Join Me for a Twitter Tasting with Wines of Sicily!

Save the Date!

I have partnered with Wines of Sicily and this Thursday, November 3rd, join me as we taste our way through many of the wines under the Sicilia DOC designation. We’ll be tasting and tweeting, talking about the grape varieties, the food, the region and most of all, just how incredible Sicily IS! In order to truly enjoy this tweet-tasting experience, join along by checking out our cheat sheet below and purchasing your own Sicilia DOC wine. Chime in and let us know what you think but following @winesofsicily and using the hashtag #winesofsicily 

Cheat Sheet and Shopping List

 

THE PLACE

Not only is the island ruggedly beautiful with diverse wine growing regions, Sicily’s history has been influenced by cultures from the Greeks to the Normans.

The Story of Sicily

Sicily’s Wine-growing Mosaic

 

 

THE GRAPES

From crisp, fruit-driven whites such as Grillo to chillable reds like Frappato and intensely elegant Nero d’Avola, wines made with indigenous varieties will please all palates.

Meet the Grapes

Wines of Sicily - Grapes

THE FOOD

The diversity of local dishes from caponata to cannelloni makes eating Sicilian style a treat, but these vibrant and refreshing wines go with a range of everyday dishes.

Recipe Pairings 

 

THE WINERIES:

Here are some of the top producers to put on your shopping list when buying wines from Sicily. A quick trick to find quality wines is to look for the words Sicilia DOC. 

 

Stemmari

Wines of Sicily - Stemmari

Tasca d’Almerita

Feudo Montoni

Wines of Sicily - Feudo Montoni

Donnafugata

Valle dell’Acate

Wines of Sicily - Il Frappato - Valle Della'acte

Masseria del Feudo

Baglio del Cristo di Campobello

Principi di Butera

Maggio Vini

Cottanera

Vini Gulfi

Villa Pozzi

Planeta

Mondrarossa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Wines – Ghoulish Picks for any Halloween Party

It was a dark and stormy night, with ghosts and goblins roaming the land, looking for souls to steal…

Ok, let’s be honest, those are kids out there looking for the best candy. And while they search for the ever elusive full-sized candy bar house, we’ve taken the fright out of your Halloween Party wine hunt. These devilishly delicious wine picks will satisfy the most blood thirsty vampire in your group, as well as the white wine-loving witch. Watch out for wicked cool labels and even maybe a blood (orange) cocktail as well.

Trick or Treat?

We say Trick or Drink around these parts.

all-hallowes-eve-1

(photo credits Ashley Fitting)

Flora Springs 2013 “Harvest Witch” Cabernet Sauvignon $50.00  

Flora Springs 2014 “All Hallow’s Eve” Cabernet Franc $50

These spooky labels were created for this year’s Flora Springs Halloween Wines by award-winning children’s book illustrator John Manders. These two wines, as well as the Ghost Winery Malbec, are created each year to honor Flora Spring’s designation as one of the original “ghost wineries” in Napa Valley, wineries built between 1860 and 1900 but abandoned in the early 20th century due to vine disease, the Great Depression, and Prohibition.

Spooky AND delicious.

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Flora Springs “Ghost Winery” Malbec $55

Ghost Pines 2014 Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Blend $23

“Ghost Winery” is the third in the Flora Springs Halloween Trilogy wine and can be purchased as a 6 pack for your spooky celebration. Ghost Pines is an all-together unearthly Pinot, crafted from grapes grown in Sonoma and Monterey Counties and a delicious addition for your pinot-loving ghouls.

casillero-and-apothic-1

Casillero del Diablo 2015 “Devilish Release” Red Wine $11

Apothic Dark 2012 Red Wine $14 

The Devil is in our midst with these two intense, dark red wines. Dark and sultry, they will be a devilish addition to your Halloween table.

risque-and-chronic-1

Chronic Cellars 2015 “Eunice X” White Wine $15

Toad Hollow “Risque” Sparkling Wine $16

More fun than frightening, these white wines showcase lively and entertaining bottles to keep your guests amused. The “Risque” from Toad Hollow is a slightly sweet, effervescent wine that tickles the nose… and “Eunice X” has her super hero cape on and is ready for any party!

zombie-zin

Chateau Diana – Zombie Zinfandel $10

Chateau Diana – Zombie Chardonnay $10

Renwood Winery  – The Cleaver $20

So there are things that we will all need when the zombie apocalypse comes… a cleaver (or a bottle of Cleaver), Zombie Zin and Zombie Chard.

The Cleaver is a zinfandel blend out of Amador County that is a “the wine no meat should be served without” and Zombie wines are the creation of Dry Creek Valley’s Chateau Diana winery. The 2014 Zombie Zinfandel and 2015 Zombie Chardonnay are available in a handy two-pack that comes complete with a commemorative t-shirt making it the quintessential Zombie Apocalypse Party in a box! 

croft-and-blood-orange-1

Croft Reserve Tawny Porto $21.99

Stolen Fruit Blood Orange and Muscat Cocktail Mixer $18

Last but not least, fill your cauldron with cocktails made from Blood Orange and Muscat Stolen Fruit or a little Reserve Tawny Porto. A little sweet, a little spicy and just perfect for tantalizing those taste buds.

There’s nothing to fear for this year’s Halloween party, because at least if the ghouls, goblins, zombies and witches are afoot, you can offer them some scary-good wine.

Happy Haunting and enjoy more wine tips from my trip to atl&co!

Get Your Tickets for Check Please Bay Area Taste & Sip Event April 26!

The Check Please Bay Area Taste & Sip is just a week away! Do you have your tickets yet? If not, what are you waiting for???

 

 

Tickets, as usual, are going VERY fast, but there’s still a chance to come hang out with me Tuesday, April 26th! Last year was a blast and this should be no different, so grab your tickets and come drink and eat with me while we enjoy live music performed by the gorgeously talented Tiffany Austin courtesy of SFJAZZ.

Tiffany Austin

 

selfie tands

It’s a gorgeous event at the San Francisco Design Center and we have great fun every year. Join me, take a selfie or two on the red carpet and eat and drink to your hearts content!

 

CPBA_TasteSipLockup_02-400x164

This year’s Taste & Sip celebrates some of the Bay Area’s most delicious restaurants, wineries and distilleries! 

Food from :

31st Union1300 on Fillmore, Aly’s on Main, Bacon Bacon, Baker Street Bistro, Bistro Liaison, Bistro Viz,Boboquivaris, Buddy’s Bites and Brews, Bull Valley Roadhouse, Camber Montclair & Camber Uptown, Canela Bistro & Wine Bar, Chop Bar – Oakland, Cole’s Chop House, Copita Tequileria y Comida, Cosecha, Davey Jones Deli: Inside the New Bait Shop, Della Santina’s Trattoria and Enoteca Della Santina, DOSAencuentro, Farallon, farmerbrown, Gamine, Green Chile Kitchen, Hana Japanese Restaurant, Hog Island Oyster Co., La Costanera Restaurant, La Mediterranee, Lers Ros, Los Moles, Lovejoy’s Tea Room, M.Y. China, Marnee Thai, Maykadeh Restaurant, Mescolanza Restaurant, Nick’s Crispy Tacos, Old Jerusalem Restaurant, Old Skool Café,Pappo, Paradiso Restaurant, Perbacco, Picán Restaurant, PICANTE, Plaj Restaurant, Poesia, Poggio Trattoria, Sapore Italiano Ristorante, Sauce,Trattoria La Siciliana and Zatar Restaurant and Catering

Wines From:

B.R. Cohn, Balverne Wines, Giesen Wines, Iron Horse Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Joseph Carr, Josh Cellars, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Matua Wines, McEvoy Ranch, Napa Cellars, New Zealand Winegrowers, Pernod Ricard New Zealand, Robert Oatley , Sebright Cellars, Sonoma Coast Vineyards andViansa Sonoma

Spirits From:

Distillery No. 209 Gin and Redemption Rye

 

 

Check, Please Bay Area Returns! Tequila Anyone?

Check, Please will be returning April 14th for it’s 11th Season (!!) and while it won’t be the Tequila Extravaganza that Wendy wrote about on Bay Area Bites (Check it out, it’s HYSTERICAL) , it’s going to be a new season of fabulous restaurants, amazing wine and of course, our incredible guests.

leslie-anima

photo credit – Wendy Goodfriend

 

So, in honor of the new season, we got to talk a little bit more about my love affair with Tequila.

What is your relationship to tequila?

I have a love/love relationship with tequila. I love it and thankfully it loves me by erasing my memory of most things I do once I drink it. When I behave badly on tequila, I put myself on a TTO (Tequila Time Out). Luckily, I’m not on one now.

What are your favorite tequilas and have you dabbled in mezcal? Have you ever eaten the worm?

Big fan of Casa Noble, Partida, and for everyday drinking, Don Julio. If I could splurge, my sites are set on uber-expensive Casa Dragones, a stunner tipping the scales at close to $300 a bottle.

Oh yes, I have more than dabbled in mezcal (which, like tequila is made from agave, but in the Oaxaca region of Mexico). Mezcal is like the Marlboro Man of spirits — smoky, sexy and rugged. By the way, I have eaten a worm, just not the one found in cheap mezcal. I prefer my bugs fried with a crispy coating that I can wash down with a good shot.

Do you have a favorite Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area? What is your favorite dish?

My top pick is Copita and my favorite dish is tequila.

Check out the rest of the interview and hear about what my guests may or may not be doing on set in our first episode of Season 11!

Tune in on April 14th at 7:30pm as we start our 11th season of Check, Please Bay Area!

valentines-picks-today-show

A Hop in the Hot Tub with Hoda for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤ ❤ ❤

I swung by the Today Show on Friday and took a little hop in the hot tub with Hoda, Meredith Viera, and Ray Isles of Food & Wine Magazine. Whether you plan on hopping in the hot tub with your honey,  snuggling on the couch with Netflix, or even popping the big question, we’ve got the wine picks for every occasion.

 

Hop in the Hot Tub

Leslie

2014 Casillero del Diablo, “Devil’s Collection” White, Chile $15casillero-del-diablo

Instead of being angelic this Valentine’s night, toast your devlish side. Pour a glass of this refreshing blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer from Chile’s Casablanca Valley.  Crafted by the talented hands of winemaker Marcelo Papas of Concha y Toro, it’s crisp and juicy making it ideal to tame the heat of the hot tub…or just stoke the fires of your Valentine’s celebration.

Ray

NV Infinite Monkey Theorem White ($15/4 cans) infinite-monkey-theorem

It’s in a can! No glass in the hot tub! What the heck! Plus, it’s a lively white blend with a tiny touch of spritz, which you can chill down a lot. Ideal for hot tub sipping. Infinite Monkey Theorem is a cool urban winery that first started in Denver, and has spread to Austin, TX as well. 

On the Couch with Netflix:

Leslie

Croft “Reserve” Tawny Port, Portugal $20

croft-tawny-port

Get your dessert on with this luscious wine. (I call it a belly-button sipper.) A new Port from the classic house of Croft, this reserve is aged approximately seven years and captures the fresh fruit notes of a youthful tawny. A touch sweet and very smooth, this Port is ideal with a cheese platter, chocolate covered strawberries, or for cuddling on the couch with the one you love.

Ray

2013 Killibinbin Sneaky Shiraz ($14)

2013-KILLIBINBIN-SNEAKY-SHIRAZ

This is a juicy, rich Aussie Shiraz—a fun wine to relax with on the couch—plus the label looks like a movie still from a 40s Noir film, which is cool. And it’s sneaky. Which is sort of sexy. Depending on how well you know your date, you could also opt for their Seduction Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pop the question with Wine:

Leslie

2014 Beso de Vino, Garnacha, Carinena, Spain $10

beso-de-vino

What better way to pop the question than with a kiss? This sexy red means “kiss of wine” and it hails from the Spanish region of Carinena. This historic area is home to old vines that produce intense reds. This one — from nearly 40 year old Garnacha vines — over-delivers for its price, which means you can spend more on the honeymoon. That deserves a big kiss.

Ray

NV Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut ($48)

Piper-heidseick

If you’re going to pop the question, you need Champagne. What other wine says romance so clearly? Also, I love the red, removable ice jacket with its red bow on this Piper Heidsieck non-vintage brut; it adds an extra touch of fun to the occasion. This is classic Champagne, from the Champagne region in France, crisp and lively, perfectly dry. Chill it down, pop the cork, and then pop the question. 

Whatever you’re doing this Valentine’s Day – you’ll have the right wine to go with it!

Cheers!