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SHOP EAT – Cartier Jewels and Chocoholics Paradise

I have to say Saturday was a great day. It started with going to the Cartier and America exhibit at the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco. Talk about bling! More diamonds, emeralds and rubies than I’ve ever seen in one place. The focus was on American women who bought or wore Cartier jewels. At the turn of the 20th century it was fashionable for women of a certain social status to wear tiaras, whether or not they were royalty, and you’ll see a lot of them here. Seems like a quaint trend, can you imagine wearing a crown now? Some of Grace Kelly’s jewels are on view, including her 10 carat diamond engagement ring. Then there’s the set of jewels that Mike Todd gave Elizabeth Taylor — diamond and ruby necklace, bracelet and earrings. Wow. And, many of the Duchess of Windsor’s pieces (aka Wallis Simpson). Also on…

DRINK – Bubbly base wine tasting

I went to a tasting of the base wine components that go into the sparkling wine, J Schram, made by Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley.  What’s a base wine?  Champagne and sparkling wines are usually blends of many many base wines, 50 to 60 in some cases.  Each component comes from a particular lot – say a block of a vineyard.  These base wines are fermented alone, and spend time either in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels before they are tasted by the winemakers to create the final blend.  By having so many base wines, or elements, the winemaker can ensure the consistency of the “house style.” The lineup had six base wines in it:  stainless-steel fermented Chardonnays; a Chard with no malolactic fermentation and a Chard with ML; a stainless steel fermented Pinot Noir and a barrel fermented Pinot. All bases wines are single vineyard designate. You don’t…