Articles

April 4, 2011

NAPA VALLEY VINTNERS RALLY TO SUPPORT LOCAL VETS

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. — Deb Stallings was more than a little surprised when she found out that budgetary concerns meant that residents of the veterans’ home in the Napa Valley, one of the world’s most renowned wine regions, were being served wine from – gasp! – out of state. And not the good stuff, either. That changed after Napa vintners heard about the situation.

 

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WINE COUNTRY, HOLD THE COUNTRY

Glasses clink and the buzz of conversation bounces off the stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels stacked to the ceiling as Steve Shaffer pours wine for thirsty visitors. But outside the cellar doors is no stretch of sweeping green vineyard or neatly manicured garden.

This winery is parked firmly in the dusty reality of Oakland’s Fourth Street, one of nearly two dozen wineries that have sprung up in the urban environs of the east San Francisco Bay area.

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After the Prom, the post-prom event

The prom, that end-of-high-school rite in which teenagers stuff themselves into outfits guaranteed to give their children a laugh 20 years down the road, is getting its own corollary, the post-prom event.

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Chefs have a recipe for recycling, reinventing

Remember the stereotypically lavish chef of kitchen lore who would roast an olive inside a little bird inside a bigger bird on up to an ostrich, and then throw away everything but the olive? That guy wouldn’t last too long in Bay Area kitchens.

Driven both by thrift and the desire to keep the planet cleaner, chefs are finding new uses for items that once would have been flung in the garbage, recycling and reusing just about everything but the squeak.

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AP Photo/Matthew Mead

ROYAL FANS SAY `I DO’ TO WEDDING WATCHING PARTIES

Throwing a watching party for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton doesn’t have to be a royal pain.

But with the wedding scheduled for 6 a.m. East Coast time you probably are going to find that plenty of coffee is, so to speak, your cup of tea.

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AP Photo/Matthew Mead

PRINCE’S COOKIE CAKE TAKES THE BISCUIT

Perhaps your invite to the upcoming royal nuptials of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton was lost in the mail. Or maybe you simply haven’t the time to hop across the pond for the big event.

Not to worry. Now that palace officials have released the young couple’s wedding cake choices, you can serve yourself a fat slice of royal life without leaving the kitchen.

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CHOCOLATE WINE AMPS UP THE DECADENCE

Candy is dandy, but chocolate wine really seems to get taste buds in an uproar. Never heard of chocolate wine? Chances are you will. More vintners are amping up the decadence decibels with blends of wine infused with chocolate flavorings.

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MEET ME IN SAN FRANCISCO

It’s no problem finding a great place to eat in San Francisco. With 4,200 restaurants, 2,500 of them full-service, there’s a dish to satisfy every palate.
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OUI! U.S. WINE SALES TOP FRENCH

For the first time, U.S. wine sales have topped the French, a landmark for the industry.

But don’t break out the foam fingers just yet.

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ROLL OUT THE … BAG-IN-A-BARREL/

Selling wine by the glass is hot, but having half-empty bottles left over is not, something that has prompted restaurants and bars to explore new delivery systems from sophisticated preservation devices to kegs that keep wine on tap.

One of the latest variations on the theme has a back-to-the-future aspect: The wine is packaged in plastic bags similar to those used in boxed wines, but in this case the bag is housed in an elegant wooden barrel.

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CHEFS HAVE GRAPE IDEAS FOR RECYCLING WINE

OAKLAND, Calif. — You’ve heard of turning water into wine. But what can you turn wine into once the bottle is past its prime?

Plenty say a trio of thrifty chefs who’ve been turning dregs into delicious vinegars, marinades, even sorbets.

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CARIGNAN MAKES A COMEBACK IN CHILE

Green, rough, bitter—for a hard-working grape, carignan shoulders an awful lot of insults. And it’s true the prolific variety, traditionally used in reds from France’s Languedoc region, has produced a lot of undistinguished wine
But lately, carignan has been coming in for artisanal treatment, notably at the hands of winemakers in Chile who are keeping the prodigious variety’s vigor in check and producing rich, flavorful wines.

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WINE AND ROSES IN THE NAPA VALLEY

Connoisseurs talk about a wine’s floral bouquet. But some Napa Valley vintners are taking that concept a step further by planting lush gardens.

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VALENTINE’S A LABOR OF LOVE FOR KITCHEN COUPLES

On Valentine’s Day, Bruno Chemel will make a romantic dessert of dark chocolate paired with a delicate rosewater confection and give it to his wife, Christie. Then she’ll make sure it’s served correctly – to 20 other couples.

Chemel is chef-owner of BaumĂ© restaurant in Palo Alto – Christie works front of house – and for them, as for kitchen warriors all over the Bay Area, a big date night means working, not wooing.

 

 

 

ROBERT PARKER JR. PASSES TORCH ON CALIFORNIA WINES.

There’s a new critic in town for California wines and oenophiles are buzzing about what that could mean.

Robert M. Parker Jr., the influential wine critic and founder of The Wine Advocate, recently announced he is handing off responsibility for California wines to his associate, Antonio Galloni.

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