Show 350, December 7, 2019: Wine Authority Kyle Meyer, Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, with Champagne Buying Advice

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeThinking about buying a bottle of French Champagne as a gift or for the festive Holiday Table? Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, joins us with selection tips from an expert that, happily, won’t break the bank.

When you look a little deeper than the mega-brands with huge marketing budgets and lots of splash there are values to be had among the small producers.

Orange Wine is a new topic of conversation among wine aficionados. Kyle provides the needed overview. Actually Orange Wines (skin-macerated white wine) dates back thousands of years to Eastern Europe. What’s tricky about producing them is achieving proper balance.

Kyle particularly suggests Orange Wines from Italy made with Pinot Grigio grapes. Look for “Ramato” on the label.

Show 350, December 7, 2019: Chef George Geary on Celebratory Cheesecakes for the Holidays

Cookbook Author George GearyCheesecake! The Emmy award winning show The Golden Girls made eating cheesecake a nightly ritual on the hit television series. The pastry chef who made those luscious and delicious cheesecakes and many other foods for hit sitcoms is George Geary. He later became the first award winning pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company at Disneyland.

Geary’s cheesecakes became one of his most popular culinary calling cards so he then published his favorite recipes in his first cookbook, 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes in 2002, and it was such a hit that a follow up book, The Cheesecake Bible was published in 2008 and became a best-seller.

Now Geary has expanded his cheesecake repertoire even more with the highly anticipated 2nd Edition of The Cheesecake Bible: 300 Sweet & Savory Recipes for Cakes and More George provides home cooks with extensive how-to instructions, tips and techniques to make the perfect cheesecake.

Recipes in the book range from holiday favorites, savory and citrus cheesecakes, no-bake cheesecakes, to bars, pies, toppings and sauces, and breakfast items. Some of the delicious recipes in the book include:  Artichoke Cheesecake, Maine Lobster Cheesecake, Passover Honey Cheesecake, Blood Orange Spiced Cheesecake, Eggnog Rum Cheesecake, Italian Zabaglione Cheesecake Bars, Blood Orange Cheesecake Crępes, Cheesecake Bonbons and many more unique flavored desserts.

Chef George is our encore guest offering decadent ideas for the best in holiday cheesecakes (Eggnog Nutmeg Rum Cheesecake, Peppermint Chocolate Cheesecake and New Year’s Champagne Cheesecake) and pro’s tips for stress-free holiday baking.

Show 343, October 5, 2019: Gruet’s Winery’s 30th Anniversary with Assistant Winemaker Sofian Himeur Part One

Sofian Himeur of Gruet WineryAlbuquerque’s Gruet Winery celebrated a landmark anniversary in September, the 30th release year for Gruet sparkling wines. The Gruet family’s “coming to America” tale is quite remarkable; they embodied the ultimate start-up, finding success from true grit and determination, first as Champagne producers in France and now as one of the fastest growing sparkling wine houses in the US.

Winemaker Laurent Gruet released the first two sparkling wines 30 years ago and is still creating the Champagne method sparkling wines he learned from his father Gilbert Gruet, back in France. Today, third generation winemaker Sofian Himeur serves as Laurent’s assistant winemaker.

“For me, winemaking is practically genetic. My earliest memories of wine were of being alongside my father, Gilbert Gruet, at Gruet et Fils winery in Bethon,” says winemaker Laurent Gruet. “Like me, Sofian basically grew up in the winery – only for him it was in Albuquerque! 30 years after our first release, we continue to delight wine drinkers all over the world. I love seeing the surprise on people’s faces when they learn this wine is made in New Mexico, not Champagne.”

Sofian pops the cork for us…

Show 296, November 3, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeFor the end of the year there is always the dilemma of what wines to pair with the culinary delights of the various Holiday tables. We’re also looking for quality wines as gifts yet we don’t want to break the bank.

To the rescue comes our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange. The thoughtful buying philosophy of Wine Exchange is to purchase “little wines” from great producers. That’s where the great value comes in.

Kyle has the first installment of his best picks for quality and value for the Holidays. We’ll start with an outstanding Grower Champagne (Sanger Brut Grand Cru NV Blanc de Blanc Terroir Natal) that pairs well with most everything and comes with a heck of a good story.

“It’s not often you get to tell a story like this one and it’s also important to understand that this probably couldn’t happen here. True we don’t have Champagne vineyards close by like the high school that is the center of this story does. But, honestly, high school students being allowed to get involved with the production of alcoholic beverages simply wouldn’t play in America, period. This unique co-operative source all came about by a series of events.”

“In 1919, the war and phylloxera had pretty much trashed many wine producing areas in France. The Puisards, a successful merchant couple with no heirs, decided to donate their lands to the government on the condition that there would be a winemaking school created in Avize. That school, Avize Viti Campus, was officially founded in 1927 and, in 1952, the students and teachers along with local cellarmasters and winemakers, collaborated to produce a Champagne at the school.”

“Champagne Sanger is that Champagne, and it is a nod to the success of the school and the collaborative process, as well as the passing of practical knowledge from one class to another. Sanger is 100% Chardonnay, coming exclusively from the Grand Cru vineyards belonging to the school, from areas of Cramant, Oger and Avize, some owned by the school and some from local growers who are alumni. It sees 60 months en tirage (the minimum is only 15 months for the appellation) and is finished to a dosage of 6g/l.”

“It is extra brut without being overly aggressive, comes off as bone dry yet shows plenty of fruit (so many low dosage efforts are painfully dry) and plays sensationally with both food and by itself. This is truly Champagne made by Champenois and we recommend it highly for its price performance (all Grand Cru fruit for under $45!) and distinctive styling.  It also has some unique character points as, along with the typical brioche, citrus and apple elements one typically finds from the area, there is also and engaging spice nuance and notes that remind one of red berries. Very cool bubbles from a very unique source, and very little of it crosses the ‘Pond’.”

Show 263, March 3, 2018: Chef Kausar Ahmed, The Karachi Kitchen, Karachi Pakistan

Kausar AhmedFrom the Arabian Sea to the peaks of the Himalayas, cuisine in Karachi is as diverse as its inhabitants and draws influences from across South, Central, and West Asia. Acclaimed Pakistani chef, culinary educator, and food and prop stylist, Kausar Ahmed, has curated and created mouth-watering recipes in her first cookbook, The Karachi Kitchen – Classic and Contemporary Flavors of Pakistan.

Chef Kausar is best known Internationally for her work through “Kitchen Craft by Kausar,” an organization she founded in 2009 that offers free nutrition and cooking workshops to women and youth in high-risk communities around Karachi. The goal is to promote healthy eating and hygiene in the most impoverished families. Hands-on workshops teach students about cooking, nutrition, kitchen safety, personal hygiene, gardening and more.

Join the Careers through Culinary Arts Program Los Angeles (C-CAP) for an intimate and exclusive event featuring acclaimed chef, author and culinary humanitarian Kausar Ahmed. The evening at a private home in Santa Monica will kick off with a Champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, followed by a special cooking demonstration by Kausar.

Guests will enjoy a sumptuous four-course The Karachi Kitchen dinner prepared by Kausar and C-CAP students and alumni that will feature both classic and contemporary flavors of her native Pakistan, paired with premium wine and craft beers to complement the courses. Each guest will receive a signed copy of her new book The Karachi Kitchen to take home as a memento of the special evening.

100 per cent of the $175 ticket price goes to C-CAP to support their programming. Limited to 18 guests.

Chef Kausar is our guest.


Show 216, March 25, 2017: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeThe pleasantly effervescent Prosecco from Italy is on a lot of restaurant by-the-glass menus these days. It’s a common misnomer that it’s Italian sparkling wine. Actually it comes from difference grapes (Glera) than Champagne and is created using a different, less labor intensive process. Also, all Prosecco is not created equal.

To bring clarity to the ongoing discussion our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, joins us with the needed 411.

Also, what sparkling wine and Champagne is now served in by the glass in better restaurants is starting to change. It’s not just presented in a Champagne flute anymore. What’s going on…?

Show 202, December 17, 2016: Kyle Meyer, Proprietor, The Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIt’s Holiday time and what’s a festive celebration without sparkling wine and Champagne? It’s always better with bubbles and sparkling wine and Champagne typically pairs well with food, too.

We’ll look at values in Sparkling Wine from France, Spain and California as well as a value-priced Champagne.

Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, has some inspired guidance for us.

Marie Hanze Eaux Belle Brut“We love Champagne. Every year we taste way more than we need to (OK somebody has to) in the hopes of finding that perfectly priced, deli- cious bottle of real Champagne. We have been incensed by the prices that the ‘Champagne’ big brands have been charging in recent years, though we understand it takes a lot of money to make ice buckets to give to restaurants and put ads in magazines. Silly us, we’re all about the juice and, as folks who love their bubbles and appreciate high quality at a good price, this is our workhorse for the holiday season and beyond.”

Apparently Nicolas Maillart’s family has been at this for nine generations though we had not heard of the house until Peter Weygandt brought it in this year. The Eaux Belle is composed of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier , and 10% Pinot Noir, 20% from higher altitude parcels west of Reims. Slow and delicate pressing, gravity flow, aged on the lees and then seeing two years in bottle be- fore being hand disgorged, this round, creamy precise Champagne does a great job of hitting all the notes. Fresh apples and toast in the nose, fine bubbles, round and engaging in the mouth with about half the dosage of the ‘mass market’ brands but a long way from ‘brut nature’. The 20% reserve wine adds depth without effecting freshness. In other words, this is a really pleasing, imminently likeable go-to style of Champagne that will make friends. A real find!

Marie Hanze Eaux Belle Brut:  $28.98

Caraccioli Brut“There are a lot of folks making sparkling wine in California these days, and we have witnessed the occasional attempt on someone’s part to be king of the hill. Most of the big ‘foreign owned’ houses make an upper cuvee, and Schramsberg has been doing fine work for a long time. But it is rare to find something really groundbreaking. Caraccioli has only been around since 2006, the name is hard to say, and it isn’t cheap. But these folks are clearly on a quality road less traveled. Great fruit and extraordinary talent combined can yield some pretty special results.”

“As you all know, we are pretty committed Francophiles when it comes to bubbles. So we pick our battles carefully. These folks are doing everything right. They source their fruit from the Santa Lucia Highlands which yields a sparkler with notably more body. The fruit here came mainly from the old vines at Talbott’s Sleepy Hollow Vineyard and this bubbly, by virtue of its origins, shows a bit more body, a bit richer texture and more layers. Add the refined bubbles, and you’ve got some pretty serious fizz. Of course, you can have great fruit, but you still need someone who can bring it together.”

“Now while it is American owned, there is one foreign component. The Caraccioli’s looked at the French houses in California and decided ‘if you can’t beat them, hire them’. America, heck yeah! The guy they got is Dr. Michel Salgues who was at the helm of Roederer’s sparkling wine facility (arguably one of the state’s top houses) from 1985 to 2004. Something truly special here.” PRICE $49.98

Recaredo Brut Nature Gran Reserva Terrers 2009

90+ Points!  I also tasted the 2009 Terrers, disgorged after 71 months in bottle (for which the price is remarkable), cropped from a warm vintage. The blend varies from year to year, and in 2009 it was 52% Xarello, 32% Macabeo and 16% Parellada. It felt very compact and complex with great freshness and persistence. This is a superb Cava. At the end of the day, I could not chose between 2009 and 2010; both are superb, perhaps 2010 was a tad above 2009… 170,000 bottles produced.  Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate #227, October 2016.

Show 161, February 27, 2016: Executive Chef Jason Rivas, South Coast Winery Resort & Carter Estate Winery, Temecula

Jason RivasExecutive Chef Jason Rivas is newly arrived at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and the adjacent Carter Estate Winery and Resort. It’s actually an encore for him as he was on the property previously from 2009 to 2014. He’s also a Certified Sommelier. We’ll meet him.

The Carter Estate Winery has been built exclusively for the production of world class sparkling wines using the traditional Methode Champenoise process developed in the Champagne region of France. The current release is their 2012 Blanc de Blanc.

Chef Jason oversees the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast as well as the new Vineyard Grill Poolside Dining at Carter Estate. Both serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. He’s also responsible for the busy banquet operations at both properties.

“Today, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Carter Estates is the “Diamond of the Temecula Valley.” Touting over 600 distinguished awards for the wines they’ve produced in just four years, South Coast surprised the Wine Industry further in July of 2008 when it took the coveted “Golden Bear” award from its Northern California counterparts, naming it “California Winery of the Year” from the California State Fair Wine Competition”

“It’s an honor to have South Coast Winery recognized as an outstanding wine producer among its peers of California Wineries. I’m on top of the world right now, but I didn’t do it alone. I simply set the goal to create the finest wines in all of California; then provided our incredibly talented winemakers with the tools they needed to accomplish our joint mission.

The three of us – Jon McPherson, Javier Flores, and myself — did it really. By combining their skills, with my quality vineyards, adding in some hard work, and a lot of heart, we have created the best wines in the Golden State of California.” says a smiling Jim Carter, owner/vintner. “This marks the beginning for our winery.”

South Coast Winery produces a broad portfolio of premium wines that are 10 per cent grown and produced with care under his tutelage in Southern California’s up and coming Temecula Valley Wine Country. In fact, it’s targeting to produce over 65,000 cases of award-winning wine next year under four very distinct labels: Elevation; South Coast Winery; Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyard; and Carter Estates.


Show 152, December 26, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

The happiest of Happy Holidays (Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year) to all of our listeners and we’re back live with a fresh show (that’s sure to please) on January 2, 2016. Please join us often in the New Year!

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, now, Brea, is back with us by phone in the 2nd segment.

Next a mouthwatering preview of Saturday’s high-energy and appropriately festive show and not, with apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a good thing…

Christmas Day is a difficult day to dine-out. For the most part the restaurants that are open are Chinese restaurants or restaurants located in Hotels. Executive Chef Michael Hung (ex-Faith & Flower) of Viviane Restaurant at the Avalon Beverly Hills really went the extra mile for his Christmas Day Dinner Menu. Executive Producer Andy was there and talks about the upbeat experience.

Our regular Guest Host, Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, was just quoted in a front page New York Times Food Section piece, “Casting a Wider Net – Lesser-known, more sustainable fish are landing on American menus.” The article was written by Jeff Gordinier. Chef Andrew has discussed this significant trend on the show previously and we’ll revisit it.

There is just never enough time to talk with our always informative resident produce guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. We’ll pick up where we left off in his last report just before Thanksgiving. Looking ahead Robert will also share his Top 5 Produce Trends for the New Year. You will be surprised…

The Rose Bowl arguably has the richest history of college bowl games. It is affectionately known as “The Granddaddy of Them All” for good reason. Celebrating its 60th year of grand tradition as part of The Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl Game is the Lawry’s Beef Bowl. Our guests are the long time organizer (24 years) of the event for Lawry’s, Colleen Donatucci, and Todd Erickson, the author of Road to the Rose Bowl – 50 Years of Lawry’s Beef Bowl. Bring on the silver cart…

Bravo’s “Top Chef” has been an enormous hit for the emerging network. It’s now airing Season 13 which is, appropriately, all California – based. It’s also made a media star of Co-host Tom Colicchio. This season a couple of Southern California chefs are Cheftestants including the OC’s Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana and the just opened Vaca in Costa Mesa. Food journalist Anne Marie Panoringan (who contributes the widely read “On the Line” chef profiles for OC Weekly) is writing an opinionated weekly recap of “Top Chef” with the emphasis on the OC perspective. We’ll talk to her about this.

It’s Champagne time. Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, is with us to discuss “Grower Champagne.” It’s a delightful passion at Wine Exchange.

There is still just never enough time to talk with our always informative resident produce guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. He’s back with a helpful, fact-filled 2nd segment this morning. Robert is profiling the current options for Variety Onions and Variety Potatoes.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Show 152, December 26, 2015: Kyle Meyer, Co-Founder, The Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIt’s that celebratory time of year when our thoughts turn to Champagne. Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, is with us to pop the cork on “Grower Champagne.” It’s a delightful passion at Wine Exchange.

“This has been a passion of ours for probably a decade. We love all kinds of Champagne. But the majority of the Champagne produced comes from large, almost industrial producers who make ‘mass quantities’. The secret to the ‘big boys’ success? Marketing and consistency. The marketing part is simply awareness…the art of making people believe that one’s particular bubbly is the best and most prestigious. Usually that also involves heavy promotions, ‘boots on the ground’ out in the marketplace, ice buckets, and heavy discounts to high profile restaurants and clubs. All of these things fall on the ‘brand awareness’ side.”

“The beauty of grower Champagne is the fact that these individual artisan producers can be a lot more ‘individualistic’. They are not concerned with selling millions of cases to the public at large. The grapes for these individual cuvees come from a single village or cluster of villages that have their own unique character by virtue of their locations. This is the element of terroir, which is kind of like a ‘bonus’ or extra something that you won’t necessarily find in the large house cross regional blends.”

Kyle also has some thoughts on good selections for California Sparkling Wine. Think Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley and Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga.