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currentVintage in Food & Wine

A few years ago, I was interviewed by Jen Murphy of Food & Wine magazine.  She asked me to envision several quintessential Nantucket summer occasions and suggest the perfect fashion and wine pairings–much like we do every day in the store–for FoodandWine.com.  I happily obliged...

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FlashbACK…Nantucket Wine Festival 2014

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Events, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, Wine | Posted on 12-05-2015

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Dominique Demarville, Chef du Cave Veuve Clicquot, at currentVintage

Nantucket Wine Fest is very special to me.  My husband been an organizer since the very beginning and through NWF, I have met amazing people, sipped oh-so-fine wine and had some incredible experiences…

Great Wines in Grand Homes Burgundy dinners…DRC & Comte de Vogue with Eric Asimov at La Fete…divine wine & cheese pairings with Ihsan Gurdhal…a Hospices de Beaune luncheon with Anthony Hanson…all epic on my scale.

Each winter, we are on the road for weeks visiting winemakers from Sonoma to Barcelona, and now, we have the great pleasure of welcoming many friends on our home turf.

cV positivley throbs with excitement this week!  We are hosting:  Lynanne & Pablo Nyarady of Trifecta Wines, Erni Loosen & Jay Somers of Dr. Loosen & J. Christopher wineries, Hervé Birnie-Scott & Cheval des Andes, and, as always, a Veuve Clicquot champagne tasting with Dominique Demarville, Chef du Cave.  Yes, I love NWF!

cV_wine_fest M Louzada nwf 2012

Manuel Louzada, Bodega Numanthia, at cV

So much happens in those few fabulous days of clinking, drinking, dining & discovery that it takes us a year to post our pics!  Now, as NWF 2015 fast approaches, we are looking back at last year and getting excited yet again, for this world class event that takes place on our island.

NWF Harbor Gala 2014

NWF Harbor Gala 2014

Nantucket Wine Festival 2012

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Events, Food, Nantucket, Wine | Posted on 20-06-2012

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Elisabeth of cV with Cyril Brun, Veuve Clicquot

Elisabeth of cV with Cyril Brun, Veuve Clicquot

It was an epic blur.  The 16th annual Nantucket Wine Festival began on Wednesday, May 16 with a Veuve Clicquot champagne reception on the deck of the White Elephant hotel on Nantucket Harbor, and persisted day and evening through the Grand tasting on Sunday afternoon.  As wonderful as the festival is each year, it is something to survive as much to enjoy.  I mean, really, how much can one eat and drink?  Each year, I amaze myself…

Dinner Wednesday night at the Pearl bar with my friend Cesare Casella from Salumeria Rosi in NYC.  Thursday Veuve Clicquot poolside luncheon.  Thursday night food & wine gala at the White Elephant followed by Lola 41.  Friday tastings at currentVintage featuring Manuel Louzada of Bodega Numanthia and Cyril Brun, winemaker at Veuve Clicquot.  Sunset glass of Krug with Rubicon/Inglenook winemaker Phillippe Bascaules.  Saturday Grand Tastings at the Nantucket Yacht Club, a store tasting of Donelan Wines plus dinner with wine peeps at Ventuno.  Sunday Hospices de Beaune luncheon with MW Anthony Hanson at Great Harbor Yacht Club and a final Grand tasting.  YOU try to keep up!

Looking back a month later, I can still recall exactly how delicious was the glass of Krug at sunset, the salumi from Cesare with a sip of Clicquot vintage rosé, the kimchi bites from Chef Tom Berry at the gala, the Mazis-Chambertin ‘Cuvee Madeleine Collignon’….because those moments were epic, even if they went by in a blur.

–Elisabeth English, currentVintage

Photos courtesy of Gene Mahon, Nantucket Wine Festival and currentVintage

Nantucket Wine Festival blog

Cyril Brun sabers a bottle of Clicquot!

Cyril Brun sabers a bottle of Clicquot!

Danielle in cV with EE, VCP luncheon

Danielle in cV with EE, VCP luncheon

NWF Gala 2012

NWF Gala 2012

The Food & Wine Hall of Fame

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, currentVintage, Food, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Wine | Posted on 24-04-2012

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First quarter 2012 has been off to an epic eating, drinking and traveling start…Nantucket, Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, Carmel, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica/LA, NYC, Boston, Charlotte & Beyond! Here are few snaps of some of my favorite currentVintage experiences YTD…Actually, this was just January! Salut et Bon Appetit!

It’s in the barrel…

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, travel, Wine | Posted on 31-08-2011

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Is that a 2X4 that I smell in my glass?

Wine tasting notes will often refer to wines as being oaky, but what exactly does that mean?  The use of oak in winemaking can play an important role in the final product in several different ways.

First of all, you must consider the source of the wood.  Most American oak barrels typically come from the species Quercus alba, which is a white oak species.  This oak has wider grains and lower wood tannins.  The wider grains allows for a quicker, more concentrated release of aromas into the wine.  American oak typically imparts flavors of vanilla and more sweet nuances, along with coconut (think sunscreen) and dill (think pickles).  This oak is used for big, powerful reds and for Chardonnays from warmer climates.

In France, Quercus petrea is more common for its finer grain and richer aromatic components.   French oak produces silky, softer style tannins.  Warm sensations such as baking spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) are more apparent with this type of wood.  In France, some winemakers choose their wood from one specific forest as they each forest will have slightly different nuances on the final blend.  Due to the finer grain of French oak, less of the tree may be used in barrel production.  Therefore, the cost of French barrels is more than that of American barrels.

Others types of oak are sometimes used including Hungarian, Slovanian and even Russian oak from near the Black Sea.  These barrels tend to be less expensive alternatives that either French or American oak.

Another varying degree of oak barrels is the amount of ‘toast’ inside the barrel.  Yes, it’s the same concept of when you ‘toast’ a piece of bread (not the toast at your friend’s wedding…).  Toasting ranges from lightly charred, medium toast, to heavily toasted.  The lighter the toasting, the more of the original oak flavor is imparted on the wine, where the heavier the toast, you see a reduction in the coconut notes and perhaps a slight reduction in the color of the wine as it reacts to the toastiness of the barrel.

The size of a barrel is important to take into consideration in regards to the ratio of surface area to volume.  The most common size is the Bordeaux barrique which hold 59 gallons (225 liters).  The next most common is the Burgundy barrique at 60 gallons (228 liters).  Some wine producers will use a foudre, a large barrel made of oak (or chestnut) and used in other parts of France, that can range in size from 150-350 hectoliters.  These large vessels are used more to age the wine than for the qualities the wood may impart on the wine itself.  On the smaller side, often used by home winemakers are mini-barrels which may hold 1-10 liters of juice.

This takes us to the age of a barrel and it’s varying effects.  The first time a barrel is used, it provides a wine with good texture and a substantial amount of tannins.  With each subsequent years the barrel is in use, the nuances that it offers become less and less.  Some wineries will only use 100% new oak every year (now you know why that wine costs so much!).  Others will use the barrel up to three years, then scrap the inside of the barrel, retoast it to their specifications, then put it back into rotation.  Some only used ‘seasoned’ barrels (those who have been used several years without a retoasting) and refer to them as neutral barrels that will impart very little on their wine, but do allow it to age with a slight exposure to oxygen.

Next time you are tasting your wine and feel like you are in the forest, think about all these factors about barrels that the winemaker takes into consideration when crafting their product.–Jenny Benzie

Elisabeth with Denis toner at Francois Freres

Elisabeth with Denis Toner (center) at Francois Freres

Kistler oak at Francois Freres

Kistler oak at Francois Freres

Toasted barrels

Artisanal Curds

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Food, Wine | Posted on 22-06-2011

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Wine and cheese pairing…is it art?  Perhaps, but it’s not that hard to create.  You are basically seeking a balance of salt and sweet.  Some are intuitive, some more cerebral, but all should bring great tastebud joy that you will want to replicate time and time again.  We start with artisanal cheeses À Point (at peak), or aged to perfection, rotating our inventory based on season and availability.  We taste a lot, and when a combo makes our heart sing, we write it down!

In cheese-plating, as in art, there are no rules, but there are guidelines, such as begin with the mildest and progress to the most pungent.  Ideally, a contrast of milks, countries and textures;  condiments, fruit and crackers are totally optional.  My standard cheese plate usually begins with a Goat and features Comte in the third or fourth position.  Beyond that, anything goes.

Here, we share some of our available cheeses and favorite pairings, just as we do with all of the wines in our store.  Consider a cheese course for your next dinner party–we would love to help you create a Masterpiece.

COUPOLE:
USA (Vermont)/Goat

The Coupole is a fresh, soft, young goat’s milk cheese that is shaped like a small dome and lightly dusted with vegetable ash. It hails from the ambitious new Loire-Valley-style production facility at Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, where they have been pioneering innovative dairy products for more than 25 years. As the Coupole ages, a slightly wrinkled skin develops, and the paste softens. Approximately 8 oz.

Suggested Pairing:
Saumur Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay, Maybe Viognier

HOJA SANTA:

HOJA SANTA

HOJA SANTA

(OH-ha SAHN-tah)
USA (Texas)/Goat

Hoja Santa was created by legendary cheese maker Paula Lambert, owner of the Mozzarella Company in Dallas, Texas. Paula thoughtfully created a cheese that reflects its origins, as each of these young goat’s milk rounds is wrapped in a velvety, heart-shaped leaf from the local (and eponymous) Hoja Santa plant. The leaf imparts subtle notes of sassafras, anise, mint, and black pepper to this soft, fresh chèvre.
The Hoja Santas are dried and flipped, then left until a few spots of perfectly edible mold grow on the rind. These are aged for much longer than most fresh goat cheeses. This guarantees that the leaf has lost its chewiness and has infused the white paste with a light grassy note. Approximately 5 oz.

Suggested Pairing:
Sancerre, Beer, Pernod!

AFFIDELICE:
(ah-FEE-duh-lees)
FRANCE (Burgundy)/Cow

A washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from the Burgundy region of France; it is very similar to Epoisses, which is made is actually made by the same creamery. Its name, Affidelice, comes from the marriage of two words: affiné (ripe) and delice (delight). Affidelice is soft, with a moist, terracotta-colored rind, and is contained in a small, wooden box.
The maturation process is continued at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center in New York, where they wash the Affidelice with Chablis. The resulting cheese has a soft, pungent, spoonable paste with a satiny texture.

Suggested Pairing:
Chardonnay, especially Chablis;  Champagne, Riesling

HUDSON VALLEY CAMEMBERT:Cheese Plate
USA (Vermont)/Cow

The award-winning Old Chatham Shepherding Company’s Hudson Valley Camembert is a creamy, soft-ripened cheese made from the milk of Old Chatham’s herd of East Fresian sheep combined with hormone-free cow’s milk from a neighbor’s farm.
The result is meltingly smooth and buttery, with the texture of a triple-crème, it has layers of flavor and nuance. Approximately 5.33 oz.

Suggested Pairing:
Champagne, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling

FLEUR DE MAQUIS:
(fluhr doo mah-KEE)
FRANCE(Corsica)/Sheep

Fleur du Maquis is semi-soft, made in Corsica from the milk of the Lacaune ewes.
Its name means “Flower of the Maquis”–maquis being the local term for the typical thickets of rough underbrush where highway robbers and guerrilla fighters used to hang out.  During production, the smallish wheels are encrusted with rosemary, fennel seeds, juniper berries, and the occasional bird’s eye chile.

Suggested Pairing:
Pinot Gris, Beaujolais, Zinfandel

MANCHEGO:
(mahn-CHEH-goh)
SPAIN/Sheep

Manchego is a famous Spanish D.O. sheep’s milk cheese, made exclusively from the milk of sheep grazing upon the plains of La Mancha–the land of Don Quixote! This artisanal Manchego is made from raw milk and aged for several months. The cheese is nutty, sweet, and tangy with a firm texture. After 12 months, the semi-firm cheese becomes tastier, saltier and excellent for grating.

Suggested Pairing:
Quince Preserves + Albarino, Grenache

TALEGGIO:
(tah-LED-joh)
ITALY/Cow

Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese from the Valtaleggio region in northern Italy, near Lombardy. It is characteristically aromatic, yet mild in flavor, and features tangy, meaty notes with a fruity finish. The texture of the cheese is moist-to-oozy with a very pleasant melt-in-your-mouth feel. The combination of the soft texture, pungent aroma, and buttery flavors has proven to be addictive especially when spread on fresh crusty bread.

Suggested Pairing:
Warm Baguette + Chardonnay, Nebbiolo Bianco, Nebbiolo

TERRALUNA:

TERRALUNA

TERRALUNA

UTAH/Cow

Terraluna is produced in Utah from clean raw Jersey cow milk. This firm cheese is in the cheddar family, yet it has an even deeper flavor and a longer finish than most cheddars. The award-winning Terraluna owes its superior quality to the mineral-rich soil where the cows graze, as well as to the fine cheese making skills of its producers.

Suggested Pairing:
Pinot Noir, IPA

PECORINO BALZE VOLTERANNE:
(Peh-co-REE-no DELL-eh BAHLT-zeh VOL-tehr-RAH-neh)
ITALY (Tuscany)/Sheep

A raw organic pecorino from Tuscany and is made with vegetable rennet of wild artichoke. The cheese is aged in oak barrels for 60 days, the rind covered in oak and olive wood ash. This imparts a unique green olive flavor and a long finish. This cheese is firm, toothsome and has a nutty texture.

Suggested Pairing:
Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese

COMTE:
(kom-TAY)
FRANCE (Jura)/Cow

Comté is a firm pressed cheese made from the raw milk of red and white Montbeliard cows in the Jura Mountains of France in Franche-Comté. The cheese is produced in small, cooperative dairies, known as “fruitières” which collect the milk from farms within a maximum of 15 miles radius and only produce cheese in the summer months..
Comté is the most popular DOP cheeses in France, and it is claimed that there are more than 83 distinct flavors in Comté, including mountain flowers, apricot, chocolate, butter, cream, butterscotch and grilled bread. It comes in a 1/3 pound block and is tempting to snack on like a savory candy bar!

Suggested Pairing:
Savoie, White Burgundy, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Bordeaux Blends

GORGONZOLA PICCANTE:
(gore-gon-ZOH-lah)
ITALY/Cow

Italy’s answer to Roquefort, from the region north of Milan. Its rough, reddish rind protects a tender, light yellow, blue-flecked paste that is firm, moist, and buttery. The flavor is sharp and sweet.

Suggested Pairing:
Sauternes, Vin Santo

LA PERAL:

LA PERAL

LA PERAL

(lah peh-RAHL)

SPAIN/Cow & Sheep

A gently blued pasteurized cow and sheep milk cheese from Asturias in northern Spain. Also known as Queso Azul Asturiano, La Peral has been made by the Lopez Leon family since the 1920s. The wheels are aged for sixty days just to the point that the blue begins to develop. La Peral resembles an Italian Gorgonzola. It has a slightly crumbly texture that leads to a refreshing finish on the palate. The sheep milk component gives this firm cheese a little olive oil flavor and a pleasant pungent aroma. Rich, moist, buttery, sharp, salty…

Suggested Pairing:
Atop a Medium-rare burger + Rioja & Other Spanish Reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Port, Amontillado

Spitting with Style

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, currentVintage, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Wine | Posted on 07-06-2011

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We always say that tasting is the best way to hone your palate and learn more about wine…but what about those situations where you don’t want to drink too much, have to drive home or attend a trade tasting with dozens or even hundreds of wines?  Well, you probably oughta spit.

There is, however, an art to spitting–which may seem a little unfair, in that in order to sharpen your wine skills you have to develop your spitting skills, too?!

Well, forget about fair and start developing your spitting style.  There are a few “correct” ways to spit;  some say a slow, steady stream, others say fast and furious.  I find that different methods are necessary in different settings.  While I love having a big sip and letting the wine cover every tastebud, rather than swishing it around like mouthwash, most of the time, a half oz taste is all that is safe when it has to be expectorated with precision.

British Wine Critic Jancis Robinson makes it sound downright regal.  Hers, we will call the “Royal Spit”:

“When it makes sense to spit, you should be proud rather than ashamed to do it. You may associate expectoration with rather seedy old men and pavements, but wine people have perfected the art of doing it with great style. ‘Spit with pride’ might well be the wine taster’s motto. The stylish spit is forceful, an elegant trajectory with not the merest suggestion of a dribble, aimed dead center of the spittoon.”

Royal wave optional.

While the goal here is to illuminate the reasons and methods of spitting, it should be noted that some don’t encourage spitting at all.

Teobaldo Cappellano is considered a legend and one of the last great traditionalist winemakers in Barolo. In 1983, he banished all journalists from his cellar unless they agreed to review his wines without scores.  As a result, he is not very well-known in the United States — but is held in very high esteem in the wine world.  In regard to spitting, Cappellano said, “If there is one thing that makes me crazy, it’s spitters of wine…the ones who taste a wine by rolling it around in their mouths and then they spit it out. I worked my butt off to make wine to drink, not to spit!”

I’ve heard that sentiment from many a French winemaker, too, but that philosophy can be trouble without a wooden leg,  I’m just sayin.

For more musings and demonstrations on spitting, check out these links. At least, if you do find yourself in a setting in which you need to spit, you will be prepared to do so with confidence, if not style.

The Fine art of spitting:

http://www.spinthebottleny.com/spin-the-basics/the-fine-art-of-spitting-2

Clink, Clink…

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Events, Food, Nantucket, travel, Wine | Posted on 25-05-2011

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Cesare Casella and Elisabeth English

Cesare Casella and Elisabeth English

The 15th annual Nantucket Wine Festival has wrapped and the clinking of glassware subsided.  It was 5 wowza days of learning and meeting while having the most fun possible.   Most folks have now boarded a plane or boat to carry them home, while we business owners are working overtime to ready ourselves for Memorial Day weekend.  Where did those 5 days go?  It was kind of a blur…

Opening night at the White Elephant was a brief, but essential 2 hour party featuring Veuve Clicquot.  People were electrified for the start of the festival and elated that the gloomy weather prognosis was wrong, wrong, wrong.  My friend Cesare (Salumeria Rosi, NYC) and I continued the evening at The Pearl, where we had plate after plate of inventive morsels (and glass after glass of Veuve rosé) dining at the bar.  Like Cinderella, I was just barely home by midnight.

Farmstead cheese plate

Farmstead cheese plate

Thursday began with a cheese course for breakfast and 6 glasses of wine.  Perhaps you would call it brunch, in that it was 10am, but breakfast sounds more outrageous and it was my first meal of the day.

I’m all for cheese for breakfast, anyway, but these were special cheeses, selected by Matt Jennings of Farmstead in Providence and Ihsan Gurdal of Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and NYC.  It was billed as an Old World-New World “smackdown”, with Matt representing New World American farmstead cheese.  It was amazing how they each had selected, without prior consultation, plates of contrasting, but complimentary cheeses.  Our table loosely agreed that it was a tie for the most part, but for me, the New World Ascutney Mtn. raw cow’s milk  from Cobb Hill Farm commune in Vermont–golden yellow and rich, caramelized flavors–gave Matt the victory.

la grande dame vcp nwf 2011I followed my cheese & wine breakfast with a champagne lunch.  A rock star champagne lunch, actually, meaning the cuisine of Seth Raynor (Pearl, Boarding House, Corazon del Mar) paired with the champagnes of Veuve Clicquot in an exquisite outdoor setting.  It was the 2nd annual “Nantucket Women of Wine luncheon” hosted by Veuve, and Mother Nature must have been in full favor of the event.  It was a lovely opportunity to connect with other businesswomen from the Nantucket community and luxuriate in  food and wine splendor–French Kiss oysters poached in Grande Dame, Grande Dame-braised lobster and toasted vermicelli…!  Poor Dominique Demarville (Chef de Cave)–he arrived late, newly initiated to the troubles of fog, airlines and island transportation.

Of course, one does not ideally follow these two events by going to work for the rest of the day, but alas, duty calls.  It was a busy afternoon of visits and sales and before I knew it, it was time to pour at the Comte Senard table at the Nantucket Wine Festival Gala.  If I was to be behind one table and taste wines of only one winery for the entire evening, this was where I wanted to be.  One, because Beatrice Senard is so fabulous and chic, and two, because the wines were possibly the best of the night.  Beatrice greeted me with a welcome sip of Bourgogne Blanc and from there, we progressed to the Premier Cru Les Valozieres, and TROIS GRAND CRU….2009 Clos des Meix, 2007 Les Bressandes, 2006 Les Paulands.  What a pleasure!

I did manage to sneak a taste of Alex Gambal‘s 2009 Puligny Montrachet from winemaker Fabrice Laronze en route to our table and also had a night cap of Tim Mondavis 2008 Continuum while noshing on porchetta from Salumeria Rosi.  From there, Mark and I joined Cesare and Lia Tolaini-Banville of Tolaini Estates for a late bite at Lola 41, before continuing on to the obligatory bottle of Veuve rosé at, where else, The Pearl.  I forfeited the Coach in lieu of the Pumpkin, and stopped by the Club Car for a midnight tune at the piano on the way home.

Dominique & Cesare
Dominique & Cesare
Veuve Clicquot & Salumeria Rosi Tasting at cV

Nevertheless, Friday began at 5am, when my feline alarm clock encouraged me to rise.  It was a big day and there were preparations to be made;  we had two major wine events scheduled at currentVintage.  First off, Lia Tolaini-Banville was pouring Terlano “Vorberg” Pinot Bianco plus two Tuscan reds and Cesare was hand-carving 30-month cured prosciutto paired with Petticoat Row Bakery baguettes.  The prosciutto melted in your mouth like none other and the bread was perfectly chewy and delicious.  Next was our Veuve Clicquot champagne tasting and bottle signing with Dominique.  We held the same event last year and all who attended were euphoric over meeting the gentile winemaker and sampling the beautiful wines from his hands in such an intimate setting.  It was one giant photo op, as we took group pictures with Dominique and a 1931 Veuve yellow taxi.  That was last year–this year was a mob scene.  There was hardly time to pop the Grande Dame as festival goers and winemakers packed the house.  It was the largest turnout for a retail store of our size ever, according to Veuve, a testament to Dominique’s popularity and the majesty of Veuve Clicquot.

Dominique with EE in cV

Dominique with EE in cV

What next?  Oh, yes–it was opening night at Ventuno, the new Italian restaurant from the team behind Straight Wharf restaurant and Provisions.  The opening was hotly anticipated as it was in the former location of beloved island institution, 21 Federal.  Although the end of the 21 era provoked nostalgia, and even tears, the new reign offers excitement and imagination in its menu and wine list, both welcome on the Nantucket culinary scene.  It was a who’s who table, organized by Sarah Powers of Kobrand, including Mike Trujillo, winemaker of Sequoia Grove (and a few other prestigious properties), and Chris Silva, the charismatic, fun-loving CEO of St. Francis Winery.  Cesare guided us through the offerings, both food and wine, and we proceeded to order almost everything on the menu, sometimes twice.  Highlights from the intriguing and affordable wine list included the lovely Ceretti Arneis and dry, but layered GrosJean Freres Petite Arvine.  The pasta star of the table was most definitely braised rabbit strozzapretti, although I loved my whole wheat pasta with ramps, morels and ricotta, as well.  Teeth brushed and tucked in just before the clock struck 12.

Joel Gott at cV

Joel Gott at cV

Saturday–let the Grand Tasting begin!  currentVintage had a new location this year, sandwiched between Cain and Frog’s Leap in the cooking demo tent.  We showed our cV Signature RRV/Sonoma wines alongside vintage grape-themed jewelry from the 1930s-70s, both to unanimous (as much as we could hear) praise.  Between the Grand Tasting sessions, we hosted Joel Gott for a tasting & bottle signing of some of his favorite wines.  He threw in a fashion show, modeling western shirts and departing with a new addition to his wardrobe.

Joel Gott in his new old shirt

Joel Gott in his new old shirt

Saturday night, I attended a wine tasting party, featuring Bodega Chacra, Sequoia Grove and St. Francis paired with Pi Pizza and Pappardelle Bolognese from the Pasta Goddess.  Given the preceding 72 hours, I thought almost nothing could dazzle me, but the Sequoia Grove chard, St Francis VV Zin and trio of Bodega Chacra Patagonia Pinots totally wowed.  So did the charming Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, founder of Bodega Chacra and member of the Tuscan family that brought us Sassicaia.  His totally cool vibe and euro-style made it even more of a surprise that he’s crafting exceptional single-vineyard Pinot Noir in the hinterlands of Patagonia from 55-80 year old vines…we might have to go and visit.

The only thing that got me through Sunday was knowing that the next day was Monday.  We had another awesome day at the Grand Tasting and I got around to visit some old friends and savor some new wines, as well.  The grand tasting segued into a Sinskey Family BBQ at the Boarding House, where Rob Sinskey poured his Abraxas and POV and Maria grilled duck sliders.  And just to gild the lily, there was a NWF staff party that night at the Lombardi barn, featuring a veritable feast of roasts and pastas and 200 or so leftover bottles of wine.  I joined briefly to toast the team and sup with Ray Coursen of Elyse, and then, it was homeward to savor it all.


Guess Who’s Coming to the Nantucket Wine Fest 2011?!

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Events, Food, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Wine | Posted on 10-05-2011

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In the vineyard with Tim Mondavi and daughter, Carissa, of Continuum

In the vineyard with Tim Mondavi, daughter Carissa, and Bayla of Continuum

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO THE NANTUCKET WINE FESTIVAL 2011?!

Oh, how we love the Nantucket Wine Festival…the annual ritual of welcoming old friends and making new ones—meaning, of course, people AND wines.  We’ve made many friends at the NWF through the years, and brought other friends to the event, both luminaries and patrons.  This January, Mark and I had the distinct honor of meeting Tim Mondavi and luring him to be the Nantucket Wine Festival Luminary of the Year.   His legacy as the winemaker for Robert Mondavi is laudable as is his impressive new label, Continuum Estate, and its commitment to excellence in winemaking.  Continuum makes “a single red wine produced with clarity of focus at the highest quality level”, a blend of varieties from the cabernet family, and aspires to the level of a first growth Bordeaux.

We have in stock or can order wines from any of these producers, including Continuum Estate.  Our selection is all the more compelling due to the inclusion of  these esteemed makers.  Offered here are some photos of the many friends of currentVintage–on both our turf and theirs.

Lunch with Tim and Carissa Mondavi

Lunch with Tim and Carissa Mondavi

Alex Gambal in Beaune

Alex Gambal in Beaune

Sean Larkin in currentVintage

Sean Larkin in currentVintage

Jack Larkin of Jack Larkin

Jack Larkin of Jack Larkin in cV

with Don & Joanne of Shibumi Knoll

with Don & Joanne of Shibumi Knoll

John Arns and Sandy Belcher in currentVintage

John Arns and Sandy Belcher in currentVintage

with Ray Coursen at Elyse

with Ray Coursen at Elyse

Sonoma Coast lunch with David Hirsch

Sonoma Coast lunch with David Hirsch

Maria and Rob Sinskey

Maria and Rob Sinskey

Tyler Thomas, Donelan winemaker, at Cyrus

Tyler Thomas, Donelan winemaker, at Cyrus

Michael & Fiona Ragg of Mischief & Mayhem at cV

Michael & Fiona Ragg of Mischief & Mayhem at cV

Michel Anglada of Anglada-Deleger, in Beaune

Michel Anglada of Anglada-Deleger, in Beaune

Domaine Comte Senard in Aloxe-Corton

Domaine Comte Senard in Aloxe-Corton

with Kristen at Newton

with Kristen at Newton Vineyard

Hourglass

Hourglass

Seminar with Elton Sloane of Robert Craig Winery

Seminar with Elton Sloane of Robert Craig Winery

Andy Peay pouring for me and Ziggy the Wine Gal

Andy Peay pouring for me and Ziggy the Wine Gal

Palmaz

Magnificent Palmaz winery

Big Bottles at Miner Family

Big Bottles at Miner Family

Cesare Casella, Chef-Owner Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto, NYC

Cesare Casella, Chef-Owner Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto, NYC

Where We’ve Been…

Posted by admin | Posted in California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Events, Fashion, Food, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Vintage, Wine | Posted on 27-04-2011

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*Napa*Sonoma*San Francisco*Carmel*Santa Barbara*Ventura*Pismo Beach*Santa Monica*Palm Springs*LA*Boston*New York* *Montreal*Greenville*Charlotte*Asheville…

60+ Days on the fly!

vintage finds, wine discoveries, dining, family, friends, fun


It’s A Wonderful Year…

Posted by admin | Posted in Burgundy, California Wine, Culture, currentVintage, Events, Fashion, Food, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Vintage, Wine | Posted on 01-12-2010

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beth o:sOnly one month to go in 2010, but the year is already overflowing with wonderful times, great adventures, fabulous memories.  The last eleven months have been filled with annual traditions (Daffodil Day, Nantucket Wine and Film Festivals) as well as travel, friends and new experiences.

cV continued to get a lot of press and was featured in a gorgeous 6-page spread in Cape Cod Life.  There were numerous trips…California, NYC, St John, France…and we launched our signature cV wines, including our 2008 currentVintage “Boschetti Vineyard” Pinot Noir.  There were wine tastings, photo shoots, and VIPs–the store practically  pulsated with energy and inspiration!

Most importantly:  I got engaged (!), then, currentVintage had its first store engagement (he proposed to her in cV!) and, our little Rosie (*star employee*) got married.

Here’s a look at a few highlights…

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Our first proposal at cV!

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She said "I do"! Congrats Brendan & Kate!

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Rosie & Ivan got married!

md proposes

Getting engaged at the Wauwinet...

proposal kiss

...on our 8th anniversary!

DOLLS 2010 EE PJ SB hug

11th Annual Lingerie Fishing Tournament

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Wendy Schmidt & Co at Petticoat Row

EE & DD vcp

Dominique Demarville of VCP!

ee raft st john

Content at Caneel Bay

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Stylist Julie Biondi (ctr) & friends

girls&doug

cV models in Cape Cod Life

MLK GLIDE 2010

MLK Jr Day at Glide in San Fran

Kate pierson

B-52s Kate Pierson in cV

ee kf cfd

modeling Cheryl Fudge (who just opened a store in Santa Monica)

Sarah Teal Ott better?

Actor Sarah Fraunfelder modeling for cV

ee chevalier montrachet

Burgundy:)

clos du roi

Many a Grand Cru...

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with LA Lifestyle Chef & "Food to Flowers" Author, Lulu Powers

M&M cuddle

Meursault & Margaux

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NFF Party with Kim Corkran of Cape Air, Kate Brosnan & Tom Scott of Plum TV, Caterer Susan Warner

Randy & NAncy, ee grammys

going to The Bazaar in LA, Pre-Grammys

Superica window 2010

La Superica in Santa Barbara

ee kosta browne

with Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne

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cV Signature Wines launch at Nantucket Wine Fest

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Michael Ragg of Mischief & Mayhem, Burgundy

ee rs daffy 2010

Daffodil Day

ee ch vanderbilt

at The Vanderbilt in Newport