Personal Stories – Wine

Dec 022013
 

Wine Blogger Roger Beery of Bacchus and Beery – Interview

I was excited to be interviewed by the premiere European Food and Fashion website, Webflakes. So if you wanted to know a bit more about the guy behind Bacchus and Beery…Here you go.

Roger Beery

Wine Blogger Roger Beery from Bacchus and Beery

This week we introduce you to Roger Beery who, along with his wife Donna, started the wine blog Bacchus and Beery, which is dedicated to tasting, enjoying, discovering, and of course, just drinking wine. 

They started their love affair with wine back in college and it is now a shared passion in their family, with both their son and daughter working in the industry. 

With years of experience, Roger is now a self-appointed Wine Evangelist spreading the Gospel of the Grape – from sharing an interest with lifelong friends to passing down his family’s passion to their children. Continue reading »

Oct 022013
 

Lower cholesterol When we visited Valentin and Nanette Humer of Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil in their office and processing facility on the outskirts of Napa, CA, I never thought I’d leave offering myself up as a medical guinea pig. Our intent was merely to introduce ourselves to the culinary benefits of grapeseed oil. Little did I know that this delicious all natural waste-product of the wine harvest would dramatically lower my bad (LDL) cholesterol, lower my triglycerides and improve my good (HDL) cholesterol in just a few weeks. Read on for my amazing stats.

The husband and wife team of Valentin and Nanette started Salute Santé! in 1995 creating cold-pressed extra-virgin grapeseed oil and grapeseed flour. These products have won numerous awards and have become the favorites of many celebrity chefs, including Charlie Trotter and Michael Chiarello. Chiarello even offers Salute Santé! single variety grapeseed oils along with their Gluten & GMO-free grapeseed flour in his acclaimed Napa Style Catalog. Continue reading »

Jul 272013
 

It’s peculiar the songs that pop into your head and when they choose to take up residence. In this case the tune was an 80’s British pop dance hit I never really liked. But as you will see the song may have been more prophetic than I ever would have imagined.

Strolling through Vertine

Strolling through Vertine

On the fifth day of our 2013 Italian adventure, we drove five hours from the quaint town of Alba in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy to the renaissance era Tuscan town, Gaiole in Chianti, deep in the heart of Tuscan wine country. The route was mostly along the Autostrade (Italian highways) so the driving was easy in our rented blue Peugeot, even though I had been warned by many about driving in Italy. The only real challenge came as we approached picturesque Gaiole. Both our GPS and Goggle Maps kept routing us along dirt roads across the Tuscan hillsides in a 10 mile loop, never being able to locate our B&B. Continue reading »

Mar 182013
 
Musings on the death of Chateau Montelena’s Jim Barrett
and the movie Bottle Shock
Courtesy of Chateau Montelena

Courtesy of Chateau Montelena

We were saddened this weekend to learn of the death of Jim Barrett, founder – Chateau Montelena, just outside Calistoga in the northern end of Napa Valley. Barrett was 86 years old. His son, Bo, who now runs Montelena said of his father; “He was a tough and loving man who will be greatly missed at home, at the winery and throughout the Napa Valley. My father bought Chateau Montelena in 1972 and has worked hard every day since to grow the best grapes and produce the best wines. My dad died of a life well lived.”

Though we never met Jim Barrett, he was a positive influence in the our lives. To honor this Napa Valley legend, my wife and I settled into our leather couch with a bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and watched again, the movie Bottle Shock. For those few wineauxs who have not seen the film, it is based (some say loosely) on the story of Chateau Montelena, the father – son relationship between Jim and Bo Barrett and the coming of age of Napa Valley…in the Age of Aquarius. All this the result of a sparsely attended blind Paris wine tasting, where some of the most renown French wine palates, much to their surprise, voted Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar’s 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon superior to the more respected French competition. Continue reading »

Sep 232012
 

Today, Facebook is awash with photos of the grape harvest across the northern hemisphere. I look forward each day to beautiful pictures of grape clusters, men and women picking grapes as the sun rises across the vineyard and free-run juice on the winery crushpad that will soon be the wine in my glass. As a wine-writer in Colorado and Texas, I dream of being more than a chronicler, I want to be part of the action. This desire is never more pronounced than when I see harvest pictures posted by my winemaker friends in California and Texas.

This year I decided enough with the wine dreaming. It was time to get dirty and pitch in a for a few days with winemakers Chris Brundrett and Bill Blackmon of William and Chris Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country near Fredericksburg. Chris is regarded as one of the real up and coming young Texas winemakers while Bill offers the hand of experience from many Texas grape harvests. They make a hell of a winemaking team creating predominately blended wines with 100% Texas fruit using a minimal intervention approach. Together, Bill and Chris have a sort of yin and yang quality. Chris is full of energy and a “get ‘er done” approach while Bill has a very calm Zen-like quality about him.

Before you say, Texas, wine, what? Texas now is home nearly 250 wineries (up from only 45 a decade ago) making it the 4th or 5th (depending on who’s counting) largest wine producing state. The Texas Hill Country AVA sits behind only Napa and Sonoma as the most visited wine region in the U.S. Continue reading »

Sep 052012
 

Let the Wine Country birthday celebration begin!

In 1960, John Steinbeck set out to reconnect with America accompanied by one companion, an “intuitive” standard poodle named Charley. The tale was recounted in the now classic book “Travels with Charley.” Steinbeck met the idea of the expedition with both excitement and trepidation. In July of 2012, I set out with my daughter, Whitney, to reconnect with the teenager turned young woman who had so matured, since leaving home for college three years earlier. My stated objectives were to celebrate her 21st birthday and introduce Whitney to the wonders of wine country. This father/daughter excursion was one I met, much like Steinbeck, with both excitement and trepidation. Continue reading »

Aug 032012
 
wine reviews, winery reviews, wine blog, wine education

Roger and Whitney at Jordan Vineyards

Wine country vacations, especially to Napa Valley and Sonoma County can be overwhelming to the novice and the experienced wine traveler alike. With over 400 wineries in Napa Valley alone and hundreds more in Sonoma, how do you choose which wineries to visit? Some offer small quaint tastings and tours while others have almost a Las Vegas feel. So what are the best wineries to visit Napa and Sonoma?

Recently I traveled with my daughter, Whitney, to Napa and Sonoma for her 21st birthday celebration. She certainly enjoys wine and grew up around great wines but to date, Whitney has not inherited her dad’s wine geek gene. Like many novice wine drinkers, Whitney has a discerning though still developing palate.

Whitney’s fist trip to Napa/Sonoma needed to be fun yet educational with enough glitz and glamor to spark her 21 year-old soul with a splash of wine geekiness for Dad. This wine country travel itinerary certainly fit the bill. Continue reading »

Jun 012012
 

Teaching wine classes is always fun. It is a rare person in attendance that doesn’t already have a sense of the wonder of wine. Occasionally someone will bring a spouse, friend or significant other in hopes of lighting their wine fire and in those cases my job is to fan the flames. All in all teaching wine classes is a blast because most everyone has an interest in the topic….and they’re drinking wine.

wine blog

Texas Tech RHIMS Students learning about wine

This week however, I had a different audience that added a new challenge to the excitement of wine education. I spent two days with a group of junior and senior Restaurant and Hotel Management majors from Texas Tech University. These millennials were more the connoisseur of “dollar PBR” nights than wine and food pairings. To make matters more interesting, my daughter was part of the class. Not only was I there to enlighten the unenlightened but I needed to do it in a way that made my daughter proud or at least not embarrass her.

The ten students were part of a May-mester program. Instead of a traditional semester class on campus in Lubbock, Texas, the group was based at a satellite campus in the tiny Hill Country town of Junction, Texas where they completed two intensive weeks of all-day class and field trips. From Junction they made excursions to San Antonio, Austin and popular tourist destinations around the Hill Country. The campus is rustic to say the least, offering a summer camp appearance complete with bunkhouses and swimming pool, rather than a collegiate environment. Continue reading »

May 142012
 

“A single, great vineyard sight can express itself and be transparent through to a bottle of wine.  You can actually taste the vineyard’s character in the glass.” Jamie Kutch – Kutch Wines Pinot Noir

Wine BlogI’ll admit it; I love single-vineyard wines. There is something about the nuance and singularity that speaks volumes me. When drinking a single-vineyard wine, I like to imagine the vineyard, its rows of vibrant vines offering abundant fruit. Sometimes I’ll even go techie and try to find pictures of the vineyard on Google so I can be even more anchored to the very spot that produced the wine in my glass. If I’ve personally walked amongst the vines of a particular vineyard, I can return with just a tip of my glass and a bit of imagination.

I wanted to learn more about these special wines. But not from the perspective of the wine drinker, I wanted to learn from winemakers themselves. So with the help of a few talented single-vineyard winemakers, here’s what I learned in a nutshell. The winemaker’s ultimate duty to single-vineyard wines compels him/her to draw on the incalculable variations of each vintage to bring forth the true voice and personality of the vineyard. When made well, a single-vineyard wine will convey a very specific sense of place, nuance and art. Obviously not all vineyards produce fruit with enough unique characteristics to be worthy of vineyard designation. Vineyards, like people, all have something to say, but not everything said is worth your attention. Continue reading »

Apr 262012
 

wine blogRead :The Unlikely Conversion of a Wine Evangelist (Pt. 1)

Read :The Unlikely Conversion of a Wine Evangelist (Pt. 2)

Read :The Unlikely Conversion of a Wine Evangelist (Pt. 3)

Read :The Unlikely Conversion of a Wine Evangelist (Pt. 4)

It was the birth and adolescence of our children that slowed the wine-stained part of our lives and seemed to bring it all into perspective. While my passion for wine and winemaking never died, for the next 20 years it often took a backseat to soccer and volleyball games, golf tournaments and ski races as by then we had relocated to Colorado to find a simpler lifestyle in the mountains.

But a true passion, like a long lost love, never dies. And while we may stray from our roots, it is those very roots that anchor us and call us home. Those two roots for me are wine and Austin, Texas. As the children left for college, Donna and I began to migrate back to the wine-stained lifestyle we enjoyed so much, now more mature and less prone to excessive hedonism. And we purchased a small place in Austin and reunited with many of our wine friends there, if only part-time. It was not long before my smoldering passion for wine reignited into an all engulfing conflagration. Continue reading »