Show 311, February 16, 2019: Sommelier Matthew Kaner, Cavas Codorniu, “Creating Cava” Masterclass

Matthew KanerSommelier Matthew Kaner is a partner in some of the best wine bars (Good Measure) in Southern California. He also represents Codorniu-Raventos, the producer of some of Spain’s most respected sparkling wines including the Ars Collecta Cavas. Matthew recently conducted a masterclass on Cavas Codorniu for somms and wine retailers in West Hollywood.

Three of the Ars Collecta wines were among the first 12 single-estate Cavas designated by the Spanish Minister for Agriculture for the Cava de Paraje Calificado designation. The Cava de Paraje Calificado designation is, as of July 2017, a new distinction which sets requirements, characteristics and quality control standards that certify the excellence of Spain’s best premium Cavas.

The ambitious Ars Collecta project also created the 457 – the world’s most expensive Cava. 457, the masterpiece of the Ars Collecta collection is a cava that pays homage to the 457 harvests completed by the Codorníu Estate.

“The Codorníu Raventós Group is the oldest family business in Spain and one of the oldest of the world, in addition to being the business group which created cava. With vineyards in our property since 1551, we are proud to say that we have more than 450 years of experience in the manufacture of quality wines and cavas. We currently have ten wineries, eight of which are in Spain (Bilbaínas, Legaris, Scala Dei, Raimat, Bach, Nuviana, Abadía de Poblet, and Codorníu Wineries), one in Napa Valley in California (Artesa) and another in Mendoza, Argentina (Séptima).”

We’ll artfully pop the bubbly cork with him.

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Show 252, December 16, 2017: Cary Hardwick, Co-Founder, Spaghettini Seal Beach

Cary Hardwick of SpaghettiniNext year Spaghettini in Seal Beach celebrates its 30th anniversary of success. It’s a big establishment. Unusually it’s part fine-dining and also a popular entertainment venue. It’s famous for its long-running, 5-hour Smooth Jazz Sunday Brunch.

Since 1988, this visionary partnership has created a unique blend of taste and entertainment in Southern California. Leading Southern California restaurateurs Laurie Sisneros and Cary Hardwick have realized a meeting place for L..A and Orange counties in their award-winning restaurant – Spaghettini Fine Dining and Entertainment.

Located just off the 405 Freeway at Seal Beach Blvd., Spaghettini features exceptional Northern Italian cuisine and top name entertainment.

Serving up the tasty history along with a Spaghettini Sparkling Wine toast is Co-Founder & Managing Partner Cary Hardwick.

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Show 147, November 21, 2015: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWine selections for the Thanksgiving turkey can always be a source of great anxiety. To the rescue is our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana. As you’ll hear he makes Thanksgiving wine pairings a simple pull of the cork! Also his suggestions are happily affordable.

“We have no agenda for what you choose, only that you buy it from us. Pursuant to that, we’d like to toss out a few guidelines and ideas for you to evaluate to make your selections for that Thanksgiving turkey, the idea being that you are comfortable with the reasons for making the selections. We’ll start by saying the politically correct thing which is whatever you choose will be fine, you should serve what you like. Nothing wrong with that in theory, except that we don’t honestly believe it ourselves.

We would shy away from big, powerful, tannic wines that would overwhelm the turkey meat and not be versatile enough to play with the variety of other things that can appear on the holiday table. Things like big Cabs, Zins, and Syrahs are great with red meats.  Such wines would bludgeon the delicate bird and be further complicated in the wake of stuffing, yams, and other such themed delicacies. They might play alright if you are doing more exotic preparations like smoking or deep frying your bird, but even that’s a little bit of a stretch.

Our ‘keys to the game’, as they would say in a sport pregame show, are as follows:

  1. Turkey is a more delicate meat. There is a wide range of things that will work well, from moderate weight reds, to demi-sec whites, to crisp, dry whites.  Heavy reds and oaky whites would definitely not be our first choice, and acidity is key to mixing it up with such a wide range of foods.
  2. Your choices have as much to do with the type of accompanying dishes as they do with the bird itself. A sweet or savory bent as to a majority of dishes should definitely be a factor in the decisions. For example if its yams, corn soufflé, cranberry, etc, a lighter, slightly fruity choice (Demi Sec Vouvray, German Kabinett) would make a better ‘match’. If the leanings are more earthy (mushrooms, brussel sprouts, spinach/gizzard stuffing), lighter reds like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Blaufrankish, and Rioja make a whole lot of sense.
  3. The crowd. Yeah, there, we said it. Probably not politically correct, but it’s true.  Who’s coming to your house? A bunch of your friends that are serious wine drinkers?  A bunch of marginal relatives that will drink up anything you put out there and maybe drop ice cubes in it? While it sounds snobby, these are common issues that some of you face.  A lot of people end up spending the holidays with folks they wouldn’t necessarily choose to. So the key is to put something on the table that you can enjoy, but also plays to the level of the folks you are with.
  4. The weather. Choices for a ‘feast’ might well be different if the outside temperature is 35 degrees and rainy or 75 and sunny.

All of that out of the way, let’s get a little more specific. We’ve laid out some basic ground rules, so let’s make a few varietal and genre suggestions. If we’re looking for a hint of sweetness and some bright acidity, to us one of the easy calls especially for a mixed group, our personal choices would be German Riesling, either Kabinett or Spatlese, a Vouvray demi sec, and a Pinot Gris from Alsace.

Yeah, we know there are folks that will serve Chardonnay no matter what. Our problem with Chardonnay from California is the lack of sufficient acidity to play with the varied dishes. French versions play better with the food, but can have trouble with certain dishes.  Same with Sauvignon Blanc in general, because, while it might work superbly with certain dishes, it could be terrible with others. In other words, you’ll have a lot of stuff on your plate (literally), so our thinking is to choose wines that can work with the widest variety of flavors.  In the dry category we like Pinot Blanc, white Rhones, northern Italian whites (Pinot Grigio, Soave, Friulano, etc.), white Bordeaux, and Spanish whites from the northwest (Albarino, Godello). Dry pinks are beautiful foils as well, though there will be those that think rose is like white shoes, only for the summer.

As to reds, the key is good acidity and no heavy tannins. Gamay (Beaujolais, Cru Beaujolais, not nouveau necessarily), Burgundy (Kiwi or American Pinot Noir, as well), Rioja, Chinon, and Austrian reds. If you want to kick it up a notch weight-wise, Grenache-centric wines from the Rhone or Spain have more punch but still fit the lower tannin profile

And the last rule of thumb is, if all else fails choose…sparkling! Yes you read that right. The market is swelling with amazing producers of everything from grower Champagne to humble Pétillant Naturel (or as the kids call ‘em ‘Pet-Nats’). We know it seems a bit avant–garde to adorn your holiday table with bubbles, but the key is to remember that sparkling wines and Champagne in particular pair tremendously well with just about anything you can throw at it (that includes the big clashing flavors on the Thanksgiving table). When making your choice of sparkling, consider going pink. The pink color in sparkling rosé comes from red grapes and more often than not it’s Pinot Noir. This will lend a slightly more vinous texture and weight to the wine and will help stand up to the mix of dishes much better than say your Chardonnay based Blanc de Blancs.

So there it is, our cheat sheet for Thanksgiving wine pairing.“

Thanks, Wine Exchange!

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Show 102, December 20, 2014: Kyle Meyer, Best Wines

Kyle Meyer of Best WiinesAre you in overdrive contemplating just the right wines to match with that festive holiday food celebration?

You’re on the spot…What’s a compliment-worthy match with potato pancakes, brisket, goose or spiral glazed ham? You also need to be a hero with the perfect bubbly for New Year’s Eve that’s also affordable. Should that celebratory libation be sparkling wine or Champagne?

Fear not…Our new resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer, President and Director of Purchasing for Best Wines in Santa Ana, gives us some inspired suggestions that should provide the proper inspiration without a hangover.

Remember, especially at the Holidays, wine should be fun!

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Show 77, June 21, 2014: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA

Linda KissamHow do you conduct a serious, educational wine tasting with a group that’s also entertaining and fun? Wine, food and travel writer Linda Kissam is with us to explain. She organizes proper tastings all the time…

She expertly demonstrated this recently for a group of professional food, wine, and travel journalists at the annual conference of the International, Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association in Montgomery, AL.

It was an organized tasting of five Italian Sparking Wines from the Franciacorta region of Lombardy in Northern Italy. A very limited supply of these sparkling wines eventually find their way to the United States.

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Show 77, June 21, 2014: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Continues…

Linda KissamConducting a serious tasting of Italian Sparkling Wines for professional food, wine & travel writers at The International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Conference in Montgomery, AL.

It’s fun but there is a proper way of doing this. A group size of eight is ideal to retain focus.

A good judge of a quality sparkling wine is the appearance of fine, delicate bubbles.

In a typical year Linda will taste and evaluate 1,000 wines.

She also explains what the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association does and what their mission is. Linda serves as their First Vice President.

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June 21: Linda Kissam, Chianina Steakhouse, Back Forty Beer Co, Irvine Greek Fest

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Linda Kissam and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part One
Segment Three: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part Two
Segment Four: Alejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part One
Segment Five: EAlejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part One
Segment Seven: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part Two
Segment Eight: Restaurateur George Kookootsedes, 36th Annual Greek Festival, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine

Guest Host Linda Kissam and Producer Andy preview the show.

How do you conduct a serious educational wine tasting (that’s also fun) with a group? Wine, food and travel writer Linda Kissam is with us to explain.

Quality Italian beef, pasta, and sustainable seafood are on the menu at the new Chianina Steakhouse in the Naples area of Long Beach. This is from the hospitality team known for Michael’s on Naples. Linda Kissam recently experienced a dinner there.

The craft beer movement, surprisingly, is vibrant and thriving in Alabama. Back Forty Beer Co. is the largest, and oldest, packaging brewery in the State.

The 36th Annual Greek Festival brings a “Taste of Greece” to Orange County at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church from June 27th to 29th. More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, and authentic Greek dancing with lessons. It’s a family-friendly affair!

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

Linda KissamHow do you conduct a serious, educational wine tasting with a group that’s also entertaining and fun? Wine, food and travel writer Linda Kissam is with us to explain. She organizes tastings all the time…

She expertly demonstrated this recently for a group of professional food, wine, and travel journalists at the annual conference of the International, Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association in Montgomery, AL.

It was an organized tasting of five Italian Sparking Wines.

It’s fun but there is a proper way of doing this.

She also explains what the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association does and what their mission is. Linda serves as their First Vice President.

Chianina SteakhouseHigh-end steakhouses with a serious bar and deep wine lists are very much in fashion these days.

How about an elegant steakhouse that serves limited availability, high-quality Italian beef, prime steaks, and sustainable seafood? There is also a well-regarded executive chef (David Coleman) overseeing things. We’ll be meeting the General Manager of Chianina Steakhouse in the Naples neighborhood of Long Beach, part of the ever expanding Michael’s Restaurant Group. We’re joined by Alejandro Duran of Chianina.

Chianina beef will soon be on their menu.

Jason WilsonFounded in 2009 by Jason Wilson, Back Forty Beer Co. is one of the oldest Alabama breweries and the first to distribute outside of the state. Back Forty beers are available statewide in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The brewery is located in Historic Downtown Gadsden, Alabama.

“In 2008, after several years in the corporate world and with over 150 brewery tours under his belt, founder Jason Wilson reached out to renowned Brewmaster Jamie Ray and asked for his help in developing recipes for Back Forty Beer Co.

The goal for the liquid was simple – to expose Southerners to the same craft beer culture that Wilson had been part of for the last ten years. This meant starting out with classic beer styles and evolving with customers along the way. Jamie agreed and in January of 2009 he became Back Forty’s first employee.

In June of 2009, Back Forty released its first offering, Naked Pig Pale Ale. The beer was only available in the North-Central Alabama home market, but the response was overwhelming. In March of 2010 the second Back Forty offering hit the shelves, Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale. Later that year Truck Stop Honey was awarded a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and in the weeks following, distribution offers poured in that allowed Back Forty to expand its coverage throughout Alabama.

Jason revealed the great news that it looks like Back Forty Beer Co.’s styles will be available in Southern California by year’s end. We’ll keep you posted…

irvine-greek-festThe 36th Annual Greek Festival brings a “Taste of Greece” to Orange County at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church from June 27th to 29th. More than 11,000 guests are expected to attend the three-day festival which will feature traditional Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, and authentic Greek dancing with lessons. It’s a family-friendly affair!

Legendary OC Restaurateur Mr. K (George Kookootsedes)
(John Dominis) is our guest…As a dedicated volunteer he puts the incredible food program together each year.

As guest host Linda Kissam notes , “It’s the next best thing to flying to Greece.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Linda Kissam and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part One
Segment Three: Linda Kissam, food, wine and travel writer, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA Part Two
Segment Four: Alejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part One
Segment Five: EAlejandro Duran, General Manager, Chianina Steakhouse, Naples Island, Long Beach Part Two
Segment Six: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part One
Segment Seven: Jason Wilson, Founder, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden, AL Part Two
Segment Eight: Restaurateur George Kookootsedes, 36th Annual Greek Festival, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine

Show 47, November 9, 2013: William Lewis, Sommelier and Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar

Sir William Lewis of the Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar in TustinWilliam Lewis is the award-winning sommelier and partner in The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar located in The District in Tustin. For the second year in a row they were awarded The Golden Foodie for Best Wine List in Orange County in 2013. They were also just recognized with OpenTable’s 2013 Diner’s Choice Award for Notable Wine List.

Whether your preference for your Thanksgiving table is a pairing of a fine white, sparkling, or red wine William has the selection of the perfect match for each that will both impress and not break the bank.

Sir William’s suggestions:

Jordan “J” Sparkling
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label
Clean Slate Riesling
Merryvale Starmont Chardonnay
Martin Ray Russian River Pinot Noir 2012
Grgich Hills Zinfandel 2010

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November 9: Thanksgiving Holiday Special

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Sam Sifton, National Editor of The New York Times Part One
Segment Three: Sam Sifton, National Editor of The New York Times Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt Part One
Segment Five: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt Part Two
Segment Six: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt & Chef Jet Tila
Segment Seven: William Lewis, Sommelier and Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar Part One
Segment Eight: William Lewis, Sommelier and Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar Part Two

Dreading the thought of the big, high-anxiety Thanksgiving holiday meal preparation? Don’t despair…It’s our calming Thanksgiving special and we’ll put you at ease with practical advice from the cooking pros. We have you covered.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the Thanksgiving special.

Sam SiftonJournalist Sam Sifton is the former restaurant critic for The New York Times and currently serves as their National Editor. He actually wrote the book on Thanksgiving last year. It’s entitled Thanksgiving – How To Cook It Well and it’s an excellent resource that any home cook would want to have.

Sam shares highlights from Chapter 2 of the book which is defining the perfect bird and explaining how to best cook it.

Sam Sifton is back with us providing more helpful Thanksgiving education. He offers his two favorite side dish recipes. Those are Three-Pepper Sausage Cornbread Dressing, and Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Bread Crumbs.

Elizabeth WhittChef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt is no stranger to the show. When Chef Jet has a culinary quandary he goes right to Chef Elizabeth. She is a Le Cordon Bleu, Paris trained chef with expertise in both hot foods and pastry.

In this segment Elizabeth talks about pumpkin. Should it be fresh or can it be canned? Also, the step-by-step instructions for preparing and baking the perfect, classic pumpkin pie.

Elizabeth has an “Appetizers and Hors D’oeuvres” class coming up on December 5th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt continues with genuinely useful Thanksgiving cooking help.

She explains what dishes can be successfully prepared ahead to save time (and limited oven & burner space) on the big day.

Chef Elizabeth also shares her easy recipe for her favorite Thanksgiving side dish for her own Thanksgiving table.

It’s your turn…

Jet and Chef Elizabeth Whitt offer their Thanksgiving advice in responding to listeners’ questions. It’s everything from how do you know when a persimmon is ripe to what are the most creative ideas for using the abundant leftovers.

Also everything you want to know about cooking deep-fried turkey and the path to preparing the perfect stuffing.

Sir William Lewis of the Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar in TustinWilliam Lewis is the award-winning sommelier and partner in The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar located in The District in Tustin. For the second year in a row they were awarded The Golden Foodie for Best Wine List in Orange County in 2013. They were also just recognized with OpenTable’s 2013 Diner’s Choice Award for Notable Wine List.

Whether your preference for your Thanksgiving table is a pairing of a fine white, sparkling, or red wine William has the selection of the perfect match for each that will both impress and not break the bank.

William Lewis, the popular sommelier and partner of The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar located in The District in Tustin returns to complete his inspired Thanksgiving wine pairings.

He also talks about digestives for the finale of your Thanksgiving meal. It might be brandy, cognac, Calvados or even the Italian Fernet-Branca.

Look for the debut of The Winery Restaurant’s elegant new eagerly anticipated location on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach in February of 2014!

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Sam Sifton, National Editor of The New York Times Part One
Segment Three: Sam Sifton, National Editor of The New York Times Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt Part One
Segment Five: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt Part Two
Segment Six: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt & Chef Jet Tila
Segment Seven: William Lewis, Sommelier and Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar Part One
Segment Eight: William Lewis, Sommelier and Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar Part Two