Tag Archives: wine

The Quotable Greek: Quick, Bring Me Wine

9 Dec

AristophanesImaginary portrait of Aristophanes from ca. 1896 via Wikipedia

“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”

~Aristophanes

 

 

Discover other Quotable Greeks here.

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

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Road Trip: Hitchhiking to the Mission

24 Nov

 

By the time my poor bus rolled into Carmel, the day was fading and the shops had closed their adorable doors.  Music from a live concert rose up out of the heart of the main shopping plaza, and the moon made his appearance even though the sun hadn’t quite set yet.  I was a little disappointed not to be able to stop into the cheese shop that the wine guide back at the winery had recommended, but I was intent on getting a little culture out of the trip.  Man cannot live on cheese alone.  I set off to visit the Carmel mission.

I was a little annoyed that I’d paid all this money for a tour that basically amounted to the driver talking over the intercom as he drove the bus and then sleeping while we wandered off on our own into the unknown.  That was the point when I actually needed a tour guide.  I didn’t need someone to tell me to look out the window because by golly there’s a strawberry field.  I needed someone to physically walk me to locations because I’m for someone who loves to travel I’m notoriously bad with directions, and I hate wasting time getting lost when there are things I want to see!  I asked the driver to point me in the direction of the Carmel mission, and he told me the twosome up ahead of me were also headed there and honked the bus horn at them so they’d wait for me.

I awkwardly approached, not knowing if I was encroaching on some romantic rendezvous.  As it turned out, they were ex-brother and sister-in-law.  The woman had married and divorced the guy’s brother.  They couple had been divorced for many, many years now, but the woman and the brother had remained good friends and travel companions.  Hm… was there maybe something more there?  No.  He’s gay and in a committed relationship, and she is currently in a serious relationship.  They just like to travel together.

Alrighty then!  Onward ho!  (Actually, I found the relationship backstory out on the return trip.)

The woman once been given a beautiful painting of the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo and always wanted to visit it.  We set off down the road, the driver having told us it was only about a ten-minute walk.  That was a lie.  As we were trying to figure out which way to head, a woman in an SUV pulled up and asked us if we wanted a ride.  Now, if you’ve read my “Nightmare of a Trip” post, you know that I’m well versed in the dangers of hitchhiking, but I figured I was with two other people.  Plus you had to have seen the woman in the SUV.  She was skinny with bleached blonde hair and wore these ginormous heels and what may have been a dalmatian-fur coat.  I couldn’t tell if she was actually old or if her skin was damaged from too much suntanning.  We were grateful to her, though, as she took time out to give us strangers a ride.

The San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, like all the shops, had already closed, so we could only peer in over the fence.  It was a beauty!  Established in 1771, the Community of the Carmel Mission is a working church.   The Basilica Church is a registered National Historic Landmark and there are five museums on the grounds.

Of course, the bus also made a stop at the Carmel mission when we left the area, but we didn’t have time to get off the bus at that point, so I’m glad I ventured off to enjoy its peaceful presence.

 

 

I’m not sure which mission he’s referring to, but in Big Sur Jack Kerouac writes of Cody, the character based on Neal Cassady, saying:

“Now dont walk too fast, it’s time to stroll along like we used to do remember sometimes on our daysoff on the railroad, or walkin across that Third and Townsend tar like you said and the time we watched the sun go down so perfect holy purple over that Mission cross–Yessir, slow and easy, lookin at this gone valley…”

Road Trip: Wine Tasting at Bargetto Winery

20 Nov

 

 

 

Nearly 90% of American wines come from California.  While Napa and Sonoma Valley are the most recognizable names associated with California wine production, there are many other fertile regions for grape growing and winemaking throughout California.  While I was in Monterey, I stopped by the Bargetto Winery shop for a little lesson on winemaking in the Santa Cruz Mountains and, of course, some wine tasting!

Visiting the Bargetto Winery was one of the highlights of my road trip to Monterey.  It was also one of the most unique wine-tasting experiences I’ve had.  I’ve gone wine tasting in Tuscany, Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Vermont, as well as sampled wines in Oregon.  Along the way I’ve encountered some exquisite wines.  What made the tasting at Bargetto Winery stand out was the diversification of wines I samples.

The standout wine at Bargetto Winery, for me, was the the Chaucer’s Cellars apricot wine.  I was at first hesitant to try this fresh fruit wine.  Although I was intrigued, I imagined it would taste like marmalade.  What I discovered, though, was a refreshing dessert wine bursting with flavor.  It’s sweet but also light.  It’s certainly not a wine you’d want to drink glass after glass of, but it is the perfect ending to a meal.  The expert who was helping me suggested it also went well with spicy chicken cashew dishes; the website also offers recipe ideas.  As the website says:

CHAUCER’S CELLARS, produced by BARGETTO WINERY, has won gold medal winning dessert-style wines for decades. These elegant wines are produced from 100% pure fruit or natural honey without the addition of artificial flavors. The distinct taste of these wines can be enjoyed in the tradition of Medieval England. In the spirit of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, experience these unique wines as a pilgrimage in sensory delight.

“A pilgrimage in sensory delight”!

The other dessert wine I tried was definitely my least favorite of all the wines and that was Chaucer’s Mead:

Take a step back in time and enjoy the flavors of this popular Elixir. Our Mead is made with similar recipes used in Medieval Times.

The honey for this specialty dessert-style wine is produced in hives throughout Northern California. It is composed of a blend of three types of honey: alfalfa, sage and orange blossom. Each type brings a unique quality to the blend and contributes to the overall complexity of the Mead. Alfalfa is neutral in flavor but yields a dark, amber color. The orange blossom brings a floral bouquet to the nose of the wine. Sage brings subtle nuances into the blend.

I’m a big fan of all things honey, and I appreciate the blend of three different types of honey produced in California.  I’m not a huge fan of mead in general, and the particular mead I was served contained a spice packet of cinnamon and cloves.  It tasted like Christmas tea.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  I would certainly enjoy a hot cup of spiced mead on a snowy winter’s night — but no more than once a year.

I also tried a pinot grigio and a pinot noir, both of which were delicious.  The pinot noir had a sexy spiciness to it that made it perfect for drinking on its own or with a strong, peppery cheese.

Two brothers in the Bargetto family emigrated from Italy and started a winery in San Francisco that was shut down during Prohibition.  The Bargetto Winery was then established in 1933, meaning it was around during the time Jack Kerouac and his friends were road tripping along the California coastline.

Today, the Bargetto Winery practices sustainability in their winemaking:

There are three aspects to winegrowing sustainability as it applies to our winemaking operations:

  • The first is Environmentally Sound , in which we strive to produce wines in a green manner. Each month herein we post one of our winery practices like insulation of cooling pipes for energy conservation
  • The second is Economically Feasible , in which we maintain practices that will allow our winery to continue our long family tradition. Producing consistently quality wines that retain devoted customers and efficient business practices are two examples
  • The third component is Socially Equitable , in which we strive to provide a healthy and dignified work environment for our employees. Our giving back to the community , especially our LA VITA Fund is another example of this aspect to sustainable winegrowing.

The Santa Cruz Mountains is a beautiful area, which overlooks the ecologically diverse Monterey Bay Sanctuary. We believe we have a duty to do our part in maintaining and improving this natural beauty while being good business citizens of our community.

The Santa Cruz Mountains pass through San Francisco and head all the way down to Monterey Bay and the Salinas Valley.  It’s worth noting that the agricultural towns of Salinas and Gilroy, which I also passed through on my road trip, are also known for their wine.  The Santa Cruz Mountains is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) that consists of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo Counties.  There are more than 200 vineyards in this area.

You can visit tasting rooms of the Bargetto Winery in Soquel or Monterey (which is where I went).

Speaking of Chaucer, you may also be interested in my earlier post:

Road Trip Writing: On the Road and The Canterbury Tales

“Beat Generation” Premieres during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac

10 Oct

 

Kerouac’s play “Beat Generation,” written the same year that On the Road was published, will also have its premiere tonight.  The event stage production is taking place during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, the week-long literary where fans from across the country make their pilgrimage to Kerouac’s hometown in Massachusetts.

As The Guardian reports, until around 2005, Kerouac’s play “The Beat Generation” sat unpublished in a New Jersey warehouse. In 2006 Da Capo Press published the play, with an introduction by A. M. Holmes.  Kerouac, who had a great interest in film, never got to see his own play put on or his novels made into a film.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) raised funds through Kickstarter to stage the play in Lowell and is presented with UMass Lowell.  It was made with “the support and collaboration of Kerouac Literary Estate representative John Sampas,” according to MRT.

The play centers around the same group of New York City friends Kerouac often wrote about, as they pass around a bottle of wine.  Perhaps even more so than his novels, which are rich in poetry, the emphasis in “Beat Generation” is on dialogue.  Kerouac had a great ear for the unique syncopation of everyday language and the lingua franca of the working class.  As Kerouac himself said:

One thing is sure: It is now a real play, an original play, a comedy but with overtones of sadness and with some pretty fine spontaneous speeches that are as good as Clifford Odets.

Odets (1906-1963) was a playwright raised in Philly and the Bronx who wrote such plays as Waiting for Lefty and Golden Boy.  Born to Russian- and Romanian-Jewish immigrant parents, Odets used ethnic language and street talk in his plays.  Arthur Miller said of Odets’ work,  ″For the very first time in America, language itself . . . marked a playwright as unique.″  Kerouac himself was the son of immigrant French-Canadian parents and made use of both ethnic language–his own joual dialect as well as Greek and Spanish–and street talk.

For information on the special events surrounding the play as well as tickets, visit MRT.

Orange Wine at Brooklyn Winery

2 Oct

When I read about orange wine, I knew just whom to ask about it: Orlando Clemente.  He took me to Brooklyn Winery, where we went on a tour of the winery and got to taste-test this hipster wine, which to me had almost an earl grey flavor.  I asked Orlando to write up a review, and he wrote this and provided the pictures you see here:

A winery in Brooklyn? Oh yes, and a great one at that. I never would have conceived the notion that wine ( let alone great wine) would be produced in Brooklyn NY! 

Brooklyn Winery  produces Rieslings, Chardonnay, an Orange Chardonnay, a fine Rosé  and a killer Pinot Noir. Believe me, all are world class.

The Riesling is crisp, refined, refreshing and will serve you well with Asian and spicy fare or just for enjoying on its own.  (I had a to drink multiple glasses).

The Pinot Noir was insane! A little darker then most Pinots, medium bodied and a blast to drink,I could not get enough of it! Glass after glass after glass was enjoyed by my beautiful drinking partner Stephanie Nikolopoulos and myself.

The Rosé was great as well. Great nose of Strawberries and candy.Great color and really delicious. A great dry but fruity Rosé

The Orange Chardonnay is unbelievable. I’ve never had anything like this before, and its hue is out of this world: it really is orange. Great nose and mouthfeel. There are so many flavors here that it will keep you entertained for some time as you try to figure them all out.

The appetizers… Mama mia! You have to come down here and try them. Duck paté, cheeses, baguette, etc. All delicious. If you love wine,and I know that you do, you must visit and enjoy the great food, wine, awesome staff and winery tour.

There is so much going on here from wine to decor, that once you’re inside… You won’t wanna leave.

 

 

 

 

 

14 Road Trip Movies for Every Personality

17 Aug

When I was an arts & entertainment editor for an indie paper in LA county, I used to work a lot with the big Hollywood studios to promote their films.  At the time, the American Pie franchise was all the rage, and the PR execs in Hollywood contacted me about coordinating a free screening for my readers of the similarly raunchy teen comedy Road Trip.  Not exactly the highest form of entertainment, but it just went to prove that there’s a road trip movie for everyone.

As I’ve been working with Paul Maher Jr. on Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, I’ve been thinking about the upcoming film of On the Road and wondering who it will appeal to.  Will it be the die-hard Beat fans that pilgrimage out to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac?  Will it be a new crop of hipsters in the making?  Will it be a bunch of fanged teenyboppers brought in by Twilight’sKristen Stewart, who’s playing LuAnne?  Will it be the social justice league brought in by Walter Salles, of The Motorcycle Diaries?

For the wine lover: Sideways

For the BFFs (emphasis on the last F): Thelma & Louise

For the quirky, dysfunctional family: Little Miss Sunshine

For remembering your own family road trips gone awry: National Lampoon’s Vacation

For brothers: The Darjeeling Limited

For the beer-lovin’, truck-drivin’, betting type: Smokey and the Bandit

For the hippie: Easy Rider

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For the revolutionary: The Motorcycle Diaries

For the reader who shuns conventional life and his family: Into the Wild

For the scamming father-daughter team: Paper Moon

For fashionable gangsters in love: Bonnie and Clyde

For bored, hormonal teens whose girlfriends are on vacation: Y Tu Mama Tambien

For quirky con artists and an heiress who like their trips European: The Brothers Bloom

For the spoiled heiress and the desperate journalist: It Happened One Night

There are so many other road trip movies.  Which are your favorites?

Greek Goddess Skin with Korres Pomegranate Toner & Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment

4 Jun

Thanks to Persephone eating those seeds of the pomegranate, we now experience the changing of the seasons, according to Greek mythology.  Now that spring has sprung and summer is around the corner, modern Greek goddesses are spending more time outdoors and less time caking on makeup.  These warm months are all about catching free summer concerts in the park, vineyard hopping in the Hamptons, and stalking the Coolhaus truck without worrying if your makeup is sweating off.     

The Korres Pomegranate line is perfect for baring your skin this season.

I really love how gentle the Korres Pomegranate Toner is.  I have delicate, sensitive skin and so many toners are just too harsh.  The Korres Pomegranate Toner feels like water—mythical water.  There is absolutely no stinging sensation, and my skin doesn’t feel tight after using it.  Even though it doesn’t feel icy or tingly, I’ve been able to see from my cotton ball that it is working hard to remove impurities.

According to Korres, the Pomegranate Toner:

_Helps purify the skin’s surface by removing excess dirt, oil and impurities while minimizing the look of pores and helping to reduce the appearance or look of redness
_Leaves skin feeling fresh, and looking smoother and more matte
_Formulated with skin conditioners to leave skin feeling soft

It also happens to have a fresh, youthful aroma–unlike most toners, which tend to smell like rubbing alcohol.  Korres Pomegranate Toner has a sweet and invigorating smell.

Even better smelling is the Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment.  However, this product takes about eight weeks to work.  The benefits are impressive, according to Korres:

Breathable, oil absorbing formula to minimize the look/appearance of pores and redness and leave skin with a smooth, matte finish throughout the day.

KEY FEATURES & BENEFITS
_Instantly fills in pores to create a smooth, even skin surface texture.
_Clinically proven after 8 weeks to significantly reduce the visibility of pores (94% of subjects), the appearance of redness (84% of subjects), and improve the overall appearance of skin (88% of subjects)

I’ve been using it only for a few weeks now, and even though it’s probably the best-smelling face-care product I’ve ever used, my skin was shiny as ever in the photos snapped for my MFA graduation and the Mediabistro event I attended. I think my foundation actually rubs most of the product off when I apply it, though, so through trial and error I’ve learned to make sure the Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is completely dry on my face before applying any face makeup.  (Beauty tip: Apply the Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment all over your face or t-zone, and while it’s drying apply your eye makeup to save time.  It should only take about 20 seconds to dry, and then you can apply foundation.  However, even then, pat your face makeup on gently because if you rub it, the mattifying treatment will come off in the process.)  Even so, the Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment seems to work better for days when I’m not wearing any other face makeup on top of it.  And really, in the summer I don’t want to wear a lot of makeup anyway.

Neither of the scents linger, which is a positive for skincare, but if Korres offered a pomegranate perfume I’d be the first in line.  It’s the perfect daytime scent for summer months.

Greece’s fastest-growing natural skincare company not only draws its inspiration from the flora of Greece, where pomegranates have grown for centuries, it also is committed to eco-friendly practices.  The sleek and sophisticated packaging for Korres Pomegranate Toner and Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is recyclable, and neither of the products are tested on animals.

So go ahead and channel your inner Greek goddess this summer, knowing that you don’t have to wear a lot of makeup to look beautiful.

Chloris and the Greek Myth of the Rose

21 May

 

The Greek myth of the rose is one of my favorites.

Chloris, the goddess of the flowers, was in the forest one day when she tripped over a beautiful nymph lying lifeless.  Chloris was so overcome by the nymph’s fate that she reached out to the other gods to transform her into a flower.

Aphrodite gave her beauty.

Dionysus, the god of wine, gave her nectar for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

The three Graces—the Charites known as Thalia, Euphrosyne, and Aglaea—gave her charm, joy, and brilliance or splendor.