KAY'S WINE BLOG
The Accoutrements of Wine
"Can you show me where your accoutrements are?" is a question I don't normally ask when shopping. Accoutrement is a fancy word, indicating that you're a person of class and distinction. I use it because it sounds better in my blog title than "wine stuff." But it means the same thing, and that's what is on my mind today - the "wine stuff" you should have if you want to drink wine like a boss. Wine is a topic that for many people inspires a fanaticism bordering on lunacy. And so, the world is full of useful accessories and whimsical gadgets that purport to make your wine experience more ... Continue reading...
Cabernet, Merlot, and Charizard
Last week a Grapeline guest asked her bus driver to go reaaal slooow around a corner near the Temecula duck pond. She had a compelling reason. "I'm catching a Pokemon," she explained without looking up as she intently swiped her iPhone with her index finger.   Temecula's duck pond provides refuge to more than just Mallards and Gadwalls. There are Pikachus and Geodudes, too. The duck pond bustles with kids and grown-ups alike, bent over smart phones, playing Pokemon GO. The augmented reality game from Nintendo, launched on July 6, immediately became a worldwide phenomenon.    Within one ... Continue reading...
Wine and a Movie
​I present to you - ta da! - Kay Syrah's top three movies about wine.  Winners are, in no particular order, Somm, Bottleshock, and Sideways.  SOMM During the past forty years, about 220 people worldwide have passed the Master Sommelier Exam.  During that same period, almost 10 times as many people have been struck by lightning in the United States alone. So, yeah, it's an uncommon achievement.   Jason Wise's 2012 documentary SOMM chronicles the journey of four hopefuls as they swirl, sip and spit their way towards the pinnacle of wine knowledge.  The movie uncorked the secret and highly ... Continue reading...
What price fine wine?
Gulp.   Not "I'm parched, so I'm slugging down a quenching mouthful of Glacier Freeze Gatorade," but rather "Are you friggin' kidding me???" That's my reaction to the price of some wines.  To wit: $2,733 for a bottle of Petrus, from Pomerol, France.  That's the average price of several heralded vintages.  One vintage - it's a bit nicer, so understandably it deserves a slight premium over the mundane four-figure versions - sold at auction for $103,171.   Blink, long pause. That set in for you yet?  $103,171 for 25 ounces of grape juice.  Gold, at $1,215 per ounce, is a bargain compared to ... Continue reading...
Time for a Bud Break
No, I'm not talking about grabbing a beer after work.  I'm talking about something that happens in Wine Country. It happens year after year after year, and yet never ceases to excite me. Kinda like birthdays and holidays that way.   Bud break is when hibernating grapevines awaken.  Rows of lifeless-looking sticks sprout colorful pods, foretelling impending green lushness.  This year, much like last, warm weather in January and February has vintners forecasting an early start to the growing season.  In 2015, most California wine regions had already announced buds in the vineyards by March ... Continue reading...
Barrel Tasting Weekend
The Temecula Valley Barrel Tasting weekend is an event I will never miss. This year, it happens on Saturday and Sunday, January 30 and 31. Why won't I miss it?  The answer to that question... is that Barrel Tasting Weekend is the answer to a lot of other questions. In the wine tour business, some questions come up over and over. What's the best winery?  Which winery has the best reds?  Who has a good sparkling wine?  What’s the most beautiful spot in wine country? We have to be careful how we answer these questions. There's the issue of political correctness - we don’t want one winery to ... Continue reading...
Varietals - the Spice of Life
Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Been there, done that.  Yawn.  Same old same old.  When navigating wine preferences, these are the middle-of-the-road crowd’s easy answers.  And, yes, they are my own glass-fillers on most evenings when I want to be soothed, not challenged.  But there are times when one must liven up one’s life.  Titillate one’s taste buds.  Provoke one’s palate. Do you love the tannic bomb that is Cabernet Sauvignon?  Yep, so do I.  The bold “King of Grapes” is known for ripe black and red fruits and herbaceous notes, and pairs easily with hearty, rich dishes.    But if ... Continue reading...
Temecula Valley's 25th Annual Harvest Celebration
Wine, Food, Wine, Food, Repeat.  That's my plan for November 8 when Temecula wineries celebrate the completion of harvest with a cornucopia of tastiness.   The Celebration turns 25 years old this year, and marks its quadranscentennial with three "you've never seen this before" experiences.  The three trailblazing happenings? Sampling in subterranean style at Oak Mountain Winery, tasting like the rich and famous at Carter Estate Winery, and venturing off the beaten winery path to the appointment-only production facility of Baily Winery.    Caves are cool, literally.  Sequestering wine ... Continue reading...
Food and Wine Love Affair
(Part One of Many... chronicling Temecula Valley's unique bounty of vineyard dining) "If you fall in love with something, put everything into it." That's what Chef Oscar Escatel tells me when I run into him at Pairings, the gourmet food truck parked among the vines at Lorimar Winery in Temecula.   A bit later, he proudly presents his Goat and Fig Flatbread. Crumbled goat cheese, shaved prosciutto, caramelized onions and dried figs finished with creme fraiche and a generous sprinkle of fresh arugula. I take a greedy bite. Delish! Lorimar's 2012 Chardonnay pairs perfectly, just as Chef Oscar ... Continue reading...
Santa Barbara Pinot-Palooza
Feeling good about your grape coaxing skills?  If not, don't bother trying to make a noteworthy Pinot Noir.   “Pinot needs constant care and attention... it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only someone who really takes the time to understand pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.” That’s how Miles explained to Maya his appreciation of Pinot Noir’s unique challenges – and its sublime incarnations – in the 2004 movie Sideways. Bam!!! Central Coast ... Continue reading...