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Calibration Tasting Time, Thanks to Mirassou Sunset Red

Truth be told, we’ve never been big fans of the whole pay for play phenomenon – where companies send bloggers their products in exchange for a nice blurb or review. Blame it on Anne’s journalistic background, where there was this virtual firewall between the content and the advertising sides of the business. Or there was supposed to be.

And then, one of Anne’s colleagues from Generation Fabulous. Chloe Jeffreys, hooked up with a publicist for Mirassou wines and Chloe asked Anne (and the other GenFab women) to help out. Well, gee. If there’s wine involved, we’re always ready to

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Riedel’s Variety-Specific Glasses? Busted, Baby!

The Riedel Burgundy glass (standing) and malbec glass. (The cabernet glass broke before we could get a picture of it.) Yep, busted.

We love Riedel glassware. The stuff is gorgeous. It’s light and beautifully crafted. It just feels elegant sipping wine from it.

However, we’ve always been rather skeptical about their claim that their variety-specific glasses actually make a significant difference in the flavor of each different wine. So we decided to test the glassware and found out one rather interesting thing, but overall? To quote one of our fave TV shows, Myth busted.

The tasting came about

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Face Time with the Grape Herders – Upcoming Wine Events in SoCal

People ask us all the time where can they go to learn about wine. Well, aside from reading OddBallGrape.com on a regular basis, wine events, such as Grand Tastings and festivals, are a great opportunity to learn. You can taste all sorts of different wines and better yet, at many of these events, you can talk to the winemakers and learn what went into the bottle.

Now that may seem like a lot of work when you just want to taste something. But as we were reminded over the past weekend, the more you learn about wine, the

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Flying Goat 2007 Pinot Noir Salisbury Vineyard

Type: Dry red What makes it special: A pinot noir that’s not from the Santa Rita Hills. Plays well with: pork, lamb, salmon, cheese.

The 2007 Flying Goat Pinot Wine comes from San Luis Obispo, a little farther up the California coast from where Norman Yost makes his wines in Lompoc.

The nose has a spicebox aroma – think asian five spice powder ingredients such as licorice and cardamon. The color is the same gorgeous ruby red of a certain pair of shoes made in Oz (or more accurately the MGM costume shop). But just check out the

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Pinot Days Means Lots and Lots of Pinot

Courtesy Pinot Days

Tasting events are an amazingly cool way to find out about a lot of wine at one time. Most feature a region or even a single grape, such as Pinot Days, dedicated to the heartbreak grape that is Pinot Noir. Based in San Francisco, the organizers have also taken the show to Chicago and, for the last two years, Santa Monica, California. Michael was lucky enough to get involved as a volunteer for the recent Santa Monica show, which also allowed him to attend the event and mingle with the winemakers.

Imagine a beehive of

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Celebrity Wine FAQ – Jane Seymour

When we asked actor Jane Seymour for her wine FAQ, she didn’t have one.

“You know, I grew up with wine.  My mother was a wine merchant.  I tasted Givery Chambertin at, probably, eight,” said the actor who is currently reprising her role as Prudence, the Martha Stewart clone in the Hallmark Channel movie Perfectly Prudence.

Like other Europeans, Seymour said, it’s not unusual for young Brits to taste wine long before it’s legal, even there.

But not only is she into wine, she’s even got her own label of pinot noir, JS, which she’s making with vintner Jim

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La Fenetre 2006 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir

Type: Dry redMade With: Pinot Noir grapesPlays Well With: Salmon, pork or grilled beef.

This is a wine that is all about balance – no mean trick when it comes to the notoriously finicky pinot noir grape.

Winemaker and founder Joshua Klapper started with some amazing fruit – from farmer and winemaker Peter Cargasacchi’s vineyards in the ever-so-hot Santa Rita Hills.  Cargasacchi has his own Point Concepcion label (which we have had the good fortune to taste), but does sell a fair amount of his crop to several local vintners – including La Fenetre.  In fact, one of our

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Vergari 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Type: Dry redMade with: Pinot NoirPlays well with: Strong cheeses, red meats

The Vergari 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a premium example of a California pinot noir.  Which is not to say that it is a copy of a Burgundian wine. The California style generally has riper fruit which can sometimes be a problem in France.  Actually, it can be a problem with Californis wines, too.  Riper fruit can translate into jammier characters and higher alcohol – qualities not becoming for a food friendly grape like pinot noir.

Not so with the Vergari.  It’s a crafted wine that

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Vergari Wines

It happened a few months ago, but one day, Michael gets an email in his personal box inviting him and a guest to a tasting at a local contractor’s store near us.  Huh?  It was from David Vergari – a winemaker who lives in Sierra Madre in Southern California, but makes a collection of red wines out of a custom crush facility in Sebastopol, California.  They’re mostly cabs and pinots – varieties we don’t usually focus on here at OddBallGrape.

But what makes Vergari’s operation a little more up our alley is how he’s selling his wines – through

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Schug 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is Walter Schug’s signature wine – the wine he grew up on, the wine that he started his winery to make.  And Schug does know how to handle it.

There’s a reason pinot noir is known as the heartbreak grape.  Every decision in the growing, harvesting, crushing. pressing – the entire winemaking process – shows up in the final product. The wrong pruning, the wrong yeast selection, too muck oak, too little oak – it’s all there for the world to taste and, alas, pay too much money for most of the time.

And there is

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