Monthly Archives: May 2013

R & W Vineyards

Gotta love a scientist gone winemaker! They do things a little differently. The R and W in R & W Vineyards come from two scientists. To find out if this means double delicious, visit their winery in the Cupertino hills off Montebello just next door to Silicon Valley. These unfined and unfiltered wines have the thick crimson texture of a nectar. You can probably credit their long time in French oak barrels for that. But they also spend 3 weeks on the skins, the part of the grape that gives wine its color, tannins, and polyphenols. So, I’m no scientist, but might say their wines are healthier than most.

The flavor of their wines is better than the texture. Their Merlot, from “Mont Du Paix” meaning Mountain of Peace has a warm but lively and elegant character. The fruit is sumptuous but not overwhelming so you can feel its texture while you taste its character. A great balance!

Plus, check out the kind of deets you get on each wine label:

RW Label

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Salad Undressed

Everywhere you go lately, you get a mound of lettuce with dressing on the side when you order a salad. Since when are greens and a few unchopped tomatoes or cucumber considered a salad? The goal of a salad is to get a taste of each ingredient in a bite. Isn’t the chop, dice, or chiffonade preparation required to do so?

Restaurants appear to have given up on this goal and don’t even give you a big enough plate for you to toss it yourself. Shame on you! Go back to culinary school or take salads off your menu if you are going to be that lackluster about them. I realize I should expect this when ordering a salad at a burger joint. That’s like ordering a burger at a Mexican restaurant. But this is happening everywhere and it’s summer when all the most delicious salad fixins are all over. Get inspired!

Just to make it look like this is not a complete rant, here are a few words of inspiration:

  • Try making an apricot, goat cheese, and arugula salad to get the combo of sweet, salty, and pepper in one bite
  • Mix sweet mango with something spicy like Cajun or chipotle chicken
  • Watermelon salads are the cure for thirst so match it with dry feta, salty olives, red onion, and basil or mint
  • Cherries can be dark and rich so toss them with nutty salty walnuts, almonds, or pistachios and equally rich butter lettuce

Picchetti

If you have to live in the suburbs, the Picchetti Winery has something for everyone and you can’t beat it on Mother’s Day. Pack a picnic or just grab some food from a food truck in their historic range. Absolutely stunning weather welcomes volleyball, frisbee, or catch. They also have wonderful winding hiking trails behind the tasting room where you could go for miles passing beautiful canyon views around every turn.

If you’re so inclined, they also do wine tastings like most wineries. Apparently, this area has the climate and soils for a bounty of varietals. Their first ever Brut rose sparkling wine with 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay is a very dry crisp bubbly which I’m sure they designed for picnic pairing. Its strawberry mouthfeel is elegant without huge overwhelming fruit or sugar. Each bottle has beautiful gold painted lettering. No labels! Just the kind of classic touch you get from a family winery. Their Chardonnay has lemon curd and creme brulee on the nose with body like a huge red wine. Its big but not juicy big with apricot and honey thickness, probably from barrel fermenting and long (24 months) aging in oak. Their Pinot Noir is a smoky rich California style with the fullness of rich ripe cherry and a hint of under-ripe plum. If you like blends, their Vino de Vicino, juice of the hood, has a bit of their thick rich Cabernet Sauvignon, what this hood is known for because of their limestone soils. Merlot and Petite Verdot bring a good combo blanketed with elegant tannins. The Cabernet Sauvignon has dark black cherry with a hint of dark bitter chocolate. Did I say dark? If your meal has the dark rich flavors of slow cooked short ribs in a succulent sauce, prime rib au jus, or any red meat in a dark barbecue sauce, this is the wine for it!


“Such a fine line between stupid and clever”

gum

Yep, it’s an alley spattered with chewed gum, the kind of art you could only find in a college town. Some have even spelled out a favorite credo using a unique color of choice or gum hue.

This is just the kind of fabulousness you see in SLO.


SLO Brew

cold

Could be my female intuition but I’m guessing I’m walking into a guy bar with burgers, pizza, and beer.