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Sipping with Dan Panella, Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi

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Sipping with Dan Panella, Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi

The Panella family has been rooted in the agricultural industry in Lodi, California, since 1936, first as owners of a trucking business and later as grape growers. In 2004, the family purchased historic Oak Farm. Its original owner was Baltimore native, William DeVries, who came to California to seek his fortune during the 1849 gold rush. While Devries did not find his pan of gold, he did make a small fortune as a merchant and bought the property in 1860. His large white colonial house remains on the 70-acre estate, as are the majestic oak trees that inspired the farm’s […]

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Sipping with Marc Perrin, Famille Perrin

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Sipping with Marc Perrin, Famille Perrin

Famille Perrin, owner of Château de Beaucastel in Chateaneuf-du-Pape, has been making wine in the Rhône region of France for centuries.  The family has practiced organic farming since the 1950s and biodynamic farming since the 1970s.  Marc Perrin, fifth generation winemaker, recently sat down with us to taste the latest release of La Vielle Ferme, the family’s top-selling wines from the Luberon in the southern Rhône. We were familiar with La Vielle Ferme’s white, red and rosé still wines, which are all solid quality-for-value wines for everyday enjoyment, but we had not tried tasted the brand’s new sparkling wines. Perrin told […]

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Sipping with Jesse Katz, Aperture Cellars /Devil Proof Vineyards

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Sipping with Jesse Katz, Aperture Cellars /Devil Proof Vineyards

Jesse Katz had a childhood we dream about- traveling with his photographer- father, Andy Katz, around the world. The senior Katz has photographed beautiful vineyards for a dozen coffee table books, as well as album covers for high-profile musicians like the Doobie Brothers and Dan Fogelberg. Inspired growing up around great wines, Katz traded a degree in business for one in oenology. He is now winemaker and co-owner with his father at Aperture Cellars in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The in-demand wines are Bordeaux-style blends that evoke timeless elegance. Katz produces a critically acclaimed 100 percent Malbec wine at Devil Proof […]

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From Cancer to Cured- Chef Steve McHugh’s Inspiring Story

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From Cancer to Cured- Chef Steve McHugh's Inspiring Story

Imagine being diagnosed with cancer at the height of your career. How do you manage to run a restaurant while undergoing an aggressive schedule of chemotherapy treatments? More people than you may realize have lived this experience (including me), but few have opened up about it as frankly as individuals like Chef Steve McHugh. We’re glad McHugh is now in remission from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and thriving as the owner of the San San Antonio restaurant, Cured at Pearl, located in the city’s custling culinary center, also home to the Culinary Institute of America’s southwest campus. Opened in 2012, three years after McHugh’s cancer […]

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Miami On and Off the Beach

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Miami On and Off the Beach

Just about now watching the snow fall steadily all day and awaiting another deep freeze on Thursday, we look at each other and say, “At least we had Miami.” If you live anywhere in this week’s polar vortex, you know what we mean! We celebrated New Year’s in Miami Beach. Actually, we were off the beach more than on it, catching up with friends and trying local restaurants. If you go, make sure to visit the Wynwood Arts District and take in the colorful street art and local cafes. That’s where we caught up with Chef Norman Van Aken at Three at Wynwood Arcade. We […]

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The Story Behind the Name: Four Roses Bourbon

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The Story Behind the Name:  Four Roses Bourbon

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for roses. My maternal grandmother’s name was Rose. My maternal grandfather created a rose garden in his back yard in tribute to my grandmother. I used to love to wander the garden and smell the different roses. My late father would bring my mother a single rose every Friday during their 52-year marriage. The day of his funeral, a Friday, David Ransom presented my mother a single rose at the memorial service to continue the tradition.  My mother always has a vase of fresh roses in my bedroom when I visit […]

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Tuscany Less Traveled: Hidden Wine Gems from Western Tuscany #RoadTrip

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Tuscany Less Traveled: Hidden Wine Gems from Western Tuscany #RoadTrip

When thinking of Tuscany and its wines, a few regions immediately come to mind, like Chianti Classico, where the most sought-after wines of the eight classified Chianti regions are produced; Montepulciano, home to the famous Vino Nobile wines, and of course, Montalcino, where Brunello is produced. Yet, aside from these three well-known regions, there are many smaller areas in the Tuscany  producing wonderful wines that are worth seeking out. The Connected Table recently went on a road trip, zig-zagging through the backroads of Tuscany’s west side and found a number of producers making wines the equal of their more famous […]

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Chattanooga Chews- The Connected Table #RoadTrip

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Chattanooga Chews- The Connected Table #RoadTrip

Chattanooga, Tennessee used to be a backwater for restaurants, but now it’s hopping. Whitebird at The Edwin Hotel, part of The Autograph Collection, is near the Hunter Museum of American Art and scenic Riverwalk. The hotel’s Whiskey Thief bar has become an evening hotspot. We celebrated David’s birthday lunch with fried chicken drizzled with honey, served with a giant Cruze Dairy buttermilk biscuit at Daily Ration.                     We noshed on and spicy okra chips, burnt romaine salad and wood-grilled salmon at Lawton Haygood’s Sidetrack. Haygood, who has been a guest on The Connected Table Live, also owns Sugar’s Ribs and The Boathouse, one of our favorite places to […]

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Life of the Party- A Pinot Grigio with Personality

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Life of the Party- A Pinot Grigio with Personality

Selecting wine for a party is like inviting the ideal guest: You want someone fun with an easy-going personality who helps bring the party to life and keeps the conversation going without dominating the group. Wine is the same way. As a host, you want to serve a wine that appeals to even your pickiest guests, works with the different dishes being served and is agreeable on the palate. You want it to be tasteful  and within your budget. You want something under $15 that is a quality wine with an attractive and not-too-kitschy label that looks nice on the […]

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Malbec Match Made in Heaven: Alain Dominique Perrin and Michel Rolland

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Malbec Match Made in Heaven: Alain Dominique Perrin and Michel Rolland

One made a name for himself running one the world’s most renowned luxury brands. The other is a world-renowned oenologist. When Alain Dominique Perrin, formerly CEO /Chairman of Must de Cartier and Cartier International, purchased the historic 16th century Chateau Lagrézette in Cahors, France, he tapped Michel Rolland to oversee construction of the new wine production facility. Using his eye for detail and design, Perrin oversaw Chateau Lagrézette’s restoration, and Rolland tended to the vines. At the time (1988) Chateau Lagrézette was still a winery cooperative. Says Rolland, “This was a first for me: to consult for a private client with wines […]

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