Gina Dallara: September 2008 Archives

A Pairing of Wine and Livermore

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livermore_TastingRm2.jpgBy Jessica Beck
As submitted by Tri-Valley CVB

A relationship has transpired over the years between Livermore and the full and vigorous wines of the area. The Livermore Valley serves California as its oldest wine region but what is even more unique and special about the area lies in the connection between the two. Over the decades, a rapport has developed in which one supports the other and one in which each would not be what they are without the help of the other.

In 1997, the city of Livermore adopted the South Livermore Specific Plan which to date has permanently preserved over 5000 acres of vineyards. Livermore has supported the wineries over time and is very proud of the resulting outcome that is now the Livermore Valley Wine Region.

A Vintage Experience - A Taste of Tri-Valley

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livermore_grapeVineyards.jpgSubmitted by Tri-Valley CVB

Livermore Valley Wine Country offers a flourishing expanse of vineyards, vistas and wineries.  From new winemakers to fifth generation winegrowers, the traditions and legacies of the region are thriving.  Visitors looking for the best wine tasting experiences are sure to find that they are looking for in Livermore Valley Wine Country.

Wine Country Itinerary: Monterey

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By Robert P. Farmer
Long gone are the days when grapes inspire wrath in Monterey County. These days, the grapes inspire long conversations about oak and tannins and balance and, well, they just inspire long conversations--often over leisurely dinners among friends at great restaurants. Monterey's reputation as an important part of the California Wine Fabric is a given. With nearly 90 vintners in the county producing wines under dozens of labels and selling their grapes to other winemaker's in the state, it's no longer a secret that great wine thrives in one of California's most picturesque regions. Wine tasting in the county has become a popular pursuit. Many wineries among the region's nine official AVAs have onsite tasting rooms--they are typically low-key, relaxed, and friendly. Still others have opened tasting rooms in Carmel Village and in Monterey. Wherever you happen upon them, it's always a happy discovery.

Wine Country Itinerary: Dundee Hills AVA

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By Robert P. Farmer

When the wine discussion turns to Oregon the discussion usually settles in the Willamette Valley. Though it's far from the state's only wine-producing region worth talking about, it is Oregon's leading wine territory, and is home to some two-thirds of the state's vineyards and wineries and has understandably dominated the topic. There are more than 200 wineries in the Valley, a number that has grown exponentially in the past 20 years. And although the region is often considered as a whole, in fact there are six sub-appellations in Willamette--Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill Carlton. Each is interesting for its own reasons, and to best grasp the complexity and diversity of the Valley, it's best to take each appellation as its own entity. Let's start with Dundee Hills.
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Oregon is of course widely known for its pinot noirs. That reputation took root in Dundee Hills, where the earliest pinot noirs were produced. Today the burgeoning AVA is a destination unto itself, populated of course by great wineries, but also by charming inns and restaurants. All of it--this friendly little slice of Oregon Wine Country--has sprouted atop the very clay and loamy soil that continues to give root to some of the best pinot noirs in America.

Hard Times: Harvest Report 2008

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By Courtney Cochran
Admittedly, California vintners have been through nothing if not the ringer this growing season. Starting with a devastating frost in late March - the worst on record in more than 30 years - that decimated as much as 30% of some vineyards' crop, 2008 has been a year that's tested the mettle of just about everyone close to winemaking in the Golden State, most of all those in hard-hit Northern California. To wit, on the heels of spring's frosts a series of devastating summer fires raged through wine country, causing winemakers to fret still more - this time about the potential impact the abundant smoke might have on their as-yet-unmade wines. Hard times, indeed.

Wine Country Itinery - Russian River Valley

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By Robert P. Farmer

Among Sonoma County's numerous and unique appellations is Russian River Valley. One of the too-often-overlooked regions, in my estimation, this charming bucolic swath of valley terrain is home to more than 100 wineries--each as unassuming as they are impressive. It's also a region known to locals for its great off-the-trodden-path eateries and markets, and where winemakers are as serious about their craft as they are about enjoying life. Russian River Valley enjoys warm summer afternoons and ample coastal fog allowing for a long growing season. A diversity of soil types allows several varietals to thrive, though the Valley.
By Courtney Cochran

Admittedly, Daniel Shanks has an important job. He's the man, after all, who fields phone calls from the Oval Office about which Chardonnay to pour for Queen Elizabeth II (Newton Vineyard Unfiltered Chardonnay, since the winery's British founder was knighted by the queen) and which bubbly to uncork for French President Nicolas Sarkozy (NV Chandon Étoile rosé, since the Napa-based winery is owned by the French). And thanks to a recent report at Bloomberg.com by one Elin McCoy, we now know a whole lot more about the method behind Washington's number one wine man's maneuvering.
By Courtney Cochran

It's official: If one more restaurant, winery or joe-hawking-specialty-wine-tours-in-Napa bloke signs me up for his mailing list without my permission I'm going to implode. Seriously. In fact, the email deluge has gotten so bad of late that I've been forced to take the proverbial pickax to my inbox, ruthlessly unsubscribing to literally dozens of unwanted distribution lists in fits of slash and burn clean-up. In spite of this furor, I have to admit that I still DO occasionally receive the odd piece of unsolicited email which I find - irritating though it is to admit - undeniably useful, at times even intriguing.

Wine Country Itinerary: Paso Robles South

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By Courtney Cochran

There has never been a better time to visit Paso Robles.  As little as ten years ago, the coastal town and its environs - though home to some of the most promising wineries in California - were still relatively undeveloped, with little to offer tourists in the way of entertainment, lodging and dining options.  Not so any more:  today, "Paso" - as the locals call it - is teeming with new restaurants, inns and well-appointed winery tasting rooms catering to the growing number of visitors who choose to make the Central Coast their California wine country destination of choice.

French Youths, Look West!

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By Courtney Cochran

A recent study conducted by Sonoma State University professor Liz Thach revealed a serious problem afoot in France:  French young people aren't drinking wine like they used to.   At a time when American youths (the so-called Millennial generation, encompassing young adults who turned 21 after the turn of the new millennium) are drinking more wine, more often and at higher price points than any of their forebears, French youths are drinking...a lot less than their parents.

Wine Country Itinerary: Temecula

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By Courtney Cochran

A nascent wine region as far as California goes, Temecula has only truly gained speed as a top-notch wine travel destination in the past 10 years.  Today, the region situated 100 miles south of Los Angeles and just 60 miles north of San Diego boasts more than two dozen wineries and a growing number of inns, B&Bs, hotels and restaurants ready to receive visitors who are willing to give So Cal wine country a try.  Most of the area's wineries are conveniently situated along a meandering stretch of Rancho California Road just outside of the city of Temecula, making winery hopping an easy task for travelers. 

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