Kyle Meyer, Managing Partner of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, our resident wine authority, joins us for another informative wine commentary responding to listeners’ questions. Kyle delves into the mysteries of oak in wine. How does it add to the flavor profile? What’s the how and why of American Oak versus French Oak in barrel aging? What’s toasting?
The 2019 Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine season officially launches Opening Night with John Legend on June 15th. Now into the fourth year with award winners chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine promises exceptional dining for visitors to the iconic venue.
Goin and Styne’s culinary history has defined Los Angeles tastes since 1998 when they opened Lucques, their flagship restaurant. At the Hollywood Bowl, their California-inspired offerings, which include three restaurants and three marketplaces in addition to menus for the Terrace and Garden Boxes, are created by four-time James Beard Foundation award winner Suzanne Goin in tandem with the exceptional wine and beer programs curated by Caroline Styne, the recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s 2018 Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year award.
Overseeing the broad range of dining options serving Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine’s thousands of nightly guests is Executive Chef Jeff Rogers.
Caroline Styne pulls the cork for us with all the details.
Winemaker Jeff Pisoni continues…
The Pisoni family’s goal: grow exceptional grapes to make exceptional wine. Wines made by the Pisoni family are bottled under the Pisoni Estate and Lucia labels. Gary and his two sons, Mark and Jeff, farm and produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from their three vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands: Pisoni, Garys’ and Soberanes vineyards. These vineyards and wines represent an extreme commitment to farming and classical winemaking.
“Lucy is the charismatic younger sister of Lucia Wines, a celebrated label that represents a collection of vineyards run by the renown Pisoni Family. In 2003, making her limited debut in just two precious barrels, winemaker Jeff Pisoni immediately knew he had crafted something exceptional. More than a decade later, the tradition of providing the utmost care and attention to the exquisite rose’ carries on. Only a limited amount is produced each year, and $1 per bottle is donated to breast cancer research.”
Eric Hamacher set forth as a winemaking gypsy after earning his viticulture and enology degree from UC Davis in 1988. Eric has since created stunning wines for more than 35 vintages at multiple wineries around the world. After leaving Napa in 1995, Eric headed North to the “Promise Land” of Pinot Noir and founded his eponymous winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
After pushing for several years and finally succeeding to change Oregon state law to enable multiple winery licensing in one facility, Eric with his wife, Luisa Ponzi (Ponzi Vineyards) and partners Ned and Kristen Lumpkin, co-founded The Carlton Winemakers Studio in 2002. The Studio was the first of its kind and operated as a multi-winery facility designed to enable small, high-end wineries and boutique, artisanal producers to share space and expertise.
With the bountiful 2014 harvest and the seams stretching at the studio, Eric moved himself out. With the “Reopening” of Hamacher Wines at the original Ponzi Historical Estate, Eric was able to launch his first tasting room dedicated to showcasing his wines directly to appreciative wine lovers.
Today, Eric’s production of artisan Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Hamacher Wines is just shy of 2,000 cases annually, possibly Oregon’s slowest growing winery.
Eric is with us to pull the cork on the Hamacher and H Wines varietals of Hamacher Wines.
In early October Wahoo’s Fish Taco presented a sold-out, celebratory dinner (paired with premium Sonoma wines) at the revered James Beard House in Greenwich Village, a singular honor. The outstanding boutique wines represented were Lombardi Wines (Petaluma,) and Coursey Graves Winery (Santa Rosa & representing Works & Days, too.
When I first started Wahoo’s 30 years ago, all I wanted to do was create a fun and casual place for fellow surfers to hang out and eat great food. Fast forward to today, it’s an honor and a privilege to present on behalf of Wahoo’s at The James Beard House,” said Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco. “To be chosen and invited to New York with my brothers is beyond what we could’ve ever imagined.”
“Chefs must be invited in order to host a dinner at The James Beard House,” adds Lam. “We spent our entire careers catering some of the world’s biggest sporting and music events. Hosting dinner at The James Beard House is a testament to our hard work, and we can’t wait to show a brand-new audience what Wahoo’s Fish Taco is all about.
Think Enchilada Duo with Polynesian Shrimp in Red Sauce and Blackened Chicken in Green Sauce with Cauliflower Rice paired with Lombardi Pinot Noir 2016.
Riding the cresting wave and joining us in-studio is Co-founder, Wing Lam
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.
Kyle was an early adapter to the joys of wines from South Africa. fortunately, a new age there in winemaking post-apartheid.
While known for their whites there is more depth to the premium wines of South Africa than the familiar Chenin Blanc.
Kyle advises to try their Pinotage. It’s a grape that’s a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut.
In 2003 the Pfaff Family arrived in Oregon on the plot that was to become Left Coast Cellars. In those early years there were just 35 acres of vines and a scruffy, prefabricated cottage. Nevertheless, the sweeping vistas, the canopies of 400 year-old oaks, and wild herons on the lake spoke of unimaginable potential. Since then, in fits and starts, The Pfaff Family has worked to bring out the magic inherent in this land.
“In the fifteen years since our beginnings, we have gone from a largely grape growing operation with long term contracts with fellow Oregon producers, a wonderful opportunity to establish the high quality of our fruit, to an all Estate commitment. We farm 142 acres of vines on our nearly 500-acre Estate, largely sedimentary soil laid down by the Missoula floods and some volcanic soil as well. We grow and meticulously tend our vines and grapes, handcraft our wines and bottle them on site, a fusion of art and science, most certainly a labor of love.”
We take a holistic approach to everything at Left Coast, sustainability being at the core of all we do. We received the largest USDA grant in Oregon in 2008 to go solar, and the vast majority of our estate’s electrical needs are supplied by the ground and roof mounted solar arrays. Our winery and vineyards are LIVE certified, Salmon Safe, and we were one of just six producers that went to a third-party verification in the initial Carbon Neutral Challenge, originally under the aegis of the Governor’s Office, now folded into LIVE as a Carbon Reduction program.”
Younger son, Taylor Pfaff, stepped into the CEO position the summer of 2016. He brings the experience of 6 harvests in the cellar under the excellent mentorship of Winemaker Joe Wright, along with a MBA in Wine and Spirits from the Kedge Business School of the University of Bordeaux.
Taylor Pfaff pulls the cork on Left Coast Estate for us.
Piero Selvaggio of Valentino, Santa Monica fame is one of the pioneers of Italian fine-dining in Los Angeles. He also has been one of the visionaries introducing the premium wines of Sicily to the United States. Piero joins us to talk about the noble Nero d’Avola grape grown in Sicily and Sicily’s Planeta wines.
“We travelled through Sicily as on a great wine continent, establishing our estates in five different areas from west to east, seeking our interpretation of them through research into indigenous varieties, including those by now forgotten, and into the suitability of the different terroirs to welcome international varieties as well. We planned to eventually build around each territory a comprehensive system of experience composed of hospitality, cooking, nature and culture. On these elements the history of our company has always been based. This instinct for the future, together with our curiosity to see the world and compare ourselves with it, has guided our choices.”
After an incredible run of 46 years Piero will be closing Valentino this year after celebrating New Year’s Eve. In early 2019 he will be launching Louie’s on the waterfront in Newport Beach. It’s an upscale Italian steakhouse in tribute to Olympian Louis Zamperini. We’ll keep you posted…
Rich Manning has been writing about food, drink, travel and other lifestyle topics since 2004. As a freelance writer, he’s worked with several different publications and businesses, and has written everything from restaurant reviews and feature articles to ad copy and website content. Current and previous publications include Gayot, Tasting Panel, Somm Journal, Sauté, Clever Root, and Dining Out.
He’s also operated his own website, The Lazy Hunter, since 2017. A Southern California resident and an enthusiastic foodie, he enjoys exploring the diverse nature and multi-cultural influences of his local dining scene and will pretty much try anything at least once. However, he remains a sucker for a really good burger, and thoroughly enjoys eating dinner at home with his wife and two daughters.
Wine country of note in Texas? You bet…For Saute’s blog Rich contributed an in-depth piece on his recent wine wanderings in Texas Hill Country, entitled Texas Hill Country, Texas Hill Country Features Texas-Sized Vintner Delights.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear about the quality of the wines he sampled. Are Texas Roses perhaps better than California’s? Is a full-bodied Rose the perfect BBQ wine? We’ll let Rich explain…