Show 239, September 2, 2017: Restaurateur & Chef Michael McCarty, Michael’s Santa Monica & Michael’s New York Part Two

Michael McCartyWhen Chef & Restaurateur Michael McCarty opened the landmark Michael’s in Santa Monica back in 1979 I’m not sure he even suspected that he would become one of the pioneers of what is known as California cuisine along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. He pioneered having museum quality art on the restaurant’s wall with not a hint of pretention.

Michael is also known for mentoring rising, young culinary talent that have gone on to open their own successful restaurants. This distinguished alumni club includes Jonathan Waxman, Nancy Silverton, Brooke Williamson, Mark Peel, Ken Frank and Sang Yoon.

Just about a year ago Michael (working with his son, Chas) totally rejuvenated Michael’s Santa Monica by bringing-in a 28-year old rising-star chef with avant-garde ideas. Chef Miles Thompson is already earning deserved accolades from food critics and bringing in a younger crowd of new guests. Michael shares the entertaining story of how he and Chas came to select Chef Thompson.

Dining in the lush, shaded garden patio at Michael’s all these years later remains a uniquely L.A. experience.

Michael, usually, has a hillside vineyard on his residential property in Malibu. Just now he’s harvesting his Pinot Noir grapes for the 2017 vintage of The Malibu Vineyard.

If you’d like to see what Chef Miles Thompson is like away from Michael’s (and where he eats) take a look at his Chef’s Night Out video from Vice.

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Show 228, June 17, 2017: Matt Sobczak, Certified Sommelier, Presqu’ile, Santa Maria

Matt SobczakLocated in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to crafting exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Designed and planted to create a diverse tapestry of vineyard blocks, the sustainably certified, 73-acre Presqu’ile Vineyard features an array of clones, exposures and elevations. Made using this estate fruit and grapes from a handful of the finest vineyards in the valley, Presqu’ile’s wines capture the essence of their vineyards and vintages, and have earned acclaim for their elegance and balance. The striking, contemporary winery building and tasting room are a destination on their own.

Presqu’ile is a multigenerational collaboration between Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey. No strangers to agriculture, four generations of the Murphy family have been farming land in Louisiana going back almost a century.

The Murphys are also a family of wine lovers, with a deep appreciation for the world’s great Pinot Noirs. This love of the land, combined with their shared reverence for great wine, and a deep desire to create something meaningful and enduring together, led the Murphys to pool their talents and establish Presqu’ile Winery.

Certified Sommelier Matt Sobczak, Presqu’ile’s Assistant Tasting Room Manager, joins us with the story.

 

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Show 220, April 22, 2017: Wine Stemware Made Easy, Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIf premium wine wasn’t expensive enough as it is there is also the perplexing matter of what stemware to properly serve the wine in. Lot of hype out there…Some of the fine, imported wine glasses are plenty pricey.

Time to separate the practical from the impressive salesmanship. Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with sound advice on what you really should buy when it comes to wine glasses that won’t break the bank.

Thankfully Kyle keeps this simple for us. He suggests even a hard-core wine connoisseurs only needs a Champagne Flute, a White Wine glass, a Bordeaux / Cabernet glass and a wider bowl Burgundy / Pinot Noir glass. Respectable stemware can be had for $10 to $12 per glass. Kyle also suggests a cut glass rim versus a rolled rim.

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Show 219, April 15, 2017: Jon Karlo Macias, Café & Tasting Room Manager, Ca’ Del Grevino Estate, Santa Maria, CA

Jon Karlo MaciasCa’ Del Grevino is located in the Santa Maria Valley appellation of Santa Barbara County. The vineyard is located just 10 miles from the Pacific Coast and benefits greatly from cool, maritime influences. The vineyard is planted methodically and meticulously, with special attention paid to varietals best suited to the estate’s terroir. Taking into account the soils, the meso- and micro-climates, the coastal influences and the orientation of the sun upon the hillsides, you can find here Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Grenache, Dolcetto, Riesling and Syrah.

“Our vineyard produces some of the finest wines in California. The region’s cool climate, geology and topography provide the opportunity to create uncompromised, premium wines. Ca’ Del Grevino, meaning “House of Grewal Family Wines”, produces fine wines steeped in Italian tradition with a distinctive California style.”

Ca’ Del Grevino is the signature wine brand of our estate representing regality, tradition and opulence. Nestled in California’s prestigious Central Coast is the lovely Santa Maria Valley. The unique micro-climate of the valley produces cool mornings and long warm afternoons. Together with us the best quality fruit produced and attention to detail produces our award -winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, White Riesling and Syrah wines.”

Ca’ Del Grevino wines are available to their Wine Club members and at their distinctive area Tasting Rooms. Each Tasting Room has a bit of a different character. The Orcutt Tasting Room is also a Café. The Los Olivos Tasting Room skillfully pairs their wines with cheese, charcuterie or chocolate plates. The Tasting Room in Santa Barbara is in the vibrant “Funk Zone” at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. An attraction there is Helena’s Bakery with a menu of custom-baked sweet and savory goods.

 

Jon Karlo Macias, Café & Tasting Room Manager, walks us through the lush vineyard estate.

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Show 218, April 8, 2017: Susan Righetti, Far Western Tavern & Susie Q’s Brand, Santa Maria & Orcutt, CA Part One

Susan RighettiThe Santa Maria area is known for classic Santa Maria BBQ, pinquito beans, and great California Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. All of these tasty elements are on the menu at Far Western TavernContemporary California Ranch Cuisine in Orcutt established in 1958.

“Welcome to the Far Western Tavern – Contemporary California Ranch Cuisine inspired by local traditions. For more than five decades, spanning three generations of Minetti family ownership, the Far Western Tavern has been driven by a timeless appreciation for regional cuisine and an inherited commitment to hospitality.”

“Our restaurant is recognized as a landmark of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, a renowned regional fare rooted in native ingredients and methods that were first popularized by 19th century rancheros. Our menu blends this local barbecue style with other dishes that reflect our family’s heritage in the Santa Maria Valley’s Swiss-Italian ranching community. Our menus are graced with fresh flavors from the nearby farms, ranches and vineyards.”

“The Far Western Tavern was established in 1958 by Clarence and Rosalie Minetti along with Rosalie’s cousin Richard Maretti and his wife Jean. Originally located in the historic Palace Hotel building in the town of Guadalupe, the Far Western Tavern quickly became a hometown favorite, attracting locals and visitors alike with its legendary fare and welcoming ambiance. Today the restaurant has its home in a beautiful building in Old Town Orcutt.”

“Since those early days, the Far Western Tavern has outlasted countless culinary trends, remaining true to its original style while keeping pace with contemporary tastes. As Clarence was fond of saying, “To last in this business, you have to like people and you have to serve great food. It’s that simple.” Today, Clarence and Rosalie’s children and grandchildren remain committed to advancing the Far Western Tavern tradition.”

Co-Proprietress, Susan Righetti (representing the founding Minetti Family) joins us. She is also the proprietress of Susie Q’s Brand, purveyors of gift packages of signature local food products. It’s all quite a meaty story…

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Show 217, April 1, 2017: Laura Donadoni, Brand Ambassador, Franciacorta

Laura DonadoniFranciacorta is considered by connoisseurs as the luxury Italian sparkling wine. It’s a good value for the quality. The name identifies both the production method as well as its growing area in Italy. It’s also the Consorzio Del Franciacorta.

The Consortium was founded on March 5, 1990 in Corte Franca to guarantee and monitor compliance with the rules for producing Franciacorta wine. The name of the geographic region where its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc vines are grown is used to identify this wine, which is produced exclusively by the method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. In one word, Franciacorta describes an area, a production method and a wine. 

Having moved to its present site at Erbusco in 1993, the Consorzio Franciacorta has about 200 members including wine growers, wine producers, bottlers and others involved in the production chain for the designations Franciacorta DOCG, Curtefranca DOC and Sebino IGT.

Its distinctive logo with a castellated letter F distinguishes its wines and refers back to the ancient mediaeval towers that characterize 19 municipalities in the heart of Lombardy, by the shores of Lake Iseo: Adro, Brescia (part), Capriolo, Cazzago San Martino, Cellatica, Coccaglio, Cologne, Corte Franca, Erbusco, Gussago, Iseo, Monticelli Brusati, Ome, Paderno Franciacorta, Paratico, Passirano, Provaglio, Rodengo Saiano and Rovato,

The cultivation of vines has ancient origins on the hills of Franciacorta, as evidenced by the findings of prehistoric grape seed and the writings of classical authors such as Pliny, Columella and Virgil. Rich archaeological material dating from prehistoric times, such as the remains of stilt house foundations found in the bogs of Sebino, reveal how primitive populations settled here and gradually took over from the Cenomani Gauls, the Romans and the Lombards.

Vine cultivation has been a constant in Franciacorta, where grapes were grown from Roman times to late antiquity and the Middle Ages, thanks to its favorable climatic and soil conditions. Though good and bad periods alike, viticulture in these lands never stopped.

Brand Ambassador Laura Donadoni graciously pops the cork on the Italian bubbly for us.

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Show 195, October 29, 2016: Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, c nagy Wines, Orcutt, CA

Clarissa NagyEarlier this year we met the passionate Clarissa Nagy who is the distinguished Winemaker at Riverbench in Santa Maria. Separate from Riverbench Clarissa has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in historic Orcutt. Clarissa Nagy is our encore guest.

New for the 2016 release is a dry Gewurtztraminer and a Grenache.

“People often ask how I started in the wine industry. It was never my plan to make wine. Actually, my original intention was to work with food. Thankfully, food and wine are often paired together. Through that means, wine found me.”

“I met my husband while we were working together in the wine industry. We made a barrel of 2002 Viognier as a wedding favor. It seemed a fitting gift for our family and friends. My quest for another source of Viognier was encouraged by those who had tasted the “wedding wine.” It would be a longer quest than I expected.”

“I purchased one ton of Pinot Noir in 2004. I wanted to continue making Pinot Noir and work with an amazing vineyard. One thing led to another. In 2005, I began working with 3 different vineyards and my brand was born.”

“Pinot Noir and Syrah were my main focus for the next 6 years. I made a Viognier in 2010, but frost would prevent me from doing so in 2011. The loss of Viognier opened the door to work with Pinot Blanc as well, and my journey continued to unfold. The newest chapter of my story is the addition of the tasting room.”

“Winemaking has become my passion. Sharing that joy with others is a priority. I’d love to be able to bring everyone into the vineyard and cellar to experience winemaking firsthand. Since that isn’t realistic, I offer you a taste of my labor. Here is that experience captured in bottle. I hope to share this passion with you in person. Until then, enjoy!”

 

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Show 192, October 9, 2016: John Terlato, Vice Chairman, Terlato Wine Group

John TerlatoJohn Terlato of Terlato Wines is a distinguished California vintner and well-known wine entrepreneur. He will share with us his recent adventures in Burgundy, France. It’s a great travel destination for any fan of the wine grape!

“You might imagine that if one were to have the good fortune of purchasing a vineyard in California, it would not typically spark interest in a place more than 5,000 away.”

“Here is why I felt the need to visit Burgundy. Sanford Winery is home to the oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the Santa Barbara area, dating to 1972. It also possesses a magical and unique confluence of climate and soil conditions – remarkably like those of Burgundy. And once our family owned Sanford, I wanted to more deeply understand Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the two iconic varieties of Bourgogne.” – John Terlato

“So what did I learn from all of this? First, it all starts with the soil and farming. Great wines are born from a unique combination of soil, microclimate, and attention to detail in farming. It is this unique confluence that causes great wines to be unique. Nor better…unique.”

 

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Show 157, January 30, 2016: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, The Wine Exchange, Tustin

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeOur favorite purveyor of genuinely useful wine knowledge, Kyle Meyer, the Co-Proprietor of The Wine Exchange, joins us for his eagerly anticipated monthly tutorial.

Kyle provides a preview of coming attractions in wine for the New Year (think 2014 Pinot Noirs from Oregon) along with the chatter involving comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet.

“For as long as we have been doing this, there have been comparative discussions about Bordeaux reds and California Cabernet.  A lot of that discourse centers on the fact that they are both essentially made from the same group of varietals.  Inevitably the bantering arrives at which is better, and that becomes a much more parochial argument with those in whichever camp arguing their side.  There is no middle ground.  Folks who like big bold Cabernets and other weighty renditions of Bordeaux varietals as they are made in California will point to Bordeaux and say they are thin.  Those in the Bordeaux camp will point to the ageability and complexity that Bordeaux has historically demonstrated, and call the Cali versions plodding and one dimensional.”

 

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Show 148, November 28, 2015: Holman Ranch Vineyards & Will’s Fargo Steakhouse + Bar

Nick Elliott of Holman Ranch and VineyardsThe historic 400-acre Holman Ranch and Vineyards dates back to 1928. Located at the north eastern tip of the Carmel Valley Appellation, the family-owned Holman Ranch resides approximately 12 miles inland from the Pacific Coast.

Immersed in history and romance, the ranch has not only proven to be an excellent growing location for their vineyards but also for the Tuscan varietal olive trees which have flourished under the temperate climate. It’s also a one-of-a-kind executive retreat and special events venue.

The Holman Ranch estate grown wine varietals are planted on approximately 19 acres of undulating terrain. The wines produced are unfiltered and crafted to deliver the true varietal of the grape from harvest to bottle. The estate wines include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose of Pinot Noir. The winery itself is located in an environmentally-friendly underground cave.

The Holman Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room is located near the Ranch at 19 E. E. Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley. In addition to the Holman Ranch Estate varietals their new label is Jarman. It’s strictly limited release, estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Grand Estate Wine Club members have access to hosted two-night stays at the Ranch’s Hospitality Cottages. Each comfortable Cottage is decorated with rare movie posters of a Hollywood notable who stayed on the Ranch in earlier years.

The Holman Ranch also owns the nearby Wills Fargo Steakhouse + Bar on W. Carmel Valley Road. It’s been a local tradition since 1959. An evening at Will’s Fargo brings back a bygone era and offers some of the finest food on the Monterey Peninsula under the direction of long-time Executive Chef Jerome Viel.

Guest Services Manager and Partner, Nick Elliott, joins us.

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