• Garden Wine Tasting at Daniel Gehrs

    Date: 2011.01.24 | Category: Wine Experiences | Response: 0

    If you enjoy a relaxing beautiful afternoon in the garden tasting great wine, then make a stop at Daniel Gehrs.  Located in the Santa Barbara area, Daniel Gehrs Winery can be found in the small town of Los Olivos,CA.  The tasting room is a landmark called Heather Cottage, built in 1904.  Step into this quaint tasting room to peruse through their gift shop.

    A must have is wine tasting of some of their fabulous wines in their garden in the back.  Stand at the bar or sit under the tree sipping wine through the afternoon.

    Daniel Gehrs WineryIf you love Riesling you will enjoy this wine with tastes of honey and apricots on the palate.  The grapes come from a 35 year old vineyard on the slopes of the Santa Lucia Highlands.  This wine has a nice balance with sugar, to make for what the locals call the ‘hot tub wine’.

    For the reds each one was better than the one before.  You will have a tough time deciding which wine to take home.  The Sangiovese has hints of wild strawberries, raspberries; this wine was aged for 2 1/2 years in French and American oak barrels.

    Their Zinfandel from the Santa Ynez Valley, this wine had a fantastic dark red color.  Looking for that jammy and spicy taste; this is the wine.

    All port lovers, at Daniel Gehrs you have 6 ports to choose.  They even have a Port Wine Club to join.  Our first port was served with chocolates, but this port needed no help to satisfy the palate.  The second we tried, Tawny Port from Madera County was heaven in a bottle.  This port was silky smooth, with aromas of nuts and cherry flavors.

    Relax for a slow pace, enjoying friends and great wine at Daniel Gehrs.


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  • Not Really an Odd Couple – Wine and Cupcake Pairing

    Date: 2010.12.20 | Category: Wine & Food Pairings | Response: 0

    It was a beautiful morning driving from Los Angeles to Los Olivos for wine tasting. The beauty made up for rising early out of bed for the trip. The purpose for the drive was not wine, but cupcakes!

    Recently hearing about a couple in an old 1950’s trailer serving up cupcakes made from wine called Enjoy Cupcakes. These cupcakes are not only made from wine, but paired with Saarloos & Sons wines. This certainly sounded like a new twist on the latest craze of cupcakes.

    Enjoy Cupcakes & Wine PairingDriving into the town of Los Olivos, the winery can be found at the end of town, sitting on the corner with an inviting garden and patio. The young lady behind the tasting bar greeted guests with a friendly welcoming manner. Six unique colorful designs, looking delicious were presented for tasting. The tasting room associate provided full details about each cupcake and which wine to be paired.Saarloos & Sons Winery

    Of the six the most popular is the lime with their Syrah. It was hard to believe that a Tart Ginger Lime cupcake with Syrah could satisfy the palate. Well, it did! The others did not disappoint. Chocolate Blackberry Syrah, Cherry Vanilla Merlot, Pomegranate Chardonnay, Chocolate Mint Fusion are some of the Enjoy Cupcakes 245 creations.

    How do you taste a wine and cupcake pairing? First take a bite of the cupcake, enjoy the flavors. Then follow with a sip of the wine. The flavors in the palate become so enhanced in a special way than most wine tastings. Follow the steps again, a bite of the cupcake, then wine. What a pleasant experience worth the drive just for cupcakes

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  • Red Wine Facial for the Perfect Skin

    Date: 2010.11.11 | Category: Wine Experiences | Response: 0

    If you are looking to fight off age, another benefit of wine has been found – A Red Wine Mask Facial.  Red wine acid can promote skin metabolism and dilute the pigment.  Enjoy a relaxing natural spa experience right at home with left over red wine.

    Red wine contains high levels of antioxidant polyphenols, which is effective in eliminating dead cells, fights free radicals, stimulates blood circulation, rejuvenates, increases skin elasticity and leaves your skin bright and glowing.   Looking to soften those wrinkles and fine lines while battling the effects of aging skin this red wine mask recipe is a cheap alternative.

    Red Wine Mask FacialBefore applying any facial clean your face and neck.  Make sure all cosmetics, creams; lotions are removed from your face.  Or just take a shower, steam bath or put a hot towel on your face to clean and open your pores.

    How to make the Red Wine Mask Facial

    Find any plain yogurt, if possible get Greek yogurt as it is thicker and the red wine will thin out the face mask.  Use any brand as long as it’s plain yogurt, no strawberry or peach on your face.

    -1 cup of Plain Yogurt

    – 4 TB Red Wine

    And a container with a tight fitting lid whips the ingredients together.

    Apply the mask, in a circular motion, being careful when near the eyes.  Let the mask absorb into your skin for 15-20 minutes.  Rinse off with warm water.

    Store the container with the remainder of the facial in the refrigerator.

    There are several other Red Wine Facial Mask recipes:


    – 1 cup Yogurt

    – 2 TB Honey

    – 4-5 TB Red Wine


    – 1 cup of Red Wine

    – Aloe Vera Gel

    – 2-3 TB Honey

    I don’t know which one is the best, but I’ll being giving the one with honey a try this weekend.

    You may be looking great after the facial, but the unfortunate part is this facial does not require drinking the wine.  Maybe go with cheap red wine for your facial; after the facial relax and sip on a nice glass of your favorite wine.

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Paired with Cabernet Sauvignon

    Date: 2010.10.19 | Category: Wine & Food Pairings | Response: 0

    This past weekend I attended a beauty products demo in my girlfriend’s home.   It was fun, relaxing afternoon, with purchases of fabulous creams we knew would make us look 15 years younger.

    After everyone had left except the four of us, we started popping open bottles of wine.  After finishing up the second bottle we decided to go for port.  Well, you can’t have port without chocolate.  Piling into my car we headed to the nearest grocery store for chocolate truffles.

    Finally locating truffles we discussed which ones to buy.  Noticing the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I said have you ever had these with Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s fantastic!  We grabbed the chocolate truffles and peanut butter

    Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

    cups and heading back to the house.

    Once back at the house we set the port aside to open a Cabernet Sauvignon.  As my friends were skeptical, I waited nervously to hear their reaction.  They are now converts to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with wine.

    There is something about the chocolate, peanut butter and the saltiness that seems to pair well with the Cab.  We are talking about having a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wine party and pair with other wines to see the results.

  • Briar Rose Winery and the Cheese Highway

    Date: 2010.10.17 | Category: Winery Events | Response: 0

    Wine and Cheese lovers a like gathered for an Adventure with Briar Rose Winery and the Cheese Impresario one evening in October.  I had been looking forward to this pairing for months in hopes of enjoying some of the premium wines of Briar Rose with artisanal cheeses selected by Barrie Lynn.  I was not disappointed, as I quote the words from many of the guests as they enjoyed a sip of wine with a bite of cheese – “WOW!” 

    If you do not know Briar Rose Winery, it’s one of the ‘hidden gems’ of Temecula Wine Country, with  its fairytale setting as you walk up the court yard of this boutique winery.  Their wines are not a fairytale, but true handcrafted premium wines. 

    Barrie Lynn – ‘The Cheese Impresario’ has a love for cheese and a knack for selecting award-winning cheeses with wine.  She has become so well known for her pairings of cheese, she has been asked to find and choose the best 

    Wine & Cheese Pairing

    cheeses with sake, rum, beer and  various other beverages. 

    If you love cheese, enjoying her pairing is an experience you will not forget.  You can find Barrie Lynn at most wine or other beverage festivals teaching others about the cheese highway. 

    As Barrie Lynn says, “Emily Post has prevented us from truly enjoying wine with cheese or any other food.  Ms. Post has taught Americans to eat food separately from beverages.”  ‘The Cheese Impresario’ has given us the cheese highway; take a bit of the cheese, create a pathway of the cheese on your tongue.  Now sip the wine, letting the wine flow over your tongue.  When you have a perfect match, it’s a WOW or Ah-Ah moment. 

    On this October night over 40 people gathered to enjoy 4 Briar Rose wines with 4 artisanal cheeses, for their ah-ah moment.  Up first for everyone’s enjoyment was a 2009 Estate Viognier; with Woolwich Triple Crème Brie – Goat.  Woolwich Dairy produces natural and authentic Brie, made from fresh goat’s milk.  This Brie is lush, creamy with savory flavors; with the Viognier flowing over the cheese, my palate popped with flavors. 

    Cheese Plates

    Then we moved on to red wines, starting with Briar Rose 2005 Cabernet Franc, which is no longer on their tasting menu.   This wine is a winner of many awards, this rich, deep ruby hue, has layers of complexity with a long finish.  

    It was paired with a very unique cheese – Sartori Reserve Raspberry BellaVitano, it has been soaked in New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale to bring out the fruity notes of the cheese.  This premium cheese features a distinctive Parmesan flavor and a creamy cheddar texture.  This is when everyone really had a WOW moment.  Video of the Cabernet Franc tasting 

    Looking for an award-winning Dry Jack cheese?  Try a Rumiano Cheese, which just won gold in its class at the American Cheese Society Conference.  This cheese is hand rubbed with pepper and cocoa that makes an amazing bridge to the Briar Rose 2004 Petit Verdot – Library Wine.  Try drizzling this cheese with a little extra virgin olive oil and then taking a sip of the Petite Verdot.  Amazing is the word.  

    Take a bite of the rin; your taste buds enjoy its smoky flavor.  With the Petit Verdot flavors of blackberry, clove and plum this cheese brings an elegance of flavors that lasts for a long finish.  This Petit Verdot has won many gold medals, a perfect pairing with this award-winning cheese.  Video of the Petit Verdot tasting 

    Pairing Hook’s 10-Year Cheddar with Briar Rose 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – Library Wine made for a wonderful conclusion.  Winning first place in its class at the 2006 American Cheese Society Competition.  This cheese has a deep, rich, outrageously sharp cheddar taste with tiny sparks of flavor crystals.  A smooth, sensual creaminess paired with the sleek flavors of black currant with a touch of mocha of the Cabernet Sauvignon. 

    Barrie Lynn at Briar Rose winery

    The night under the stars was enjoyed by old and new friends as wine and now cheese always seems to bring people together.  Along with the enjoyment for our palates, the cheese highway technique we learned other tidbits to enjoy cheese. 

    •  When taking cheese out of the refrigerator, let sit for about 1 hour before eating.  Cheese is like red wine, it’s best at room temperature.
    • Smell the cheese to appreciate the aorma.
    • Remove the wrapper from the cheese; wrap the cheese in wax apper, not tight.  Then lightly wrap in aluminum foil to store cheese.

    If you are interested in visiting Briar Rose Winery, please note that are a reservation only winery.  In their tasting room enjoy a wine experience as you sit-down with table-side service.  Your server will pour, explain each wine, along with a wine tasting lesson. 

    Open every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm; call 951-308-1098 for a reservation or visit www.briarrosewinery.com

  • Lorimar Winery First Annual Grape Stomp & Harvest Festival

    Date: 2010.10.15 | Category: Winery Events | Response: 0

    Grape Stomp

    Hidden in Temecula’s wine country are the expansive vineyards of Lorimar Winery which were the perfect setting for their first Harvest Festival.  Most nights the sun sets and the vineyards darken while crickets chirp and the stars oversee the vines, but this night the vineyards played host to a crowd of jubilant wine-lovers and grape-stompers.

    The festivities began upon arrival where you were greeted and given your own keepsake Lorimar glass complete with tasting tickets to enjoy several glasses of their delicious wines.  There were tables set up as well as a tasting bar in a barrel room but the real fun was down through the vineyards at the grape-stomping.  To get there, you could walk right through the vines or for the more adventurous, hitch a ride on hay-filled tractor that was shuttling guests back and forth.

    Over at the grape-stomping event guests stepped up into barrels filled with grapes and happily dug their toes in and laughed while squishing as much juice as they could.  The resulting juice was poured into commemorative bottles that the guests could take with them.   During the grape-stomping a band kept the crowd happy with fast-paced tunes that had the ladies dancing,  glasses of Lorimar wine in hand.   Light appetizers of hummus dip and fresh vegetables held everyone over until dinner was served.  As the grape-stomping wound down, little by little the guests hopped on the hay-filled tractor for a ride back to the dinner tents.

    As everyone began to arrive and sit at the dinner tables, the band re-located to  continue to entertain the guests.  Dinner was served and the guests happily ate and enjoyed more Lorimar wine while they got caught up with old friends and met new ones.  Everyone agreed that this would be an annual tradition for them and they can’t wait for next years event.

    Lorimar Wine

    Video of the Lorimar Grape Stomp

    While the vineyards are not open to the public, you can sample some delicious Lorimar wines in their tasting room located at 42031 Main St. Suite # C which is off of Front Street just the other side of “The Bank” Mexican food restaurant.

    To see what guests had to say about Lorimar wine click here for a video.

    Lorimar Winery

  • Four Vines and a Glass of Wine

    Date: 2010.08.27 | Category: Wine Experiences | Response: 0

    If you are ever in the Paso Robles/Templeton area wine tasting, get on Highway 46.  Then make certain your car heads right to Four Vines Tasting Room, they will not disappoint.

    The tasting room is between Anderson Rd and Vineyard Dr.  When you see the windmill with the sign Farmstand 46, turn the car immediately into the parking lot.  In front of the tasting room is a little sandwich shop, called Farmstand 46.  I should not have eaten before hand, the menu looked mighty fine.  They serve gourmet, healthy food made from the freshest ingredients.  Just ignore the word “healthy”.

    On the menu slow cooked pork shoulder or salami, cappicola, mortadella and aged provolone with roasted red peppers or even try the roast beef, aged cheddar, red pepper, grilled sweet onion and horseradish.  These and more sandwiches are made to order, with a couple of pre-made sandwiches and salads and wood fire pizza!  Although be aware their menu changes seasonally.  Go to www.farmstand46.com for a menu.  There slogan “Never eat more than you can lift”

    On the left side behind the restaurant the Four Vines tasting room is located.  Nice little tables outside for relaxing, enjoying their wine and a pleasant view of a vineyard.   As you first walk in the tasting room, you will notice the funky, cool red light fixtures.  The lights set the mood for a fun, funky and elegant tasting.

    Four Vines Tasting Room

    Their tastings are served in a Riedel crystal wine glass; which you can keep.  If you have never tasted wine in a Riedel glass; it is a treat.  The wine glass can make such difference in the wine.  Although the Four Vines wines need no help.

    You have your choice of 6 different logos on the Riedel wine glass.  I went for ZinBitch.  I love the descriptions of their wines.  Fun and informative.  I’m glad to know their 2008 “Naked” Chardonnay ‘has not seen any oak, nor does it want to.’

    Did not try the Chardonnay, went right into the 2007 ‘Maverick’ Zinfandel brought memories of my childhood watching James Garner as Bret Maverick.  They were right – it was a Jam Bomb of mischievous fun.  It was quite lovely and smooth.  I purchase a couple of bottles of this one.

    Although it was difficult to decide between all the wines I experienced at Four Vines.  If you are looking for a Malbec, give theirs a try, it will not disappoint you.   Aromas of rich currant, blackberry, cherry on the nose.  A very nice long finish.  I very much enjoyed their ‘Anarchy’ blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Mourvedre; rich fruit and very velvety.

    The tasting room staff is energetic, friendly and very knowledgeable about their wines.  The staff is more than happy to direct you to other great wineries in the area.   The staff in a tasting just as important as the wines – if you don’t have a nice experience in the tasting room, are the wines really that important.

    Four Vines makes wine fun, while still being sophisticated without snobbery.  I’ll be heading back to Paso Robles area probably next week; I’ll have to make a stop a Four Vines



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