Monday, November 29, 2010

Back on the Road

It's been refreshing spending some time back in San Diego, but I'm glad to be packing up the car and heading north in search of some surf and snow. Forecasts are showing a little swath of swell heading towards the central coast this week, and storms dropped several feet of snow in mountains last week. My itinerary thus far puts me in San Luis Obispo today, San Francisco on Tuesday, then Napa on Wednesday. Otherwise, I'm just improvising. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of you not from the United States, Thanksgiving is just another one of those holidays we made up, originally as a harvest celebration. Nowadays, it's basically just a day to think about all the positive things in our lives and be thankful for them.
 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Envirosax - Saving the Earth One Bag at a Time

As most of my friends know, I'm not a big fan of plastic. I know, plastic is pretty much the 21st century building block but it unfortunately isn't very eco-friendly (ever hear of the massive islands of garbage in the gyres of the world's oceans?). Depending on the type of plastic and the environmental conditions, it can take hundreds of years for it to successfully biodegrade. For example, the typical one-use plastic bags used by most retail stores will last 10-12 years. Plus, evidence shows that the biodegradation of plastic not only releases gaseous carbon (greenhouse gas), but also harmful chemicals (including bisphenol A). The introduction of such chemicals into our ecosystem is slowly turning everything, and everyone, to plastic.
 
That's why I was so excited when I heard about Envirosax. Founded by an Australian couple six years ago, Envirosax produces a range of reusable bags aimed at decreasing the use of conventional plastic bags. While they are moving production towards using natural materials and recycled plastic in their RPET series (up to 45% recycled material, mainly plastic bottles), most of their production are made using polyester (few exceptions like their organic series). It seems a bit hypocritical, but not when you look at the numbers; one Evirosax bag is equivalent to over 400 single-use plastic bags over the course of a year.

Another positive benefit of Envirosax is their design. The bags are made to be extremely portable, weighing only 1.4 ounces and folding into a petite 4" x 1.7". This means that people can bring their Envirosax with them everywhere without any 'I left it at home' excuse. Still, the bags have a 44-pound weight capacity and expand to nearly 20" x 17"! On top of that, they have a broad range of cool styles that will match even the most picky dresser. This means that you can use them for more than just grocery shopping; take them to the beach or mall, too.
While the bags may seem a bit pricey (most retail for around $9 a piece), they will quickly pay for themselves in karma points. Plus, proceeds are partially donated to a wide range of environmental-friendly organizations around the world. Surfers will be happy to know that Surfrider Foundation is one of their biggest beneficiaries. In fact, they are partnering with San Diego Coastkeeper to put on 'A Day Without a Bag' on December 16th that is aimed at reducing the use of traditional plastic bags.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Rainy Saturday - SD Wine & Food Festival

After weeks of great weather and clear skies, the first day of rain in San Diego had to fall on Saturday's Grand Tasting event. I didn't expect to see a line of umbrellas stretching all the way to the Harbor House when I arrived just after 11, but I was glad to see that rain or shine, everyone was ready for a great day.
The chefs and wineries didn't let attendees down. Chefs were preparing signature dishes for all as they vyed for the chef of the fest title. Wineries from throughout California, and a few from overseas, poured great wines. Here are a few of my favorites.
Royal India Restaurant provided a lovely chicken mastika with vegetable bharta dish that was quite impressive (I heard a rumor they won).

Buster's Beach House brought their famous Hawaiian style with their Pork Luau over basmati rice and topped with Maui chutney.

Harney Sushi provided two different spoons of goodness to choose from; the beef and shitake mushroom with ginger was awesome (pictured above).  
Bridlewood Estate Winery provided some nice Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Ynez Valley and Monterey County, giving attendees the chance to compare one of each from the different growing regions. I particularly liked their Monterey County Chardonnay (a stainless steel approach with ripe tropical and apple flavors, lower acid than most).

Cinnabar Winery, based out of Saratoga, had some great offerings. Their Bordeaux-style blend, 2007 Mercury Rising, was quite nice (ripe blackberries with a hint of tobacco and chocolate, velvety tannins).

Frogmore Creek had wines from Tasmania on offer, including two Rieslings (dry or sweet) and a Pinot Noir.

Kiamie Wine Cellars was just one of many Paso Robles wineries on hand. Their 2006 Kaimie Kuvee was an interesting blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (complex flavor profile of bright red and black fruit flavors, coffee, and oak, full-bodied and well structured).

Orfila Vineyards and Winery did San Diego's burgeoning wine country proud. I particularly enjoyed their 2008 Estate Viognier (spicy, bartlett pear and apricots with a rich, oily texture).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

San Diego Wine & Food Festival - Grand Tasting Today

It's finally Saturday and even though the weather isn't ideal, I don't think it can put much of a damper on the Grand Tasting Event at Embarcadero Park. Over 700 wines will be poured today, along with numerous spirits and beers. Plus, there will be 70 chefs cooking up their specialties as they compete for the 'Chef of the Fest' title. The event opens to the public from 12-4 PM, but I'm definitely going to head down early so that I can partake in the extra hour of VIP and trade only; there is so much to see in such a short period of time! (photograph from last year's event, provided by Fast Forward Event Productions).
Wednesday night's Wine Rave at Eden was a fun event that had a really positive vibe. The venue's indoor/outdoor flow was great on such a fair-weathered night. Of course, there was plenty of good wine and spirits on hand. There was something for everyone, but I thought that Paso Robles was best represented (several familiar wineries and some not). Here's a few of my favorites from the night.

Sextant Wines had a limited selection of their wines. I particularly enjoyed their 2007 'Holystone' Zinfandel (heavy-bodied but not overly phenolic, dark berry flavors and pomegranate) and their 10Knots 2008 Beachcomber (Rhone-style white with nice floral aromatics, good acid and apricot flavors).

Chronic Cellars was being poured as part of the Soiree (bottle-top glass wine aerator) demonstration. I'd had one of their wines during one of the Cal Poly homecoming events, cool label idea. Their 2009 Sofa King Bueno was easy drinking with blackberry and allspice flavors.

Venteux Vineyards is from Paso Robles as well, but I had never seen them before. All their wines had nice earthy undertones that I loved, particularly the 2007 Starr Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (nicely structured with a good mix of bright strawberry flavors, cedar, and chocolate) and their 2007 'PMS' (Petit Sirah, Mourvedre, and Syrah; lighter-bodied, upfront raspberries and cranberries).

Joseph Carr represented Napa well, particularly with his 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (balanced with good structure, brooding dark cherry and smoke flavors with a hint of vanilla).

Palm Breweries was one of the handful of beer purveyors on hand, offering their Palm Belgian Amber (light-bodied, slightly creamy, with lovely honey and citrus flavors) and their Rodenbach (2-year oak-aged, red-brown beer with slight sweetness and dominant caramel flavors). Check out their website, it's pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Indonesian Paintings

See also: Indonesian Painting II

I just mounted these paintings I brought back from Indonesia earlier this year. It wasn't until Dutch colonization in the 17th century that painting here truly began, though it was quite difficult for Indonesians to afford proper painting supplies or gain invaluable training.
Raden Saleh Sharif Bustaman is credited as one of Indonesia's first real painter. He studied under Cornelius Kruseman and Andres Schelfhout, and became a well-known court painter throughout Europe. Inspired by Raden Saleh's success, Indonesians began to hone their skills and adapt the European romance style of painting to their own experiences.
Today, art and painting is a major part of the Indonesian culture. The Indonesian culture puts a large emphasis on the holiness of the land (think of the people who refused to flee their home aside Mount Merapi and were enveloped in the recent eruptions), which gives even their landscapes an aura of spirituality.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

San Diego Wine Rave Tonight at Eden

Se' Hotel did a great job hosting the San Diego Wine & Food Festival's VIP Kickoff Party this past Sunday. The event was more focused on food and spirits than wine. The chefs at Se' prepared a lovely spread of hors d'oeuvres (I particularly liked the crab cakes) and POM Wonderful cocktails were circulating all night. Barenjager Honey Liquer was the 'secret ingredient', so to speak, of the mixology competition. Only three wineries were pouring,Bernardo Winery (San Diego), Domaine Serene (Oregon), and Hearthstone Winery (Paso Robles), but they provided a nice preview of what the festival will bring.

Tonight should be a fun one at Eden. There will be a lot of wineries pouring, plus some beer and spirits companies like Alma de Agave and PALM Brewery. I'm looking forward to trying the Cotes de Provence collection. This French wine region is best known for its rose wines, though it has recently gained acclaim for its spicy reds. Paso Robles will be well represented at the event as well (Adelaida Cellars, Calcareous Vineyards, and Opolo Vineyards to name a few). The San Diego Wine Rave event runs 7-10 PM, don't forget to get tickets online and use the discount code (JMT10); I'll see you all there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wine & Headaches - So What is it?

So if sulfur dioxide isn't the culprit behind wine headaches, what is? It turns out there are several different causes for wine-related headaches, but scientists have yet to determine all the different compounds involved. Headaches from white wine have yet to have any causes identified, but a handful related to red wine headaches have been (still plenty more unidentified).

The first is an allergic reaction to biogenic amines, such as histamine and thryamine, which cause dilation of brain blood vessels. the higher concentrations of these compounds in red wine are usually not high enough to induce headaches. Nonetheless, with ethanol suppressing diamine oxidase (enzyme that inhibits biogenic amines) and phenolic compounds suppressing phenolsulfotransferase (PST; inactivates biogenic amines and catacholamines), red wine can be the perfect headache storm for some.

Other drinkers may experience allergic reactions to minute amounts of fining agents that may make it into the bottle (fining agents will be discussed in a later blog, but include such products as egg whites). Obviously, these are quite drinker-specific and many argue that concentrations are far to small to cause problems.

Another link has been made to an increased release of prostaglandins, another chemical involved in blood vessel dilation. Again, some people are more susceptible than others. Luckily, there is an easy way to prevent this from ruining your night with a nice bottle of Cabernet; take some prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors! Any over the counter anti-inflammatory such as Tylenol or Advil should do the trick.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Surfrider 2007 Hang Ten Red

George Rosenthal is known throughout Los Angeles County, more so for his entrepreneurial endeavors (he owns several businesses including hotels and movie studios) than for his Malibu estate's wines. That's right, wine from Malibu. People found it strange when Rosenthal began researching and planting vineyards on his expansive estate just over the hills from the famed beach community of Malibu. His dedication brought attention to the Malibu-Newton Canyon, which earned American Viticultural Area status in 1996, just ten years after Rosenthal's first plantings. Today, the property is home to over thirty acres of grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Along with their handful of estate wines, they also produce a handful of wines from grapes sourced from other areas in California, including those bottled under the Surfrider label. Proceeds from these wines are partially donated to the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization "dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves, and beaches" that maintains chapters around the world.

Winery - Rosenthal - The Malibu Estate
Location- Malibu, California
Wine - Surfrider 2007 Hang Ten Red
Varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc
Appellation -California
Alcohol - 15.3% v/v 
Price - $29 USD 


Nose/Aroma - Cherries and burnt oak.
Palate/Flavors - Cherries, red currants, coriander, and old wood. Rather mouth-filling with good phenolic structure. Big wine but not overly bitter or astringent.
Food Pairing - Rigatoni with eggplant-tomato sauce.
Comments- Pretty tight, should mellow out nicely with a little bit of cellar time. I had a glass straight after opening, then decanted the rest for about a 30-40 minutes which allowed it to open up quite well. Good wine for a good cause!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wine & Headaches - Don't Blame Sulfites

One of the most common complaints I hear about wine consumption is its relationship with headaches. There is in fact little or no correlation between the two, though it seems often white wine drinkers proclaim that "sulfites in red wine give them headaches". Sulfite (sulfur dioxide) is a rather common preservative that is used not only in both white and red wine, but in a variety of other food products such as dried fruits and vegetables (including jams and preserves), shellfish, soy products, processed cheese, and bread products (pizza crust, tortillas, etc.).

The World Health Organization has established the acceptable daily intake of sulfites to be 0.7 mg/kg of body weight (0.32 mg/lb), and some studies have shown individuals consuming up to 400 mg of sulfites per day for several weeks with no adverse health effects. In fact, humans intake far more sulfites from food products than from wine, which contains only 10 mg/L on average (the International Organization of Vine and Wine puts the maximum sulfite level in wine at 350 mg/L).

That being said, some people are actually allergic to sulfites and will experience adverse effects from their intake. The most common reaction in those affected are asthma attacks, though there are instances were people will experience hives, angiodema (swelling and redness of the skin), or even anaphlyaxis. In some very rare instances, people are born with the inability to metabolize sulfites to sulfates (a conversion completed rather rapidly by most people's bodies), but this disease is extremely crippling and those suffering this problem rarely reach adulthood.

So next time you hear someone complaining that wine gives them a headache, you can tell that it certainly isn't the sulfites.

Continue to read Wine & Headaches - So What is It?.

Friday, November 12, 2010

San Diego Wine & Food Festival 2010

 The San Diego Wine & Food Festival is Southern California's largest wine and culinary event, drawing over 9,000 attendees and showcasing over 70 of San Diego's best chefs alongside 170 wine, beer, and spirit vendors. Celebrating its seventh year, the festival starts this Sunday, November 14th with the invite-only VIP Kickoff Party at Se' Hotel. But don't worry if your invitation didn't come in the mail, this is only the beginning of the week-long festival that includes wine tasting and cooking classes, winemakers dinners, and auctions (check out all the events available here).
The week really starts (well, starts for non-VIPs at least) on Wednesday the 17th when Eden hosts the San Diego Wine Rave. The newly opened Eden Restaurant will close its doors to all but 500 guests for this unique event organized primarily for younger wine drinkers. Over twenty wineries, plus a handful of beer and spirit vendors, will provide plenty of exciting beverages which will be accompanied by some tasty treats provided by chef Scotty Wagner's kitchen (Scotty picture above on right). The Wine Rave runs from 7-10 PM and costs only $45 if you order in advance (use the promotional code JMT10 for a 10% discount!). Make sure and get your tickets early as space is limited and this should be a fun night.
The classes and dinners are all scheduled on Thursday and Friday. The cooking classes (ranging from $45 to $85) feature local and celebrity chefs preparing a series of dishes with instructions and recipes provided. I think the 'Gourmet from a Can? Absolutely' and 'A Taste of South America' classes sound quite intriguing. The wine tasting classes (ranging from $55 to $125) sound pretty interesting as well, particularly the 'Master Sommelier Blind Tasting' class held by Joe Spellman. It will teach attendees how to identify wine varietals and styles following the Court of Master Sommeliers' tasting format.
After a week full of food and wine, everyone's palates will be ready to enjoy the jewel of the festival on Saturday the 20th, the Grand Tasting Event. Embarcadero Marina Park North is an awesome location, giving attendees a great view overlooking the San Diego Harbor. Of course, the view isn't what fills the park to its 3,000-person capacity; 70 of San Diego's best chefs, 30 gourmet food companies, and 170 wine and spirit purveyors provide guests with more than enough to eat and drink from 12-4 PM (11-4 PM for VIPs, trade, and media). The event seems a bit pricey at $125, but I don't think there will be any unhappy customers after enjoying all the goodness on hand. Plus, there will be live music on two different stages. Once I have a better chance to review the long lists of who's pouring and who's exhibiting, I'll post some of my favorites to make sure and visit. (photos shown from last year's festival; provided by Fast Forward Event Productions).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beautiful Sunset in San Diego

As fall continues to transition into winter, the sun sets earlier and earlier (not to mention that we're back on Standard Time). Fortunately, this doesn't affect how beautiful San Diego's sunsets are. It seems like there is always a decent crowd of people at the beach here at dusk; can't really beat a nice sunset and a glass of wine after a long day of surfing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wattle Creek 2006 Yorkville Highlands 'The Triple Play'

The Williams family purchased their 56-acre Alexander Valley property in 1994, beginning their venture into the California wine industry. Just four years later, they purchased over 500 acres in Mendocino's Yorkville Highlands AVA. Wattle Creek Winery focuses on producing the best wines possible from these two areas, selling any wine that doesn't make the grade off on the bulk market. Their portfolio is diverse, ranging from Chardonnay and Muscat Canelli to Malbec and Petit Sirah. Their 'Triple Play' is a Rhone-style blend composed of 95% Syrah, 3% Petit Sirah, and 2% Viognier.
Winery - Wattle Creek Winery 
 Location- Cloverdale, California
Wine - Wattle Creek 2006 Mendocino 'The Triple Play'
Varietals - Syrah, Petit Sirah, Viognier.
Appellation - Mendocino County
Alcohol - 14.3% v/v 
Price - $20 USD 

Nose/Aroma - Violets, tobacco leaf, and red fruit.
Palate/Flavors - Cooked cranberries and boysenberries with clove and a slight smokiness. Medium body, Med-high acid and bitterness, low astringency. Medium finish of licorice and pipe tobacco. 
Food Pairing - Chicken dumpling soup.
Comments- Bitterness makes it slightly unbalanced, but all-in-all nice wine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Summer Weather, Winter Waves

I arrived back in San Diego in the beginning of July after my travels in Indonesia and New Zealand, excited to enjoy a couple months of summer. Unfortunately, I joined the rest of southern California surfers suffering through a dismal season of flat conditions that seemed to last forever. While a handful of days were blessed with good waves, summer bled into fall without the usual increase in swell consistency and size. After four months of waiting, everyone was ready when the waves finally came.
Forecasters saw the writing on the wall (red on the weather map) well in advance of November 3rd. Of course, this meant surfers were well informed. The convergence of two large low pressure systems in the Gulf of Alaska couple with a massive high pressure system sitting on the coast of California meant big waves and clean conditions.
With most of my surfboards broken due to a road trip along the Central Coast the prior week, my wave-riding choices were limited and not ideal. I awoke early on Wednesday the 3rd, tossed two surfboards and a wetsuit in my car, and anxiously drove to the beach. It was already 80 degrees (27 degrees C) and felt like the middle of summer. The warm, clear weather coupled with light offshore winds foreshadowed epic conditions. As I approached the beach, a double overhead set crested and peeled down the reef. Summer weather, winter waves.
Plenty of surfers were ready to get their share, and plenty of photographers were on hand to catch every moment of the action. Of course, the ocean was ready to fight back, and a handful of surfers came ashore with proof (one unlucky surfer pictured below). After checking a few spots and debating my limited surfboard choices, I joined the lineup at a fickle reef (all pictures above) on my 5'8" single-fin. I surfed for several hours before the tide dropped out, exposing the shallow reef and rendering the waves unsurfable. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Valley of the Moon 2007 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Valley of the Moon Winery is one of Glen Ellen's oldest facilities, dating back to the late 19th century. After changing ownership several times in its history, Heck Estates purchased Valley of the Moon in 1997; they revamped the winery, introducing new, state-of-the-art winemaking equipment while maintaining the historical ambiance. Focusing on fruit sourced from Sonoma County, their offerings include Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Port.
Winery - Valley of the Moon Winery
Location- Glen Ellen, California
Wine - Valley of the Moon 2007 Sonoma County Zinfandel
Varietals - Zinfandel, Petit Sirah
Appellation -Sonoma County
Alcohol - 14.5% v/v 
Price - $17 USD 

Nose/Aroma - Briar and allspice.
Palate/Flavors - Raspberries and blackberries with a touch of earthiness and pepper. Quite fruit forward, nice acid. Soft phenolic structure.
Food Pairing - Has a certain sweetness to it that would make it nice with dessert; maybe a medley of dark berries with a drizzle of bitter dark chocolate.
Comments- Nice wine, well balanced though it falls off a bit in the end. Great value wine, good everyday drink.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back on Track, Fall Back

The United States has reverted back to 'Standard Time' (referred to as 'Universal Time' elsewhere). This means many people in the US have changed their clocks back an hour, bringing earlier mornings and earlier evenings (surfers will be clambering for waves in the earlier morning instead of trying to squeeze in the evening session).
Referred to as 'Summer Time' in other countries, Daylight Saving Time was originally conceived by Benjamin Franklin whilst living in Paris in the late 18th century. His theory was that energy savings would be incurred if daylight was maximized (in Franklin's time, this meant lamp oil of course). Still, it wasn't until the early 20th century that Daylight Saving Time was introduced into law in Europe. Most countries in northern latitudes implement Daylight Saving Time, and a handful of countries in the southern latitudes do as well. Near the equator where hours of light do not fluctuate substantially throughout the year, countries need not adjust time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

SD Reefs

There are plenty of waves in San Diego, including points, beach breaks, and reefs. When there is swell in the water, waves start popping up in some strange places; I found this wave breaking in southern San Diego, with only one surfer reaping the spoils. The latest NW swell that graced our coast was not only quite large but greeted with near-perfect conditions. Though it was rather short-lived, there were waves to be had all up and down the west coast.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Robert Hall 2007 Paso Robles Merlot

Robert and his wife Margaret purchased their first Paso Robles vineyard in 1995. Now, Hall Ranch is composed of four different vineyards (Home, Terrace, Bench, and Brady) totaling approximately 240 acres that are all Certified Sustainability in Practice. Winemaker Don Brady is crafting wonderful wine from these estate vineyards; their offerings include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Grenache, Merlot, Orange Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Port, and several different blends and reserves.

As an ambassador for the Paso Robles wine industry, Robert has worked hard to build acclaim for the region. Despite being less than ten years old, Robert Hall Winery's desire for excellence has not gone unnoticed. Just a few months ago, they were recognized as the Golden State Winery of the Year, awarded by the California State Fair Wine Competition where Hall's ten wines walked away with five "best of class" awards, three gold medals, and seven silver medals. Robert Hall wines can now be found throughout the United States and several countries worldwide.
 
Winery - Robert Hall Winery 
Location- Paso Robles, California 
Wine - Robert Hall 2007 Paso Robles Merlot 
Varietals -Merlot, Cabernet Franc 
Appellation -Paso Robles 
Alcohol - 14.5% v/v 
Price - $18 USD 

Color - Dark ruby red. 
Nose/Aroma -Boysenberries and black pepper. 
Palate/Flavors - Complex flavor profile. Boysenberries and raspberries with a certain earthiness. Spice and cedar oak chips. Low acid and bitterness with a bit of astringency towards the end.  
Food Pairing - Maybe a nice burger topped with cheddar and bacon. 
Comments- I didn't particularly like this wine straight away, but it opened up well after decanting for a half hour or so. Probably needs a bit longer in the cellar; all and all, this is a lovely wine.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Indonesia Needs Your Help

Indonesia is one of the most populated countries in the world, but it seems its people just can't catch a break. Last week, Java's Mount Merapi erupted for the second time in just five years. This eruption killed over 30 people and sent thousands fleeing their homes. Scientists believe another eruption is imminent, and the next one could be far worse as pressure continues to build inside the volcano.

Just hours later and several hundred miles away, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra sent a 10-foot tsunami (or several, according to eye-witnesses) crashing over a handful of remote islands in the Mentawai archipelago. The small villages here were all but destroyed, leaving over 400 people dead and 300 people still missing. The 13,000 survivors are in desperate need of help, and the Indonesian government is struggling to deliver limited supplies in rough ocean conditions. Worse still, these supplies will barely be enough to keep survivors alive; this poverty-stricken region and its people needs as much help as they can get.

As any surfer knows, the Mentawai islands are a major surf travel destination that many would argue is home to the best surf in the world. SurfAid International, a non-profit organization established in 2000 to help the people of Indonesia (specifically those in the Mentawais), has set up a donation link on their website for this disaster. Please donate whatever you can to this cause. You can even sign-up for a membership and get some free gear.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cal Poly 2008 Mustang White

Cal Poly added two new wines to its portfolio in 2008, the Mustang White and the Poly Royal Red. As the first two wines released from the 2008 vintage, they are both showing quite well. The Mustang White was added to compliment the popular Mustang Red; it's a blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris that pairs great with a variety of foods.

I'm glad that I was able to participate in the CPAA wine tasting this past weekend at Cal Poly's Homecoming. My friend Tony and I poured the 2008 Mustang White and 2007 Mustang Red for a larger than expected crowd, who thoroughly enjoyed both. The remaining 2008 wines' (Chardonnay, Mustang Red, Pinot Noir, and Syrah) release date has been pushed back until early 2011; I'm excited to share and enjoy them with everyone. Thus far, the four wines have received twelve medals in four competitions.

Winery - Cal Poly Wines
Location- San Luis Obispo, California 
Wine - Cal Poly 2008 Mustang White
Varietals - Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris
Appellation - San Luis Obispo
Alcohol - 13.1% v/v 
Price - $14 USD 

Color - Straw gold.
Nose/Aroma - Sour apple.
Palate/Flavors - Apricot, melon, and apple complimented by nice minerality. Crisp acid structure that fills the mouth, then fades into a short finish of bartlett pears. 
Food Pairing - Fresh bruschetta: ciabatta bread topped with olive oli, balsamic vinegar, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, and green onions.
Comments- Great food wine, pairs well with a variety of dishes. These and other aromatic varieties perform well in the Edna Valley, and I think this wine showcases what the future holds for this young appellation.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Morning in el Moro Elfin Forest

I took these photographs on an early morning walk through the El Moro Elfin Forest last week. Located on the southerly side of Morro Bay, this small 90-acre natural preserve supports over 200 species of plants, 100 species of birds, 20 species of animals, and 10 reptiles and amphibians in eight distinct environments.