Wine
 
 

Wine

  • By now, most of us have been hiding inside and stress is building up. While some of us are simply "done with" COVID, others are still being cautious. Heather and I fall into that later group but I've found a secret place about 90 minutes outside of downtown San Diego that is exactly what we needed for our mental health. We discovered Volcan Mountain last fall, before all this happened - but now, the winery has an even more special place in our hearts.

  • To casual wine drinkers that stick with what they like, the wine industry appears to be a conservative place where you can order the same wine year after year with just the vintage year changing. Thankfully that isn't completely true. While many of the most popular vintages out there change little from one year to the next, just like with the beer industry there are limited edition bottles that are more than just "this was a great year". One that I came across earlier this year was the Dry-Hopped Sauvignon Blanc from Murphy Good and while it is now out of stock... it just goes to show that innovation isn't dead!

  • Most guys who are new to wine think of iconic destinations like Napa and Sonoma as the places to go for wine. While I am a huge fan of California wines... the reality is that there are great wine regions all over the country. Some such as Lake Michigan Shore have gained prominence in recent years, while others such as the Snake River Valley AVA just west of Boise are lesser-known. What's great about these "undiscovered wine country" getaways is that they tend to be less expensive, more relaxed, and offer other opportunities to build a perfect getaway without making wine the singular focus.

  • There are few social lubricants that are quite as effective as alcohol. There’s no denying that it plays something of a role in the social lives of many men. It helps us relax, feels good, and it honestly gives us a reason to spend time with our friends. However, too often “drinking with friends” is associated with binging and getting drunk, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re just looking for a chill drink, with no expectations of taking it any further, here are a few ways you can do that.

  • Drinking and driving is a serious subject and the best option is to hire a driver or assign a designated driver. That isn't the only solution though, but you will have to make some compromises to ensure that you, the car, and those around you remain safe. Over the years I've learned several techniques to stay safe while exploring wineries as well as brewery and distillery tours. Here are my best tips for staying safe while on a wine weekend road trip.

  • Wine has a bad reputation of being complex and unapproachable and that's unfortunate. For me though, wine is fun and made to be enjoyed. That's why when I had the chance to combine two of my favorite things in life, I jumped at the opportunity. So today, I've taken five affordable wines and paired them with five different flavors from Jack Link's Jerky.

  • When most guys think of taking a wine weekend getaway their minds shift to Santa Barbara, Sonoma, or Napa but there's another area that I've recently become excited about. Temecula, California is located the perfect distance between Orange County, San Diego, and Los Angeles and is rapidly coming into its own in terms of vinoculture as well as tourism opportunities in general. For years I drove by the area on my way to Vegas but now I can't wait to go back again soon!

  • I first enjoyed Murphy Goode a few months ago at a steakhouse in San Diego and was curious to learn more. The wine I had, 2015 Red Blend, paired well well the steak and I appreciated the simple confidence of the bottle and label design. It brings back a feeling that this is ultimately wine made to be enjoyed and not a pretentious expression of wealth and sophistication. The product speaks for itself and since then I've enjoyed several different bottles and appreciate that they are able to deliver an excellent product at a variety of price points from $15 to $45 so you don't have to worry about "picking the wrong one".

  • Pairing wine with food is something that most people think about when the subject of how to best enjoy wine comes up. Really though, the spectrum is much wider than that. Last week, I got invited to a Maserati and wine tasting event and so I started thinking about what wines pair well with which cars. After all, we tend to refer to both wines and cars in terms of personality. So it got me thinking, which wines would I pair with which Maserati cars? 

  • At first thought, the idea of taking your buddies to France for a wine trip doesn't seem like the most masculine endeavor but it's quite frankly something that I'm dreaming of doing one day. This is especially true of the Rhone Valley region in southeastern France. This region runs from Lyon to Avignon and is composed of several different viticultural areas and is known for some of the world's finest wines. However, it is also full of history ranging from Roman centurions to Medieval castles, as well as a modern food scene that is one of the best in Europe.

  • I think most of us have heard of a grape stomp - whether it is a memory from an old TV show like I Love Lucy or an email from a local winery inviting you to compete, it's a fun way to spend a late summer or fall afternoon with friends. I attended my first grape stomp as a guest of South Coast Winery in Temecula last week and it was an eye-opening experience. Not just for me - but for many of the competitors too. What seems like an easy task is actually way more complicated... if you want to win!

  • While conventional history suggests that the wine industry in California is relatively new - the truth is thanks to the Spanish Jesuit missionaries we've been growing grapes in California for more than 300 years! While most Americans think of "California" as a US state, "California" is actually the stretch of land that includes Alta California, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. National boundaries and centuries of politics can make things complicated when it comes to a heritage like this. However, the role that the Catholic church's Mission System played is clear. So let's grab a glass of "missionary wine" and explore some history of wine in California and indeed that of wine production in the New World itself.

  • David "Merf" Merfeld from Northstar Winery is one of my favorite winemakers. He has an amazing ability to create new innovative wines and The Cosmic Egg Cabernet Sauvignon is one of his recent creations. 

  • Norwegian Cruise Line gave us a sample of their new Meet the Winemaker cruise series earlier this year while we sailed on Norwegian Joy. It was a fabulous experience and now they are getting ready to roll it out with a wider schedule, across multiple ships this fall. If you love wine and cruising then these cruises are made for you.

  • Ok, so that's a bit of a click-bait title since the reality is that almost every winery is unique and brings with it a personality and decor that is special in its own way. However, for guys who are looking for the "experience" of doing a Sonoma wine tour rather than the connoisseur looking only to visit their favorite, most technically excellent wineries, there are some vineyards and tasting rooms that are better than others. The sweet spot is when winemakers are able to blend excellent wines with a fun unique experience that guys of all levels will enjoy visiting. Thanks to the folks at the Sonoma Wine Road, for helping put this awesome itinerary together for us. 

  • I absolutely love Alaska Airlines. They somehow have managed to maintain the small town friendly attitude that has made them an essential part of life for thousands of people on the west coast. They have now started expanding service at Sonoma County / Santa Rosa airport to and from a variety of west coast destinations and a huge perk about flying with Alaska is that wine flies free! That's right, you can check a full case of wine like you would any other bag - except there's no fee if you are a Mileage Plan member (free signup).

  • It’s a perfect time to be planning a summer or fall getaway to the beautiful California Central Coast wine country and the folks at Bianchi Winery sent over some images to entice me to visit. What do you think? Are you ready to head out to Paso Robles for a romantic wine weekend with great views, hot days, and cool nights sipping some of the best wines in California?

  • Ok, so unless you are a good looking lady or a guy looking for a cougar, free drinks on a cruise ship is something you've probably always assumed were something impossible. The cruise industry depends on sales of alcohol to cover their bottom line since generally the price of your cruise barely covers the cost of having you onboard. Don't worry though. I'm one cheap SOB and over the years I've found a bunch of different ways to get free drinks on a cruise ship vacation. I'm sure I've missed some so I'd love to have you fill in the blanks for me by commenting below.

  • There's a lot of advice out there on how to create the perfect charcuterie board for wine tasting, but this is my advice. Take it or leave it, but I like to create a charcuterie platter to complement the wines that I'm about to taste - but also provide a variety of flavors and textures to entertain your palette. Some charcuterie boards are designed specifically to pair with an individual wine but I'm about having fun and exploring flavor combinations. Regardless of your style, there are some core guidelines to follow, so here's my advice on how to create the perfect charcuterie platter for wine tasting.

  • With the Passover starting on April 19th, many of you may be getting ready for the holidays and others, like myself simply enjoy exploring other cultures and traditions. So I thought this was a great opportunity to take a look at what Kosher Wine is and why it is an important part of Jewish holiday traditions.