Tag Archives: sauvignon blanc

A Day in Santa Barbara County, Part One: Stolpman Vineyards

30 Dec

The Amtrak is not so bad.  Actually, it’s very nice except when it’s delayed, which is a matter for Part Three.  At the time, however, I knew nothing about flooded tracks and two-hour delays; I only knew how nice it was to be riding a train up the coast as the rain fell around me.

My destination was Santa Barbara, where my former roommate (and current Princeton grad student) Alex would pick me up.  That first day and evening, including a wonderful dinner at Bouchon, will be the subject of Part Two of this series.

I’d like to talk about Stolpman Vineyards, a winery located in the Ballard Canyon area of the Santa Ynez Valley.  If you might recall, my friend Billy had brought a bottle of Stolpman, the excellent 2007 L’Avion, to a tasting at Mission Wines we attended two weeks ago.  Alex had planned a late morning of tasting, so we went to Los Olivos to look around.  You might recall, if you were in Southern California, that the weekend of December 18 was rainy as heck.  This made driving a bit precarious but also had the unexpected benefit of clearing Los Olivos of nearly every other tourist and taster.  Alex and I basically had the town to ourselves.

We started with a light repast at Corner House Coffee, where freshly-brewed Peet’s awaited us and we could play a few rounds of Hive while we dried off.



We walked around Los Olivos, which was absolutely beautiful:



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From the East Coast to the West: the “Tres Picos” Garnacha from Borsao

4 Mar

I am at home, taking a much-needed break from law school.  First semester was a breeze compared to the marathon of mock trial, briefs, classes, and journal competition!

Having lived in DC now since August, I feel like I have a sense of the city.  True, I haven’t really explored too much, but enough to realize a few things.  First, DC is a nice city–to visit.  Second, there are nice restaurants–in the $$$ range.  Third, there are some good cafes–if you’re willing to take the Metro and walk a while.  Fourth, there ARE some good wine shops, though the District of Columbia isn’t exactly the Bay Area.  I am pretty certain that I will be returning to California after law school.

I really do like certain aspects of DC.  I do like the cold weather, for instance, and the snow (although it can be a real pain when you’re trying to walk in slush and frozen ice).  I do like that you can generally get around using public transportation (traffic today in LA brought back some bad memories).  But, after all of this, and despite LA’s problems, LA is still home to me.

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All Grown Up: My First Hosted Wine Tastings

21 Nov

It’s strange being 25.  I remember being a kid in grade school and looking up to the new young teachers, those who were obviously younger than people like Mrs. Donaldson or Mr. Kinter–people who had been at the game for years and years.  They didn’t really know what they were doing yet, but they were bright and fun and energetic.

And now I might very well be older than they were at the time.

(My torts professor summed it up quite nicely when he quipped, “It’s a strange feeling when both the president-elect AND the chief justice are younger than you are.”)

Now that I’m a quarter century old, I feel as if I should be an adult.  I certainly feel adult-like at certain moments–for instance, when I cook dinner, or when I go to the Ritz-Carlton for drinks (that one time!)–but sometimes feel as if I’m a child playing grownup. I think many of my peers feel the same way.

All that aside, it IS nice to get together and do grownup stuff–like hold wine tastings.  My roommate and I decided to throw a wine tasting; I decided also to throw a wine tasting before that wine tasting to get the feel of things.

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François Chidaine Sauvignon Blanc & Pasta with Soft-Shell Crab

1 Jun

I’m not such a big fan of crab. I do love its delicate flavor and firm, succulent meat; however, I hate having to get through the shell and picking through its carapace for little slivers of flesh. It’s a pain in the ass.

My dad and brother, on the other hand, are crab aficionados. My dad especially loves the green glands and other assorted guts underneath the top shell. He often mixes rice in the top shell of a crab once the legs and other assorted pieces of meat are gone.

I came across this recipe from “The Minimalist” of The New York Times for pasta with soft-shell crabs:

(Thanks to the Times for this picture!)

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The Terror of Terroir

11 Apr

When I think of wine, I think of terroir: I think of the essence of the land, the air, the sun blended together and refined into a thing of utter and wondrous beauty. An especially well-constructed wine transports me in one sip to the dry fields of Ribera del Duero or the slate of the Mosel, though I certainly have never been to those places.

But who could have imagined that every sip was imparting more than just terroir?

Given everything else that is wrong with the world, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn about the presence of pesticides and other chemicals in wine. Recently, Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) reported a study in which 35 out of 40 bottles of European wine were found to have pesticides–four different pesticides on average but as much as ten in one particularly unfortunate bottle. One of the six organic wines tested also contained trace pesticide residues.

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Chillin’ with Albariño in Silver Lake: or, How Getting Lost on the Way to Intelligentsia Coffee Prevented Jonathan From Being Mugged

10 Feb

After a week at LegalZoom, I need a good day of rest and relaxation. “Rest” for me means driving to two different wine shops, while “relaxation” means drinking wine.

I was joined by my college bud Jonathan Lewis, who seems to split his time evenly between Berkeley and Los Angeles. The plan was to visit Silverlake Wine, where I was to pick up four bottles of the Ampelos Rosé of Syrah for myself and some co-workers. I also wanted to visit Intelligentsia Coffee, a Chicago institution that had just recently headed west.

I had some time to kill beforehand, so I decided to take a trip down the 134 to Colorado Wine Company in Los Feliz first. Specifically, I wanted to pick up a bottle of “The Third Bottle” red from GustavoThrace. I paid my $9.99 + tax for the bottle and headed up the 2 to Silver Lake for my rendezvous.

This was the first time I ever visited Silverlake Wine. I was very impressed. The store is large and very well-laid out. The workers there are courteous, funny, and very helpful. There seems to be a steady flow of customers, and many of them have questions about wine pairings that the attendants seem to nail right away. They also have wine tastings, including one I just missed featuring Maynard Keenan, lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle. Apparently Maynard is a huge wine buff and has his own vineyard, where he makes his own wine!

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I was a bit early, so while waiting I had a bottle of the White Rascal Belgian white ale from Avery Brewing Company:

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It’s fuller than that other famous Belgian white ale, Hoegaarden, but has the same light, refreshing taste punctuated by orange zest and spice. Also, it was only $1.75 a bottle at Silverlake Wine, which makes for some good drinkin’.

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Sparkling Pinot Noir: Mission Wines Tasting

30 Dec

At Mission Wines, my friends and I are the sole representatives of the 25 and under demographic.

It’s a bit sobering to chip in five or ten bucks each for a $20 or $30 bottle of wine–nothing to shake a stick at–and watch as silver-haired gentlemen wearing well-worn L.L. Bean vests and Eddie Bauer sweaters carry out cases (CASES!) of $50 wine to their idling sports cars.

That’s why I love going to wine tastings. For $10 I can try five different wines. Nothing’s worse than spending good money on a vaunted bottle of wine and finding that it’s terrible. (I guess the same goes for first dates, eh?)

The five wines at the tasting today were:

  • Juve y Camps Brut Rosé | Sparkling Pinot Noir (Sant Sadurini D’Anoia, Spain)
  • Breggo Ferrington Vineyard | Sauvignon Blanc (Anderson Valley, California)
  • Luzon | Monastrel/Syrah (Jumilla, Spain)
  • Chateau Puygueraud Cotes de Francs | Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Malbec (Bordeaux, France)
  • Graves | Syrah (Paso Robles, California)

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An Afternoon of Wine

24 Dec

I am fortunate to have had a few good drinking buddies over the years. One of them, Alex, was a fellow Resident Assistant at Clark Kerr Campus. Being German (or Bavarian, more properly) he was quite fond of drinking. Being in a fraternity (and Korean) I, too, was quite fond of drinking. Unfortunately, with the exception of Brian and Diane and a few others, there weren’t too many drinkers on our staff.

No matter. Drink alone and you’re an alcoholic. Drink with someone else, even to the point of utter disregard for personal safety, and you’re just being sociable.

Alex was home for the holidays and decided to take the Amtrak down to Burbank, where I picked him up. We headed promptly to the Los Angeles Farmers Market on Fairfax, where we lunched magnificently at Moishe’s–he had the falafel plate while I had chicken shawerma. Afterwards, we went to Monsieur Marcel for a post-meal glass of wine. As we fully intended on drinking much more during the course of the day we decided to start with whites.

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