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Truth in Wine



Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Paul Draper, winemaker for Ridge Vineyards since 1969, over lunch. Without a doubt he is my favorite winemaker in America—not just for the wines he produces, but also for his views, his techniques, his beliefs and his inexhaustible curiosity and interest in wine. At age 71, he is as spry of mind and youthful of spirit as I could ever imagine anyone being.


Gary Farrell Sighting

I went up to Healdsburg for the 25th anniversary dinner for Gary Farrell winery. Gary Farrell, the winery, if you don't know, is one of the top, top producers of Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It's one of my faves. But Gary Farrell, the man, is also famously reclusive and shy. He never leads tours of the winery, never shows up to tastings and, generally, makes no appearances.

Though there are pictures of him here and there, I've always questioned whether or not the image in the photos was really Mr. Farrell or just some actor that they got to pose as him. I even began to question whether he even existed or if the idea of this reclusive winemaking genius was just a clever marketing ploy.

Mojitos at Farm

The Carneros Inn, with all of its understated luxury, is certainly one of the premiere places to stay in Napa. Not being a connoisseur of such things, however, I can more confidently attest to the cocktails served at its restaurant, Farm. Pictured here is their modification of Cuba's famous drink. It's called a cucumber mojito.


The cucumber mojito at Farm.

The key to it is not only the cucumber, but the fact that the mixologists dialed back on simple syrup, this reduction of sweetness clarifies the flavors and makes it all the more refreshing.

Up in Wine Country

So I had business up in Mendocino last week, but managed to sneak in and see a couple of my favorite wine producers in the entire state of California. I thought you should know who these guys are, because they are young, they are talented, and their wines are off the hook now, and getting better.


Andy Peay

Taste3 on Drinks

I was fortunate enough to attend the Taste3 conference in Napa last week. Sponsored by the Robert Mondavi company, the gathering of food, wine and art minds from around the world is supposed to be a sort of culinary TED conference and—if you have an extra $2-grand and consider yourself a die-hard foodie—is well worth your time and money. Great thinkers, scientists, story tellers, cooks, taste makers and thinkers gather together for two days of awesome talks on everything from bees and mushrooms to terroir, food blogging and new kitchen inventions. And you can rub elbows with the speakers at several lunches and dinners.

Three Syrahs

JC Cellars is small winery located in Oakland and run by Jeff Cohn, former winemaker for Rosenblum, and his wife Alexandra. A Rhone-wine specialist--meaning he works mostly with Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne--Cohn also makes a bit of Zinfandel.


Where Italians Speak German

I had the opportunity to catch up with Alois Lageder of Italy's Alto Adige region this week, which was great, as I'm a big fan of his wines and the wines from this region. Located in the far north of Italy on the east side of the country the Alto Adige borders southern Austria, which is why the majority of the residents in this area speak German as their primary language. The wines reflect a sort of teutonic bent as well--the whites—Rieslings, Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs, especially—are precise and steely with a great mineral core, just as you'd find in Austria and Germany. The reds are good too, but lesser known. The most famous indigenous variety of red grape there is Lagrein, which has a spicy, peppery component that recalls a lighter Syrah.

Good Drinking in Mendocino



I spent a couple of days over the weekend perusing the Anderson Valley and the Mendocino coast. Naturally enjoying all that pristine beauty on a sunny day with a cleansing breeze and pounding surf, one gets thirsty. So I searched up and down the coastline up there for the perfect spot to have a beer.

Washington's Wines


The line-up at Quilceda.

I flew up to Seattle last week to attend a special tasting of what most people consider to be Washington State’s finest wine and others even call it the best Bordeaux variety wine made in the country, Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.
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