Posts belonging to Category Chenic Blanc



Cowabunga!! Labor Day, Monster Surf, Fine Wines

it's booming right now said the lifeguard

“it’s booming” said the lifeguard

The Summer of 2014 officially closed with significant doings in Southern California. The Coastal Commission is ready to impose a ban on further development of vineyards in the new Malibu AVA. Yup. You read it. Malibu is a new AVA. On Wednesday August 27 monster surf provided a once-in-a-decade spectacle when 15 to 20 foot waves crashed up and down the coast of North Los Angeles County. We tasted some monumental gnarly ass wines.

cadelbaio-2010WEB2010 Giulo Grasso Ca’ del Bao Langhe Nebbiolo $23 (Wallys): Langhe on the label usually signifies wine made from traditional Piemonte regions not in Barolo or Barbaresco. It can also signify younger vines. This bottle came from Liquid which is an outlaw itself in wine retail, and a tBoW secret wine spot. Researching this bottle turned up a lovely website with some down home family tidbits about the Grasso family, a cross-winemaking family marriage,and a book I have to check out. Organic growing methods, natural yeasts… all by tradition. This wine is a bit rugged, lean and muscular. iceman-strawmanWEBIt is too young to open unless you aerate mightily. All the good flavors we love in Nebbiolo are there: cherries, exotic earthy, high toned… but not ready. 13.5%

Iceman Angry Orchard Hard Cider $16 (Whole Wallet): 16 oz bottle from Quebec. That equates to a $30 wine. Sweeter than the yummy Virginia hard cider which we WILL BE ORDERING in about 45 days when the heat yields to Autumn in LA; i.e., the 80s. After visiting the website I am certain we would prefer the Strawman bottling. 10%

spungola-2011WEB2011 Spungola Bellaria Pignoletto Emilia Alberto Tedeschi $18: Pretty sure Dotoré picked this up at Domaine LA, his favorite secret wine store. White wine made by an obscure dude toling on his own with an indigenous obscure grape – Pignoletto – with a great name that sounds like a kind of pedicure. tBoW tasted oily, kind of lean. We like that but perhaps it was the atmosphere – adult party. Not impressive. However, you may disagree. We took this from a website.

Cathy Breton se naturel

Cathy Breton se naturel

We just did not get it. “Bronze colored in the glass, the bouquet is one of salt, apricot, and hazelnuts. It is a full wine with rich tannins and flavors of orange blossom, cantaloupe, and toasty coconut.” That reads pretty nice. Everything we like is on the page. I will bet in a small group with less pressure to “interact” this wine will taste much better. Needs another shot! 13%

NV Breton Vouvray Brut “La Dilettante” $20 (K&L says they have it): Sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Yeasty, sophisticated, grapefruit rind, acidic. dilettanteWEBLoved it. Big hit with those holding glasses. Made by natural wine organic gorgeous (in photo) winemaker Catherine Breton. Committed to the natural movement! At $19.99 a U20 buy. 12%

catch the twichen groove doods… COWABUNGA!!

Burgundy Hoe Down in Old Topanga

Topanga Coast

Topanga Coast

Lucky ole tBoW and Dotoré got invited to a tasting of wines made by Sylvain Pataille. The setting was Old Topanga. There are many neighborhoods in our wonderful city with coolness that ebbs and flows. York Street in Highland Park is über groovy right now with storefronts that say “shop me,” at least one dining establishment [ed. Sonny’s Hideaway?] and a distinctive jeune frisson that appeals to young folks of all ages. York Street is the reawakened district. Old Topanga is the lost outpost. Neither locale is freeway friendly. Driving through unfamiliar zones is required. Forget your GPS. Bring your flashlight and snacks. And remember: when the invite is right we must take back the night. (more…)

Pinnacles of Wine: Trekking the Sublime

Pinnacles-on-fireWEBThe Pinnacles National Monument is our nation’s newest national park where you can sip local Pinot Noir while searching for condors. The California condor has been pulled from the brink of extinction in this “lost island.” Condors are magnificent birds despite the fact they are giant vultures that survive on carrion. Like certain giant wine orgs. The Pinnacles is also the location of the historic Chalone AVA. tBoW turned a few pages of the book below, reading enough to become enchanted. Dreamers have been growing fine wine grapes here, a couple thousand feet uphill from the Santa Lucia Highlands floor, for more than 80 years. We learned a little about the beautiful western Santa Lucia range last May with vineyards climbing the hills towards Carmel. No surprise, we gave the Gavilan mountain range to the east short shrift. We did not even notice the incredible and magnificent Pinnacles peaks in clear view at the top of the chaparral covered hills. Ooops. Turns out the more compelling story – ad it’s a good’un – begins a few miles below those Odin-esque peaks in the eponymous Chalone AVA. (more…)

“Erster” Tasting at the Water Grill: Slurp, Sip, Sexitup

oyster_sexyWEBOysters are sexy.How could Georgia O’Keefe miss the inspiration? Orchids and oysters. We get it. Amy Reily makes a living writing about sexy foods and oysters are at or near the top of her list [ed. Amy blows away the competition in the sexy food and wine grouping]. I found myself in splendid company thick and tasty as a miyagi oyster. The event was the 19th Annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition sponsored by Taylor Fish Farms in Washington. The gig is more than just promoting the consumption of oysters. It is also about pairing oysters with domestic white wines. Jon Rowley is the architect of this two decade long “competition.” Longevity is a strong marker for interest but not always for quality which is best evaluated with a hands-on evidence based participation observation. This tasting hit both marks.

oyster lovers??

oyster lovers??

We arrived at the Water Grill in downtown Los Angeles at 3:00 sharp, chose a solitary table with 20 empty glasses, and waited for the glitterati to arrive. No disappointments there. Mary Sue Miliken – highly respected cute-as-a-button and sweeeter-than-honey LA food entrepreneur – sat down in an adjacent booth. LA food critic Jonathan Gold sat a few tables across. Apologies in advance for anyone not mentioned. The A-list food writers and job creators was fun. However, for tBoW the matching exercise was quite serious.

Jon officially opened the tasting with a quote from A Moveable Feast which is a collection of unpublished essays published posthumously. In one of the essays he describes chowing down on oysters, slowly, carefully, noting each nuance. For Hemingway the experience is, of course, transcendent. The urge to wonder what further stimulation awaits when pairing the slimy critters with wine seems obvious, no?

We are not strangers to oysters. In fact we love them. Acme Oyster in Nawlins is a must stop when in town. No trip to Seattle is complete without multi-raw dining. We once ate 5 dozen on a beach in Colombia… with another couple. So this was bound to be a treat.

A method was advanced. Chew the oyster first filling mouth with sea-borne flavors. Oysters are no more all alike than are acidic white wines that keep them company. Here come the platters. The first flight of glasses get three-finger fills. Generous. Sniffing before sipping is discouraged. No problem. tBoW powered through each flight directly, chewing and tasting his wine through all 20 wines. In fact, the kumamoto ersters were so delicious we polished off another half dozen for good measure. Forget about Honey Boo Boo. Oyster Boy below knows how to take down a slimy delight then pick thru the detritus for bits n’ pieces.

The kumamoto oyster is briny with a starchy texture and flavor. Each wine was bagged and tagged with a unique letter. Part of the deal is to see how well my oyster & wine palate matches with the other judges. The winning wines are announced but not in ranked order which is certainly the right decision given there is really no quantifiable argument. The only competition that truly matters is how many judges matched winning wines. A return invite could hinge on this outcome.

The tasting takes place in three cities – LA, SF and Seattle. Scores from all three tastings are combined. One LA judge and two San Fran judges matched 8 of the 10 winners. Jon Rowley points out no one has ever matched all 10. I gotta think 8 is pretty dang good. tBoW matched 3 of the top 10 wines which was the lowest matches among the judges. Gratefully, there were two others on the LA judging panel with similarly idiosyncratic palates. I found one pairing elicited a dry gin martini. Four of the top 10 wines were among my lowest ranked. Winning varietals included Sauvignon Blanc (6), Chenin Blanc (2), one Pinot Gris and one Riesling. Wineries represented California, Washington and Oregon.

All I know is this. After all the chewing and coating my mouth, then sipping on wines and spitting, and not taking one single sniff ever, I was left with a profound hunger for sourdough bread. Apparently this is something akin to how the Irish consume oysters. I will stand on Irish tradition any day except when it comes to religion. And Amy Reily walking away in heels should be available on video.

This was a wonderful affair which I hope to repeat. There are a couple oyster bars in LA that I plan to visit including L&E Oyster Bar in Sliverlake and Blue Plate in Santa Monica. The L&E GM was the 8-match dude in our group. It was all over much too soon.

Could be another match for oysters is Blue öyster Cult. Goes with slurpin’ n’ sex, no?

BEST Tasting Formats and BEST Weird Reds

veteran PITs-man

Wine Tasting was once a popular past time that got overrun by muddled rum cocktails and fruity martinis…except for the S-E-R-I-O-U-S-ly disaffected LOVERS of wine. If lovers is too intense go with FANS. If fans is too trite give AFFICIANDOS a shot. If afficionados is too froo-froo go fuck yourself. Kidding. Back to Wine Tasting the activity. We describe three popular formats [ed. other forms are mostly about meeting life partners]. (more…)