Light, bright, and white for Labor Day!

We're not really going to spend time debating whether you can or can't wear white after Labor Day, are we?
Good, cuz we really don't wanna.

Instead we thought we'd share our tips for getting through the Labor Day weekend with summery sounds and delicious treats that minimize opportunities to stain your pristine white clothing.

Pairing_Of_The_Week_August_31_2017

Music
If you saw the title of this email and immediately turned on the Beatles' "White Album" (this version unplugged) or "Knights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues, you're right in sync with us. Who could help but immediately think of these iconic songs!

For those of you with little ones heading back to school, they will soon arrive home with a classmate in tow exclaiming "We're going to be friends." And, for those of you needing something a little more soothing, bask in the sounds of "Summer" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

DVF_FiveSensesTastings

Wine
As we start to say farewell to summer, it seemed only right to allow theTintoretto to make an appearance.

A twist on the more traditional Bellini (you might remember it from last week's pairing), the Tintoretto substitutes pomegranate juice for peach nectar and is added to Prosecco or other sparkling wine.

This adds a touch of tartness and, depending on how much you add, creates a rainbow of color from a light summer-sunset color to rich, ruby red (watch those whites!!).

Champagne-Wine-Meringue-Wine-and-Dessert-Pairing.jpg

 

 

Sweet Treats
This week, it's DOUBLE sweet treats as we pair lemon-lime cupcakesand vanilla meringues with our music and wine selections! For a crisp sweetness that will cut through the bubbles in your drink, the meringue is just perfect. If you're looking to pair to the tartness of the pomegranate juice, the cupcake makes the perfect companion.

ENJOY the long weekend, friends, and Happy Labor Day!!

On confronting rejection and creating your own luck

Support_Is_Sexy_Kala_Maxym.jpg

I try to be as transparent as I can always about my experiences as an entrepreneur and business owner. As they always say, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

My discussion with the powerful, radiant, and, honey-voiced Elayne Fluker of "Support is Sexy" Podcast really pushed me to face my life as a solopreneur in a way I don't know that I had done before. Her questions were incisive but warm, challenging but humorous. It's not every day that we get to tell our stories and even less frequently that we are allowed to let down our guards and admit to the feelings of inadequacy, rejection, dejection, even failure.

I did this interview about six weeks ago and in that time, I have faced some cold, hard truths about myself as a human, as a woman, as a partner, as a member of a family, as an entrepreneur, as a woman with more grey hair than she'd really like to see on her head... but then I heard this podcast, and I realized: yes, this is me. This is 100% me. I told no lies, I covered nothing up, I told the truth about the things that were hard and broke me along the way, as well as the lessons I've learned and the people along the way who have lifted me up.

Thank you, Elayne, for this opportunity to open my heart and my soul and to talk about life as a small business owner the way it really is.

Peachy keen and bubbly!

"Come the day you're mine
I'm gonna teach you to fly
We've only tasted the wine
We're gonna drain the cup dry."


from "The best is yet to come"

Music
If, like me, you're starting to feel the end-of-summer blues, let this week's pairing be a reminder that things are still peachy keen and that "The best is yet to come! Though written for and introduced to the world by Tony Bennett, it was Frank Sinatra who popularized this song (the linked version is from his final performance in 1995). As we begin to wave buh-bye to summer, let us remember that the best days are still ahead.

Perle_Noire_Louis_Bouillot_Five_Senses_Tastings

Wine
This week we sample one of those "Crémant de Somewheres" you keep hearing about (Crémant de Bourgogne and Crémant de Limoux are the two you've likely seen popping up on shelves recently). The Perle Noire by Louis Bouillot is absolutely one of my favorites! In our extremely humble opinion, these Crémants can be even more delicious than their typically much more expensive cousins over in Champagne (don't tell them I said that). Taste the delicate, silky robe of bubbles and make sure to hold a sip in your mouth before swallowing to let the bubbles dance all over your tongue! Why not make the Frenchies squirm and add a small pour of peach nectar for a Bellini!

Baked_Peaches_and_Ricotta_Five_Senses_Tastings

Sweet Treat
Because California stays warm into much of the fall, peach season can last through the end of September. There are endless things we can do with peaches: can them, make pies out of them, slurp them fresh from the farmer's market stand... but consider baking them! Instead of vanilla ice cream, try serving them over fresh ricotta cheese with a drizzle of honey and a sprig of mint... perfect for pairing with the Perle Noire Crémant de Bourgogne. YUM!

Don't forget to connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to learn about our upcoming events and discounts and to hear our news!

Staying true to our Red, White, and Blue

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

America_Flag_Five_Senses_Tastings

Our "Red, White, and Blue" Pairing of the Week this week is the smallest possible attempt to bring some light to a week full of darkness. We sample delicious things from coast to coast this week while we remember all the goodness, diversity, and beauty that surround and unite us.

Aaron_Copland_Five_Senses_Tastings

Music:
Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" was written in 1942 in response to America's entry into WWII and Vice-President Henry Wallace's comment that we were entering the "Century of the Common Man." The short piece for brass and percussion is touching and approachable yet the open, almost hollow-sounding intervals have a hint of the mysterious about them. There is plenty of air in between musical entrances and in those open chords allowing plenty of time to take in the rich aromas and flavors of our wine and cheese choices. 

American composer Carlisle Floyd composed his opera Susanna in the mid-1950s, some speculate as a response to the paranoia of McCarthyism. It tells the story of 18-year old Susanna from New Hope Valley, Tennessee who is shunned by her community initially only because of her innocence and beauty. The beginning of her aria, "Aint it a pretty night?" is soft gentle opening but rises in intensity as she dreams of bigger things away from her hometown. Think of those big dreams as you sip your wine! As an aside, this version was recorded a few years ago at Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia by my friend, Leah Partridge.

Turiya_Wines_Five_Senses_Tastings

Wine
Turiya: a state of consciousness wherein reality and truth are harmonious.
Turiya WInes is run by our friend, Angela Soleno, up in Lompoc, CA. I had the chance to meet her and taste her truly magnificent wines a few weeks ago. This 2009 Petite Verdot particularly blew my mind. The price tag on this bottle calls for a special occasion, but the message behind its name hits so close to home as to merit being included in this week's pairing.

Bitchfix_Five_Senses_Tastings

White Chocolate
As we all know, white chocolate isn't really chocolate but rather a mixture of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. Some love it, others hate it, but it's worth a try if you're still a skeptic.

Try this delicious truffle, humorously named Passion Aggressive from our friends over at Bitchfix

Jasper_Hill_Bayley_Hazen_Blue _ Murray's_Cheese.jpg

 

 

Bayley Hazen Blue
From the beautiful state of Vermont, the Bayley Hazen Blue is my go-to blue cheese on any day. Named for an old military road commissioned by George Washington, Bayley has a fudge-like texture, toasted-nut sweetness, and anise spice character. The paste is dense and creamy, with well-distributed blue veins. Why not try it with a bite of white and bite of dark chocolate and taste the difference!
(notes borrowed from Jasper Hill Farm's website).

Who's coming to Venice with me this week?

"Venice is eternity itself." - Joseph Brodsky, Poet Laureate

Our Pairing of the Week this week is inspired by the sounds and flavors of 18th Century Venice. Surely one of the most magical cities in the world, especially in summertime, Venice in the 1700s was at the height of its elegance and grandeur, something to which it never quite returned after the invasion by Napoleon in 1797. 

Venice_Wine_Food_Watermelon

Music:
This week, we're listening to just one piece: Vivaldi's Gloria. You'll have to forgive me. I'm a bit obsessed with this piece as I am lucky enough to have the chance to perform it tonight at the Hollywood Bowl with the Pacific Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Honestly, regardless of whether this weekly pairing is wholly self-indulgent (and let's face it, most of them are), this piece – which I guarantee you've heard parts of  before even if you don't know it – is sublime in both subtlety and intricacy of melodic and harmonic structure and flow.

In modern speak, it's an "approachable" piece of classical music, but to leave it there would be to cheapen its value. It's so much more than that. Take the time to find those moment of utter – pardon the pun – glory. Taste the playful conversations between voices perhaps best exemplified in the 3rd movement, "Laudamus te," relish in the divine dissonances especially in the 2nd movement, "Et in terra pax" that requires epic breath control and much staggered breathing, and don't be embarrassed to shake your booty in the 6th movement, "Domine fili." Even on stage, we're all doing it just a little bit!
No, really, it's ok ... nobody's watching :)

Food:
Did you know that there is an actual Watermelon Festival? in Venice? In August? Yep, neither did I but I assure you, it's a thing. To me watermelon is one of the most playful fruits, and there is no more simple pleasure a hot summer evening than slurping on a slice of this sweet treat. It makes me think of kids grabbing a piece between cannonballs in a swimming pool or people passing slices around at a backyard BBQ. Better yet, try mixing the leftover watermelon juice into your glass of...

Drink:
...what else, Prosecco! The Italian version of sparkling wine is a summer necessity but do yourself a favor and go to an actual wine store, talk to an actual person, and pick out something that isn't La Marca, ok? You can thank me later.

Now, throw open the windows or go out on the porch and enjoy this delectable summer pairing!

Napa Valley never disappoints!!

I know, I know there are a bajillion other wine regions in the world equally as fabulous as Napa Valley but come on, it's just gorgeous up there! I had the chance to meet with a few really special wineries and hang out at some cool new wine bars. Happy to share my top three!

Trinchero_Family_Estates_St_Helena

1) Trinchero Family Estates, St. Helena

It's impossible to overstate the value of having a personal connection anywhere and most especially at a winery. I could not be more effusive in my positive comments about the staff and the whole experience at Trinchero Family Estates. From the beautiful, newly renovated tasting room to the extra touch of a free cheese plate and a bottle of wine, every moment at Trinchero was peaceful, fun, and kind of just like a big sunny, wine hug. Thank you all for your hospitality!

 

 

 

2) Wente Vineyards, Livermore

Wente_Vineyards_Five_Senses_Tastings

It surprised me to learn how many of my wine-drinking friends had not heard of Wente Vineyards, especially since this is a brand you can often find in large grocery stories. I can only chock it up to the fact that this remarkable place is in Livermore, not Napa or Sonoma, and so it requires making a whole separate trip to go visit it. They are in the midst of their amazing summer concert series featuring names like Diana Krall and Alanis Morisette. I had the chance to meet with the President of Wente, Amy Hoopes, who was incredibly gracious, arranging a full tasting even though the tasting room was shut at the time I was there. This vineyard has a lot of history, and there was a lot of synergy between their philosophy and ours. Both unassuming and dedicated to the importance of specificity, Wente crafts wines that represent the five generations of family history and a true sense of dedication to learning what their customers want.

3) The Saint, St. Helena

Open only a month when I stopped in, you'd have thought this wine bar had been around for decades. The two gentlemen behind the bar seemed so at ease in the space – one of them told me it was his first day on the job but I would never have known that – and it felt almost like an English country manor of sorts. Previously a bank, the space was cavernous, in a good way, with the original vault door a slightly imposing though beautiful decorative addition. I really appreciated that their wine list wandered beyond the region in which it's situated. I went for a South African Chenin Blanc, but I could have made a veritable trip around the world had I had the time. The only thing I'd encourage them to do is quickly update the website with their wine menu so that you can see their wonderful selections!