WineCountry Staff: February 2008 Archives

Top 10 Spring Break Escapes

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springwine.jpgDaydreaming of warmer weather, sunny skies and tasting the new releases of Spring? Wine releases that is! Imagine indulging in the new red and white vintages, touring through budding vineyards, driving over sun drenched hillsides, taking in coastal views and feasting on fresh seasonal menus. recommends these unique limited-time escapes for your adult Spring Break.

Top Ten Class Acts for Valentine's Day

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romance.jpgby Courtney Cochran

Here at, we heart wine country romance, no doubt about it. So whether your idea of the perfect recipe for romance among the vines involves whale watching in Mendocino, tucking into a feast of truffles in Healdsburg or taking tango lessons in Temecula, we've got you covered, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Much Ado About Matching

Master of Wine Peter Marks will conduct a tasting of Valentine's-appropriate wines paired with chocolates at San Francisco's swank wine destination, Cellar360 ( ), on February 16th. Wines to be tasted include a pink sparkler from Down Under, a Zin and several sweet wines, all of which will be matched up with cocoa-themed nibbles prepared by Cellar360 Culinary Specialist Kasey Passen. Tickets run $45 apiece, and space is limited.

Merlot Fights Back

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A stunning new Merlot helps dispel the varietal's bad rap

by Courtney Cochran

Ever since Sideways' curmudgeony wine geek Miles dismissed Merlot as something he'd rather skip a meal over than swill, Merlot's been suffering under the blight of crashing sales and a seriously downtrodden image.

In fact, the backlash against the varietal has been so bad that Swanson Vineyards - Napa Valley's largest producer of estate-grown Merlot - recently launched a PR campaign called "Merlot Fights Back." Their message? Don't diss the misunderstood varietal just because a fictional down-on-his-luck oenophile with a penchant for Pinot says it's not worth your time.