Saturday, May 25, 2013


Join me for a pictorial review of 
The Washington State Winemaker's Dinner 
A Culinary Evening with theCalifornia Winemakers
in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
What do you get when you start out on a Friday evening, at the beautiful home of Sharon and Hal Lampert for the Washington State Winemaker's Dinner.

With Executive Chef Celestine Drago preparing much of the incredible food, an assortment of premier wines provided by several of Washington State's elite wineries, and 100 people who love good food and wine; all gathered in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation...
A fabulous evening of great food, wine, friends, laughter, and support for The Foundation....that's what you get.

A PERFECT Spring evening begins

Everybody is having fun!

Just a small assortment of pastries

Oooops...does my designated driver need a driver?

And, what do you get when you start out Saturday evening on the Midwest Street lot of Warner Brothers Studio, with 100 of California's premier wineries, each winery paired with one of California's most prominent chefs (or in a case or two an out of town celebrity chef)....creating a special "small bite" to go with the wine being poured.

About 1500 people enjoying an incredible night under the stars sampling unbelievable wine and food, having great fun and raising over $1.5 million for the CF Foundation....

A Culinary Evening with the California Winemakers, the creation of Barbara and Allen Balik....that's what!

 Midwest Street...back lot of Warner Bros...
 One of many auction delights
 Guillaume of Clos Solene, paired with La Toque
 Can I have seconds?  Thirds?
 I'm going to explode
 The Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills....oh my!

 SO many great wines!  So little capacity
Always room for pour, uh I mean more!

Strolling, eating, drinking, enjoying

ANOMALY....a Napa cult Cabernet
A true OMG!!!!
Cousin Jacqueline!

Always room for a fresh baked choco chip cookie
with a glass of wine!


And...what do you get on Sunday Afternoon at L.A. Cellars....where one of the weekend's premier winemakers  (Paso Roble's own Guillaume Fabre of Clos Solene) did a tasting for a small intimate group of wine lovers!

A perfect ending to what was just an unbelievable weekend of food, wine, fun, and fundraising for a most important cause.

With a special "thank you" to my cousin Jacqueline, for including me on Friday and Saturday evening.

I hope you have enjoyed this pictorial review of an incredible weekend of wine, food, friends, laughter and life.

Please.....if you liked the blog, share it with friends, post it to your website, comment, and enjoy a good glass of wine.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Glorious Spring Wine Night!

Some have w(h)ined...and rightfully so, because I have become derelict in posting my WINE NIGHT REVIEWS!  My apologies to all....friends, wine group, winemakers, wine lovers, and those who enjoy my casual blog!

So...a few weeks late.....but here it is!

April 20th saw another wonderful collection of friends, wines, and of!

Spring has definitely Sprung!

As guests arrived, they were greeted with Jeff Streka's incredible Field Day (ONX)..  75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Viognier, this is aptly described as "a beach vacation in a bottle."  True enough!  Light, tropical fruits, citrus, well balanced acidity and floral notes...closing your eyes your could just imagine yourself as an 8 year old, walking home on a summer day passing by the honeysuckle.  A wonderful way to begin the evening, get everyone in a relaxed mood, as we sat outside on a pleasantly warm Spring evening, sipping and eating appetizers, as the breeze lightly stirred the wind chimes and the birds sang.......

My Special Tasting Cup

Moving inside.....we were ready to eat, and as is our routine, taste one brown bagged delight after, rate and finally add up our scores, unwrap the wines, and see what bottle was rated first.

The Table is Ready

Tonight was RED wine night!  No specific varietal or geography, just bring a really good red wine...and good wines abounded!

Tonight saw a little more wine than our special guest this evening, Chris with his lovely companion Trang....brought two bottles!

Let the meal, the sipping, the laughter and fun begin!

Finally seated....we are now in wine tasting mode....for the next few hours!

Sated and Saturated....Successfully so, if those smiles mean anything!

It was now time to see what was what!  We unwrapped the wines in no particular order; here was our collection of incredible wines for the evening!

Of course, no one had to guess who brought the 1997 Paleo, a classic Italian red Bordeaux Blend from Tuscany....unavailable of course, bought and aged over a decade ago, and shared by Paul from his eclectic and varied wine cellar!

Next up...what's this?  Another Italian red?  A 2004 Tignanello, another Tuscan red blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  Knowing how Mike and Paul have been conspiring of late, this bottle had to have been provided by Mike....and it was!

Both of these Italian beauties being soft, silky, subtle and ohhh sooooo food friendly!

After re-tasting these two Italian gems, I closed my eyes, and the flavors brought back my memories of Tuscany in springtime, staying in a 500 year old mansion, a view of the vineyards budding, the hillsides planted with vines and the sound of the river rushing through the valley below........Memories are made of this.....

No surprise to see a Paso wine next unwrapped, a 2008 Barrel 27 Bull by the Horns.  Vibrant and fruit forward, with just the right kick.....donated by Dana and Matt!

Next, a red blend from Oakville!  A 2008 Bevan Ontogeny.  One of Russel's creations.  The definition of  "ontogeny" being:  The development of an organism.  A unique and different treat!

The next to last bottle unwrapped, a 2008 Jada Vineyards Jack of Hearts.  Big and bold with lots of heart, this is a vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot blend.

and finally to be exposed, a 2009 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.  The king of grapes which displays all that is expected from a great Cabernet.  Both the Caymus and Jada graciously provided by Chris.

The Final Line-up

Suffice to say, that all the wines were in a word (or more):  Elegant!  Tantalizing!  Mouth Watering!  Delightful, and just plain:  YUMMY!  The two Italian blends being so different from the California wines.  And, the final ratings being separated by less than 2 points. However, as is our habit...there is ALWAYS one wine to score more than the others...and tonight's high point scorer.....went to Bevan's Ontogeny!

Finally....the evening comes to a close....Time for bed....clean up can wait till tomorrow....

And to all...a good night!

I hope you have enjoyed sharing another eclectic evening with your group!  Please, feel free to comment, post on your blog, forward to your friends, email me.....and have a glass of wine!