Cocktail Corner: Celebrate Harvest With SOMM 3, Solvang Grape Stomp and More!

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The annual Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest events include something for just about every wine lover. From special harvest tastings, lunches and dinners with winemakers and Master Sommeliers, to a grape stomping festival and a movie premiere, the Celebration of Harvest weekend is an ideal opportunity to explore Santa Barbara County wine country,  and it’s all taking place on the weekend of October 12-14.

One of weekend’s highlights is the first public premiere of SOMM 3, the latest addition to the successful SOMM film franchise.  Premiering under the stars at the lovely Solvang Festival Theater on Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m., under the stars, the festivities also include a post-film Q&A with cast members and Producer Jackson Myers. The premiere is being presented by Santa Barbara Vintners and Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau and net proceeds will benefit the Santa Barbara Vintners.

 

 

The story of SOMM 3—the highly anticipated follow-up to the influential films SOMM and its sequel SOMM: Into the Bottle—has been described as follows:While three of the greatest legends of wine meet in Paris to drink the rarest bottles of their careers, the best blind tasters in the world gather in New York City to settle an age-old argument about wine.  In the end, the past and present slam into each other and the results could change the world of wine forever.  The all-star cast includes some of the wine world’s most respected figures including Steven Spurrier, the man responsible for staging the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” wine critic Jancis Robinson MW, renowned Master Sommelier Fred Dame, as well as Santa Barbara County’s own Rajat Parr, Partner/Proprietor of Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte (and a partner at Bibi Ji, Downtown Santa Barbara’s terrific new Indian Restaurant).”

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

The Celebration of Harvest schedule also includes:

Friday, October 12

Open House with futures tasting and complimentary appetizers at Lions Peak tasting room (all weekend)

Special harvest wine flight tastings at Foxen Vineyard & Winery (all weekend)

Saturday, October 13

Solvang Grape Stomp Festival, a harvest street festival in downtown Solvang complete with a traditional grape stomp where participants can taste from dozens of area wineries, dance to two live bands, drink pink in the “I Love Rosé Lounge” and purchase food from popular area eateries. Participating wineries include: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards,  Carivintas WineryCrossHatch Winery, D. Volk Wines, Feliz Noche Cellars, Fiddlehead CellarsGrace + WineHilliard Bruce,  J. Wilkes Wines, Kita WinesLafond Winery and VineyardLarner Vineyard & WineryLions Peak VineyardsLucas & Lewellen/Toccata, Lucky Dogg WineryLumenMartellotto Winery, Melville Vineyards & Winery, Rancho Sisquoc Winery, Royal Oaks Winery Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Santa Barbara Winery, Sevtap Winery, The Sanger Family of Wines, and Twenty Mile Winery. This fun, new event takes place from 2-5 p.m. in downtown Solvang on First Street (between Mission Drive/Hwy. 246 & Copenhagen Drive).

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A Harvest Lunch with winemaker Justin Willet at Tyler Winery (includes a welcome reception, wine tasting & lunch).

A Master Sommelier Dinner with Will Costello at Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates.

Winemaker Dinner with Wes Hagen and J.Wilkes at Root 246.

Winemakers Greg Brewer, Lane Tanner and Dick Doré in a food pairing dinner with library pinots from Santa Barbara County at Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, by reservation only.

Lucas & Lewellen in a Winemaker Dinner with Megan McGrath Gates at Petros in Solvang.

Sunday, October 14

Live Music by Kimber Springs and Jess Jones at Riverbench Vineyard.

For additional information on events happening during Celebration of Harvest please visit: celebrationofharvest.com.

Cheers! Hope to see some of you there. Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 28, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: A Taste of Italy with DoctorWine

The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 California Tour, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 California Tour, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

As far as I’m concerned, one of the only things more fun than enjoying a great wine and food pairing is enjoying it with smart people who are willing to share their knowledge and make the experience even more delicious. When DoctorWine himself, Daniele Cernilli—a highly acclaimed expert on Italian wines and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017—came to town last week, I was thrilled to be able to break bread with him and taste wines from some of his favorite producers.

Our tasting at Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant was definitely a treat.

The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 California Tour, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 California Tour, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Named one of the “50 Most Influential People in the Wine World” by Decanter Magazine, Cernilli is a journalist by trade, and in addition to being a regular contributor to Italian newspapers, trade and consumer publications, he has written a number of technical books on wine and wine tasting. In addition to multiple editions of The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine, his books include, among others, Memorie di un degustatore di vini (Memories of a Wine Taster), a chronicle-memoir of his first 25 years as a taster with this opinions on many Italian and foreign wines, and Vitigni del Mondo (World Wine Grapes), written in collaboration with Dario Cappelloni, which is the most complete catalog of wine grapes ever published in Italy.

In other words, he knows his stuff, and so did the eight wine producers who accompanied him on a tour of California.

First up was Torre Rosazza – Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Fruili DOC 2016. Torre Rosazza is one of the largest producers in Europe, and Pinot Grigio has been cultivated in Friuli for centuries with great results that showcase the area’s hilly terrain. Luisa Bortolotto, the winery’s Export Manager was on hand to answer questions. Paired with a delicious salad of gems lettuces, heirloom tomato, cucumber, mint and  mouth-watering herb creme fraiche, this wine was fresh and very drinkable.

DoctorWine Daniele Cernilli leads The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 California Tour luncheon at Les Marchands, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

DoctorWine Daniele Cernilli leads The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 California Tour luncheon at Les Marchands, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Next up were two wines paired with a delicious summer corn chowder: Querciabella – Chianti Classico DOCG 2013 from Tuscany, along with Owner Giacomo Neri; and Feudo Maccari – Saia Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC 2014 from Sicily.

Querciabella, as DoctorWine explained, has been organic since 1988, long before there were any regulations around the practice and this very classic, 100% Sangiovese Chianti was quite lovely with a balance of fruity and savory notes. The Feudo Maccari wine, made from 100% Nero d’Avola grapes was very complex and full bodied, but quite well balanced, and also paired very well with the soup.

Our main course was the Les Marchands fabulous take on Steak Frites, with pan seared hangar steak, wild argula, salsa verde and French fries. It paired really well with three different wines: Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2012 from Tuscany/Montepulciano, accompanied by Owner Francesco Carletti (“King of the old Tuscan wines is the Nobile,” says DoctorWine, and it did indeed have some royal flavor); Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG 2013 from Piedmont, a lovely 100% Nebbiolo classic Barolo; and Velenosi Roggio Del Filare Rosso Piceno Superiore DOCG 2012 from Marche. 

Finally a lovely assortment of cheese and Helena Ave Bakery breads accompanied the last two wines: the Robert Parker 100-point-rated Casanova di Neri – Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 from Tuscany/Montalcino, along with General Manager Roberto La Sorte (yes, it was excellent); and the Bertani – Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2007 from Veneto/Amarone, accompanied by Technical Director Girdano Formenti. DoctorWine explained that the Bertani was a classic Amarone, made the traditional way, in vineyards devoted entirely to producing drying grapes. The grapes are set aside to dry on (racks made from bamboo canes and then they ferment in concrete and age in barrels for seven years. It’s a complicated process, but so very worth it.

Want to learn more about Italian wine? Cernilli’s website, www.doctorwine.it,  is entirely bi-lingual (Italian-English) and is designed especially to give an Italian perspective to a global public. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 5, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Fess Parker’s New Spot to Sip by the Sea

Fess Parker Tasting Experience opened this week at The Fess Parker - A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort. Courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Tasting Experience opened this week at The Fess Parker – A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

There’s a great new addition to Santa Barbara’s waterfront area: Fess Parker Properties now has a tasting room right inside of the beachfront hotel, The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort.

Opening its doors last night, the new venue features a a rotating selection of 16 wines from Fess Parker Winery and Epiphany (winemaker Eli Parker‘s small production label), focusing on limited production and single vineyard offerings.  Not only is this comfortable, earth-toned spot a convenient, low key place to taste the excellent Parker family of wines, it also features the state-of-the-art Enomatic wine dispensing system, known for protecting the freshness, flavors and characteristics of each wine.  Wines are enjoyed with the touch of a button, and savored as if each bottle had just been opened. 

With just an easy and admittedly fun push of a button, you can choose whether you want a taste, a half glass or a full glass of wine, and you are billed accordingly. Among our favorites sampled last night were the Fess Parker Winery Santa Barbara County Viognier (a zippy, full-bodied wine that’s perfect for summer) and the Fess Parker Winery Pommard Clone Pinot Noir (a beautifully balanced red), but with 16 varieties on tap at any given time, there is definitely something to please every palate.

Eli Parker shows a guest the Enomatic wine dispensing system at the Fess Parker Tasting Experience. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Eli Parker shows a guest the Enomatic wine dispensing system at the Fess Parker Tasting Experience. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

 “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring the Fess Parker Winery experience ‘over the hill’ to our hotel guests who aren’t able to journey to wine country during their stay,” says Eli Parker, “It is a project we have envisioned for this property for quite some time.  To see it come to fruition is very satisfying.”

 The Santa Barbara beachfront tasting room is open daily from noon to 7 p.m. and is located off of the main lobby inside the resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., 800/879-2929, www.fpdtr.com.

 For more information on the Fess Parker family of wines, please visit www.fessparker.com.

Fess Parker Tasting Experience opened this week at The Fess Parker - A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort. Courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Tasting Experience opened this week at The Fess Parker – A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort. Courtesy photo.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 23. 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Good Wines, Good Causes

Fork & Cork 2014, photo by Eric Roland Photography

Fork & Cork 2014, photo by Eric Roland Photography

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Santa Barbara winemakers are a generous bunch. They constantly get hit up to donate wine to charitable events, and do so with stunning regularity, often pouring the wine themselves, and always with affable smiles on their faces.

A few causes that are particularly near and dear to the wine/food community have their own fundraising events coming up soon, and lucky us, we get to sip and savor and support them in style!

Coming up on May 3 is the 2nd annual Fork & Cork Classic, which brings food and wine aficionados together to benefit Santa Barbara County Foodbank. Held at the Montecito Country Club, this delicious fundraiser features tastings from an array of select wines and special dishes prepared by over 20 of Santa Barbara’s top restaurants and chefs, including Bella Vista at the Four Seasons, Blue Owl, Ca’DarioEmpty Bowls Noodle Bar, Finch & Fork, Industrial Eats, Jessica Foster Confections, Julienne, Montecito Country Club, Patxi’s, Santa Barbara Yacht Club, Succulent Cafe, The Secret Ingredient, The Pasta Shoppe and Whole Foods.

Participating wineries include Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Ampelos Cellars, Beckmen Vineyards, Blair Fox Vineyards, Consilience, Marianella & Tre Anelli, CORE Family Winery and Deep Sea by Conway Family Wines.

Additional wineries include Falcone Family Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, Nagy Wines, Pegasus Estate Winery, Scott Cellars, Silver Wines LLC, Turiya Wines, William James Cellars, Whitcraft Winery and Zaca Mesa Winery & Wineyards.

Also pouring are Ascendant Spirits, Caribbean Coffee Company, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Island Brewing Company, Pressed Juicery, The Real McCoy Rum and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

100% of the event’s proceeds will benefit the Foodbank’s 300 local nonprofit partners who supply nutritious meals to Santa Barbara County residents. Last year alone, the Foodbank served 140,575 people—over 25% of the local population, including 50,000 children.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://www.forkandcorkclassic.org.

Fork & Cork 2014, photo by Eric Roland Photography

Fork & Cork 2014, photo by Eric Roland Photography

Also back for the second year at the Bacara Resort & Spa is the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend  April 16—19 . I’ve written about this before but this is a great event for a good cause: The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Child herself created the foundation, and the mission is to honor and further her legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking.  It is a grant making, nonprofit which primarily funds research and scholarships for professional culinary training as well as other activities in the fields of gastronomy and the culinary arts.

Among the highlights this year is a special Saturday Night Grand Dinner & Reception with Kurt Russell featuring GoGi Wines, Hudson Bellamy Wines (inspired by actress Kate Hudson), and Ampelos Cellars. Russell will tell the stories behind the wines, their inspiration and their unique qualities driven by how they are grown and blended in the renowned Sta. Rita Hills AVA and there’s also a VIP access-only wine reception with live music followed by a four-course “ranch to table” dinner with his wine pairings.

Also on tap for the event is an educational lunch with Los Angeles power couple and celebrity chefs, Suzanne Goin (Lucques, AOC & Tavern) and David Lentz, chef/owner of Santa Barbara’s The Hungry Cat; cooking classes with famed chefs and cookbook authors, including Jim DodgeAnne Willan and Virginia Willis; a Neighborhood Tasting & Market that explores Santa Barbara’s top up-and-coming food regions, including Los Alamos, Arts District and the Funk Zone and while lot more.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit BacaraCulinaryWeekend.com.

Kurt Russell, photo by Isaac Hernandez

Kurt Russell, photo by Isaac Hernandez

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns. Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on April 10, 2015.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”