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Wine

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bars

What the Hell Is a Book Bar? Soon There Might Be One in Long Beach

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Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 9:12 AM
click image Kreutzwald Library Restaurant and Lounge - UNIQUE HOTELS
  • Unique Hotels
  • Kreutzwald Library Restaurant and Lounge
Long Beach’s newest bar, the Brass Lamp, won’t really be a bar at all — at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It’s not a dive bar where the well drinks are over-poured and there’s still carpet on the walls. It’s not a sports bar lined with flat-screen TVs, offering Bud Light pitcher specials. And it’s definitely not a speakeasy where you sip pre–Prohibition era cocktails with your nose up and pinky out.

Instead, the Brass Lamp will be filled with enough comfy chairs and reading material to call itself Southern California’s first book bar: a rare breed of drinking establishment that appeals to loners, literary dorks and creative thinkers alike.

But what the hell is a book bar anyway, and why does L.A. need one?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wine

Wine Spectator Counts Down World's Best Wines Starting This Week

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Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 8:22 AM
click image Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant - THOMAS HAWK
  • Thomas Hawk
  • Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
It’s Oscar time in the wine world with Wine Spectator Magazine rolling out its "Top 100 Wines of 2014" list, starting with the top ten countdown, which began yesterday.

As the wines' names are released, a few each day this week, retailers and collectors scramble to find bottles of the top ten, as well as try to predict which wine will be listed in the coveted number one position and named Wine of the Year. It’s a big deal when you think about it: the coveted Wine of the Year will likely quadruple in value as of 8 a.m. this Friday morning.

The editors and tasters at Wine Spectator rated 18,000 bottles of wine between their New York and Napa offices this past year, and of those, only 5,000 wines earned scores of 90 or above. As the magazine continues to announce the names on its highly anticipated list, we spoke with Senior Editor and Tasting Director Bruce Sanderson about how he and his staff set up tastings and decide on the Top 100.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wine

How "Fergilicious" Is Fergie's New Wine?

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Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 8:02 AM
The 2012 Ferguson Crest "Fergilicious" red blend. - MATT MILLER
  • Matt Miller
  • The 2012 Ferguson Crest "Fergilicious" red blend.
Fergie has a wine. Yes, it’s true. She has her name on shoes, fragrances, Black Eyed Peas, and now grapes. It almost feels as if Fergie is running around sticking her name on everything she can, sort of like that question-mark sticker in the 2003 “Where Is The Love” video. But the question mark is: can she make wine?

The answer: She can’t.

Like most celebrity winemakers, aside from being the face of the brand, she has nothing more to do with the making of her wine than she does the stitching of buckles onto her line of shoes, or dripping of her armpit sweat into tiny fragrance bottles. Sorry, Fergie fans.

Now, I can tell you that her father actually grows the grapes on their small, six-acre Solvang estate, rather than purchasing premade wine in bulk. And I can say that she smartly hired winemaker Joey Tensley to make the wines for Ferguson Crest, whose personal wines have earned impressive scores for years and graced the pages of Wine Spectators TOP 100. But do you care? No, probably not. What you want to know is if Ferguson Crest Wines are any good: 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wine

Been to Lou Amdur's New Wine Shop Yet? Two Words: Uni and Wine

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Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 5:04 AM
Lou Amdur - PHOTO BY RYAN ORANGE
  • Photo by Ryan Orange
  • Lou Amdur
If we loved Lou Amdur's little wine shop when it was tucked in next door to Sqirl (and we did), we really love his new wine shop, 1.5 miles away in Los Feliz. With a much bigger selection and a tasting counter, it's a wine-geek's paradise, especially if you get Lou himself to start rhapsodizing about what's on the shelves. 

If you haven't had a chance to make it over there, there's a pretty great reason to go: Amdur, along with Santa Barabara sea urchin diver Stephanie Muntz, will be holding an uni and wine pairing/tasting tonight. You have to buy tickets in advance, and choose from a 6 or 7 p.m. time slot, but for $20 you get to taste four different wines along with your very own whole urchin. 

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wine

Lou Amdur's Beat-The-Heat Booze Crib Sheet

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Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Lou Amdur, with wine - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Lou Amdur, with wine
As soon as the National Weather Service predicted a four-day heat wave for early October we started pulling together an it’s too hot to get off the couch survivalist checklist as seriously as any cast member of Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers. However, because our mini-apocalypse is so short term – the NWS predicts temperatures to start dropping by Sunday – our provisions extend mostly to cold prepared foods, a tantalizing DVR queue, and a big bag of party ice in the freezer. Then, just to be safe, we checked in with Lou Amdur of Lou Wine & Tastings to talk about refreshing beverages.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wine

10 Kosher Wines For Rosh Hashanah

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Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:41 AM
Kosher wines from around the world - MATT MILLER
  • Matt Miller
  • Kosher wines from around the world
This year, Rosh Hashanah falls between Sept. 24 and 26. But the Jewish New Year is nothing like the drunken debacle synonymous with New Year's celebrations of other faiths, maybe because kosher wine is often pretty horrible stuff.  It can be sweet, sticky — and perhaps best poured over pancakes the next morning. If you're not familiar with it, Manischewitz is a sweet wine made from Concord grapes. Imagine putting grape jelly in the microwave, then pouring the melted results into stemware.

So what makes a wine kosher? The grapes can only be handled by Sabbath-observant Jews, in a rabbinically certified winemaking facility under the supervision of a rabbi to be sure the wine complies with all kosher laws. And in order for the wine to remain kosher, it has to be uncorked and served by an observant Jew, because the handling of an open bottle by a non-Jew makes the wine no longer kosher, unless it's gone through a process called mevushal.

Mevushal wine is wine that's also been pasteurized, or heated to 185 degrees F. Unfortunately pasteurization used to be a sure-fire way to ruin good bottle. But with new methods of flash-pasteurization, all that’s changed.

In this list you’ll find a collection of ten kosher wines from all over the world — in red, white and sparkling — that don’t need to be limited to religious holidays. If fact, if you didn’t already know they were kosher, you’d probably never realize it by drinking them.  (Look for these wines wherever kosher wines are sold.)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wine

Chef Michael Voltaggio's New Role: Winemaker

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Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 9:00 AM
Rust, a wine by Michael Voltaggio and Chris Pittenger - CLUBW.COM
  • clubw.com
  • Rust, a wine by Michael Voltaggio and Chris Pittenger
Chef Michael Voltaggio has long placed an emphasis on wine at his restaurant ink., and the wine list there has always veered towards the esoteric. It's probably no surprise then, than when he got the chance to make his own wine, he opted to make an orange wine. 

Voltaggio's wine project came about via Club W, a wine club and retail website. Club W has launched a program called W Collaborations, in which they pair a winemaker with an artist of some kind, in order to "use wine as a platform for creative collaboration." Voltaggio's wine, made with winemaker Chris Pittenger, is the inaugural wine in the series. It's called Rust, and is an orange grenache blanc. 

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Lou Amdur, with wine - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Lou Amdur, with wine
Last year Lou Amdur opened Lou Provision & Wines, a small, smartly curated wine shop next to Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl which had a look so sparely decorated that it required a stroll amongst the few bottle-filled tables to realize that it was a go-to place for great, affordably priced wine from around the world, musky ciders, and an almost whimsical selection of canned sardines.

Now, Lou Provisions & Wine has closed. But roughly a mile and a half away, in the crook of a L-shaped strip mall in Los Feliz, Amdur has established a spanking new 1,600-square-foot incarnation of his brand — Lou Wine & Tastings. Recently, we caught up with Amdur to chat about what we'll find at Lou 3.0.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wine

Wine And Cheese Pairing Tips (Don't Mix Bubbles and Goat Cheese!)

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Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Breakfast in the Galilee - FIICKR/ISRAELTOURISM
Whenever you have people over, you find yourself buying wine, and since you want to be a good host, you’re buying cheese to put out as well, right? So, what kind of cheese should you buy? Or if you’ve already bought the cheese, what kind of wine should go with it?

The pairing question is probably the most common of them all but, by following a few simple rules, you’ll never have to ask again.

Let’s start with cheese: In terms of texture, all cheeses fall into one of three categories: hard, semi-soft and creamy. Within those categories, a cheese can span an entire spectrum of flavors and aromas, ranging from mild to funky, and from bland to salty. They can be sweet, savory, earthy and bold — just like wine — but not all wines go with all cheeses, although there are some pretty neutral bottles you can always have around. 

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wine

Answers to Some Common Questions About Storing, Aging and Collecting Wine

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Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Wine Cellar (Moet & Chandon) - REN KUO
  • Ren Kuo
  • Wine Cellar (Moet & Chandon)
While standing in the wine department of a Whole Foods recently, I witnessed something that I see most everywhere wine is sold. Two seemingly well-established couples walking in tandem scanned the bottles. One woman said: “What do you think of this one?” The reply came from one of the men in the group, the one who “knows wine.”  Right. He inspected the bottle, and then said: “It’s too young.”

Translation? I don’t know, but I want to sound like I do.

Real translation? 90% of wines produced today are made to be consumed within one year of release, and aren’t intended to be held for more than five years from the year they were made. While that isn’t the case for all wines produced, it’s a pretty solid rule of thumb for the ones you might buy at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Here are answers to some other basic questions about aging and collecting wines. Because you never know when you'll be trapped in the wine aisle at a Whole Foods, do you?

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