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Porrera, Priorat, Catalonia, Spain While one can have a wine tour of Spain via the tapas bars of Barcelona (which we most certainly did), nothing beats standing in the vineyard with a winemaker in understanding a wine. Much of our travel to wine regions is appointment driven; each year we go to Napa...

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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

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!

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

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

Do you know what you were really drinking last night?

Posted by admin | Posted in Culture, currentVintage, Food, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, Wine | Posted on 09-06-2010

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Pinot Noir vine CobbThis article ran in The Daily Beast last August and is required reading for anyone shopping in the “2 for $10″ bins.  Most of us can occasionally indulge in a hot dog and conveniently compartmentalize the knowledge that they are made of all sorts of mystery meats and fillers long enough to enjoy a few bites.  Well, you may also be able to do that quaffing the cheap wines, but somewhere in your brain, you should have the facts on what’s really going down the hatch…

Do you know what you were really drinking last night?

The dirty secret about wine is that it frequently contains wood chips, chemicals, and something called Mega Purple…

Most wine bought in the United States cost less than $10 a bottle. Of that price, the winery makes less than $2. A large chunk of that goes to pay for the glass, the labels, and the corks. Another chunk goes to paying for the winery staff, another goes toward taxes… you get the idea. To make any sort of profit, the winemaker has to buy low-quality grapes in bulk and mass-produce the stuff.

Sign at Cobb Vineyards re winemaking--could also refer to wine drinking

Sign at Cobb Vineyards re winemaking--could also refer to wine drinking

Beware what’s in your glass…

If you don’t have time to read the whole article by writer Keith Wallace, founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia,  the moral of the story is this:  If you want to stay away from overly manipulated wine, you may have to change your buying habits.

First, keep your hands out of the bargain bins: Those bottles are there for a reason.

Second, start buying more European wines. Despite the few horror stories, Europeans have much stricter regulations on wine additives than the U.S. or Australia.

food242Ironically, some of the best retail wine bargains are from France and Italy.  The standards of agriculture, quality of viticulture and generations of experience often yield a superior product at a given price point than their international counterparts.  Not insignificantly, many old producers farm organically and biodynamically.  Do you want mystery meat or a grass-fed all-beef frank?  Do you want a $10 bottle of organic Pecorino or a $5 wood-chip flavored chardonnay?  You decide.

Napa, Unplugged

Posted by admin | Posted in Culture, currentVintage, Food, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Wine | Posted on 18-05-2010

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Napa Cadi

Napa Cadi

When traveling, it’s not unusual to wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else, especially if that place is particularly horrible or desirable.  Not surprisingly, when I’m in wine country (which is decidedly desirable), I often wonder what it would be like to live there and I savor any glimpse into the Napa lifestyle.

In the wine trade, a visit to wine country can be punishing, ie  six tasting appointments a day.  Beginning with barrel tasting at 9am (followed by a tour of the vineyard, the tank room, the cave, the tasting room, repeat) and culminating in a lavish dinner of too much food and wine–the day is long.  Multiply that times 7 and you get serious fatigue and more than a few pounds in the course of a week.  My Napa Valley lifestyle would definitely not include six wine appointments a day and would only involve barrel tasting once I had my own winery.  What it would include is some of the amazing food that we have had and which contributes greatly to the quality of life there, as well as weekly mud baths and lots of time hanging with friends and friends’ dogs.

Sunshine Grocery

Sunshine Grocery

I would base myself in Yountville, central to Napa town and Calistoga, for easy access to restaurants and shops.  Imagine arising every morning and heading to  Thomas (French Laundry) Keller’s  Bouchon Bakery in Yountville for a pistachio brioche…Shopping every day at the Sunshine Foods market in St. Helena—choosing which loaf of fresh baked bread and selecting a local olive oil to go with.  For lunch, I would have a BLT from Oakville Grocery every other day, because on the even days, I would be at Taylor’s Refresher for shrimp tacos or a tex-mex burger.  That is, except for Fridays, where I might join the boys—Ray Coursen, John Arns, Herb Lamb—for a bite & bottle at Mustard’s or Redd.  I might even have to have that BLT for breakfast occasionally, in order to fit in all these good places to eat.

Lunch at Taylor's Refresher, St Helena

Lunch at Taylor's Refresher, St Helena

More often than not, nights would be spent at Bottega (in Yountville), rather than the French Laundry.  Not because it’s the best food, but because it’s the most comfortable—and I might not be alone in that assessment, because the place is always packed.  Not, however, in an elbow to elbow way, but in an every-table-is-full way that lets you know Michael Chiarello has hit upon the perfect formula of good food and cozy atmosphere—and on a grand scale, which is hard to pull off in such a big place.  Another indication of Chiarello’s brilliance is that he only marks up the wines the slightest bit and charges a nominal corkage.  Genious!  One can enjoy top Napa wines for not much over retail, or, if you’re a winemaker, bring your own to share with friends.

Lunching, spa-ing, sharing wine with friends–that is my idea of Napa: Unplugged.  As we move into our busy season on Nantucket, doesn’t that sound appealing?!

For inspirational images of the characters that make up the real Napa Valley, check out Bill Tucker’s book, NAPA:  Behind the Bottle.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/42404405@N06/

Bottega

Mark & I with Denis Toner of the Nantucket Wine Fest, and Ray Coursen of Elyse, at Bottega

Guess Who’s Coming to Wine Fest?

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Events, Food, Nantucket, Napa/Sonoma, travel, Wine | Posted on 11-05-2010

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David Hirsch

David Hirsch

David Hirsch in vineyard

David Hirsch in vineyard

Lunch with David and Jasmine Hirsch

Lunch with David and Jasmine Hirsch

The Nantucket Wine Festival Who’s Who:  Alex Gambal, Bertrand Ambroise, Michel Anglada, John Arns, Alis Arrowood, Beaux Freres, Jack Bittner of Cliff Lede and Franz Hill, Chateau d’Esclans, Donelan, Ray Coursen of Elyse, Kristine Ashe Vineyards, Sean Larkin of Larkin, Jack Larkin & Tinknocker, Hall, Hirsch, Hourglass, Jordan, Justin Baldwin of Justin, Carissa Mondavi, Miner Family, Eric Munson of Dancing Bear Cellars, Jorge Ordonez of Fine Estates from Spain, Damaris Colhoun of Landmark, Martin Estate, Michael & Fiona Ragg of Mischief and Mayhem, Pride Mountain, Regan Wines, Comte Philippe & Beatrice Senard, Robert Sinskey, Bill ‘DANCING BEAR’ Bishop of Steele & Shooting Star, Tariquet, Dominique Demarville of Veuve Clicquot, Villa Sparina, Wishing Tree…

These are but a few of the all-star cast that is the 2010 Nantucket Wine Festival, but they, in particular, are near and dear to our hearts.  Some of them you hear about a lot, others fly under the radar.  Most, we sell their wines;  some, we just admire.  All will contribute to a stellar 4-day wine experience–I know, because I’ve spent time with almost all of them!

Just this winter, I was in Sonoma, lunching with David Hirsch and his daughter, Jasmine, at their new home on the rugged Sonoma Coast.  It is a 2+ hour drive from Sonoma, over hill and dale, and thus, we named it “Outward Bound” day.  It was a treat hanging with David, a pioneer of this appellation.  Hirsch makes pure, Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and sells his grapes to others such as Littorai, Failla and Siduri.  His Saturday seminar on “The True Sonoma Coast” will be very worthwhile.

Lunch with the Arrowoods

Lunch with the Arrowoods

We (meaning Denis Toner of the Nantucket Wine Festival, our friend David Kuhn, Mark Donato and I) also lunched with Alis & Dick Arrowood of Arrowood and Amapola Creek in Glen Ellen.  The Arrowoods are a true wine country success story, in that they built up their label Arrowood, sold to Kendall Jackson (who retained Dick as winemaker), and now they’ve started a boutique label, Amapola Creek.

Ray Coursen & Kristine Ashe

Ray Coursen & Kristine Ashe

We had dinner with Ray Coursen (Elyse) at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Yountville and again enjoyed his company at a winter feast in his home with veteran winemakers Sandy Belcher and John Arns, plus newbie Kristine Ashe.  On other nights, we dined with the Donelan Family team at Cyrus in Healdsburg and had a glass of wine with Carissa Mondavi of Continuum.

I’ve visited many beautiful properties, large and small, and having some of these wineries come to Nantucket brings back wonderful memories.  The vineyards and state–of-the-art caves at Hourglass and Hall are stunning and Justin is by far the most luxurious winery to spend the night in (except for, perhaps, Jordan!).  Pride Mountain is also a special property–Its high elevation, straddling Napa and Sonoma Counties offers terrific views and yields tremendous wines.  And in November, we’ll be back in Beaune to see old friends like Alex Gambal, Michel Anglada and the Senards.

Lunching with Michel Anglada in Burgundy

With Michel Anglada at La Ferme de Rolle in Burgundy

Several luminaries I have had the pleasure of hosting at currentVintageEric Munson, Jorge Ordonez and Robert Sinskey have all done store tastings in the past, and this year, we welcome Michael & Fiona Ragg of Mischief & Mayhem and Dominique Demarville, Cellarmaster of Veuve Clicquot.  The Raggs have the distinction of being British winemakers in Burgundy and Demarville made history as the youngest champagne Cellarmaster ever at age 36.

I am such a fan of Bertrand Ambroise and Jack Bittner that I selected the Ambroise Cremant and a Zinfandel from Franz Hill for a spring dinner pairing in a recent issue of Nantucket Today.  Jack is the General Manager of Cliff Lede (where all the parcels are named after rock bands and albums, eg Dark Side of the Moon) and Franz Hill is his own project.  Wines from Shooting Star, Wishing Tree and Domaine de Tariquet are among the value gems of the currentVintage wine collection.

Yes, it’s an all-star cast–Don’t miss these wineries and winemakers at the NWF next week…!

Alex Gambal

Alex Gambal

Alex Gambal is a festival favorite–As an American in Burgundy, he seems sort of like a hometown hero, even though he’s from D.C.  Here is a bit on Alex from a previous cV Lifestyle post:

http://currentvintage.com/blog/2009/09/27/alex-elyse-a-love-story/

Dinner with Kristine Ashe, Ray Coursen and John Arns

Napa dinner with Kristine Ashe, Ray Coursen, John Arns & Elisabeth English

Ray Coursen of Elyse Winery is another NWF regular and was also featured in the above post.  Ray was deservingly honored as NWF Luminary of the Year in 2009.  I had a couple of excellent dinners with Ray in Yountville this winter, including this fun evening with fellow winemakers Kristine Ashe, maker of Entre Nous and John Arns, maker of outstanding cabs from Arns Winery .

Tasting Amapola Creek wines with Alis & Richard Arrowood

Tasting Amapola Creek wines with Alis & Richard Arrowood

Elisabeth at Cyrus with winemaker Tyler Thomas and Tripp and Joe Donelan of Donelan Family Wines

Elisabeth at Cyrus with winemaker Tyler Thomas and Tripp and Joe Donelan of Donelan Family Wines



n of Dancing Bear Cellars with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards at currentVintage

Eric Munson of Dancing Bear Cellars & Eos with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards at currentVintage

Elisabeth with Jorge Ordonez in currentVintage

Elisabeth with Jorge Ordonez (Founder, Fine Estates from Spain) at currentVintage

http://currentvintage.com/blog/2009/09/17/ode-to-jorge/

Hourglass vineyards

Hourglass vineyards

Sean Larkin of Larkin Wines

Sean Larkin of Larkin Wines


http://currentvintage.com/blog/2009/05/27/six-degrees-to-sean-larkin/

Luxurious suite at Jordan Winery

Luxurious suite at Jordan Winery

Amapola plates

Amapola plates 2

Amapola plates2

Amapola plates 1