October 2007 Archives

Ready, Sip, Go!

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By Courtney Cochran

Laggards waiting for a good reason to hightail it up to Mendocino no longer have an excuse for staying away, since with the October opening of Mendo maven Bernadette Byrne's highly anticipated wine bar and tasting room, Sip Mendocino, travelers can now sample the bounty of some of the area's best small producers, all in one place.

The first collective tasting room in the area, the Hopland-based wine bar and retailer offers more than 100 wines from small and hard-to-find producers, many of whom Byrne met during her tenures as President of the Mendocino Vintners Association and Executive Director of the Mendocino Winegrowers Alliance.

But Sip isn't just about wine: Oeno-weary travelers will be thrilled with Byrne's excellent selection of local micro-brews, too. Drop in for one of the spot's weekly Thirsty Thursdays tastings to sample single-vineyard wines and other specialties, all poured alongside a refreshing dash of Byrne's trademark Mendo hospitality.

So you see - there's really no excuse not to go. Sip to it.

13420 S. Highway 101, Hopland, CA 95449 (707) 744-8375

Scent & Scent Ability

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It's no one's fault when a wine you uncork has a fault, so why do you always feel so icky when you nab a bad bottle? A new installation at Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts aims to help us get over our discomfort with common wine faults like the dreaded spoilage yeast "Brett" by way of a new self-service station where visitors can sample tainted wines. For $1 per one-ounce taste, participants can smell and swill four faulty wines en route to a better understanding of what's to blame when your Margaux smells like something that's decaying in Aunt Mildred's attic.

Novelty aside, whether or not your knowing that the wet cardboard smell wafting from your glass (you'll learn that's the yucky compound TCA, or "trichloranisole") makes the experience of scoring a bad bottle any less unpleasant is still up for debate.

Open Wed. through Mon. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., closed Tues. - 500 First Street, Napa, CA 94559 * Copia.org - (707) 259-1600

Contributed by: Courtney Cochran

Diary of a Crush: Part 3

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courtneyCochran_profile.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Day 3 - Saturday, Sept 22

We rose at five the next morning to pick Kenny's Zin. As I emerged from the guest room I was greeted with a large mug of coffee and pressing questions about how much beer I thought we would need when we finished picking. Unable to think with perfect clarity at that hour, we all agreed to err on the side of "more is better." Amply plied with caffeine and with our beer in tow, we departed a few minutes before 6, giddy with excitement about what was to come.

Diary of a Crush: Part 2

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courtneyCochran_profile.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Day 2 - Friday, Sept 21

Friday dawned crisp and cold in the Russian River, where I was staying with Kenny and his family. Although Kenny had left for the winery before 6 to supervise early morning harvest-related activities, I'd been given the go-ahead to sleep in and catch up on a few emails before heading out to meet him. I wondered briefly if the folks back home would call me a fair-weather-crusher for sleeping in, then got over it: I wasn't on payroll here, after all.

Besides, the dreary weather wasn't exactly welcoming at the crack of dawn. It registered to me at that moment that you have to seriously love what you're doing to work until 10, then rise again at five to head out and do more of the same - in icky weather, at that.

Diary of a Crush: Part 1

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By Courtney Cochran

f I'd kept a diary as a teen, it surely would have chronicled many a crush. After all, the anthem of adolescence is, without a doubt, unrequited love.

But, given my current profession (and age, I must grudgingly add), crushing has everything to do with wine, and little to do with romance. Unless, of course, you believe the general splendor of wine country nets it a spot in the romance category, in which case you might make an argument that this diary chronicles an adult crush of a very serious nature.

However you see it, read on for the story of an exciting adventure in crushing.

Drink correctly:

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by Robert Farmer

So I’ve never been a huge subscriber to the "what wine goes with what food" school – I’ve always been a believer that if it tastes good and you enjoy it whatever you happen to be eating. But I am also aware that the equation will only get you so far, and in many cases the “right” wine not only pairs well with certain foods, it can also make that food taste better and more enjoyable. The vice-versa is of course true, too. Because tons of people aren’t like me (sadly), there is a great service available that helps take the guesswork out of pairing wine and food. And now, that service is available online. The intrepid folks at Wine That Loves custom bottle wines expressly intended to pair with specific foods and put that recommendation right on the label. For instance, "Wine That Loves.... pasta!" It's a brilliant concept and they've now gone digital. So the next time you're flummoxed by fish or stymied by steak, check out www.winethatloves.com and pair with confidence.