Sips and tips
Briefs and news of note.
By CHRIS SHERMAN
Published January 24, 2007
Some intriguing vineyards, old, new and forgotten, lie halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles where Highway 101 enters the old town of Paso Robles. It started out as zinfandel country and now has a wide range of grapes, including the newest Rhones. They come in names you know, like Justin, J. Lohr, Wild Horse, Rabbit Ridge and Firestone and others worth meeting: Peachy Canyon, Turley and Tablas Creek.
You don't have to go there, however; 30 of the region's winemakers are taking their best on the road. The road show comes to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa on Feb. 15. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at www.pasowine.com.
In Florida, winter is a time for wine lovers to pick the festivals, auctions and tastings, and this year's crop of affairs is ripe with choices.
The winter tasting season kicked off last weekend with Bayfront and Vine in St. Petersburg and will run through spring with long-established tastings and new rarities.
Wine fans gather Saturday in St. Petersburg for Wine Under the Stars at the Science Center while the celebrity stars of food and wine head to Naples for America's richest and most exclusive wine event.
The Naples affair is stuffed with food and wine celebrities but has room for only 500 guests (at a minimum of $7,500 a couple). Food and wine VIPs this year include Robert Parker, Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck.
Dates to mark on cellar notes for 2007:
- Feb. 3: Einstein on Wine at MOSI in Tampa.
- Feb. 3: Wine and Art at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.
- March 10: Abilities of Florida Tasting and Auction at Tropicana Field.
- April 26-27: Florida Wine Fest and Auction in Sarasota.
- April 28-May 1: Bern's Winefest in Tampa.
Check Food File in Taste each Wednesday for prices and details on these and other food, wine and beer events.
Wine of the week
Privada, Bodega Norton, Mendoza, 2004
This bottle should prove that the malbec grapes of Argentina are as noble and elegant as malbec of Bordeaux and environs, not just another hearty red to match a steak on a gaucho grill.
Here, one of Argentina's top wineries puts the country's best grape forward in a classic Bordeaux style, robed in New World fruit. The blend cabernet sauvignon and merlot with rich, inky signature of malbec has been Norton's top blend and is sold as "privada" or family reserve.
Its gentility is obvious immediately, softly mannered in near-black purple, friendly to the nose and mouth. The taste is a smooth jam of deep plum spiked with blackberries, thick and polished in texture with only a whiff of smoke and cedar. Not yet three years old, but already at ease and likely to stay in good graces for another five years or more. Pair with a silky filet mignon or rich cheese.
Availability: $20 at wine shops and liquor stores.
Chris Sherman, Times staff writer
[Last modified January 23, 2007, 11:33:44]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]