Ryan Stirm of Stirm Wines ~ Pioneering the new age of Riesling

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Sparkling-albarino-glassesOn the last day of November 2019, we met up with Ryan Stirm of Stirm Wines to taste and be educated about Riesling and natural wines. Ryan is totally humble, thoughtful and committed to making the most delicious wines. It was a blow-you-mind kind of tasting and I am so happy to share it with you. This is a long audio but it’s worth it because Ryan is such a knowledgeable and generous wine maker.  It was a real gift to have an abundance of time and wine. I hated to spit it out (even the barrel samples)! Nothing but superlatives here. Stirm wines will change you mind about Riesling and natural wines.

Here’s what he says about Riesling: “As climate change continues to spur the unpredictability of weather and extreme weather events (with the notable exception we continue to get warmer annually), there are few white grapes better suited to withstand the impacts than Riesling. Here’s some data to back the claim: it’s drought-tolerant, has extreme winter hardiness, buds late, has good heat tolerance, ripens late, has very high acidity, and has stylistic variation unmatched in most other grapes. Much like it was done long before us, it’s our mission to pioneer the new age of California Riesling.”

Companion-Riesling

Companion wines – Riesling

He also makes wines for the Companion Wine label, and here is his ‘About’

Ryan Stirm began his winemaking career through a love of farming. His passion was for the land and what could be grown but eventually turned towards vineyards specifically. Wine then became his way of documenting a place and time. While most of his winemaking pedigree has been etched in California, he spent time in in Margaret River, Australia and the Wachau in Austria (Weingut Tegernseerhof). Abroad he was able to hone his craft making Riesling as well as learning about the best practices in vineyard management. Ryan currently splits his time between the cellar and the vineyards he is contracted to tend in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Companion is his platform for showing the vast potential of Riesling and California viticulture.

Listen to the interview HERE (please forgive background noise, this is a working warehouse)

Rick Hutchinson, Amphora Wines, winemaker schools us

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Amphora wines Tasting Room

When a winemaker will not compromise and is always looking to produce the most authentic and best wine, respecting a varietal’s natural expression, the result is nothing short of spectacular.

Listen to Rick of Amphora Wines speak to his passion and commitment to creating superb wines HERE.

Rick Hutchinson Winemaker Amphora Wines

Amphora Wines barrel room

 

Amphora for aging wine

 

1999 Amphora Zinfandel, which we got to taste

 

Boekenoogen 2010 Pinot Noir and the Petite Syrah

Boekenoogen 2010 PN SLHDelicious elegant wine. Strong fruit but well balanced and nuanced. Spice notes are complimentary, not obtrusive.  Good tannins and complexity.  A very tasty wine. Drinkable now.

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty of fruit jammy nose. Goes flat, no follow through and finish goes a bit sour on the palate.  Sorry to be brutal, I just call it as I taste it. No balls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious elegant wine. Strong fruit, but well balanced and nuanced. Spice notes are complimentary, not obtrusive.  Good tannins and complexity.  A very tasty wine. Drinkable now.

 

 

 

 

 

Getaway to Healdsburg #1

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September was our birthday month, yes, we celebrate all month long. So one of our getaways was to one of our favorite places; Healdsburg, in Sonoma county, California. It’s such a beautiful and fun place to go. We always try to find somewhere new to go

explore but somehow also return to our favorites. This trip was no exception. Sunday, our trip started with a visit to Reeve wines, for a wine club member event which was delightful.

 

 

Reeve wines are truly delicious and Noah and Kelly Dorrance really have created something special here. The new releases were so, so good. The Libertine is truly interesting, and berry complex. Sorry. Not sorry. 😁

Yummy food with a twist on Authentic Hidalgan specialties was served. It went so well with the Rose.

After that we visited our favorite coffee place, Flying Goat Coffee, for an afternoon pick me up.  We also visited Amphora winery and were so glad to see Ric Hutchinson, the winemaker pouring wine!

flying-goat-coffee

That night we opted to have dinner in town at a place we had gone to before, but the food was disappointingly terrible, so no pix of that catastrophe. Just uninspired, overcooked, as though they don’t care at all anymore. Sigh. We will most likely never go back to El Farolito.

 

To console ourselves, we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants and sit at their bar. It was so nice. The Chalk Board is just wonderful, the people, service, food and ambiance are perfect.

Elegant without being pretentious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a couple of glasses of champagne and a whiskey for Steve, we felt better and settled into our hotel for a good night’s rest.

The next morning before we headed down the coast to Hog Island Oyster Company, we fueled ourselves at The Parish Cafe, a loving ode to the fantastic food in New Orleans, where the owner/chef is from. The Parish specializes in real, authentic NOLA food and you will love it!

 

 

Everything on the menu is spectacular, but you must order the beignets! Pillowy deliciousness, light as air doughy goodness. The omelets are fantastic, I got the artichoke with crab filling. OMG.

Now we were ready to head south to Hog Island Oyster Company, where all good things come in the form of oysters, raw on the half shell and BBQ’d. They have other food for those who do not eat oysters, but if you do, you’ll be so, so happy. They have a good wine list. The Sancerre goes really well with the shellfish and great beers on tap. You can’t go wrong here at all.

It was a gloriously gorgeous day as you can see from these images. Such a lovely vibe here. People of all ages enjoying themselves, talking, eating and drinking. You can even come and rent BBQ areas to do you own cookout. Reservations a definitely recommended. We came on a Monday at 12:30 pm and it was packed.

Beautiful!


The bread and cultured butter, pretty much devoured.

Oyster close up.  Come to Mama.

Until next time! Cheers and drink your wine!

 

 

What can you do* in 48 Hours?

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* Disclaimer This is a food and drink trip.

Monday: We leave Carmel Valley around 10 AM and head towards Paso Robles where we have a great lunch, meet some fine people and experienced delicious beer at the Firestone Walker Tap Room and Brewery.

 

Then it was onto Pismo Beach. After settling into our hotel room (Inn at the Pier) we took a little (read nap) break before venturing out for a frozen yogurt snack at Pismo Yogurt.  Need to keep the strength up for walking around Pismo Beach, which is a pretty cute place with funky shops and lots of places to eat and drink.  Dinner was at the Oyster Loft, excellent raw seafood and a fun, lively atmosphere even for a Monday night.oyster loft

After dinner we walked back to the hotel and had a night cap with a slice of decadent chocolate torte with ice cream. We were able to try a 2017 Treana Cabernet Sauvignon, which really brought out the rich chocolate flavors of our dessert. It was a little tight at first, but when it was swirled and it got some oxygen it opened up and was impressive even at its’ very young age. It was definitely sweet dreams for us. Snore.

Tuesday: Next morning we strolled to Beachin’ Biscuits for a hearty breakfast. This place is so cute and the biscuits are heavenly. A former nurse decided to follow her cooking passion and opened up this lovely restaurant and the locals and tourists couldn’t be more delighted. Totally scrumptious biscuits and other breakfast delights.

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Totally Beachin’ Sammy

Even if you’re eating low carb or keto you can leave satisfied here. They have excellent scrambled (if you don’t want them with cheese, you need to let the staff know when ordering) eggs, bacon, sausage and linguica, not to mention potatoes if you’re yearning for something other than biscuits. Very good coffee, cappuccino, mocha ,etc. also help get the brain fog cleared. To go available.

Breakfast done, we were rolling out of town and decided to got to Treana, which is actually a label belonging to Hope Family Wines.

Seriously folks, this is the best! Amazing hospitality and magnificent wines! (Interview coming soon) .

We continued down 46 West to the coast and drove north to Cambria for lunch at Linn’s linn-s-fruit-bin-restaurant

Do not miss their Oallalieberry pie, it’s legendary! I have to have mine with McConnell’s Vanilla ice cream and then all is right with the world. The food is delicious, they even have good salads and burgers!

Hwy 1 going North or South right now is under a lot of construction and there are a lot of one way closures, landslides and other stuff that may make some drivers wary . If you do take Hwy 1 from Big Sur down south just be prepared to wait and drive the speed limit, nj. (no joke) But that didn’t stop us, oh no, we just rolled along until it was time for a break and a class of wine and a beer at Ventana, which is ALSO under construction. Their parking lot, to be exact. But the views are inspiring and it’s a perfect place to hang out for the afternoon and soak in the air, the Big Sur vibe and chill. 20190924_161559.jpg

We finally made it home and are getting ready for the next road trip!

Cultura, an experience of the essence of Mezcal, with Sarah Kabat-Marcy, partner

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Introducing Cultura, Comida y Bebida, a revolutionary concept in restauranteering in Cwallartarmel, California.  Carmel, now a tourist town, in the beginning was a place for innovation, creativity and disarming the conventional.  Artists, Bohemians and the eccentric flocked here to be free. Thankfully, Cultura is taking us back to the OG, original gangsta’, that was Carmel.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Sarah Kabat Marcy, a partner with her husband  and Jonathan Cox, of Cultura Comida y Bebida.  She is the quintessential host; present, gracious and giving. Her interview explains the origins of Mezcal and the incorporation of the Mezcal tradition in her restaurant.

Partner in Cultura, Comida Y Bebida. Carmel, California

Partner in Cultura, Comida Y Bebida. Carmel, California

Articulate and clear on the purpose of creating Cultura, you can listen to Sarah tell the fascinating story here.

 
teresa drink mezcal-tasting skull

 

Shelly Rafanelli, Dynamo winemaker for A.Rafanelli

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Shelly RafanelliMeeting with the winemaker, A. Rafanelli WineryShelly, of A. Rafanelli Winery is like meeting a force of nature. Her veins pump wine, and she’s literally made of the terrior of the Rafanelli vineyard. Shelly(Rashell) Rafanelli is the tiny but mighty fourth generation genius of Rafanelli winemakers behind the famous and fabulous A. Rafanelli wines. And…she’s passionate about Halloween. 🙂

I got a rare chance to sit her down during September harvest (I know, crazy, right?) where she was open and candid, sharing her wine making process, what makes her wines special and unique and the history, tradition and excellence that permeate each bottle of lovingly and painstakingly produced wine.

But please, listen for yourself to hear and experience the passion, the striving and the knowledge firsthand. (We were in a cave, so there is a bit of echo) To listen: Click here.

Monterey Wines with Kim Stemler of MCVGA

Monterey county Vinters and Growers Association winemakers

Hey all!  I am so excited to present you with a wonderful and informative interview with Kim Stemler of Monterey County Vinters and Growers Association.  She really understands and explains beautifully our unique terrior and the variety that is offered in Monterey County.  Pour yourself a glass of wine from the region and be prepared to learn something and plan your next wine tasting trip!

You can listen to her interview here

is the Winemaker’s Celebration in Carmel May 7th. Along with celebrating the wines and winemakers of Monterey County’s world-class growing region, this year’s newly expanded event offers more opportunity to immerse yourself in the Monterey Wine Country experience. Over 35 wineries will be pouring and 20 of the Monterey Peninsulas best culinary operations will prepare small bites and delights. If that’s not enough there will be custom blending and Sommelier guided tasting tours to add on and an added private venue just for VIPs, where exclusive vintage and small lot wines will be poured with live cooking demonstrations. This is the one year you won’t want to miss!

Harvest Moon Café * ~ Sonoma, California

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*Sadly, the marvelous Harvest Moon Cafe has closed, but they will resurface like a Phoenix from the fire in another incarnation!

 

Well, you’re in for a real treat. The Harvest Moon Café is just lovely, cool, farm-to-jen &-nick demarest of Harvest Moon Cafetable in the most authentic way and the food is absolutely to live for.  Nick and Jen Demarest create a really good experience based on their commitment to fine food, locally sourced ingredients and a shared passion to give great eats.  Nick hails from Chez Panisse, after many travels through a worldly culinary education to produce the kind of food he believes everyone can enjoy. Along with his creativity, and his dedication to sustainable farming, he brings a practical sensibility to what many consider to be the most ecologically sound way to grow, purchase and prepare local foodstuffs. Listen to this interview and learn more about the restaurant you will soon be wanting to visit.

 

When we visited, we found the wine list to be approachable, yet sophisticated and the food incredibly fresh and delectable. Can’t wait to go back.