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Meet Georges Duboeuf, the Champion of Beaujolais

duboeuf grape collective

Georges Duboeuf is a modest man. He is modest in stature and rather reserved, in an elegant, French way. He is extremely modest about his contributions to the international wine world, of which championing Beaujolais — the region and the wines — will be his legacy. He is also modest about his success with promoting Beaujolais Nouveau, even though it has become a an overhyped caricature of itself.

The WineFashionista Guide to the Best Wine Holiday Gifts

‘Tis the season and time for holiday gift recommendations.  What to get the wine lover in your life?  Not the same old same old.  I’ve been looking all year for the coolest, most unique – and yes, stylish presents for you to give — and a few you might want to keep for yourself!  Cheers and happy holidays. Chill Out.  Forget chilling a whole bottle of wine, go by the glass.  Keep the Napa Wine Chiller, a shiny silver sphere, aka “balls of steel” in the freezer until you’re ready to pour a glass or two of wine.  Takes about 2 minutes or so to completely chill one glass of wine, and it works for at least two glasses. Does not hit your mouth when you sip.  When you’re done, rinse, dry and refreeze.  Tip:  really only works with wide mouth glasses and bigger glasses that allow you to swirl even with…

WineFashionista’s Beautiful Holiday Gift Guide

When I’m not drinking wine, I’m obsessed with makeup, lotions and potions and of course, perfume.  I’ve been a product junkie ever since I can remember, and my bathroom cabinets are overflowing with skin and hair care and all sorts of beauty products. This year I’ve tried and tested many a cream,  and dabbed and spritzed all sorts of fragrances.  I’ve come up with a list of my top 12 beauty products that really work — and make great holiday gifts to boot. 1. Beauty DNA.  I’ve tried just about every beauty subscription out there.  I usually end up with a pile of unwanted stuff.  So I was skeptical about Beauty DNA’s claim to make a perfect match for you every month.  I signed up for the $25 per month subscription.  My first delivery was the SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF — a full size which sells for about $150.  Then I…

Indie Wines – The Paso Garagiste Festival 2014

I recently returned from two days at the Paso Garagiste Festival.  This is the event’s fourth year, and it has grown leaps and bounds since I wrote about the inaugural event in 2011.  That year, 44 wineries participated in a one-day event; now it is a four day event.  This year 60 wineries alone poured on Saturday, November 8 at the Grand Tasting; another 19 wineries participated in The Opening Round on Friday night.  In all told, 79 wineries pouring over 150 wines.  The garagiste movement is strong.

Attendance that first year was nearly 700 people; this year more than 1,000 consumers attended.  The event also moved from a quaint horse stable at Windfall Farms to the larger Paso Robles Fairgrounds.  Perhaps not as elegant, but winemaker and lighting designer Bill Powell (who was also pouring his wines at Powell Mountain Wines) did a nice job of transforming a cavernous room into something cool.

Art and Olfaction Awards Celebrates Artisan Perfumers

Calling all independent, niche and artisan perfumers.  Submissions for the 2015 Art and Olfaction Awards are now open.  This new awards programs was launched last year by Saskia Wilson-Brown of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, to showcase the tremendous fragrant works of art crafted by small producers around the world.  These noses work independently, are not funded by big perfume house conglomerates and are mostly self-funded, small businesses where everything is done by hand by the person creating the scents. If you’re at all familiar with the the fragrance industry, you might say that the Art and Olfaction Awards are akin to the movie industry’s Spirit Awards for indie films, as compared to the established Fifi awards (now called the Fragrance Foundation Awards), considered the Oscars of the perfume world. Winners receive a Golden Pear.  It’s a unique symbol for an awards statue.  Saskia says they came up with the…

The Best English Muffin in the World is in Napa Valley


Where do wine country locals go in Napa Valley when they need a carb fix?  The Model Bakery of course.  For 30 years Model Bakery has been luring folks in for the mouthwatering pastries and bread.  But the one item Model is known best for is their world famous English Muffin.  People line up for the 1000+ muffins Model makes daily.  I produced this story for the new TV show Kristy Downing Rocks Local Food where we reveal the secrets of creating these fluffy and airy one-of-a-kind English Muffin.

There’s More to Beaujolais than Beaujolais Nouveau (Part Deux)

As the world gets ready to celebrate the arrival of the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau, it’s a good time to turn the spotlight on this region’s wines, especially the complex, aromatic and fascinating wines of the Cru Beaujolais.  These Cru wines are a revelation for anyone who is accustomed to drinking the super fresh, super fruity and super young Beaujolais Nouveau.  After all Nouveau is a style unto itself, bottled only weeks after the grapes are harvested.  While Nouveau’s roots are in a wine to celebrate the harvest, the Cru wines are what Beaujolais is all about. In June I joined a group of fellow journalists on a taste journey through five of the 10 Cru Beaujolais appellations.  The producers we visited all make wine with the legendary Georges Duboeuf, who has done more to spread the world about high quality Beaujolais wine than any other producer from the region.  For…

There’s More to Beaujolais than Beaujolais Nouveau (Part Une)

November in the wine world means time for Beaujolais Nouveau, with all the pomp and circumstance and celebration surrounding the release of this wine around the world.  Legally it cannot be released until 12:01 am the third Thursday of November.  That’s when you hear proclamations of “le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!”— and millions of corks popping.  This year the festivities take place on November 20, 2014. As a wine Beaujolais Nouveau is soft and fruity, very easy to drink.  Yet critics deride the wine as being cheap and uninteresting.  Well it is cheap inexpensive, usually selling for $10-$12 a bottle.  It’s certainly not as complex as a red wine aged for one to two years in oak.  Beaujolais Nouveau is a baby, made and released as a finished wine in only four to six weeks after harvest.  That’s why in 2014 you’ll be drinking the 2014 vintage later this month. …

Livermore Stories: Mitchell Katz Winery

Mitchell Katz is a survivor.  He launched his eponymous winery in Livermore Valley in 1998 and four years later moved into the historic Ruby Hill tasting room, a massive yet beautiful old brick building that dates back to 1887.  In 2012 Mitch was basically forced to buy out his business partner in the winery, and left to find a new home for his winery and tasting room.  He had challenges securing building loans for his first chosen location, then met some community opposition opening his current location.