Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Re:Find Turns Wine into Gin

Turns out you can crush a grape and get gin. There are a few steps involved, of course, so don't try this at home, but that's where Paso Robles' Villacana Winery and its distillery arm Re:Find step in. Forget about recycling, this is a project that's keyed to re-using a part of the winemaking process that often is just poured away.

Villicana originally just made wine, but Alex and Monica Villicana eventually realized what seemed like a waste product--the juice from the first light press and de-stemming of grapes--might be used for something. "A lot of boutique wineries will extract a percentage of that free run juice from red grapes," Monica explains, "as the color, flavor, and personality comes from the skins. At that point if we lower the percentage of juice going into fermentation, it actually concentrates our wines."

Want to read the rest then do so at the KCET Food Blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Hits and Misses in the New Wine Collection at Vons

Who doesn't like to open presents? Especially when inside that wrapping there's wine? That's just part of the fiendishly clever hook behind Evocative Wrapped Bottles, a series of wines that the Sonoma-based wine company Truett-Hurst has developed to market at Safeway/Vons.

Take their best-seller of the lot, Curious Beasts Blood Red Wine. It is a curious kitchen sink blend of merlot, petite sirah, syrah, zinfandel, and cabernet franc, but nowhere near as monstrous as such a mix might suggest. Its color is far from bloody-dark; in fact it's light enough you might mistake it for a pricier Central Coast pinot noir, say, but clearly this is made for quaffing about the kids busy bobbing for apples, plus it's only 13.5% ABV, so after a glass you can drive them home. Curious Beasts is tasty enough, but there are better bangs for your buck at the $15 price range, and if anyone really bought it for the $29.99 Vons list price before using your Vons Card, you better really like the Day of the Dead woodcut stylings on that paper wrapper. (They are very well done, so all kudos to artist Kevin Shaw at Stranger & Stranger.)

Want to read the rest then do so at the KCET Food Blog.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Guide to Almost 30 Santa Barbara Sparkling Wines

France, as is its wise wont, holds tight to its names. They get Cognac, the rest of the world gets brandy, they get Champagne, we get sparkling wine. That's all about location, national pride, clever marketing; but it doesn't mean a "mere" sparkling wine can't drink as fine. Alas, even in the United States, if people think bubbly, they tend to think northern California: Roederer Estate in Anderson Valley, Mumm in Napa, Piper Sonoma, etc. (All with French roots/ties too.)

Want to read the rest then do so at KCET's Food Blog.