KAY'S WINE BLOG
Put a Cork in it? Screw That!
Last weekend I showed up to a party, proudly presenting to the host an exceptional bottle of Four Vines Zin from a recent tasting foray in Paso Robles, only to be met with a raised-eybrow when she noticed it had a screw top. Wine snob, amiright? And not even a legit wine snob. If you’ve been geeking out on wine closure technology lately, you know she was revealing not just her snootiness, but her ignorance too. When screw top bottles were first introduced back in the 1950’s, they generally topped the kind of cheap jug wine that was better suited to the stewpot than the wine glass. But a ... Continue reading...
The Word on Wine
"Life is too short to drink bad wine." That is on my wall at home. It's painted in bold all-caps on a piece of reclaimed wood in a fun crafty way that's really trendy right now. I can't say it's my favorite wine quote. But it comes in handy when I'm pondering an exceptionally satisfying Pinot at a ​winery I'm discovering in my constant quest to... well, discover more wineries. I bought the wall art in a tasting room that had plenty of clever wine sayings to choose from. At the time, I was on my third winery, and so it's probably understandable that my "Life is too short..." sign only ... Continue reading...
The More Fun Harvest Festival
In November, I will be in Temecula Wine Country for the annual Harvest Celebration. Again. I do it every year, and It is a LOT more fun than starving myself, trudging up an incline burdened with supplies, and constructing a shelter to sit around in and be miserable. I'm not being random, people used to do that. Humans have celebrated harvest since our species' earliest recorded history. Ancient Greeks worshiped Demeter as their goddess of all grains, and honored her each Autumn in a festival called Thesmophoria. The ritualized three-day event included a strenuous ascent up a hill ... Continue reading...
The (not) True Story About Champagne
A blind monk named Dom Perignon invented Champagne. OK, not really, but that's the legend and it's a much better tale than the historical fact.  First - spoiler alert, it's kind of boring - let's talk about what really happened, and then I'll tell you how a brown-robed cleric discovered effervescent delight in a bottle.   The first recorded sparkling wine was Blanquette de Limoux, created by monks in 1531 at the Abbey of Saint Hilaire, near the Pyrenees Mountains in the south of France.  They bottled wine before it finished fermenting, and the carbon dioxide that releases during ... Continue reading...
Food and Wine Love Affair, Part Two
In a previous post, I reviewed the dining available at Lorimar Winery, Wilson Creek Winery, and Robert Renzoni Vineyard and Winery. And I promised to return to the subject of Temecula winery restaurants. You can guess why -- I wanted an excuse to sip and savor on the company dime, which is exactly what I did. Thomas Edison famously said "There is no substitute for hard work." Well, I think if he tried my job, Tom would have added "...except getting paid to nosh on insanely tasty food."   Bel Vino Bistro at Bel Vino Winery Kanan Road's lead singer is wearing flip flops and a plaid shirt, ... Continue reading...
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...