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Guess what? The wine you select to cook with does matter. Good color and aromas make for good food. One of the most common misconceptions is that any

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Hundreds of Zinfandel aficionados descended on ZAP’s Zinfandel Tasting Experience  at the end of January  to swirl, sip, taste, and celebrate Zinfandel’s bold and unpretentious spirit.  The Zinfandel Experience is the largest single varietal tasting of its kind.  The event was hosted by ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) who is dedicated to preserving the heritage of Zinfandel.   ZAP produces many events, tours, cruises and partners with many of the wine industry’s leading organizations. This year marked the 24th Annual Zinfandel Tasting Experience, which took place

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V Wine Bar

V Wine Bar

Approaching V wine bar, I wonder what the V stands for, maybe “very” secret location? Located on Westbourne, the cypress-lined street is a refreshing and peaceful change from a very bustling West Hollywood area.  On the shaded path, the V door is like a golden knob in a sea full of one-size fits all bars and sexy nightclubs.  And although this wine bar is off the beaten path from LA’s notable nightclubs and restaurants that line Santa Monica Boulevard, it’s charm and ambiance make it a must stop.

Walking into V Wine Room you feel like you’ve been transported into

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On one Sunday afternoon while scouting wineries in the Temecula Wine Country, I found myself in an unlikely place–in a bathtub on a mountain top with a bottle of “Old Gus”.  Shadow Mountain Winery is located about a half an hour drive outside the continuously growing Temecula Valley Wineries, but it’s worth the stop for its beautiful location and quality, affordable wines.  Nestled at 3200 feet , the winery is located on a coastal mountain range in San Diego county.

The current owners, Alexander and Pamela McGeary, acquired the estate in 1990 and produce all their varietals in this unique microclimate. “Old Gus” is a tribute to

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There seems to be a mascot  for every winery I hit these days. There is the typical winery cat that lounges around outside the tasting room and adminently avoids the buzzed patrons that try to pet the “kitty kitty”. Then, there is the vineyard dog that usually is, more often than not, happy to greet guests and looks as confident running through the vines as the winemaker himself.

At Eberle Winery, a bronze boar greets each guests with the promise of luck if you drop a coin into the Eberle or “small boar” fountain.  As my boyfriend Joe and I walked in, we made sure to plop a quarter into the fountain and say hello to this bronze beast.  But as we soon discovered, Eberle Winery certainly does not need the luck of the boar to appease its vistors. The vast selection and quality of wine here alone is worthy of a stop.

As we entered the Redwood building housing the tasting room, I was glad to find a casual tasting room counter and pleasantly surprised to find a complimentary tasting that allowed six tastings from a list of 15 different wines!  My experience has been that in most cases a winery not specializing in a few varietals usually means that most will not be great. This was not the case with Eberle Winery. Almost all their wines had something complex or flavorful to enjoy.

2007 was a standout and some of my favorites were the 2007 Sangiovese, 2007 Zinfandel, 2007 Syrah Steinbeck Vineyard and the 2007 Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Sangiovese surprised with a full bodied burst of spice, cherry, raspberry, and licorice.  The Zinfandel was earthy with rich color and ripe blackberry flavor.  The Vineyard Cabernet was another winner, with wild berry flavors and a good tannic finish. The Vineyard Cabernet is a great pick if you have the time to age it a bit. At $19 a bottle it is a real deal!  The Syrah had a rich bouquet of blueberry, cherry, oak, vanilla, and pepper. Another great one for aging. Before leaving, the wine room respresentative spoiled us by pouring a reserve 2003 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that would have been a sin to not drink to the last drop.

With the exception of the 2003 Cabernet at $75 a bottle,  all of the wines we tasted were $25 or less. This is less than you’d expect to pay in other regions like Napa or Sonoma.  Look for Eberle wines at your local wine shop or some select grocery stores. We were told often times they carry them.

Eberle Winery is open to the public from September-March from 10a.m.-5p.m. and 10a.m.-6:00p.m. April-August. There is a scenic deck overlooking the Estate Vineyard. Private tours of the winery and wine caves by appointment.

Happy Wine Trekking!

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