, having the time to taste these four wines and see […]



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Interview with Doug Shafer at Shafer Vineyards

Interview with Doug Shafer: Courage, Risk, & Luck By Marisa D’Vari I first met Shafer Vineyards Founder John Shafer in 2001 when I interviewed him in his Stags Leap District tasting room for my Boston-based television show. During the interview, I was surprised to see two well-heeled, Boston-based neighbors walk in – a testimony to […]



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Tasting Paso Robles AVA #WBC14

Very interesting panel with the stars of the California wine industry  - Steve Lohr, Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards, Chris Cherry, of Willa Creek, Mike Sinor of Ancient Peaks Winery, and Kevin Willenborg of Vina Robles. Interesting discussion on terroir of the Paso Robles AVA which was created in 1983 and now awaits a grant […]



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Visiting Louis Lucas in his Vineyard During #WBC14

“Climate. Soil. Care.” These are the three words Louis Lucas kept repeating in the course of our visit together. Though he is remarkably famous here on the West Coast having grown up the son of a third generation grape grower and at an early age tending the vineyards of many of the most famous houses, […]



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Visiting Rideau Vineyards in Solvang #WBC2014

“Welcome,” says Iris Rideau, welcoming me into her gorgeous winery made from a house over 130 years old. Well dressed, self assured, and charismatic Iris had success in creating a number of businesses before turning her attention to winemaking. Though her personal love is Rhone Varietals (especially Viognier, which is made here in two styles) […]



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Visisiting Buttonwood Winery in Solvang, CA #WBC14

“Karen wanted to see you but she’s in the bottling plant right now,” says Nicole Carnevale, Director of Sales at Buttonwood winery in Solvang. This is a family winery that makes an assortment of wines that Karen Steinwachs, the owner and winemaker, likes to think of as “food wine” — wines with good acidity and […]



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Conversation with Chris Hammell of Bien Nacido Vineyard

  Chris Hammell looks like a football player (or an actor, depending on his mood) and is modest enough to be dismissive of being voted Grower of the year by Wine & Spirits magazine. I am sitting here in his deliciously air conditioned office on a hot summer evening, sipping a glass of Au Bon climate […]



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Visiting Brander Winery San Ynez #WBC14

Meet Josh Hamilton (pictured above) who is the Tasting Room manager here at Brander and is telling me all about the Brander family. The winery was established in 1975 by Erik Brander, and now Fred (his son) is owner and winemaker. Sauvignon Blanc is king here, with 9 different labels produced each year, ranging from […]



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Visiting Gypsy Canyon Winery in Santa Rita Hills

“We wanted to change our life and live in the country,” says Deborah Hall, Winemaker and owner of Gypsy Canyon Winery.  She fell in love with this gorgeous property in 1994 and moved to this remote area in Santa Rita Hills with her young family in 1997, and planted Pinot Noir in 1999. Fast forward […]



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Visiting Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room in Solvang

So here I am speaking with Michael Lewellen in his fun, quirky tasting room in Solvang near San Ynez.  Mike is a cool guy who spent years in marketing in another field before coming to run the tasting room which was created in 1996, a project initiated by his father and Louis Lucas, a third […]



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Santa Ynez Inn Rocks

  Fab visit to the Santa Ynez Inn, a luxury hotel in the tiny (and I mean very small!) ‘old west’ town of Santa Ynez. Arriving here one drives through what can only be called a stage set at MGM studios where Westerns were filmed. In fact, there are even hitching posts in front of […]



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Today’s Bordeaux 2014 Event in NYC

Fab event in NYC to showcase “everyday wine from Bordeaux. Organized by one of my favorite MWs, Mary Gorman-McAdams, it was a first class event, with every wine organized well and with a very specific tech sheet right in front of each bottle! And the cuisine was actually the best I had since I left […]



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Barossa’s Chateau Tanunda in NYC

Great tasting last night aboard a very cool yacht! Chateau Tanunda winery proprietor John Geber greeted NYC journalists aboard his hundred foot yacht  at the helm to showcase his wines from the Barossa Valley. The evening started out with dry Riesling, continuing on with Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. “To understand the beauty and complexity […]



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Cahors Malbec: Is New World a Threat?

    The key question raised during the recent Cahors Malbec Days (CMD) celebration in Cahors, France is this: Should the Cahors producer’s trade on the Malbec name in order to grab market share from the Argentine upstarts, or focus on their unique terroir and dramatically different flavor profile? Cahors Malbec producers have reached a […]



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Andegavia Cask Wines Hits NYC

Fab launch today for Andegavia cask wines,which represents a new trend in what was formerly known as “bag in the box.” These are high end quality wines, served in an attractively designed lighter weight “cask” instead of a plain box, and the wine inside is very good! Each cask holds four bottles, which is great […]



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Breaking News: Jacques Devauges Leaves Domaine de l’Arlot

Technical Director Jacques Devauges is leaving Domaine de l’Arlot to pursue a new opportunity, with Géraldine Godot taking over his spot. Originally from Burgundy, Godot was served as manager and oenologist with the Alex Gambal estate in Beaune. She will also act as the Domaine’s representative in France and abroad. “Jacques participated fully with me […]



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Breaking News: Nicolas Audebert Joins Chateau Rauzan-Segla & Chateau Canon

Nicolas Audebert, winemaker at Cheval des Andes (a joint venture between Terrazas and Chateau Cheval Blanc in St.-Emilion, Bordeaux) is leaving after ten years to work with John Kolasa, General Manager of the 2nd Growth Chateau Rauzan-Segla in Margaux and Chateau Canon in Saint-Emilion, ranked among the Premiers grand cru classes B in the Classification […]



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Cahors Malbec Day 3

So today we visited vineyards in the coteaux – hills – where soil experts Claude and Lydia Bourguignon were busily exposing roots and explaining the vastly different terroirs that could be possible in even one single vineyard. Their key takeaway point was that when vineyard owners know the various pockets of soil, they could use […]



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Cahors Malbec Days: Day 2

Perhaps one of the most important things to understand about Cahors is that terroir is divided by vineyards in the “plateau” and the “coteau,” meaning the valley floor and the hills. On the valley floor, the soil is mostly alluvial, yet it is divided into a system of classification called “terraces” with the first two […]