Project Dinner Table started as a concept to bring the community together as an interactive entity sharing the bounty of social interaction by sharing a communal meal of local seasonal produce and other local foods grown in Nevada.
This worthwhile organization selects a local charity for each individual event to donate proceeds. What a great way to give back to the community by enjoying a lovely dinner that supports our state and city.
We were invited to meet with members or our community in a unique setting, the Las Vegas History and Museum and Heritage Park. Executive Chef Joe Koniski prepared the fare with the unique pairing of beers from the famous Anheuser-Bush company. Multi-generational Brew Master, George Reisch enlightened us with the history of the company and the craft of making beers that have been around the American scene for many, many years.
As we entered the museum, there was a lovely platter of artisanal cheeses and meats from Valley Cheese and Wine of Las Vegas. If you have not been out to 1770 W. Horizon Ridge to this unique wine and cheese story, it is worth the trip. We did not have to venture out to Henderson, but to the amazing platter that was before us. Waiters brought around small bites for us to sample. We loved the shrimp and scallop cerviche, with lime caviar. It was light and delicate, with a nice crisp texture. Bud Light Lime Margaritas were served in accompaniment with the preamble. We also tried the mustard crusted beef tenderloin with a cream horseradish and a duck crackling crostini, a confit of duck marinated goat cheese, and sun-pickled cherry bomb peppers. The last two bites were hearty and easy to overindulge in. We were now ready to begin the official dinner as our host indicated that the tables were ready.
We proceeded to large tables under large white tents outside to meet the other s that came here to partake at the community tables set up for family style dining. What a great way to meet people by sharing a great meal together. Our first course, was a carrot dish with locally grown carrots from the Gilcrease Orchard located in the Northwest part of valley. Yes, Las Vegas does have a place where you can pick and buy fresh seasonal produce. This time, we were having Spicy Thai Carrot Puree, Tri-Colored Carrot Ribbons, and cured carrots paired with A Budweiser Select 55. The beer held spicy orange notes, which of course, melted well with the tri-carrots course.
The second course was a prosciutto, arugula, and watercress salad with figs, roasted crushed hazelnuts, tossed with pecorino Toscana cheese, and a shock top vinaigrette. The dressing was created with the Shock Top Belgian White beer. The vinaigrette, actually took away some of the pepper quality of the arugula. The figs blended a slight sweetness, while the hazelnuts gave the dish a nice crunch
Now, on to the Third course of Grilled Halibut Steak, with a green onion salsa, sautéed summer leeks, , shitake mushrooms and a bacon vinaigrette paired with Budweiser American Ale. The Fish was a bit over cooked and bland. We were rather disappointed, but the beer had a nice apple pie taste which helped hold up the dish despite overcooking.
The final course was very hearty and heartwarming. The Braised Short ribs were braised for 12 hours In the Michelob AmberBock. The meat was juicy, tender and mouth watering. The pureed spring parsnips were well mashed and creamy.
The desert course of coffee rosebud espresso mousse , ricotta filled pistachio cannolis and apple and pear almond bars left us feeling satisfied and eager to meet again for another venue of Project Dinner Table.
This is great way to bring the community together by understanding that there is great food grown here in Nevada. We can all share in supporting our Nevada farmers and our community charities. Project Dinner table combines all the ingredients for a memorable and charitable evening.
They also offer more than 325 New and
Capital Grille's Master Wine Tasting Event is back and for any Wine Enthusiast and/or Foodie you cannot go wrong. This event showcases a collection of remarkable wines hand-selected by one of the world’s Master Sommeliers, George Miliotes. This one-of-a-kind event offers wine enthusiasts the rare opportunity to sample well-known vintages as well as insider wines they’ll want to know, from five of the world’s most celebrated wine growing regions.
“I strongly believe that wine education must be experiential and first-hand,” Miliotes observed. “That is why I am thrilled to be able to provide a fun and thorough wine exploration at The Capital Grille. We are especially pleased to bring some of the world’s most exclusive wines to our guests this summer, in an enlightening taste journey.”
Recently we had the opportunity to visit The Capital Grille. During our visit we were able to sample their outstanding food along with their returning Master Wine Tasting Event. This is a wine program which gives patrons a wonderful opportunity to sample some superb wines that have been specifically paired with their menu all for an extra 25 dollars per person. This special is available through September. With a reputation as one of the best steak houses in Las Vegas, this is a most excellent offer. This event showcases a collection of hand -selected wines by Master Sommelier, George Militoes.The first seven weeks (June 7 – July 25) of The Capital Grille’s Master Wine Tasting Event will feature:
A Cabernet Sauvignon from Sella & Mosca Marchese di Villamarina, and other Italian varietals
A Pinot Noir and other varietals from Villa Maria Cellar Selection of New Zealand
The second six weeks (July 26 – September 5) will highlight:
World renowned wines from
An impressive collection from
Several wines from
CAMBRIA BENCH BREAK , CHARDONNAY , SANTA MARIA 2006
We know the appellation well and were impressed by light but not over bearing influences of Oak with nice minerality and citrus. This was a lovely light bodied Chardonnay
For additional information about the Master Wine Tasting Event and The Capital Grille experience, please visit www.TheCapitalGrille.com.
The mission of Project Dinner Table is simple: create meaningful and adventurous experiences around the dinner table through community, local artisans, education and giving. Each dinner will feature one local chef preparing dinner served family-style with ingredients from local growers in a unique location. This now popular series of farm-to-table dinners kicked off April 24. The inaugural dinner sold out quickly with 130 guests seated at one long table, draped in white tablecloths – which is the signature centerpiece of Project Dinner Table.
“The first dinner was an incredible success. Ask anyone you know who attended. What made the evening so memorable was that guests not only felt a new appreciation and education for what’s grown locally, but also felt they were a world away from Las Vegas. Many said they felt they were in Napa and loved the new friends they made that night. And of course, enjoyed every mouthwatering bite of the fresh, organic dinner they experienced,” says Gina Gavan, founder, Project Dinner Table. “Everyone assumes hardly anything grows in Las Vegas. But tomatoes, apples, pears and much more are all grown within our community and for our community.”
Vegas History and Museum and Heritage Park enlightened us as we joined members of the Las Vegas community in a unique setting, Executive Chef Joe Koniski prepared the fare with a unique pairing of beers from the famous Anheuser-Bush company. Multi-generational Brew Master, George Reisch with the history of the company and the craft of making beers that have been around the American scene for many, many years.
The first weekend in May should mean only one thing to any Foodie and or Wine Enthusiast , that would be Bon Appetit's Vegas UNCORK'D held in Las Vegas. Using the word weekend is in our opinion an understatement. This event actually runs for 4 days.
“Vegas Uncork’d is truly a national culinary event with a growing international profile,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing, LVCVA. “Most people who attend the weekend’s events come here from other cities across the country, with many coming from Canada or as faraway as Asia to participate.”
Another notable new addition to this year’s program was Friday’s intimate Masters’ Series Luncheons. The legendary Wolfgang Puck hosted 100 guests at his restaurant CUT, and Joachim Splichal (Pinot Brasserie) and Piero Selvaggio and Luciano Pellegrini (Valentino) rounded out the series at The Venetian/Palazzo, which came aboard this year as the event’s sixth and newest resort partner.
“Once again, Vegas Uncork’d has demonstrated its appeal to the uber-foodie and the luxury traveler alike,” concluded Rob O’Keefe, executive director, Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit. With our strategy of managed growth and the addition of new partners, chefs and restaurants to the mix, we continue to serve up an epicurean experience that showcases Las Vegas as the world’s most exciting culinary destination.”
Innovative new program additions in 2010 included the after-hours Shinkansen to Shibuya at the MGM Grand , an electric celebration of contemporary, urban Japanese culture. With the restaurant transformed into a spectacular rendition of Neo-Tokyo, revelers sampled countless sakes while enjoying freshly prepared sushi and fare from a teppanyaki bar while Japanese-style go-go dancers grooved to the high-energy dance beats spun by a Japanese DJ.
Chef Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas racked up his third straight victory at the Celebrity Chef Blackjack Tournament held poolside at Encore Las Vegas. This year’s field included actress Laura Prepon and Bon Appétit Executive Chef Cat Cora and chefs Bobby Flay, Pierre Gagnaire, Shawn McClain, Rick Moonen, Bradley Ogden, Charlie Palmer, François Payard, Joël Robuchon and David Walzog.
The Venetian / Palazzo resorts joined in Bon Appetit's Vegas UNCORKED this year for the first time. All we can say is why did these two resorts wait so long ? From Master Series Luncheons to the star studded after hours event aside the AZURE pool, their events provided guests with class , great food and libations of choice as only these world class resorts can do.
Restaurateur, winemaker and rock and roller Joe Bastianich needs no introduction. We had thought he had done just about everything until we met him at the Palazzo After Hours: Crushed: Wine That Rocked. He paired many great wines of the world with some of the the greatest music of all time. Accompanied by Scott Ian of Anthrax and the electrifying band, Six Foot Nurse.
Bastianich lead guests and the chefs on a exploration of explosive tunes from Zeppelin and The Beatles, all the while asking the audience to "listen with their palates and taste with their ears."
Along with outstanding wines, this poolside after-hours celebration also featured signature bites from the all-star lineup at The Palazzo and The Venetian, including a Slider Bar from Executive Chef Sam DeMarco, salumi and cheese from executive chef Zach Allen of Carnevino, and a Rockin' Wing Bar from Chef de Cuisine Vince Chiyuto of Lagasse's Stadium. Hosted by Andrew Knowlton, Bon Appétit's Restaurant Editor.
Featured White Wines :
Joe Bastianich’s Sauvignon Blanc
William Hill Chardonnay
Featured Red Wines :
Kaiken Ultra Malbec
Sparkling and Dessert:
The fourth Vegas UNCORK'D continued with its tradition of unmatched events over four days of " Foodie" heaven in Las Vegas .
The Master Series dinners held all over the famed Las Vegas strip provided guests with some real "Star " quality.With a choice of Masters Series Dinners at Restaurant Guy Savoy , Bradley Ogden , Bobby Flay and RAOs there was no way anyone could go wrong.
With all of those choices we stopped in at RAOs in Caesars Palace and enjoyed a multi-course dinner featuring Chef Carla and her Southern Neapolitan dishes served family style. Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton hosted this wonderful evening with two legendary families
The Pellegrino and Straci families need no introduction. Ron Straci, co-owner of Rao’s, remembers serving as an informal waiter in 1947 at the age of twelve during the Feast Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. During the feast, Rao’s closed its kitchen so as not to compete with the sidewalk stands set up during the holiday.
“I was allowed to don the famous white apron the uncles wore and help serve our customers.”
"Having spent every Sunday dinner I could remember with “Mama Jake,” as my grandmother Francesca was called by her children and grandchildren, Rao’s Bar and Grill, next door to my grandmother’s, seemed like such a wonderful haven of good friends, fast smiles, and wonderful smells. I can still remember the smell and taste of the sauce and meatballs that Mama Jake would make for our family. She would make enough to feed the family and the customers at the restaurant Uncle Lou reminded me of Clifton Webb; Uncle Vincent was casual, but polished. I remember the cars, usually convertibles and mostly black Cadillacs. I remember the dogs, usually large and black, always secondhand. Strays found a home at Rao’s, always wondering in and out of the restaurant. Only the passage of time has made me an owner, but the fond memories of family, food and friends live through our line of food products.”
Carla has made many guest appearances, including cooking on the “Today” show (NBC), the Food Network, and has been a favorite at the acclaimed DeGustibus Cooking School in New York City and various Williams-Sonoma stores. She is an author as well having contributed to six cookbooks, including Meat and Potatoes, The New York Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes from the Dining Capital of the World, and Rao’s Recipes from the Neighborhood.
The Master Luncheon Series, part of the Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appetit event, was held by the world-renowned chefs of The Venetian and The Palazzo Resorts .Guests of the luncheons were taken on a culinary journey, courtesy of these talented Executive Chefs .
At The Palazzo, Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild along with co-host, Andrew Knowlton, Bon Appétit's Restaurant Editor, celebrated a delicious afternoon with pioneering celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at CUT. Modeled on Puck's critically acclaimed, award-winning Beverly Hills restaurant, CUT offers a contemporary twist on the classic steakhouse. A delectable four-course meal consisted of Austrian White Asparagus, Butter Poached Maine Lobster, US Kobe New York, and Baby Banana Brulee. Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Valentino even stopped by to say hello while Chef Puck was preparing the dishes! At the end of the event, guests received Wolfgang Puck’s newest cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy
At The Venetian, guests had an opportunity to escape to an urban Parisian brasserie with James Beard award-winning chef Joachim Splichal of Pinot Brasserie. A decadent selection of Chef Splichal’s award winning California-French cuisine with everything from seafood to traditional French desserts was offered. Hosted by Bon Appétit Executive Chef Cat Cora., the exquisite menu included a first course of Layer Tuna Tower with avocado and tomato, a second course of sweet and sour Santa Barbara spot prawn, a main entrée of Spring Lamb sampler with goat-cheese-tomato-asparagus stuffing, and a scrumptious dessert of Chocolate beignet with cherries chaud-froid. The Patina Cookbook, a gift presented to each guest, complimented Chef Splichal’s afternoon culinary genius and allowed guests the opportunity to embark on their own food-inspired adventure in the kitchen.
Also at The Venetian, Chef Luciano Pellegrini and restaurateur Piero Selvaggio hosted an intimate luncheon inside Valentino with Bon Appétit Senior Food Editor, Sarah Tenaglia .
This award-winning restaurant, sister to the iconic Valentino in Santa Monica, delighted guests with a mix of classic and contemporary Italian cuisine. Starting off with a Tartare Trio with Agrumato, guests were taken on a palatte pleasing journey as they next enjoyed Risotto all’Onda with Dover Sole Filet and Spicy Vodka Sauce, Spring Lamb Medallions with Tender Fava Beans, and Gelato. The Valentino Cookbook was presented to each guest to take home and enjoy.
For inside coverage of the Valentino Masters Series Luncheon complete with Food and Wine pairings please visit
The Cuisineist Culinary Magazine
The 4th annual Earth Day Food & Wine Festival is a weekend celebration at locations throughout the Central Coast.
After spending several days in the area exploring sustainable wines and organic foods the best way to finish off the weekend was at the feature event held at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch where over 200 purveyors of award-winning, sustainably produced food and wine show off their best.
Growers, vintners, and chefs all came together to serve delicious, one of a kind dishes made with locally sourced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, olive oils, and more to the guests . This was a great opportunity to enjoy live music, a silent auction, unlimited samples of local cuisine, and meet the farmers who grow great food and wine while nurturing a healthy environment.
The Earth Day Food & Wine Festival is a benefit event that supports farmworker education and sustainable ag research conducted by the Central Coast Vineyard Team (CCVT), a 501c(3) non-profit organization. The Central Coast Vineyard Team is a collaboration of 300 growers, wineries, consultants, researchers, and natural resource professionals dedicated to promoting sustainable winegrowing on California's Central Coast.
The Earth Day Food & Wine Festival backs up what it preaches with its commitment to host a zero-waste event. In 2009, the event generated only two bags of trash for over 1,000 visitors.
The food provided by local chefs and farmers was served on and with recyclable and compostable plates, bowls, forks, and spoons. Appropriate disposal containers, provided by San Luis Obispo Integrated Waste Management Authority, were accessible throughout the event. A team of volunteers wondered the site during the event , managing the recycling and compost project.
A plastic reduction policy is in place as well. Guests were asked to drink water from their commemorative wineglass. Even event's program is produced using post-consumer recycled content and the entertainment stage is solar powered, compliments of Pacific Energy Company. Ticketholders who carpooled with four or more in a vehicle received premium parking, in addition countywide shuttle service was available to further reduce traffic created by the event.
The special site for the Earth Day Food & Wine Festival was chosen for it's unique and rustic ambiance. Participants and visitors alike could not help but enjoy this intimate event at a very special rural location.
The Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia was established in 1787 as an asistencia ("sub-mission") to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa to minister to the large number of Chumash (Obispeño) Indians who inhabited the area. Named for an Italian saint, the settlement was located at the top of the Cuesta Grade (north of San Luis Obispo) on a site selected by Father Presidente Junípero Serra in 1772. The facility also served as an outpost, chapel, and storehouse. In April, 1889 the town of Santa Margarita was founded. The former rancho lands today are under the ownership of four families. Several of the original stone walls remain standing, having been incorporated into a ranch barn.
The annual Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival Weekend attracted wine lovers from all over the country for an opportunity to meet member vintners, taste their wines, and enjoy great food and music over a long spring weekend.
Within Santa Barbara County there are four distinct appellations: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and the newly approved Happy Canyon.
In addition, the Los Alamos Valley region, between the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley appellations, remains a strong and successful grape growing region. Slightly less than half of the grapes grown in Santa Barbara County are used by local vintners, with the balance are exported to wineries outside the area.
Breathtaking valleys and mountains studded with ancient oaks, brilliant wild flowers and magnificent vineyards are always the scene when you visit Santa Barbara County.
Before the festival a leisurely country drive allowed us to fully appreciate the winemaking experience as we transversed the valleys and sampled some excellent wines.
The Santa Barabara County Vintners Festival is a wonderful discovery for any wine lover and foodie alike. You'll find great restaurants, galleries, country inns and exceptional tasting rooms located in the small towns of Solvang , Lompoc , Santa Ynez , Los Olivos and Santa Barbara itself.
In the cellars this time of year, winemakers are bottling their first whites and pinks from the 2009 season, as well as their red wines that ready from previous vintages. You can feel the excitement in the air as they wineries are anxious to show off their latest creations.
As most wine people would agree that great wine starts in the vineyard with great grapes. This area has been blessed with an excellent climate, soil and topography that is unique and you can taste that signature in the wines. Santa Barbara County's winegrowers bring modern growing methods to the age-old art of viticulture and produce some of the finest wine grapes and wines in the world.
The wines of Santa Barbara County have always been the main attraction of this area. However , Las Vegas's own Bradley Ogdan has come to town with his restaurant , Route 246. Chef Bradley himself was at the festival treating us all to a few of his great dishes.
The property that’s now home to Root 246 was known for years as the Meadows Restaurant. When the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians purchased the Meadows in 2007, the tribe looked to transform the old restaurant into a contemporary elegant dining destination unlike anything the region has ever seen.
The tribe hired Chef Bradley Ogden. This award-winning chef enjoys a phenomenal track record as a restaurateur, having successfully launched and overseen the creation of several critically-acclaimed restaurants. Chef Ogden’s expertise should help ensure that the tribe’s new venture in Solvang will meet the high level of quality guests have come to expect.
Whether it’s wild asparagus from Santa Ynez, or fresh spiny lobsters from Santa Barbara, Root 246 is has brought a whole new type of dinning experience to the area and serves their guests the finest produce and proteins the region has to offer.
There are so many great wines made by big names in the industry such as Ken Brown , Doug Margerum , Kenneth Volk and Kris Curran just to name a few we could literally write a book about each one of them. We try to not only sample their wines but are always searching for others that we feel stood out along with the great wines of the area.
Ampelos Cellars is always a stand out that we look for when in the area. Peter and Rebecca Work are firm believers in the old adage that the “wine is made in the vineyard”. Their estate vineyard has been planted to those varietals that showcase the location, soils and climate of their vineyard . The varietals Ampelos has planted are Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache and Viognier.
In addition to their estate grapes, Ampelos continues to produce wines from fruit sourced from other vineyards in Sta. Rita Hills, FiddleStix for Pinot Noir and Quatro Vientos in Santa Ynez Valley for Viognier and the Syrah for their rosé .
At the Hitching Post II in Buellton, they honor that tradition and also embrace contemporary cooking styles. By combining the old and new, they have created exciting cuisine that is uniquely their own.
Along with their outstanding steaks, ribs and chicken, they serve items such as smoked duck breast, ostrich, home-made soups and outstanding pastries; along with what the Los Angeles Times has called the "best" French Fries in Southern California.
We are always on the "look out " for new wineries and talented winemakers. One of those wineries that is beginning to make a big name for themselves is Dragonette Cellars . Dragonette is a partnership between brothers John and Steve Dragonette and close friend Brandon Sparks-Gillis who joined forces in order to pursue a mutual, long held dream to make wine in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Utilizing their contacts with excellent growers and viticulturists, they obtain fruit farmed for low yields and high quality from optimally located sites throughout the Santa Ynez Valley . In the cellar, they personally attend to each wine operation, from fermentation in small lots to aging in the finest French barrels . They believe this level of attention and focus markedly increases quality. We have meet these very talented partners on numerous occasions over the years. They are passionate and committed to producing small lots of ultra-premium Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Dragonette is a winery we will continue to watch .
The wineries also host events all throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country starting on Friday with tastings of library wines or barrel samples, vineyard barbecues, winemaker dinners, wine & food pairings.
ampelos is a Greek word meaning “vine”.
We watched Ampelos Cellars grow over many years and they have obtained a reputation nationwide for quality , sustainable , organic wines .
Located in the Sta Rita Hills , Ampelos Cellars has the climate to produce outstanding Estate grown wines from Pinot Noir to Vionnay.
On a recent visit to the Santa Barbara County Vintners Festival we spent some time at the Ampelos Ranch and took a walk through their 82 acre vineyard with Peter Work.
The morning started like most mornings in the Sta Rita hills with thick " Sea Smoke " and cool temperatures hanging over the vineyard until late morning when the sun burns through the thickness and temperatures rise. This daily routine from nature helps to produce some of the best Pinot Noirs in the country.
It was a surrealistic beginning to our morning with a single Red Tail hawk circling above , dogs herding sheep on a near by hill as we were being escorted by Peter's own Chocolate Labrador Retrievers as we started to explore the vineyard.
Peter explained Ampelos was selected to be one of the first vineyards in California to participate in the Certified Sustainable Winegrowing pilot program, and is very proud to have met the guidelines of the program and gained this prestigious certification. He went on to explain that Ampelos practices and promotes biodynamic farming in the vineyard.
Biodynamics embraces all aspects of organic but takes the notion further by holistically treating the entire vineyard as a living organism. It is as much a philosophy of life as it is a farming method, which is why it has influenced the thinking of so many who initially explored the concept only because they wanted to grow better grapes. Not only has it changed the way Peter and Rebecca grow grapes, but it has gotten them to think more about the importance of balance with nature, the land and farming practices.
Peter also added that they are concerned about the environment and try to employ as many environmentally friendly practices in the winery and in the vineyard. They plant fava beans and sweet peas as part of their cover crop in the vineyard which improves the soil as well as provides an environment for insects. They avoid letting the skins, stems, seeds and lees go down the drain in the winery and instead carry it back to the vineyard for composting.
They also do most of the work in the winery by hand or by using gravity thereby reducing then need for power. They press our grapes in a basket press by hand and only pump the wines once during their 16 months in the cellar. All of this minimizes the electricity they use. Even the vineyard and home are solar powered.
Ampelos vineyard is at the eastern end of the Sta Rita Hills appellation which is cool-climate area that is perfect for growing Pinot Noir and Syrah.
The vineyard is one of the few vineyards that gets the cool breeze from the Santa Rita Hills as well as the Santa Rosa Hills.
After learning about the hands on work that Peter and Rebecca put into every aspect of their vineyard it was now time to find some cool shade , have some lunch and try some of these award wining wines . With the vineyard dogs guiding the way we found the perfect place right in the middle of the vineyard.
The Ampelos Viognier , Santa Ynez Valley 2009 was a perfect wine to start off with after our walk. It's refreshing citrus notes of lemon came through with a nice balance of acidity and a lingering finish.
Another stand out for us has always been the Ampelos Rose of Syrah. Their 2009 Rose of Syrah Santa Ynez Vally did not disappoint with a lovely pale rose color in the glass made in the old world provencal style.
Of course we could not leave without enjoying the Lambda Pinot Noir , Sta Rita Hills Ampelos Vineyard 2005 and the Rho Pinot Noir , Sta Rita Hills Ampelos Vineyard 2006 .
Both of which have won awards and are highly acclaimed.In addition to their lovely Pinot Noirs , The Gamma Syrah Sta Rita Hills Ampleos Vineyard 2006 and their own very special Syrache, Santa Barbara County , 2006 which is their own very unique blend of Syrah and Grenache that has made a name for it self on its own right.
Peter and Rebecca Work and an incredible story that has taken them on a journey from high levels of the corporate world to their Ranch in the Sta Rita hills . When traveling in Santa Barbara County, Ampelos Cellars winery in Lompoc is a must stop. For more information or to schedule a visit please visit http://www.ampeloscellars.com
Join Peter and Elaine and Scott as they take a walk through the Vineyard and talk about sustainable farming.
It is not often that we can see a winery "born" and be able to follow their progress over the years from literally "the ground up ". VINO LAS pre-view of one of the newest wineries in the central coast before the big public opening. NINER Wine Estates in Paso Robles , California.
After nearly ten years of planning, preparing, and just plain hard work , the newest addition to Paso Robles’ west side wine community will open May 1st to the public.
Construction began for the elegant stone barn tasting room and state-of-the-art gravity flow winery on the Heart Hill property on the west side of Paso Robles on seventy acres of vines surrounding the winery with the first phase beginning in the spring of 2007.
The inaugural vintage was released in January of 2006. Varietals currently include Sauvignon blanc, Barbera Rosato, Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, an Italian blend and a proprietary red blend called Fog Catcher.Dick Niner had the vision of this state of the art facility over many years. He investigated buying several vineyards and wineries, both for himself and other investors and came to realize the potential of Paso Robles as a perfect environment for growing premium grapes and making fine wines.
A native of New Hampshire, in 1997 Amanda Cramer left a teaching post in Washington DC to pursue her interests in wine. Amanda’s background in mathematics and chemistry provided solid preparation for the road ahead.
After Davis, Amanda spent the next three years working at wineries, in three of the world’s most recognized growing regions. She worked harvests at Chimney Rock and Robert Mondavi Wineries in Napa Valley, California; D’Arenberg Wines in McLaren Vale, South Australia; and even at Casa Lapostolle in Santa Cruz, Chile.
In 2002, Amanda returned to California to a post as Assistant Winemaker at the esteemed Paradigm Winery in Oakville. Working under the direction of legendary winemaker Heidi Barrett, her responsibilities included production, cellar and lab duties, as well as vineyard sampling for this 5,000 case, ultra-premium winery. With Barrett’s guidance, Cramer polished her skills on Bordeaux varieties.
By design, the rustically elegant stone barn Hospitality Center is as aesthetically conscious as it is eco-conscious.
Designer Anne Fortini’s tasteful interiors reflect and accentuate the beauty of the winery’s surroundings, while Mr. Niner, Ms. Cramer and architect Tim Woodle have designed Niner Wine Estates to be the first winery on the Central Coast to meet LEED certification standards through the U.S. Green Building Council, with final certification to be awarded in a matter of months.
Constructed and positioned to emphasize the allure of Paso Robles wine country, the Hospitality Center’s expansive windows frame a view of “Heart Hill,” the iconic heart-shaped design of oak trees once owned by brothers Claude and Clyde Booker.
Niner Wine Estates is the vision of Dick Niner, who believes that a blend of exceptional people, vineyards, tools, and ideas is the key to creating world-class wines and providing a one-of-a-kind experience in the heart of Paso Robles wine country.
Since its founding in 2001, Niner Wine Estates’ list of award-winning wines has grown to include Bordeaux, Rhone and Italian varietals, including their flagship Bordeaux blend, “Fog Catcher.” This independent, family-owned company is truly dedicated to making exceptional wines by combining the best of traditional winemaking methods as it employs cutting-edge technologies.
In the LEED-certified winery, winemaker Amanda Cramer will continue to use estate-grown fruit from the Bootjack Ranch and Heart Hill Vineyard into wines that express their true varietal correctness with every sip. We look forward to visiting NINER as often as we can to watch this one of a kind project in the Central Coast grow into prominence.
On Thursday, April 22nd the competition took place in Las Vegas where THREE mixologists at Fusion Mixology Bar inside The Palazzo took home the coveted title of EFFEN® Vodka Mixologist: Emilio Turibico took first place and Wendy Verdel and Greg Black tied for second place. The competition was set up Iron Chef style where the mixologists, in two-man teams, had to select five ingredients from a selection of 50 items plus the liquor. Each mixologist was then given a limited amount of time to create the cocktail. The winning cocktails were:
2oz Effen Vodka
1.5 oz Pineapple juice
2 Cactus Piece muddled
Effen Sweet Heat
One quarter slice of peeled cucumber
One quarter slice of jalapeño with seeds
· 1 ounce fresh Sweet Lemon Sour
· 2 ounces of Effen Vodka
Muddle first four ingredients, add vodka and shake hard. Double Strain in Martini Glass.
Garnish with a long cucumber peel and raspberries.
Effen Good Time
5-7 Blueberries, Blackberries
.5 oz egg whites
1 oz Effin Blk Cherry
2 oz "Fresh Sour mix"
Muddle, Shake and Strain...
Our Congratulations to these three talented mixologists and the Palazzo !
VINO LAS VEGAS attended the first Sake Fever a few years ago and could not wait for it to return. Recently Sake Fever returned in a big way with 150 Premium Sakes and brewmaters to the Palms Pool and Bungalows.
Sake is a whole way of life and anyone who enjoys Sake should learn about how its made and what the " language " of Sake as well.
Sake or saké (pronouned /ˈsɑːkeɪ/ in English is a alholic Japanese beverage made from rice.
This beverage is called sake in English, but in Japanese, sake (酒) or o-sake (お酒) refers to alcoholic drinks in general. The Japanese term for this specific beverage is Nihonshu (日本酒), meaning "Japanese sake"
Sake is also referred to in English as rice wine. However, unlike true wine, in which alcohol is produced by fermenting the sugar naturally present in fruit, sake is made through a brewing process more like that of beer. To make beer or sake, the sugar needed to produce alcohol must first be converted from starch.
Sake is produced by the multiple parallel fermentation of rice. The rice is polished to remove the protein and oils from the exterior of the rice grains, leaving behind starch. A more thorough milling leads to fewer congeners and generally a more desirable product.
Newly polished rice is allowed to "rest" until it absorbs enough moisture from the air not to crack when immersed in water. After this resting period, the rice is washed clean of the rice powder produced during milling and is steeped in water. The length of the soak depends on the degree to which the rice was polished, from several hours or even overnight for an ordinary milling to just minutes for highly polished rice.
After soaking, the rice is boiled in a large pot or it is steamed on a conveyor belt. The degree of cooking must be carefully controlled; overcooked rice will ferment too quickly for flavors to develop well and undercooked rice will only ferment on the outside. The steamed rice is then cooled and divided for different uses.Some of the steamed rice is taken to a culture room and inoculated with kōji mold (麹, Aspergillus oryzae). The mold-laden rice is itself known as kōji and is cultivated until the growth of the fungus reaches the desired level.
The term junmai can be added to ginjō or daiginjō, resulting in junmai ginjō and junmai daiginjō. However, as distilled alcohol is added in small amounts to ginjō and daiginjō to heighten the aroma, not to increase volume, a junmai daiginjō is not necessarily a better product than a daiginjō made with brewer's alcohol.
Sake is usually drunk from small cups called choko and poured into the choko from ceramic flasks called tokkuri. Saucer-like cups called sakazuki are also used, most commonly at weddings and other ceremonial occasions. Recently, footed glasses made specifically for premium sake have also come into use.
Another traditional cup is the masu, a box usually made of hinoki or sugi, which was originally used for measuring rice. In some Japanese restaurants, as a show of generosity, the server may put a glass inside the masu or put the masu on a saucer and pour until sake overflows and fills both containers.
Tōji (杜氏) is the job title of the sake brewer. It is a highly respected job in the Japanese society, with tōji being regarded like musicians or painters. The title of tōji was historically passed on from father to son; today new tōji are either veteran brewery workers or are trained at universities. While modern breweries with refrigeration and cooling tanks operate year-round, most old-fashioned sake breweries are seasonal, operating only in the cool winter months. During the summer and fall most tōji work elsewhere, and are commonly found on farms, only periodically returning to the brewery to supervise storage conditions or bottling operations
We have been asked about storage and ageability of Sake. In general, it is best to keep sake refrigerated in a cool or dark room, as prolonged exposure to heat or direct light will lead to spoilage. Sake stored at room temperature is best consumed within a few months after purchase.
After opening the bottle of sake, it is best consumed within 2 or 3 hours.[ It is possible to store in the refrigerator, but it is recommended to finish the sake within 2 days.
This is because once premium sake is opened, it begins to oxidize which affects the taste. If the sake is kept in the refrigerator for more than 3 days, it will lose its "best" flavor. However, this does not mean it should be disposed of if not consumed. Generally, sake can keep very well and still taste just fine after weeks in the fridge. How long a sake will remain drinkable depends on the actual product itself, and whether it is sealed with a wine vacuum top
Premium versus Non-Premium Sake
Only the highest grades of sake are exported
to the USA by the brewers introduced at eSake.
Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada celebrated the 36th Annual UNLVino® in partnership with the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. This Las Vegas tradition is a great opportunity for wine enthusiasts and winemakers to meet and enjoy the latest releases, the best vintages, and the finest varietals in support of scholarship.
UNLVino was created by Larry Ruvo, Senior Managing Director of Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada and Jerry Vallen, founding Dean of the Hotel College in 1974. To date, UNLVino® has raised millions, making this one of the largest endowments for scholarship and student activities at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and possibly the most unique educational fund raiser in the world.