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Sunset Supper dinner in the vineyard event highlights

Jordan Winery - Healdsburg, California - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 15:50
Fifty guests turned out on July 19 to experience our first-ever Sunset Supper at Jordan Vista Point. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The ubiquitous evening winds never picked up, and it was warm but not too hot. Guests seemed to truly enjoy the uniqueness of a fine dining experience surrounded by vineyards and [...]
Categories: North America

Fire and Ice

Ponte Winery - Temecula, CA - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:00

Pineapple Jalapeno Lime Granita

Chef Sal Giuliano of The Restaurant at Ponte knows how to keep guests cool: turn up the heat.  Guests were delighted with his recent dessert special, a Pineapple Jalapeno Lime Granita.

A granita is a semi-frozen dessert that originated in Sicily and is made from sugar, water and various flavorings.    It’s not exactly traditional ice cream, but it’s cold, sweet, refreshing and tastes darn good on a warm summer’s day.  Popular granita flavorings include citrus juices, fresh fruit, coffee, mint…and wine.  Chef Sal’s granita dessert is not part of the regular summer menu, but he is graciously sharing his recipe with you!  This is wonderful at the end of a meal, or as a treat in the middle of the day when the temperatures are rising.  The lime and pineapple are tart and refreshing and the jalapeno gives a surprisingly delicious kick of heat (but not too much).  Enjoy with 2013 Pinot Grigio or 2013 Moscato.

Pineapple Jalapeno Lime Granita

Granita Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, halved (don’t discard the seeds)
  • 2 pounds of pineapple, peeled and diced
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp of salt

Garnish ingredients

  • ½ lb pineapple, peeled and sliced in quarter sticks
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced (for candied jalapenos)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 lemon cucumbers, sliced in ½ inch half moons
  • 1 dozen 6” skewers

Granita Method: Combine water, sugar and jalapenos in a sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  When sauce comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer about 5 minutes.  Cool the mixture to room temperature and then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard peppers and seeds. Add the 2 pounds of pineapple, lime juice,  salt, cooled sugar mixture  and lime zest  to a food processor and process until smooth. Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking pan. Freeze until ice forms around the edges. Stir with a fork and return to the freezer. Repeat every ½ hour or so until granita is completely frozen. This should take about 3 hours or so. Use a fork to scrape the granita into fluffy crystals and serve in a frosted bowl or glass and garnish with grilled pineapple, candied jalapenos and lemon cucumbers on a skewer and a spring of pineapple mint.

Garnish Method: Take pineapple quartered sticks and grill on grill until lightly marked.  Set them aside to cool and slice into ½ inch quarters. In a sauce pan, place sliced jalapenos with 1 cup of sugar and ¾ cup of water and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes. Remove jalapeno slices and place them on a baking rack to cool.

–What is your favorite way to stay cool in the summer?

–Erica Martinez

–Recipe from Chef Salvatore Giuliano

Categories: North America

The cows come home: raising beef cattle

Jordan Winery - Healdsburg, California - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 14:29
Among the things you expect to see on a winery tour are vineyards, tanks, barrels, and of course, bottles of wine. But cows? Maybe not until recently at Jordan. In 2011, we added a small herd of cattle—moms and their calves—to the estate. They happily live and graze in fenced pastures around the 1,200-acre ranch–across [...]
Categories: North America

Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney


Hi, I’m Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, a lifestyle blog where I write about things I loves to cook, bake, create and decorate!  Through my blog I hope to inspire a love of living life in a simple and delicious way!  Because I love to inspire a delicious life, I’m so excited to be over here on the Kendall-Jackson blog sharing a scrumptious recipe that pairs perfectly with the Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay.

Garden Wine Party {A Pretty Life}Recently I hosted a summer garden party and I would love to share it with you!  Summer is the most perfect time to have friends and family come together for great food and great wine, wouldn’t you agree?

Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney {A Pretty Life}

I really enjoyed putting this garden party together…I felt inspired by the wine and my surroundings so I let them guide the menu for the party.  We started out this gorgeous party with a mouthwatering appetizer!  I made a Puff Pastry Baked Brie with a Blueberry Chutney.  And to say that this was loved by everyone is an understatement.  This appetizer is out of this world delicious!   And now you’re in luck – I’m sharing this recipe here with you today!  This is a simple-to-make recipe that is sure to wow your guests!

Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney {A Pretty Life}

Blueberry Chutney


  • 3 tbsp finely minced white onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 – 4 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. In a skillet, warm a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over low to medium heat.  Then add the white onion and sauté until it starts to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. After this time, add the blueberries, fresh ginger, brown sugar, cider vinegar, chopped rosemary and a dash of salt and some freshly ground pepper.
  3. Let the mixture simmer until it starts to thicken. This will take from 15 to 25 minutes.  Initially the mixture will be runny, but don’t worry, it will thicken on it’s own.  Just let the mixture simmer, and stir as you go.
  4. Once the mixture thickens to almost the consistency of soft jam, remove it from the heat and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, from 1 – 2 tbsp, depending on how you like the taste.  I added closer to 2 tbsp.  Stir.
  5. Let chutney cool.
  6. You can serve the chutney at room temperature, or store it in the fridge until you are ready to serve it with your baked Brie.
Puff Pastry Baked Brie


  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 – 6 inch Brie cheese round
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water


  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Unfold the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface, or I like to keep it on the sheet of parchment paper it comes with.
  • Place the Brie cheese round on the centre of the pastry, then fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover it as shown below, pressing the edges to seal.

Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney {A Pretty Life}

  • Trim the excess pastry.
  • Place the brie onto a baking sheet.
  • In a little bowl beat the egg and water with a fork, then lightly brush the pastry with the egg mixture (you will only use a little bit of this mix).
  • Bake the puff pastry wrapped Brie for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  • Let it stand for about 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Putting it all together

  • Once the Brie has baked and rested, transfer it to a serving dish and add the blueberry chutney to the top.  You can heap it on so it runs down the side if you like.  The more chutney the better!
  • Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
  • We like to cut it like a pie and enjoy it as is.  With the pastry there is no need for extra crackers.
  • Enjoy!

Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney {A Pretty Life}

We had such a lovely night…the food & company was great — the wine fantastic.  I hope you feel inspired to get out there and host your own great time…this is the stuff summers are made of.  Love it.

Have a delicious day!

The post Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

ALL Wines Deserve A Level Playing Field

Westwood Winery - Sonoma, CA - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 05:43

ElBanditoAlice Feiring and I don’t often agree, but today she put up a lament on the exclusion of wines she loves by “quality panels” in Canada and South Africa that I sympathize with completely.

The brilliant label pictured (love how they have used the bar code!) graces a wine that is unusual. Because it is unusual, tasters on the South Africa Wine & Spirit Board rejected it and thus the producer is not allowed to export the wine. Regardless of the fact that the wine has an international fan base, because the tasters on the SAW&SB didn’t like it, the producer is being restricted in his ability to sell it.

Wines that tasters on Ontario, Canada’s Vintners Quality Alliance panel don’t care for are denied a substantial tax break that other wines produced in the province receive – making the economics of production and distribution that much more challenging. Alice and other fans of these wines are rightfully outraged.

Laws that dictate what can and can’t be in a wine, and laws that insist that the label on a wine bottle accurately reflects what is in the bottle (at whatever level of detail is deemed appropriate, and enforceable) are desirable, and protect the producer as well as the consumer.

But laws that empower tastemakers to impose economic sanctions on wines that don’t fit some arbitrary “taste” standard are abhorrent. As Eric Asimov has said: “…distinctive wines will always be at least somewhat divisive.”

The ONLY criterion that should determine whether a wine producer gets to market their wine in any way they choose, wherever they choose, is this: if just one consumer is willing to buy a second bottle – with the only context for their decision being that a friend recommended the wine, or Alice Feiring, or Eric Asimov, or the awesome somm at the table of their favorite restaurant.

Categories: North America

Planning your summer visit to Napa Valley

Castello di Amorosa - Napa Valley - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 02:04

Summer is a beautiful time to visit Napa Valley. Well let’s face it, with our mild, Mediterranean climate pretty much any time of year is great to visit, but soaking up the sunshine while surrounded by vibrant green vineyards, rolling hills, and a glass of wine in hand is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon in the warm summer months. Here are a few ways to maximize your fun in the Napa Valley sun in the summertime:


♦ Pick 1-2 "can't miss" wineries, and fill in the gaps with others as your day progresses. Keep in mind that each winery will pour you roughly the equivalent of one glass (5 oz) of wine, so it’s good to limit yourself to 3-4 wineries per day. Trying to plan tastings at more than 3 wineries for one day can leave you feeling rushed, and wine country is all about relaxing. You’re on vacation, after all!

♦ Plan on spending 1-2 hours at each winery. This goes along with the “choose 3-4 max” rule of wineries per day (especially if you’re planning for winery tours). Most wineries in Napa Valley open around 9:30am and close around 6:00pm in the summer, so figuring out how early you want your day to start/ where you’re travelling to can be a big factor of how much time you have to actually taste. Pace out your day and take the time to enjoy each winery you visit without feeling you need to jump to the next.

 Have a designated driver. If nobody wants to take the keys, it might be a good idea to look into hiring a driver for the day. Napa Valley has many car and limo services that cater to the thirsty traveler (and even a Wine Train!), and if you’re staying in Calistoga, their shuttle is a great option for getting around the northern end of the Valley!

♦ Bring a water bottle/ snacks. Hydration is important! You’ll want to drink roughly one 8 oz glass of water for each tasting if you’re looking to avoid feeling too groggy by the end of your day, and it’s never a good idea to taste on an empty stomach! Keep in mind that most Napa Valley wineries cannot offer picnic facilities per county ordinance, so plan on snacking in the car or finding a park if you wanted to have a full picnic (our sister winery V. Sattui is one of the few wineries to offer picnic facilities, located just south of St. Helena).

♦ Start your day at the winery farthest away from your hotel/ dinner location and work your way back towards it. This helps to insure that you’re not stuck with a long drive when you’re all tired out from a full day of exploring the valley.

♦ Wear comfortable shoes (LADIES I’m talking to you here). Girls, I know you love those three inch heels, but I promise you will not be loving them after a day of walking on uneven surfaces/ in vineyards/ touring wineries/ standing at tasting bars. You don’t want to be the one drinking just to get to that point where you can’t feel your feet anymore.

♦ Bring a light jacket.  Daytime temps in Napa Valley tend to range from mid-70s all the way to low 100s, but it does drop down to the 50s in the evenings here, which can be a bit of a shock if you’re out in shorts and flip flops. Also keep in mind that most caves/ tasting rooms are around 50°-60°F (10°-15°C) to help keep the wines cool for aging (and pouring). Wine only helps to warm you up so much!

♦ Make reservations whenever possible. Whether for restaurants or winery tours, it never hurts to call ahead (especially if you are a big group!!). Summer is the busiest time of year in Napa Valley, and many winery tours/ restaurants book up quickly!

♦ Expect some traffic. I’m not talking full-blown rush hour madness, but don’t expect to be cruising down the highway at 80mph between wineries in the middle of the day. There are only two main roads to get through the valley (Hwy 29 on the west and Silverado Trail on the east), and since both are mostly 2 lane roads, you can imagine how easy it would be for either to back up quickly due to congestion, construction, accidents, or that person who slammed on their breaks because they almost missed their winery (on that note: please don’t be that person. Make a U-turn!!). If your winery or restaurant reservation is at 2:00, plan to be there 15 minutes early to check in. You won’t want to miss a thing!

See if any events are happening while you're here. Wineries throughout the Valley love to host special events year-round, and it's always a great idea to check out what's going on while you're visiting! From concerts in the park to winemaker dinners or themed parties like the Castello's Midsummer Medieval Festival or Hot Havana Nights, summer evenings are packed full of great opportunities to sip, swirl, & savor after the tasting rooms close!

And most importantly…

♦ Remember: it’s a wine TASTING, not wine DRINKING. Pace yourself! Relax, and enjoy your visit to this world-famous wine growing region. With beautiful wines and incredible views all around you, you’ll be mapping out your next visit before you leave!

So grab that Napa Valley map and get to planning! With over 400 wineries and so many fantastic restaurants and things to do from Carneros to Calistoga, you have some important decisions to make!


Adventure (and  wine) is out there!

Categories: North America

Recent winner of a case of Award Winning '09 Aged-Released Shiraz

Shaw + Smith - Balhannah, South Australia - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 20:01

Congratulations to Loraine Psarros - you won a case (6) of award-winning 2009 Aged Release Shiraz.
Thank you to everyone who has entered our recent competition.

Categories: Oceania

Join us for a Bio-Cask Wine Tasting!

Please join us on Monday, August 18th at the Tap & Growler in Eugene for a wine tasting straight from our Bio-Cask kegs. The evening will pair five of our wines with light appetizers while we discuss the history of Willamette Valley Vineyards and the sustainable impact our Bio-Casks have on the environment. I have included the event details below.

Fun fact about Bio-Cask:

I look forward to seeing you here!

Mary Joli
Regional Brand Manager

Wine Tasting at Tap & Growler
Monday, August 18th, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 pm
207 East 5th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
Cost: $30 per person
Please reserve your spot by calling Sara at 541-554-2012 or emailing
Categories: North America

The Art of the Passeggiata

Ponte Winery - Temecula, CA - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 19:16

In Italy, participating in la passeggiata is as routine as a morning cup of espresso.  La passeggiata is an evening stroll at its most basic, but it is so much more than that.  During the week, it marks the end of the workday and is a time to be social with others in the neighborhood before dinner.  On weekends, the passeggiata is arguably the main social event of the day, when entire families and large groups of friends convene on the streets.  Gossip is shared, flirting among the marriageable age is highly encouraged, babies are showcased and fussed over, neighborhood news is discussed.  Men and women, young and old walk arm in arm, greeting each other with the classic European “double cheek kiss.” Some may call it outdated, but it is a tradition worth hanging onto and partaking in, in this age of social media and couch potatoes, and it was one of the highlights of my time when I was in Italy.  My friends and I used the passeggiata to sightsee in the late afternoon sun, to grab a gelato or café (heaven forbid we order a cappuccino after 11 am – classic tourist move!), and gather in the town square to chat.

Last week I had the pleasure of taking an American passeggiata of my own at Ponte Winery.  After a wonderful lunch with Ponte’s new marketing manager, Monica and Claudio Ponte, I had some time to kill and set out on a stroll around the property.  I won’t lie and say it was like my Italy experience; it was very hot in Temecula that day and there were no gelaterias to be found!  I did run into some old pals while strolling, though, and the vineyard views and scenery were remarkable.

First stop: the Barrel Room.  Classic symbol of Ponte, in my opinion.  It hasn’t changed much (on the outside at least).  Timeless and beautiful.

Summer Day menu at The Restaurant at Ponte.  I recommend the daily chilled soup when it’s scorching outside, and a glass of 2013 Pas Doux to go with it.

It’s nearly impossible to get lost around here, so feel free to walk, walk, walk!

Completely serene, quiet and relaxing in the courtyard.

I met vineyard supervisor, Tim Gunn, in the tank yard.

Ever wonder what it’s like in the shipping department right before a Wine Club shipment? 

Wine, wine everywhere…

And pallets of shipping boxes!

Veraison happening right before my eyes

Cheery little succulents on the porch of the Decanter Room

Unexpectedly ran into two of my best friends, Cab and Zin…

…and look what’s growing next to the Cabernet – yellow roses, which symbolize friendship

This way to paradise

I suppose this means the passeggiata is over.

‘Til next time, Ponte!

I miss the Italian passeggiata’s, but it’s good to know there are still some places that make it easy to take one when the mood strikes.  As long as the winery is open, guests are encouraged to stroll the property and relax.  We hope to see you strolling soon.

–Where is your favorite place to take a stroll?

–Erica Martinez

Categories: North America

Stop Calling Wine “Juice”

Westwood Winery - Sonoma, CA - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 00:01

Master Somm Juice TastingI admit it’s a pet peeve of mine. I acknowledge that there are more important things going on in the world of wine, like the current schmoozing at IPNC, or maybe the lack of diversity on wine writer panels at the recent blogger conference. But please, I implore everyone! For the love of God stop referring to wine as “juice”!
It’s Infantile

Toddlers drink juice. Wine is an adult beverage. When one refers to wine as “juice” in public it sounds like baby talk, and may — in truth — violate the industry’s voluntary guidelines on promoting underage drinking. Think about it.
It’s Derogatory

As slang, all other connotations of “juice” are negative. Money and influence, likely gained in an unsavory manner. Steroids. Spunk, jism, baby batter, semen. Stop it. And it is an unfortunate fact that “juice” is an apt descriptor for some wines that people reading this post may find easy to sell but wouldn’t be caught dead drinking themselves.
It’s Exclusionary

I’ll allow that industry insiders — the bro’s, the dudes and dudettes who sling this stuff for a living — use the term amongst themselves with reasonable impunity, and sometimes a nod and a wink to irony. Get it? Insiders — otherwise known to outsiders as “douchebags” — use the term. Insiders? — stop using it in public. Outsiders? — stop using it at all.
It’s Inaccurate

At the end of the day juice is to wine as fetus is to baby. As milk is to cheese. As bricks are to houses. People don’t confuse these other things, or use one word to refer to the other.
And in other news…

On a more serious note, obviously if I haven’t posted anything here since May 16th there is something else taking up all my time and attention. Premature to report, but news is coming. Until then I am throwing out random bits and little fits @jkellyca on Twitter

Categories: North America

Guac-Off Recipe Winner: Congratulations Miss Crider!

Guacamole Recipe

There are many, many guacamole recipes out there these days. From the inspiring selections at restaurants to the innovative concoctions we all create at home! But one thing is for certain, everyone I’ve talked to about their own creations always say, “I make the best guac, ever!” So through all of these conversations, our Bonjour + Hola team decided a few years ago it was a must to host a Guac-Off! And each year, it has grown and increasingly gotten more competitive. Hola #guacswag!

What makes the guac really stand out when our guests are voting with a glass of K-J AVANT in-hand? That would be the distinctive flavors, the energetic colors mixed in between and the overall memorable taste after plopping that chip into your mouth.

And Bonjour + Hola’s Guac-Off winner this year, Katie Crider {creator of Guac #4}, went above and beyond with her recipe. Combining various Thai-inspired flavors, spices and colors galore in between — all of the guests went ga-ga!

Her guac was so delicious and memorable that the Bonjour + Hola team thought it was a must to share the recipe with you!:


4 ripe haas avocados
2-3 Thai chilies
1 lime (zest and juice)
1/2 medium sweet onion (Vaidalia) chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 whole clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 mango
2 tbs coconut oil
Salt & pepper


1.  Cut the top third off of the garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and wrap loosely in tinfoil. Roast in oven until the cloves are soft, 30-45 min at 400 degrees.
2. Cut the lemongrass stalk into 3 or 4 pieces. Sauté the lemongrass pieces with the bell pepper in the coconut oil. When the bell pepper is soft, add ginger and remove from heat. Remove the lemongrass stalks.
3. Roughly cube the avocado. Add the juice and zest of the lime. Add the sautéed bell pepper mixture making sure the cooking oils are added as well. Add the mango, onion, and raw chopped Thai chili according to desired heat level. Squeeze the garlic cloves out and mash them and add to the mixture. Stir mixture well to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Whether you’re looking to host your own Guac-Off soon or just want a new + hip recipe to create over the weekend, check out Bonjour + Hola’s Guac-Off for inspiration!


The post Guac-Off Recipe Winner: Congratulations Miss Crider! appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

In Anticipation of Cruising the Rhone River

Tablas Creek Vineyard - Paso Robles CA - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 21:41

By Robert Haas

"Cruising" a river seems like an odd term.  One usually cruises on an ocean.  But two old northern Rhône wines with our roast pork loin last night reminded me of the pleasures of the Rhône River.


I have visited the Rhône River Valley over a hundred times since 1954 and have viewed the river from both banks but have never seen the banks from the river.  Nor have I stopped at the little ports along the way.  This will change next summer, when Barbara and I will join Neil and Marci Collins to lead the Tablas Creek Rhone River Cruise.  It will be a new experience, and one I am really looking forward to.  I have always loved the old town of Avignon and its crenellated walls, where the cruise will begin.  And, of course, the ruins of the famous old pont d'Avignon, where on y danse tout en rond.  It will be fun to see these things from comfortable quarters on a boat.

Along the southern Rhone, our itinerary will then take us to Arles -- one-time home of Van Gogh and the location of some of the best-preserved Roman buildings outside of Italy – and Tarascon, with its imposing medieval castle.

We will also, of course, be making a pilgrimage to Château de Beaucastel, our partners in Tablas Creek, and friends and colleagues for 45 years.  This visit will include a special tour of the property and a classic  southern Rhône lunch in their gardens prepared by Beaucastel's Michelin-starred chef Laurent Deconick.

Next we’ll head north, to Tain L’Hermitage, a landmark destination for lovers of the northern Rhone’s signature Syrah, Roussanne and Marsanne grapes. I have spent many days over the years visiting the historic cellars of famed northern Rhône appellations such as Hermitage, St. Joseph, Cornas, Condrieu, Château Grillet, and Côte Rotie.  No less a wine lover than Thomas Jefferson said in 1791 “Hermitage is the first wine in the world, without a single exception”.

Further north we'll continue to Lyon, a center of French gastronomy with the architecturally famous Place Bellecour, for a few days.  While there we’ll make an excursion to Chalon-sur-Saone on the Côte Chalonaise, the southernmost Burgundy appellation, and on to Beaune, a center of the Burgundy wine trade.  I have visited the Beaune area regularly since 1954 and see the old streets very little changed.  A major attraction, as well as the surrounding vineyards of Beaune, is the old Hospices de Beaune, originally a charity hospital founded by of the Dukes of Burgundy in the 15th century.  A tour there includes the remarkable architecture and a view of the famous Beaune Alterpiece, a triptychpainted in the 17th century by Rogier van der Weyden.

The culinary pleasures of the Rhône Valley are legendary, with Mediterranean influences from Provence in the south and the classic French cuisine of Lyon in the north: olives, fruits, nougats de Montélimar, quenelles, andouillettes, saucissons de Lyon, and the Lyon original, onion soup.  I can never get enough of those.

And the wines of the Rhone, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cotes du Rhone, and Tavel in the south to Condrieu, Côte Roti, Hermitage, Cornas, and St. Joseph in the north, can be exceptional.  On the cruise ship, we will be dining together as a group most nights, with wines selected from the Rhone, and a few from Tablas Creek, of course.

Back to last night’s roast, which was flavored with rosemary and juniper, hallmarks of Rhône Valley seasonings.  The wines, both red and white, had aged well and complemented the food.  The Hermitage white, a blend of mostly Marsanne and some Roussanne, was nutty and deeply flavored, minerally and honeyed, and attested to the rewards for aging Rhone whites.  The St. Joseph red, all Syrah, was savory and deep, with flavors of coffee, roasted meat and syrah’s signature white pepper.  Both were wonderful.

Barbara and I are very much looking forward to joining Neil and Marcy and sharing our experience with our fellow cruise guests next August.  We hope that many of our friends will gather with us for the fun.

Categories: North America

Hot Diggity Dog - Meet Cuvaison Estate Wines' Dogs

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Napa Valley, CA - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 20:48

In light of Club Cuvaison's summer promotion, Hot Diggity Dog!, we would like to introduce you to the dogs of Cuvaison Estate Wines.


Pixie (left), age 10, favorite activity: snacking.
Buster (right), age 2, favorite activity: chasing wild turkeys in the vineyard. 
Dogs' Owner: Steven Rogstad, Winemaker    Jasmine, age 6, favorite activity: swimming in the pool. 
Dog's Owner: Bonnie Schoch, CFO   Rosalina, age 10, favorite activity: taking walks in the park.
Dog's Owner: Alvaro Bautista, Cellarhand    

Bodie (left), age 6, favorite activity: chasing and catching the Frisbee at the park and running through the Cuvaison vineyard off leash. 
Ellie (right), age 7, favorite activity: chasing the cat at home. She’s really good with the Frisbee as well. 
Dogs' Owner: Jay Schuppert, President


Indigo, age 8 months, favorite activity: playing
Dog's Owner: Jamie Glidewell, Club Cuvaison Manager  

  Gunner, age 5, favorite activity: chasing the Frisbee.
Dog's Owner: Selma Woolfe, Club Cuvaison Coordinator   

Rudy, age 3, favorite activity: sleeping, playing at the beach, running thru the vineyard.
Dog's Owner: Suzanna Mannion, DTC Marketing Manager  

  Kao, age 3, favorite activity: favorite activities playing tug-of-war and cuddling. 
Dog's Owner: Wynne Vick, Club Cuvaison Sales Coordinator   Scooby, age 5, favorite activity: fetching the tennis ball and going on walks around the Brandlin property.
Dog's Owner: Ray Lamon, Landscape and Maintenance   

PuppyKitty, age 3.5, favorite activity: eating her owner's shoes, chewing on laptop power cords, destroying couches and sleeping on her owner's bed.
No, not a dog but this feline clearly has good taste in wine, so we made an exception. 
Puppykitty's owner: Stephanie Litty, Enologist 

Categories: North America

Carefully working the soil

Château Palmer - France - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 17:31
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Being a winegrower means learning how to live in harmony with nature, to observe it closely every day, and to help the vines to maintain an equilibrium with their environment...

Vineyard workers at Palmer plough the soil all year long in order to look after it, keep it healthy, and improve its structure. By increasing permeability and porosity, the vines achieve better immunity and retain more energy.

Taking a walk through the Château Palmer's vineyards, you can't help but notice the diversity of plants that grow at the base of the vines. But they are not there due to any sort of negligence! On the contrary, we leave them there on purpose to create healthy competition, to enrich the terroir and to enhance soil life. The root development of these plants helps us to adapt to the weather by absorbing (or not, as the case may be) excess water and nitrogen. This makes vines less sensitive to botrytis. 

Furthermore, these plants keep the vine roots from rising to the surface and encourage them to sink deep into the soil.  They also limit soil erosion and improve load carrying capacity. Nature is sure intelligent!

Jean-Jacques Rousseau said: "Leave nature to act on its own for a long time before acting in its place, because you may upset its functioning".  

Categories: Europe

Seasons of the vineyard at Jordan Estate

Jordan Winery - Healdsburg, California - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 02:28
July is the month of peaceful transition in wine country. We watch the tourists arrive for their summer vacations and weekend getaways, and we wait patiently for the red wine grapes to change color, a process called veraison. We’ve written extensively about the onset of ripening (here, here and here) when the appearance of grape clusters is [...]
Categories: North America

DIY: Terracotta Wine Stand

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

Hi I’m Kimberly from A Night Owl Blog, a space where we share our latest DIY, craft and recipe endeavors. I recently held a little get together with a few girlfriends featuring fun and fresh Kendall-Jackson AVANT wines! Now we served up the K-J AVANT Chardonnay and K-J AVANT Sauvignon Blanc on ice. However, since we didn’t want to leave the K-J AVANT Red Blend out there on its own, we created this beautiful and clever DIY Terracotta Wine Stand!

I love terracotta. It is so versatile and can be made into so many more things than just a planter, like our stand! So let’s walk through the steps we took to make this stand so you can fashion your very own.

Terracotta bowl and lid
Adhesive (that will work on pottery, such as Weldbond)
Chalk paint – grey and white
Sealing wax
Antique stain

Steps to make your own DIY Teracotta Wine StandAnd the steps:

  1. Simply glue the bottom rim of the planter to the bottom of the terracotta lid, making sure it’s centered.
  2. Once dry and secure (about one hour depending on adhesive used), paint on a thin layer of gray chalk paint. To get the right amount of coverage, dip your paint brush in water first, then in paint and dab on a paper towel.
  3. Next up, add your white layer the same, letting some of the gray still show through.
  4. Once the paint layers are dry, cover with a thin layer of sealing wax.
  5. We then added some antiquing stain to the finished product for a more complex, aged look.

And the result? A beautiful Terracotta Wine Stand.

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

DIY Teracotta Wine Stand

It is a fairly simple project to put together but would add such a nice touch to your next party or get together, just like ours!

K-J AVANT Wine Party

The post DIY: Terracotta Wine Stand appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

2014 Vintage Update: Pétanque & Rosé

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Dear fans of Best’s or just those who are curious,

We are now over the hump of grape intake with only a few vineyards of Shiraz and Cabernet waiting to be picked. The weather has been kind to us, with cooler weather slowing down ripening, but the cooler nights have made sure we are hanging on to the acidity. This type of weather during ripening is what some like to call hang-time. No, we are not hanging out playing pétanque and sipping rosé, but we are allowing the grapes to hang on the vine to allow the flavours to fully develop without having to rush to get them all into the winery.

Having a bit more time in the winery has meant that we are able to give a bit more attention to our ferments and give them all the care and attention they deserve. We are also well into our barrel program with those lovely smells of warm wine going into warm barrels. We try to keep them warm to ensure the rapid onset of malolactic fermentation before winter hits.

The past week we have received the bulk of grapes for our Bin 1 Shiraz. We are seeing lots of jube like flavours and lip smacking spice, this bodes well for an aromatic Bin 1. Our team has been very busy with punch-downs, pump-overs, yeast inoculations, ferment rounds, temperature control, digging out ferments, basket and bag pressing and washing and filling barrels.

We have had less challenges with break downs, but tasting lots of ferments to determine tannins and flavour balance has had a side effect of producing lots of flatulence, much to bemusement of my colleagues.

Got to go now, it's my turn on the pétanque piste…



Categories: Oceania

2013 Spring Release Wine Club Dinner

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

On Tuesday 15 October 2013, our Victorian Concongella Wine Club members met at Pope Joan in Melbourne to celebrate our 2013 Spring Release wines - 2013 Riesling, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Bin 1 Shiraz. We enjoyed a beautiful menu paired to the three new wines by reknowned chef Matt Wilkinson who is a big supporter of local produce, much like ourselves. Thank you to all those who attended the evening and we look forward to seeing you at the next Wine Club event!




Categories: Oceania

Week 6 Vintage Blog: Done & dusted, and in need of a glass of wine!

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

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We all took a breath on Monday as we saw the last grapes of the 2013 vintage go through the crusher and destemmer. We have now received the last lots of Shiraz and all the Cabernet Sauvignon, hurray! These are presently ticking away nicely in their fermenters and are due to be pressed off skins this weekend. It seems like it's all over so quickly, yet if you look at the pile of work notes, as well as all the full tanks and barrels we currently have, we actually got through a mountain of work over the past few weeks. A great job done by all the team.

Looking through the wines in barrel, some of which have even finished malolactic fermentation, the quality is extremely high. I won’t say, as some other producers have said, that it is the best vintage of the past 20 years, but it will definitely be a good one for Best’s especially for our Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We look like we may have a very rare calm Easter period. There are some reds to press off skins and a few Riesling ferments to monitor, and of course the constant juggle between tanks, barrels and vats, but we are well over the hump. We have already started barrel selecting and classifying our 2012 Shiraz and Cabernets in preparation for blending and bottling mid-year. These wines are looking very good and should provide some interesting final blends.

So, another vintage in the bag and one to reflect on for many years to come. Thanks for reading my blogs each week and following our progress over the past few months. We can't wait for you to try the wines and hear your feedback once they're released.

Over and out for another year!

Justin & crew 

Categories: Oceania

Vintage Blog Week 5: Everything in before Easter, no wonder we're exhausted!

Best's Wines - Victoria - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:37

Hello out there!

We are now down to the last few little blocks of Cabernet and Shiraz. The team is really consolidated now but are powering through the last few weeks of hard work ahead. Half of our reds have been pressed off skins and now they are being transferred to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The whites are all ticking away nicely with fragrant clouds of floral and citrus scents pouring out of the tanks as we routinely lift the lids to check on their progress.

This week we have had Jo from the central coast of NSW help us out in the cellar. Jo thought she was coming to the Grampians for a holiday but has spent most of her time plunging and pumping over red ferments. A change from her usual job as a teacher, so I suppose it is a holiday of sorts. Pam, our Queen of the drainers, is leaving us tomorrow to give a hand out for vintage in the Macedon. Pam has been devoting her energies to monitoring and extracting the all the goodness out of our opulent and spicy red ferments and is a bit reluctant to say goodbye to her babies. Thanks for your help Pam and good luck at Curly Flat. Pam was delighted yesterday morning when Viv took her out on his motorbike to find a big mob of kangaroos on the hill munching away at the few remaining grapes left on the vines. It was Pam’s first time seeing kangaroos in the wild, so exciting.

We are well into barrelling mode with Haydn and Penny juggling empty barrels in between processing the remaining grapes and with Simon and Miranda leading the filling campaign, the shed is filling up fast with fresh wines.

Here's a short clip of what we've been up to recently here at the winery.

It seems a bit weird that it is all over so quickly with intake finished before Easter (an early Easter at that). It also won’t be long before everything is finished fermentation, pressed and put into barrels, and we then start preparing the remaining 2012 reds and 2013 whites for bottling. Such is the nature of agriculture, and every vintage is different. Not even Viv can recall a vintage quite like this one.

Talk to you all next week

Categories: Oceania


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