His is a story of a man from a small town who left the family business to find out "what else there was in the world." Only in this case, the small town is Napa Valley and the family business is a winery —the pull of which is a little stronger than, say, if it were a shoe store in Iowa. Armed with a degree in television production and a couple years of Hollywood experience under his belt, Judd Finkelstein returned to Judd's Hill Winery, and has spent his time well. Besides making wine, Finkelstein is showing what can be done with a pirate and a marketing budget.
It's easy to walk right past Restaurant Rudy on Broadway in Sonoma and not think much of it — the understated dining room gives you very little idea about what to expect. But to do so would be a mistake, because it's what is happening in the back of the restaurant that's the real attraction.
Chances are, in 2013 most of us are not going to invest millions of dollars in a winery so we can show up from time and time and ask how “our” wine is doing. But as an angel investor at NakedWines.com, you can invest in up-and-coming winemakers for only $40 a month and reap the benefits.
All that 40 percent new French oak here and 30 percent new French oak there means if there is one thing Wine Country has too much of (besides over-oaked wine) it's old French oak. And there are only so many candle holders, planters and rocking chairs one can make. But used barrels are now answering to an even higher calling: that of barbecue.
Jonathon Bodnar of Smoakville in Napa has found success cooking his ribs and brisket over old barrel staves and now Carlo Cavallo in Sonoma will be employing a similar strategy for his forthcoming restaurant Burgers & Vine.
Don’t be scared if, on a recent hike, you come across fleece and wool cap-clad folks armed with knives and hand-woven baskets wandering about seemingly aimlessly and staring at the ground. They’re not hippie zombies, they are mushroom hunters.
The tradition of special holiday beer is one that goes back as long as there has been both holidays and beer. Typically richer and darker with higher alcohol, and possibly some kind of fruit or spice added to the brew, holiday beers are one of the best things about this time of the year.
It is widely agreed upon that the best things in Italy are the wines, the shoes and the men (roughly in that order). So when you have a chance to taste wine from three of the most daring producers in Italy (who happen to be men) we recommend putting on your Guccis, your Rossis, your Ferragamos and making your way to Arlequin Wine Merchant in Hayes Valley on Wednesday, December 5.
The grapes have long been crushed and the vines are settling into dormancy, but there is another harvest happening all over the North Coast that, like the 2012 grape vintage, is both more bountiful and of better quality than the area has seen in years.
What if we could assemble every winery that put Napa Valley on the map? And what if we could taste the most important wine they ever made? The answer, of course, is that would one would be one epic tasting. And it was.
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