Sunday Sip Trip: Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Apple Park sits low in the distance – a ring tossed in a sea of technology. But unplug. How fortunate for the three million people of Silicon Valley to be so near to wine country. Those familiar deep green hills to the west are so close but so untraveled, and continue to be one of the most over-looked wine appellations of the world. Those who are aware of Santa Cruz Mountain wines have fully engaged palates. They know and appreciate…

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Sunday Sip Trip: Elevated Italian Bubbles

This enchanting landscape is resplendent with ever-changing hues of green and earth. Its extraordinary beauty is formed in mounds upon mounds of conical hills tightly packed with vines as they sit in the foreground of the Alps. Captivating and incredibly suitable as a backdrop for a film (but no, don’t come here to make a movie), it’s the place to unplug altogether, and I mean pop open the corks and sip the bubbly beauties that come from Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. This wonderland…

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Sunday Sip Trip: High Altitude Cabernet Franc

A dream would be to have acreage high above picturesque Tuscan villages overlooking the vast blue Tyrrhenian Sea while enjoying morning coffee. Surrounded by a dense forest of hardwood trees, the land is wild, the terrain pristine, isolated, and private, where wild boar hunting and riding bareback are the only activities before dinner. Nearby is the famous Bolgheri appellation – the area known mainly for deeply colored age-worthy wines usually based on the Bordeaux grape varieties. Up until the 1970s,…

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SUNDAY SIP TRIP: The Valtellina

Located in Italy’s northernmost part of the Lombardy region near the Swiss border, Valtellina is known for its extreme vineyards and is the home of Chiavennasca, a local Nebbiolo biotype. The only valley in Italy to run east to west, Valtellina was formed during the last ice age by glaciers that carved out the granite mountains. The Adda River flows from the Swiss Alps toward Lake Como, and along this path, there are more than 25 miles of interconnected vineyards…

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Sip Trip through Italy: Vermentino, Fiano, Chianti Classico

Situated in the Mediterranean Sea about 115 miles off mainland Italy, Sardinia is rich with charming beauty and eccentricities. It’s the place of sugar-fine sandy beaches, near-Alpine forests, scenic roads, and breathtaking hikes that bring you deeper into the lush and silent interior. Sardinia is also like a pebble polished by waves of history and tradition. Scattered with thousands of nuraghi, Bronze Age settlements, these prehistory remnants are waiting to be solved like the most intricate game of Clue. VERMENTINOA…

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Tom Gamble’s land, family, and wine

On that warm August afternoon, Tom Gamble greeted us with a glass of rosé, helped us onto his flatbed trailer as we took an open-top tour through his land. This was the first thing we would do upon arriving at Gamble Family Vineyards to appreciate where his love for this place comes from. Only then would we discover why the third generation rancher would make wine at all. Along the way, the vintage GMC crawls to a stop for a…

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Head to the Rive: Aim high with Prosecco

When we think of Prosecco, what comes to mind is the easy-drinking, cheerful, bubbly, white wine that is made throughout the Veneto and Friuli regions of Northern Italy. Lovers of Prosecco can’t seem to get enough. And thankfully, there’s plenty to go around. In fact, an estimated one billion bottles are produced annually to meet the continuing demand. This also means there are differences in quality from one to the next. In a sea of bubbles, where do we begin?   One…

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Ridge Monte Bello: On the edge of North America

The view from Monte Bello Ridge on Black Mountain forms a scenic backdrop that is relatively undiscovered in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, native oaks, redwoods, and madrones stud the deep and shady canyons that draw cyclists, hikers, and nature lovers alike. From the rich riparian habitat flows streams that trickle their way into the Bay. And hugging this natural landscape is Silicon Valley, the epicenter of technological innovation, which makes this entire area…

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Etna’s Hotspot: Benanti

Etna’s greatest great winemakers are fierce and passionate, working under Mother’s Nature’s unapologetic direction season after season, they remain steady ambassadors of their land. The winemakers of the Etna region of Sicily are a remarkably different breed. Resilient and courageous, they risk many of the climatic challenges, from scorching hot summers to untimely rain and hail, plus a decidedly active volcano – all in the pursuit of making some of the greatest wines in the world.  “The eruptions are frequent. I…

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Wine Field Study: Look down and taste Santorini

Santorini is already special. It’s the only inhabited cauldron in the world. Formed by volcanic eruptions, the crescent-shaped island, which sits half way between Athens and Crete, offers an astonishing array of contrasts.  Jagged rocky promontories and smooth downhill slopes meet the Aegean Sea. Arable land crawls with volcanic rocks. Deep ravines break up the scrubby plains. Native grape vines showcase their curious shapes, and the wine is unequivocally “Santorini.” What makes Santorini’s wines so special? We can start by…

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