Our resident wine expert Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange joins us to talk about Bordeaux wines. The Union Des Grands Crus De Bordeaux was just in West Hollywood with a comprehensive tasting of the 2016 releases. Kyle’s assessment of the vintage is that it’s “one of the greatest.”
Bordeaux is the single most important wine region on the world so it’s taken very seriously. Contrary to popular belief there is good value to be had in the satellite appellations and not everything is crazy expensive.
This was the 14th edition of this Tasting in the United States. Kyle shares his professional insights with us and also explains how a Sommelier or Wine Merchant navigates such a vast tasting. It’s honestly real, purposeful work…Cheers!
Our esteemed wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange joins us for two commentaries. You’ve been seeing them on the wines from Australia and New Zealand for awhile and now screw caps on premium wine are becoming more common on domestic wines for very sound reasons.
Wines sealed with screw caps can actually age with grace. A cork is perhaps more romantic but it proven not to be the best closure for wine.
It’s not sustainable, either.
There is also a shortage of premium natural cork worldwide.
Chef / Proprietor Ross Pangilinan (Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, Santa Ana) launched Terrace by Mix Mix in South Coast Plaza in late September. Located on level 3 of the Crate and Barrel / Macy’s Home Store Wing, TERRACE by Mix Mix concentrates on well-priced, market-driven small plates.
The cuisine showcases Pangilinan’s eclectic style, which is influenced by French, Italian, and modern Filipino flavors, as well as his refined technique. An approachable wine list offers varietals by the glass and bottle as well as rotating craft beers.
True to its name, the restaurant features full-service evening dining (and Weekend Brunch) in a beautifully designed covered terrace off the west end of Bridge of Gardens. A small wine bar, additional seating, an open kitchen and a counter offering a weekday lunch quick-service menu is inside.
Pangilinan opened his first restaurant, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, in downtown Santa Ana in 2016. The name “Mix Mix” is inspired by the English translation of the Filipino dessert Halo-Halo and is also a play on Pangilinan’s culinary style and Filipino-American identity. The restaurant has been an unqualified success since opening, garnering accolades as best new restaurant from Orange Coast Magazine and earning the chef critical praise. Chef Ross was honored as “Rising Star Chef of The Year” at the 2018 Golden Foodie Awards.
Pangilinan’s culinary journey began upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. He traveled to France to work in the Michelin-starred Les Trois Marches in Versailles. Back in the U.S., he was hired as sous chef to open the critically acclaimed, fine dining Sinatra restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas. Returning to Southern California, Pangilinan worked as sous chef at the Patina flagship and became a protégé of founder chef Joachim Splichal. The Patina Group recognized his talent and named him executive chef at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, which is part of South Coast Plaza’s fine dining collection.
Chef Ross pops out of the kitchen for a chat.
It’s time for an encore visit with the husband-and-wife proprietors of Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana, Orange County’s first craft distillery. Blinking Owl Craft Cocktails are now available at LA Rams home games served at a dedicated bar at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Selections include OC Orange Mule, Tailgate Tonics, The Cocktail Kicker and Tropical Touchdown (Blinking Owl Vodka, Lime Juice, Passion Fruit Liqueur and Soda.)
Brian’s Single Barrel, First Batch Birthday Bourbon has just been released in a 290 bottle batch. We’ll find out about it. It’s been aging in barrel for 2 years!
A straight Rye Whiskey is also currently aging. It could be released anytime between now and the end of 2019. We’ll get a progress report.
Also a kitchen is soon on the menu at Blinking Owl. At long last – food and libations. We’ll get the tempting food report from Robin.
Tasting and Distillery Tours are available. The Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday. Tours by appointment.
For 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’.”
Is there a relationship between quality and price when it comes to California’s cult wines? What is the pricing model? Where is the value to be found if it can perhaps be found at all?
Most of the cult wines of California are coming from the elite Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is King! In the rarified growing areas of Napa there is very little room to expand vineyards.
Our resident wine authority, Tristen Beamon from The Wine Exchange, was recently in Bordeaux tasting wines in the barrel (two trips) from the 2017 vintage. Tristen suggests that the 2015 and 2016 vintages are great. 2017 is the years of “haves” and “have nots.”
We’ll get his insider’s report on what to expect. Who says Bordeaux needs to be expensive?
“So as we like to say here at Wine Exchange…Let the games begin!”
When it comes to wine jargon you sometimes hear the term “field blend.” What is it exactly? Our resident, and always intelligible, wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, explains all.
Also Alsace’s Marcel Deiss winery (Father & Son duo) is an example of a star producer exemplifying the spirit of a field blend. It’s about the terroir.