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SAY I LOVE YOU WITH CAVA by Bonnie Carroll

Translated cava means cave or cellar, and was adopted by the Spanish to distinguish their Champagne from French Champagne. Spanish sparkling wine was first made as early as 1851, although the roots of the cava industry can be traced back to Josep Raventós's travels through Europe in the 1860s, where he was promoting the still wines of the Codorníu Winery. His visits to Champagne sparked an interest in the potential of a Spanish wine made using the same traditional method. He first sparkler was born in 1872, after the vineyards of Penedès were devastated by a plague, and the predominantly red vines were being replaced by large numbers of vines producing white grapes.

Catalan cava producers were the first to implement a significant technological development in sparkling wine production with the invention of the gyropallet, a large mechanized device that replaced hand riddling, in which the lees are consolidated in the neck of the bottle prior to disgorgement and corking.


Today Cava Champagnes are extremely popular around the world, and will be number one on the list to celebrate Valentines Day in America. They come in a variety of distinct tastes, and look beautiful in any setting. These wines can be found in every venue that carries international wines and if you require additional information on distribution please visit Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison New York www.pasternakwines.com.



Southern Exposure

As we have been hinting, 2013 holds some new developments for all things Garagiste.

Southern exposure to the sun in a vineyard is good for growing grapes. It is also about to be very good for those who enjoy drinking the product of those grapes.

To continue our mission of discovering and shining a spotlight on outstanding artisan winemakers, we are excited to reveal that we are expanding to Santa Barbara County.

The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure will feature 30 high-quality, small-production garagiste wineries of Santa Barbara County in Solvang, California on February 16th. It's quite a line-up.

Tickets will go on sale next week, but we wanted to let you know so you can save the date. Hotel rooms there will be scarce on that weekend, so you will need to book early. We will have more info on that next week, too. Stand by and start planning now.

Many people have been asking so we will be reprising our super-popular oak barrel seminar, this time with the phenomenal wines of McPrice Myers from the renowned Larner Vineyard. If you couldn't attend this in 2011 (or even if you did) don't miss this new opportunity to experience various oak treatments in a comparison tasting that will leave you with a whole new understanding of the role of oak in the winemaker's "spice rack."

That's not all. To get us in the mood, in just two weeks, on Saturday, January 19th from 2:00 to 5:00pm we will be holding a Southern Exposure pre-event mini-tasting featuring six garagiste winemakers from Santa Barbara County at the fabulous Wood and Vine Restaurant at 6280 Hollywood Blvd. (at Vine St.) in Hollywood, California. Let's toast away the post-Holiday blues!

More details next week, but save the dates and start making your plans now if you want to get into some of the best wines coming out of Santa Barbara County right now.


The Garagiste Team,
Doug, Stewart, Lisa, and Melanie

                                                          ^  ^  ^






Eighth Inauguration for America’s Premium Champagne

When Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term as the 44th President of the United States, this historic event will once again be toasted with flutes of Korbel California Champagne. On January 21st, immediately following the public Swearing-In Ceremony, Korbel Russian River Valley Natural Champagne – featuring a commemorative neck label including the Inaugural Seal – will be served at the Inaugural Luncheon and raised in toasts to the Obama administration.

2013 marks the eighth Presidential Inauguration in which Korbel Champagne Cellars, producer of America’s favorite premium champagne, has been selected for this prestigious honor. This Korbel tradition began in 1985 with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan and has continued through the inaugurations of George Bush in 1989, Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1997, George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005, and Barack Obama’s first term in 2009.

After President Barack Obama has taken his public oath of office and delivered his Inaugural address, he will be escorted to one of the most historic places in the U.S. Capitol – Statuary Hall – for the traditional Inaugural Luncheon, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) and chaired by New York Senator, Charles E. Schumer. Since 1897, the Inaugural Luncheon has been one of the most exclusive events of the Presidential Inauguration. In addition to the President, Vice President and members of their families, the 200 invited guests include the senior members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Supreme Court Justices, members of the President’s Cabinet and former Presidents. Reflecting the theme of the 2013 Inauguration, “Faith in America’s Future” celebrating the 150th anniversary of the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol dome, this year’s Inaugural Luncheon will include speeches, gift presentations from the JCCIC and – of course – several toasts.

“Such a historic celebration deserves to be toasted with American champagne with roots in our country’s most memorable occasions,” observed Gary Heck, President and Owner of Korbel Champagne Cellars. “We are honored that Korbel – celebrating its 130th anniversary – will once again be on hand for this prestigious tradition.”

Established in 1882 in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Korbel Champagne Cellars produces the United States’ most popular méthode champenoise champagne. Owned and managed by the Heck family since 1954, Korbel currently makes eleven champagnes and a limited amount of still wine. In a separate facility, Korbel also produces one of the country’s most respected brandies.



                           Chef Jason Collis            James King, Wine Expert


Chef Jason Collis, Limoneira Ranch presented a delicious food demonstration expressly for pairing with some amazing wines selected by James "UrWineGuy" King that included descriptions for the average person. This segment of  the show attracted a huge unique crowd in attendance at the 8th AnnualTravel and Adventure Show. Some of the wines selected were Brownstone/Central Coast, California, Montefiere/Piedmont, Italy, Ombu/San Rafael, Argentina, Farina/Toro, Spain and Terroir Napa Valley/Napa Valley, California. Audience members were treated to a wine tasting following the presentation.  See the tasting notes below and visit urwineguy.com for King's newsletter. For information on Jason Collis visit www.limoneira.com.

St. Lucas Brut, Mendosa, Argentina, $8.99, A dry white wine crafted from a carful blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc grapes. The Grassy-yellow hue of this fine wine, compliments the creamy, fruit flavors that develop into a velvety finish.

Brownstone Pinot Grigio California, $7.99,  Here’s a crisp white wine that offers citrus flavors and a clean, smooth finish. This Pinot Grigio is harvested a little later than most and is accented with dry Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. Perfect for cocktails, soups & pastas, turkey and chicken sandwiches. 

Fariña Malvasia Toro, Spain, $11.00, Fariña achieves something unique in the region with this fresh, clean and crisp aromatic white wine made from Malvasia vines that are over 100 years old, some of the oldest in the region. Green apples, mineral notes and a touch of peach offer lively acidity and lead to a very pleasant finish. Good with soft white cheese, roast chicken, grilled sausage.   

Brownstone Chardonnay California, $7.99,

Their winemaker focuses on extended, low temperature fermentation to enhance the delicate pineapple, pear and citrus flavors and aromas. Partially barrel fermented and blended with dry Chenin Blanc.

Perfect with seafood, salads and appetizers.   


Montefiore Moscato Piedmont, Italy, $11.00, It is pale yellow in color with aromas of apricot, peach and fresh flowers. On the palate it is lively with a nice balance of sweetness. Abundantly fruity, vibrant and fresh. This wine is ideal any time of the day for a refreshing and light accompaniment to fresh fruit, salads, spiced cuisine and dessert.


Fariña Peromato Toro, Spain, $8.99, Medium body with great pure juicy fruit. Approachable, easy drinking, fruit forward and fun. General meat dishes and cheese.


OMBU Merlot San Rafael, Argentina, $11.99,Harmonious wine of soft tannins with delicate, velvet body. Very approachable in style with flavors of red ripe fruits, raspberry and plums. Smooth and lingering on the finish.


Terrior Napa Valley Cabernet California, $24.00, The nose expresses lush ripe blackberry, currant and French oak. The first taste expresses classic Cabernet fruit. In the mid-palate dark cherry, deep plum and heaps of ripe fruit lead to a long sustained finish.


Montefiore Sweet Red Piedmont, Italy, $11.95, A great wine that shows its entire aromatic flavor both on the nose and the palate. Abundant with ripe strawberry and raspberry flavors. Sweet, refreshing and well-balanced. Its delightful character makes this wine suitable to drink at anytime during the day. Especially well-suited as an aperitif, with fruit, chocolate cakes and mousses.




 The Vancouver International Wine Festival is one of North America’s largest wine festivals, attracting vintners and wine enthusiasts from all over the world. Celebrating its 35th anniversary with wines from California, this year’s event features more than 175 participating wineries from 15 countries, amounting to 1,700 wines on pour. Taking place February 25 to March 3, the festival offers seven days of events, including seminars, winery dinners and an assortment of lunches and brunches at Vancouver’s finest restaurants and hotels. Our top picks:

California Cruisin’. During this night of sipping, noshing and hobnobbing with the stars of California wine country, guests can relax in the cool vibe of California while socializing with more than 20 wineries pouring their liquid sunshine. California-inspired tapas, music and entertainment abound. Event takes place on February 26 at Brix Restaurant and George Ultra Lounge. Tickets cost $59 (plus tax).

All About Chardonnay. This comparative tasting event takes guests through the many expressions of Chardonnay, from its key role in celebrated Champagnes to the crisp dry wines of Burgundy and bold New World Chards. Event takes place on February 28 at

the Vancouver Convention Centre. Tickets cost $60 (plus tax).

25 Under $25. Taking place at Main Street’s District 319, 25 Under $25 is one of the festival’s most sought-after events, showcasing a coveted selection of the best value wines on the market. Event takes place on March 2. Tickets cost $49 (plus tax).

B.C. Paired. Indulge Your Senses. Experience the best food and wine B.C. has to offer at this event featuring award-winning BC VQA wines from more than 20 wineries, paired with locally-inspired cuisine from executive chef Jean-Francis Quaglia. Event takes place on March 2 at Yaletown’s Provence Marinaside. Tickets cost $69 (plus tax).

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved