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A Visit with Bona Frescobaldi, Laudemio Frescobaldi

Bona Frescobaldi is a member of storied Frescobaldi family, whose history in Tuscany dates back over 1000 years and 30 generations, and whose wine estates are world-renowned. She serves as a global ambassador for the family to strengthen international relations. Frescobaldi has made it her life’s mission to support and preserve the art and culture of Tuscany, as well as its agricultural bounty, especially wine and olive oil.

Marchesa Bona Frescobaldi

In 1986, the family created the Laudemio Consortium, the first private Italian institution fully dedicated to expressing the art and terroir of Tuscan olive oil. The family has more than 300 hectares (750 acres) of olive groves and has been harvesting olives and producing olive oil since the 1300s. It wasn’t until 1989 when they produced their first harvest of Laudemio extra-virgin olive oil, a special cru representing the highest expression of terroir and quality.” In the Middle Ages, Laudemio was the name of the best part of the harvest, reserved for the “lord’s table.”

Much like picking grapes, harvesting olives takes place during a carefully monitored window of time in October to capture both the olives’ green color and fresh flavors. The olives are then pressed right after picking within 24 hours in a proprietary mill to ensure the ideal acidic composition and aromatic profile and optimum nutrients in the oil. Frescobaldi manages 100 percent of the entire production process, from plant-picking to packaging to maintain quality control.

Laudemio’s prestigious reputation even has a royal audience. During our conversation, Frescobaldi shared that HRH Prince Charles of Great Britain is a fan of Frescobaldi Laudemio extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over toast. She sends him bottles for his birthday.

 

In addition to her work in wine and olive oil, Frescobaldi is a member of the Friends of Florence, an organization dedicated to preserving and restoring Florentine artifacts; a cofounder of the Committee of the Friends of La Pietra, an association of New York University, whose goal is to maintain and improve relations between Florence and New York. She is also active in numerous civic and social causes around both the arts and women’s health.

What we tasted:

Laudemio Frescobaldi 2018 extra-virgin olive oil, a 30th anniversary special edition packaged in golden bottle that resembles a fine perfume. The olive oil has deep fruit and earthy aromas and flavors with a spicy finish and a deep emerald olive hue Just a few drops drizzled over crusty bread, salad, pasta or chicken is all you need. We even tried it drizzled in plain Greek yogurt for breakfast!

Listen to our SIPS podcast with Bona Frescobaldi on iHeart/iHeart App. Click here:

 

 

 

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Sipping with Amy Hoopes, Wente Family Estates

Joining a tight multi-generational family business can be tough as an outsider, especially when the family is globally recognized for producing a hallmark brand, in this case California wines. But Amy Hoopes, a 20-year wine industry veteran has done it seamlessly as President of Wente Family Estates (Livermore, CA), the oldest continuously operated, family-owned winery in the country.  Hoopes joined Wente Family Estates in 2007 and was named president in 2015. Wente Family Estates celebrates five generations working in the business and 136 years in 2019.

Amy Hoopes, President, Wente Family Estates

She has led many pioneering initiatives for the company and the industry, including #MakeTime, which encourages work-life balance and community volunteerism among Wente’s employees. She discusses how empowering employees to  create a balance between family, self, work and community not only helps build an individual’s personal self-esteem and sense of well-being, but also fosters employee loyalty and productivity.

Mother to two daughters, Hoopes is committed to programs to support women and their career advancement. Wente Family Estates sponsors several programs, including the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Legacy Awards, which provides mentoring opportunities to women pursuing careers in beverage and food.

 

 

The Wente Clone- the “mother grape”

In 1883 Karl Wente purchased 47 acres of vineyards in Livermore. In 1912, Karl’s son, Ernest persuaded his father to import select Chardonnay cuttings from the best vines in a nursery at the University of Montpellier in France. These cuttings gave birth to what is now referred to in the California wine industry as “the Wente clone.”  (a clone being a viticultural term referring to vines descended from cuttings or buds from an original “mother” vine.)   According to Wente’s website, “over 80% of all California Chardonnay stems from the Wente clone.”

What we sipped:

Chardonnay, naturally! Wente Family Estates harvests its Wente clone in four different vineyards in Northern California, each with a different style. We tasted Wente’s Riva Ranch Vineyard Chardonnay 2017, produced from grapes cultivated in its vineyard in Arroyo Seco. The wine has deep tropical notes,  like a light guava jam spread on toast. Great with grilled chicken!

We also tried Niki’s Rosé 2018 made from 100% estate-grown Pinot Noir grapes, also from Arroyo Seco. It’s an aromatic wine with rich raspberry and strawberry notes and touch of mandarin orange. We tend to eat light vegetarian dinners, and this wine, nicely chilled, fit the bill.

The Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is named after one of the Livermore Valley’s most prominent agricultural pioneers, who brought select cuttings from some of Bordeaux’s top chateaux to plant in California. This wine is 79%  Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller percentages of Petite Sirah (9%), Petit Verdot (8%) and Malbec (4%). It’s a velvety wine with dark berry notes and touches of cocoa and black pepper.

Learn more about the Wente story and wine here www.wentevineyards.com

 

Click below to listen to The Connected Table SIPS with Amy Hoopes, President, Wente Family Estates, here.

 

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Sipping with Rita Jammet, La Caravelle Champagne

We’ve known Rita and André Jammet for more than two decades. The Jammet family is a tight-knit clan and are always ready to support their friends in the industry. In 2004, they made the tough decision to close their iconic New York Cty restaurant, La Caravelle, which stood as a standard bearer for timeless French food in an elegant setting for more than four decades (it opened in 1960).  Many wondered if the Jammets would open another restaurant. They left that move to one of their their sons, Nicolas Jammet, who is cofounder of the super-successful healthy dining, quick service chain sweetgreen 

Instead, the senior Jammets reinvented, but without leaving restaurants and hospitality behind. They launched La Caravelle Champagne. Producing  a high-quality, proprietary blend champagne was not a far reach. La Caravelle restaurant had been serving a signature house cuvée, a common tradition among the better French restaurants. In fact, Andre Jammet’s ancestors in France had been blending proprietary wines since the 1700s for their Paris restaurant, Le Bœuf à la Mode, and later for the renowned Le Bristol hotel, which they owned for many years.

Rita and Andre Jammet

Rita Jammet has become the tireless ambassador for the La Caravelle brand. Again, this is nothing new since she was the first to sign up and support many causes and initiatives to support the industry when she and Andre ran La Caravelle (and she still does).  Hospitality and serving the community are in the Jammet’s DNA. Rita Jammet, with Melanie, is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization of leading women in wine and food, and she is active in many other organizations.

As for La Caravelle Champagne, it’s everything you’d want in a classic champagne without paying the higher price of many well-known châteaux labels.

Here’s what we tasted:

Champagne Cuvée Niña: The signature brut is named after one of the Caravelle ships built by Columbus for his voyage to the New World. The multi-vintage cuvée features a blend of 40% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir and 30% pinot meunier, with an elegant floral nose and notes of yuzu, white peaches and gingerbread.

Champagne Rosé: A beautiful salmon pink Champagne blended from the same base as the Niña with the addition of elegant red wines from well-known appellations such as Aÿ and Bouzy. With a floral and red berry bouquet, the rosé evokes hints of cherry almond, pomegranate and fennel.

Champagne Blanc de Blancs: Made with an exclusive blend of the best chardonnay crus harvested primarily from the Côte des Blancs and aged for three years, this complex wine has an elegant bouquet perfumed with white flowers and a refreshing, lively flavor with notes of citrus and rhubarb. Wine Spectator: 91 points

Learn more at www.lacaravelle.com

 

Melanie (center) with fellow Les Dames d’Escoffier members (left to right): Rachel Martin, Oceano Wines; Rita Jammet, La Caravelle Champagne; and Carol Brock, founder of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

 

Listen to our podcast with Rita Jammet on The Connected Table SIPS. This podcast is part our Women Making History in Wine & Spirits series, which also supports Les Dames d’Escoffier. We are expanding the series to include women in food. For information on participation, contact: melanie@theconnectedtable.com

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/209-the-connected-table-sips-27526145/

 

 

 

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Sipping with Rachel Martin – Oceano Wines

Rachel Martin grew up working at her family’s Boxwood Estate Winery in Middleburg, Virginia, which we had the chance to visit in December 2018. Gorgeous place with beautiful Bordeaux-blend style wines. It is well worth a visit.

But it’s what Martin’s doing in San Luis Obispo, California, where she spent much of her childhood, that has been making some waves. With her husband, Kurt Deutsch, an award-winning record and theater producer, Martin launched Oceano Wines in 2016. Its first wine, Oceano Spanish Spring Chardonnay, has already become a hit! In April 2019, the Ocean Springs 2017 Spanish Springs Vineyard Chardonnay ($38) was named “Domestic Wine of the Year” at the 37th Annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge, and it earned a Gold Medal at the Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival International Wine Competition.

Rachel Martin, CoFounder, Oceano Wines

Martin, who earned a degree in viticulture and enology from Napa Valley College and  attended the University of Bordeaux School of Enology, says she set out to make her dream wine when conceiving Oceano- a mineral-driven 100% Chardonnay in the style of a Grand Cru white Burgundy. Oceano’s grapes are hand-harvested from Spanish Springs Vineyard, a SIP -certified vineyard on the slopes of Price Canyon on the southern edge of Edna Valley. Just about one-half mile from the Pacific Ocean, this area is blessed with the sea breezes, warm sunny days and cooler nights- ideal for ripening the grapes.

Oceano Chardonnay is fermented and aged in French oak, and the end result is soft golden wine filled with aromas of  citrus and spring flowers, and flavors of grapefruit and lemon, guava, cantaloupe, pear and vanilla with touch of toasted brioche.

Oceano will release a Pinot Noir this year.

In support of women
A member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Rachel is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and Women of the Vine & Spirits, Martin says her industry icon is vintner, Merry Edwards (who sold her company this year). Martin says, “Merry Edwards is my greatest icon among women in the wine industry. She earned her Masters Degree in Food Science with an emphasis in Enology from UC Davis in 1973. Of three women in her class, she was the only one who became a winemaker. She overcame gender discrimination while pursuing her career, rejecting positions as a laboratory technician, the traditional role of women in the wine industry at that time.”

To recognize women in the wine and spirits industry, we created a special themed series for The Connected Table SIPS called “Women Making History in Wine & Spirits.” Launched in March during International Women’s History Month, this series is ongoing and features women around the world, working in different aspects of the industry. A donation of each sponsored podcast will be made to Les Dames d’Escoffier (New York or International depending o the location of the guest). For information, contact Melanie- melanie@theconnectedtable.com.

Listen to our podcast with Rachel Martin on The Connected Table SIPS here:

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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 name.

The Panellas spent years renovating the property. Third generation farmer, Dan Panella, oversaw the replanting of 60 acres of vineyards in 2012, which grow 14 different grapes. Panella said the focus is on producing estate-grown wines from Mediterranean, American and Bordelaise varietals. “The Mediterranean climate and sandy loam soils provide perfect growing conditions for making our wines,” he noted.

Matriarch Dorothy Panella designed the spacious modern tasting room opened in 2014.  Dan’s wife, Heather, a landscape artist, oversees the grounds. Consulting winemaker, Chad Joseph, a specialist in artisanal grape growing, works with Dan to craft the wines.

What we tasted:

Oak Farm Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. While the vintner used a grape clone derive from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the growing conditions in flat, sandy loamy soil brought out more tropical guava and citrus than kiwi and grassiness. This wine was refreshing without the herbal tang some Sauvignon Blanc wines have. $19

Oak Farm Vineyards 2017 Zinfandel. This elegant, earthy wine had some nice grip and wasn’t overly jammy. A small amount of Petite Sirah added to the soft finish. $25

Oak Farm Vineyards Tievoli 2017.  Zinfandel, Primitivo, Barbera and Petit Sirah augment layers of flavor and complexity that we enjoyed. This is not an everyday ho- hum red blend. Panella noted the wine’s unusual name, pronounced T-VOHLI, spelled backward reads “I Love It.” We loved this wine, too! $22

www.oakfarmvineyards.com

 

Here from Dan Panella, third generation farmer, for Oak Farm Vineyards on The Connected Table SIPS.

Dan Panella

 

 

 

The Connected Table SIPS are short, 6-8 minute podcasts on iHeart, iTunes and other major podcast platforms hosted by Melanie and David. Each custom podcast spotlights a brand, region or individual with engaging storytelling. Let us share your story. Contact melanie@theconnectedtable.com for details.

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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 us his family spent five years developing a process, which he refers to as “mêthode contemporaine,” to produce their sparkling wines which involved introducing CO2 into the wine just before bottling. The result is a delicate effervescence, which Perrin referred to as a mousse of bubbles. For anyone who prefers a tiny-bubbles frizzante-style wines, this is delightful option at a favorable price of $16.99.

Both wines are made from grapes planted in limestone soil, which enhanced their balanced acidity and minerality. Light and refreshing on the palate, both are perfect wines for a casual meal and had us dreaming of outdoor picnics come summertime.  La Vielle Ferme is imported by Vineyard Brands.  Twitter@vineyard_brands

La Vielle Ferme Réserve Rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Pinot Noir that delivers a light whiff of fresh raspberries and strawberries balanced with a touch of grapefruit.

La Vielle Ferme Brut, a 100 percent Chardonnay, rests on the lees with a light consistent battonage, resulting in a soft roundness on the palate with a touch of toasted hazelnut.

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie, Marc Perrin and David enjoy  glass of La Vielle Ferme sparkling rosé.  Listen to our podcast with Marc on The Connected Table SIPS. Click the image below or here: The Connected Table SIPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Vineyards, drawing upon his time working with the varietal in Argentina. Its been referred to as a “cult wine.”

Jesse Katz

Katz’s winemaking pedigree is impressive and includes hands-on experience working at Petrus in Bordeaux, Bodega Noemia and Paul Hobbs’ Viña Cobos in Argentina, and Screaming Eagle, Robert Foley Winery and Lancaster Estate where he orchestrated the building of the new Roth winery, production facility and tasting room. Under his watch, the Roth lined underwent 800 percent growth. Not bad!

Still in his 30s, Katz has 17 harvests under his belt and a few notable accolades, including Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40, Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 and Wine Spectator Rising Star.  His pals Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel asked him to create a special wine for their wedding. Imagine what the future will bring.

Both of the two wines we tasted feature Andy Katz’s photography on the label. It’s art on the inside and out of the bottle.

Aperture Cellars Red Blend  2016 (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 11% Malbec and 7% Cabernet Franc) aged 20 months in 50% new oak. An elegant, balanced wine with complex and deep flavors. These days the term “red blend” can refer to some pretty jammy-style red wines. Not here. This wine is solid sophistication and not liquid candy, but it is a real treat at $50.

Aperture Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot grown in volcanic soils) ages 20 months in 50% new French oak. This wine’s softer tannins and rich fruit deliver ballet slippers rather than a tar heel kick on the palate.  $70

We did not have the chance to taste the wine from Devil Proof Vineyard.  It’s limited release and high demand means it you may want to consider joining their wine club and getting on the mailing list.

www.aperture-cellars.com  www.devilproofvineyards.com

 

 

“Our friend Jesse Katz is one of our favorite winemakers. His new projects prove yet again that he makes the most delicious cult wines in the industry. His wine has been a part of our cellar and enjoyed on countless occasions.”
— Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake

Recently we met with Jesse Katz when he was in New York to record a podcast for The Connected Table SIPS. Listen below by clicking the image or at this link

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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 her in Tennessee. Roses are a symbol of love and, for me personally, for family and for heritage.

A bouquet of red roses welcomed me to Kentucky at the 21C Museum Hotel in Lexington. Details make the difference!

So, naturally I was intrigued by the story behind Four Roses Bourbon, which recently celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2018 by sending us a baby rose-bush to plant. Coincidentally, our garden had just three blooming rose bushes. Now, it has four rose bushes.  I welcomed an invitation to visit last December. It was my first visit to a Kentucky Bourbon distillery. 

The legend of Four Roses Bourbon (est. 1888) started when its Founder, Paul Jones, a Louisville businessman, became smitten with a Southern belle  named Mary, whom he courted for a number of years.  Jones asked Mary to respond to his “final” marriage proposal (after a few asks) by wearing a corsage of four red roses to a cotillion dance.  This time she accepted and entered the ballroom wearing the corsage.

There are a few versions to this story depending on who tells it. But, if you visit Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, you may be lucky enough to meet Al Young, the brand’s official historian (a.k.a. Senior Brand Ambassador), who will share a few anecdotes and who has a sharp memory.  Young  has worked with the distillery for 51 years and wrote a book called “Four Roses- The Return of a Whiskey Legend.”

A medicinal bottle of Four Roses Whiskey on display in the distillery’s mini museum.

The word “return” is important because for a long time, Four Roses did not produce its Bourbon. One reason was Prohibition which lasted from 1920 to 1933. During that time whiskey was only approved and made for medicinal use. After Prohibition (Repeal) distilleries had to invest heavily to start over. Making Bourbon, is time intensive. In 1943, the company was acquired by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., which reorganized it and decided to focus on making whiskies only for the export market. Then, the brand was acquired for a time by a consortium established between Pernod Ricard and Diageo. In 2002, Japan’s Kirin Holdings acquired Four Roses and reintroduced its flagship Kentucky Bourbons starting with its single barrel in 2004 and a small batch in 2006. 

Our tasting led by Master Distiller Brent Elliott

During a distillery visit last December Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott guided us through a tasting and explained the process to which utilizes two mash bills and five propriety yeast strains to make ten distinct recipes used in the blending. It was a lesson in chemistry as he showed how the different proprietary yeasts are coded and then blended (V-delicate fruit, K=light spice, O=rich fruit, Q=floral essence, F=herbal).

Workers on the Four Roses Bourbon bottling line applying labels by hand.

We had the chance to visit both the distillery in Lawrenceburg and the bottling facility on Cox’s Creek to experience production from start to finish.  We were intrigued by the bottling line with staffers applying labels and bottle tags by hand, each bottle carefully inspected. Talk about hand-crafted!

Four Roses has three signature Bourbons. All were smooth, mellow and delicate on the palate.

Four Roses Single Barrel has notes of vanilla, maple, pear and spice with a long finish (100 proof/50% ABV)

Four Roses Small Batch is creamier  and rich with more caramel and berry notes. (90 proof/45% ABV)

Four Roses Bourbon balances vibrant fruit and spice. (80 proof/40% ABV) 

We also tasted a special blend 130th Anniversary Four Roses. This limited edition Bourbon was lightly floral and a tad sweeter in a very satisfying – please, give me some more!- way. Then, Elliott took us into his laboratory where we had the rare chance to taste of few other proprietary blends. Swoon!

The distillery was decorated for Christmas when we visited in early December.

Four Roses conducts guided tours at the Lawrenceburg distillery, which is a beautiful Spanish mission-style building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On site are a small Four Roses museum and gift shop. Info: www.FourRosesBourbon.com

Al Young in Four Roses Bourbon’s mini museum at the Lawrenceburg distillery.

Four Roses Bourbon Senior Ambassador Al Young discusses the history of Four Roses Bourbon on The Connected Table SIPS on iHeart. Click the photo below to listed or this link

 

A special thank you to Four Roses Bourbon for hosting this trip and to The Baddish Group for including Melanie, a dedicated Bourbon drinker and rose lover.

Tasting Master Distiller Brent Elliott’s special Bourbons in his lab.
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Sipping with Matías Cruzat, Winemaker, Viña San Pedro

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Matías Cruzat, the young winemaker turning heads and impressing palates at Viña San Pedro, which was founded in 1985 by the Correa Albano brothers who brought grape varieties from Chile to Spain.

Matias Cruzat

One of the largest and oldest exporters of Chilean wines, Viña San Pedro’s main winery is in Molina in the Curicó Valley south of Santiago where it has one of the largest stretches of vineyards in that country at 1,200 hectares.  Viña San Pedro also has vineyards throughout Chile including: Elqui, Casablanca. San Antonio-Leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Maule and Bio-Bio.

Cruzat is primarily responsible for making Viña San Pedro’s 1865 and 1865 Limited Edition wines, which are crafted from select single older vineyard plots: Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Elqui Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Valley, Carmenère and Malbec from Maule Valley and Syrah from Cachapoal.

 

What we tasted:

1865 Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Elqui Valley). This wine was like a burst of sunshine in your mouth. Fresh flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and sea salt. It had us thinking about a platter of fresh cooked seafood or a homemade “real” Caesar salad with anchovies.

1865 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Maipo Valley). A dense velvety wine with black pepper, tobacco and dark cocoa accents. Time to sizzle up some steaks or fresh game meats.

1865 Carmenère 2015 (Maule Valley). Spicy and silky on the palate field with ripe black cherries, blackberries and dark plum. Perfect for a Sunday night roast chicken with sautéed wild mushrooms.

All of the 1865 wines are available in the U.S.A. and priced under $20.  www.sanpedro.cl

Listen to our conversation with Matias Cruzat on The Connected Table SIPS! Click the photo/link below:

 

 

With Matias Cruzat at Colangelo Partners office in New York

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Bob Blue, Chief Storyteller for 1000 Stories

Bob Blue, Winemaker and Chief Storyteller for 1000 Stories in Mendocino, CA, takes a deliberate small-batch approach to winemaking. 1000 Stories utilizes old bourbon barrels for aging, which Bob says he began using in the 1980s when French and American oak barrels were hard to come by.

Bob Blue with Melanie

 

What we tasted:

1000 Stories Zinfandel 2016 Batch 044Attractive flavors of red licorice and brown spice usher into this blend courtesy of Paso Robles vineyards. Hedonistic, juicy Zinfandel from Lodi brings round tannins and opulent notes of dark fruit, while a touch of soulful Lake County Petite Sirah completes the wine, contributing depth of color and profound suggestions of black pepper. SRP: $18.99

 

1000 STORIES ‘BATCH BLUE’ CARIGNAN 2016

This wine is 1000 Stories first-ever release of Carignan as a single varietal. Look for notes of brilliantly racy red and black fruits set to a rich backdrop of toast, herbs and cocoa. SRP: $18.99

 

In this edition of The Connected Table Sips! Bob Blue explains how the char of bourbon barrels adds distinct and nuanced complexity to wine and specifically his 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Carignan. www.1000storieswines.com  

Instagram: 1000_stories_wines

 

1000 Stories Inspires

1000 Stories  works with the Wildlife Conservation Society  to develop programs to reintroduce bison into healthy environments where they may thrive and contribute to the ecosystems once again.

Thanks to strong conservation efforts started in the early 1900s by the American Bison Society (led by pioneering conservationist Theodore Roosevelt), the bison population has grown to about 450,000, yet fewer than 20,000 range freely. Realizing the bison population was still at risk, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) re-launched the American Bison Society in 2005. Wildlife Conservation Society has built a network of experts and strong relationships with ranchers and Native American tribes in an effort to restore natural habitats for the bison population. Info: www.wcs.org

 

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Sipping Bordeaux Blancs

Many wine aficionados are familiar with the red wines of Bordeaux, but the region also produces exceptional white wines. One of the birthplaces of Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux put the art of blending on the map, creating balanced, expressive white wines, many available for under $25.

Dr. Valérie Lavigne is a specialist on aroma and the aging potential of white wines.
Dr. Valérie Lavigne is a global viticulturist and oenologist who is a specialist on aroma and the aging potential of white wines.

We sat down to taste a few Bordeaux Blancs wines with Dr. Valérie Lavigne, well-respected global consultant in viticulture and oenology. Based in Bordeaux, she is a researcher for Seguin-Moreau, affilliated with the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (I.S.V.V.). Her primary areas of research include: aroma science, reduction during vinification and aging of white wines, and premature aging of aromas in white and red wines. Valérie is also a consulting oenologist for about 70 crus and renowned estates in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and South Africa. She teaches diploma level courses at the University of Bordeaux along with white wine aroma training courses for the Bordeaux CIVB.

Valérie explained different styles of Bordeaux Blanc wines as well as their aging potential, in some cases 15 years or more.

Listen to our SIPS podcast here:

What we tasted:

Château Bonnet 2017 (Entre-Deux Mers), a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (60%), Sémillon (20%) and Muscadelle (20%). This wine had very fresh tropical fruit and lemony notes. Left me craving a dozen chilled raw oysters and a light green salad with lemon vinaigrette. SRP: $16

Dourthe Le Grand Cuvée 2016, 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Zippy, zesty citrus notes make this wine super refreshing. Try with ceviche or goat cheeses. SRP: $11

Clos Floridène 2015 (Graves), a blend of Semillon (50%) Sauvignon Blanc (48%) and Muscadelle (2%). This wine combined citrus (grapefruit, lemon) and white flowers and a tad touch of toast. Tru with a light seafood pasta. Valérie noted the aging potential of this wine is about 10 years. SRP  $29

Learn more about Bordeaux wines and Bordeaux Blanc at www.Bordeaux.com 

Connected and follow #Bordeauxwines

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Meet “Mr. Spain” at Kysela Pere et Fils

 

Jen Riis, aka “Mr. Spain,” scouts wines for Kysela Pere et Fils’ Spanish wine portfolio. Based in Madrid, Jen discusses some of Spain’s most well-known wine regions like Rioja and Ribera Del Duero, as well as smaller regions he says everyone should have on their wine drinking radar, such as Alicante and Jumilla. Jen underscores the increasing popularity of Spanish Sherry and white wines from D.O. Rueda, in addition to red wines made from Mencia, Monastrell and Garnacha. www.kysela.com  The Connected Table SIPS

 

Scene from the Duero Region of Spain (Photo: Wines from Spain USA)
Scene from the Duero Region of Spain (Photo: Wines from Spain USA)

Listen here The Connected Table SIPS!