- A study from researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. identifies a mechanism for how alcohol favorably effects arterial muscle cells. According to Wilhelm Vetter, M.D., and colleagues, alcohol, when consumed around mealtime, reduces the proliferation of smooth muscle cells (SMC) within the arteries. SMC growth is a key element in the development of atherosclerosis, which commonly leads to heart attacks and strokes.
- A study from Harvard University researcher Gary Curhan and colleagues, using more than 81,000 women participants drawn from the Nurses’ Health Study, found that an increase in fluid intake significantly reduces risk for kidney stones and that risk reduction was greatest for wine compared with other beverages.
- The moderate consumption of wine (but not beer or spirits) is associated with a reduced risk of stroke, according to a new report. The authors believe wine’s protective effects may be linked to disease-fighting compounds other than alcohol. “Intake of wine is associated with lower risk of stroke,” concludes a 16-year Danish study led by Dr. Thomas Truelsen of Copenhagen University Hospital (Journal of the American Heart Association, December, 1998).
- Data from the Bruneck Study (Italy) was reported by Australian and Italian researchers in the May 1998 issue of Stroke. They conclude that light to moderate alcohol consumers faced a lower risk of atherosclerosis (early atherogenesis) than either abstainers or heavy drinkers.
- Male wine drinkers may have a lower risk of lung cancer than those who drink beer or spirits. Dr. Eva Prescott and colleagues at Copenhagen University Hospital examined data from three Danish studies involving more than 28,000 adults.
- And finally, my personal favorite, consuming less than one alcoholic drink per day may help preserve the mental function of women. Between 1995 and 1999, 9,072 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, were interviewed. Mental function was assessed using seven different tests. Information about their alcohol use had been collected at the beginning of the study in 1980, and was updated through 1994. After adjusting for other factors that could affect mental function, the researchers found that the women who drank moderately had better average scores on five of the seven tests and on a score that combined all seven tests. The effect seen on cognitive function was the equivalent of being 1 or 2 years younger.
Hi Eve – Hmmmm, idk if I should reveal my secrets. I just use Three Olives Bubble Vodka and seltzer water. Shaker w/ ice and serve. I don’t really even measure. Nothing special, but very yummy. I’ve also mixed w/ Fresca or Sprite. But better w/out the lemon flavor imo. There’s a ton of recipes online for it too. Ok, now I get to go wine tasting with you!!! =)
Chip Hammack Memorial Dinner
with ALL proceeds going to help cover Chip’s medical costs.
@ Upstairs 2
Monday, November 16th, 2009
Reception: 7:00 PM
Dinner: 7:30 PM
$200.00 All Inclusive
Payment by Cash or Check payable to Natasha Detmer
(Night of the event please)
Chip was one of the best of the best. An employee of the Wine House for over 10 years, Chip went on to a very successful carreer with K&L. We all remember him for his intelligence, warmth, and tremendous enthusiasm for wine, jazz, literature, intelligent talk, in fact for all of life. All of his many friends will miss him terribly. Join us for a multi-course meal featuring some of Chip’s favorite wines Paired with a special menu from Chef Todd Barrie.
Passed Hors D’oeuvres
Mumm De Cramant
Artisan Breads, Butter, Tapenade
Broiled Lobster Tails
White Truffle Honey Butter
1999 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet
Grilled Veal Chops
“Herbs of Provence”
Autumn Vegetable Ratatouille
2005 Fleur Cardinale
Pan Seared Filet Mignon
Sugar Snap Peas, Duck Fat Potatoes
Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce
Chocolate Ganache Torte
Call The Wine House
310-479-3731, Ext. 0 (Order Desk)
Payment by Check payable to Natasha Detmer or Cash, Night of the event please.
So, we settled on Pinot Brasserie at the Venetian, with the plan to have a reasonably light meal and [of course] a bottle of wine.
Like many of the restaurants in the Patina Group, Pinot Brasserie does not charge a corkage fee. So, we brought a bottle from home for this evening – a 2005 Valdez Family Winery Rockpile Road Zinfandel.
Ulises Valdez came to California to work in the vineyards. He was granted amnesty in 1986 and became a citizen in 1996. He started out as a vineyard worker and now owns his own vineyard management company, as well as producing wine under his family name.
The Zinfandel we had that evening was incredibly balanced and totally belied its stated 16.7% alcohol [!]. To accompany it – another cheese plate.
Pinot Brasserie’s cheese menu has well over 20 varieties of cheeses to choose from. One is instructed to pick five. Our server, Antoinette [who was also our server for our last visit in July], suggested we could also have the chef select the cheeses. That sounded fine to me; while I truly enjoy cheese, I claim even less expertise about cheese than I do about wine. I asked Antoinette to please ask the chef to select what he felt were his more unique offerings.
Well, not only did the chef select some outstanding cheeses for us, he selected seven rather than the usual five – no complaints here. They were all terrific, but the brie was truly memorable. When Antoinette described the cheeses, she explained that the brie was not your typical brie but more like the “filet mignon” of brie. Admittedly, I had my doubts, until I tried it – just fantastic.
We spent so long enjoying the cheeses that our bottle was empty by the time the entrees arrived. This was easily remedied, so we ordered a bottle of serviceable Australian Shiraz to go with the rest of the meal — bouillabaisse for Karen and roast chicken for me.
We also struck up a conversation with the couple next to us. They were visiting from Australia, where they own a restaurant in Melbourne called Chez Bob.
I found it interesting when talking with them that many of the Australian wines that we drink here were not particularly well know to this couple from Australia.
The gentleman, who was originally from France, had actually ordered a bottle of Chateau Haut Brion, which he graciously offered to us to try. We accepted, of course. All we had to offer in return was the aforementioned Shiraz, but we gladly shared in return.
As we left the restaurant, we left our new friends the rest of our bottle, along with a promise to come visit them in Australia.
The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles brings together L.A.’s top tastemakers for an afternoon of food, wine, music and auctions to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. GCLA draws more than 500 people each year, and has raised more than $4.5 million for the foundation since its inception in 1987. The recently introduced “Go Green, Go Organic” theme promotes eco-conscious living and sustainability, utilizing organic foodstuffs and eco-friendly products throughout the festivities.
George & Ann Lopez
National Kidney Foundation spokesman George Lopez, a kidney disease survivor, and his wife and kidney donor Ann Lopez, will host the afternoon’s festivities as Honorary Chairs. “Usually I don’t eat, but when I eat, I eat GREEN!” quips George Lopez. The actor/comedian will host Great Chefs just a day before the premiere of his late night show “Lopez Tonight,” premiering on Nov. 9 at 11/10c on TBS.
The Great Chefs of LA “green carpet” will feature such celebrities as Andy Garcia, Jennie Garth, Peter Facinelli, Amy Garcia, Paul Stanley, Deana Carter, Mark Rolston, Brook Burns and Jeff Davis. Other expected stars include Jane Lynch, Mark Sulling and Josh Sussman from Fox’s hit “Glee,” as well as Nicholas Braun and Kyle Kaplan from ABC’s “10 Things I Hate about You.” More than 650 supporters of the NKFSC and charitable foodies will also be in attendance.
Chefs of Honor Neal Fraser (Grace, BLD) and Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Ciudad) lead a stellar lineup of top toques from Los Angeles. The Chefs of Honor will present awards to their fellow participating chefs to spotlight the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Hostess Chef Candice Kumai, The Stiletto Chef of TLC’s “Cook Yourself Thin,” will serve as emcee for the event and auction.
Featured chefs include:
• Adam Horton, Saddlepeak Lodge
• Akasha Richmond, Akasha
• Andrea Cavaliere, Cecconi’s
• Benjamin Ford, Ford’s Filling Station
• Bob Lynn, La Grande Orange
• Brain Moyers, BLT Steak
• Calogero Drago, Celestino Ristorante & Panzanella
• Celestino Drago, Drago Restaurant, Enoteca Drago, Il Pastaio, Drago Centro
• Chris Moran, Events D’Elegance
• David Linville, Charlie’s Malibu
• Frank Leon, LaLoggia Ristorante & Bokado
• Keven Alan Lee, EAST Restaurant & Lounge
• Giacomino Drago, Il Pastaio
• Govind Armstrong, 8 oz.
• Jason Johnston, Dakota
• Jesse Perez, Fuego at Hotel Maya
• Jimmy Shaw, Loteria Grill
• Joachim Weritz, Moonshadows
• Jonathan Burrows, Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs
• Jorge Chicas, The Bazaar – SLS Hotel
• Josie Le Balch, Josie Restaurant
• Margarito Cid, Harry’s Oklahoma Style Smokehouse BBQ
• Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, Border Grill & Ciudad Restaurants
• Michael Fiorelli, mar’sel
• Neal Fraser, Grace & BLD
• Paolo Sicuro, Via Alloro
• Roberto Maggioni, Lago
• Sam Marvin & Christopher Goossen, Bottega Louie Restaurant & Gourmet Market
• Simon Dolinky, BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar
• Steven Fretz, XIV
• Tanino Drago, Tanino Ristorante & Panzanella Ristorante
• Yoji Tajima, SHU – Sushi House Unico
• Leyna’s Kitchen
• Barone Fine Winery
• Buttonwood Farm Winery
• Crossings, New Zealand
• Duckhorn Wine Company
• Frank Family Vineyards
• Golden State Wine Co.
• Grgich Hills Estate
• Jaffe Estate Wine
• Jack Wines
• Jocelyn Lonen Winery
• Kunde Estate Winery
• L’Aventure Winery
• Laetitia Vineyard & Winery
• Loring Wine Co.
• Quinta do Castro
• Regal Wine Co.
• Sterling Organics
• Trefethen Family Vineyards
• Vega Sicilia
• Villa Franttina
• Remy Cointreau USA
• Charles Heidsieck
• VeeV Açai Spirit
• Tequila Ocho
• RIGHT Gin
• Budweiser American Ale
• Bud Light Wheat
• Fireman’s Brew
• Leffe Blonde
• Michelob Ultra Light
• Michelob Amber Bock
• Shock Top Belgian White
• Stella Artois
• IZZE Beverage Company
• Lupicia Fresh Tea
• POM Wonderful
• Weaver’s Coffee & Tea
944 and Get Hip Get Green, an eco-conscious leader in producing stylish reusable bags, totes and water bottles, sponsor the GCLA “944 Get Hip Get Green” Lounge, outfitted with environmentally friendly lounge furniture provided by Girari Sustainable Furnishing. VeeV Açai Spirit, a leading distiller in promoting social responsibility in the beverage industry, will pour cocktails at the “Go Green Go Organic” Spirits Bar. Guests will use biodegradable utensils by Sysco’s Eco Company line.
Guests will receive Get Hip Get Green’s reusable gift totes stuffed with $250 worth of goodies from leading green and eco-friendly companies, including LaRocca Skincare, Healing Skin, Utter Cream, Eco-Panda, Herbal Water, Nelson J Salon, Alterna, OPI, Explorer’s Bounty, Celtic Sea Salt, Edward & Sons Trading Co., Pop Chips, Robert’s American Gourmet and Little Laura’s Sweets, among many others. Signed copies of Skinny Bastard, the latest book by Skinny Bitch authors Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman, will also be included in the gift bags.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
12 to 3:30 p.m.
CBS Studio Center (map)
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604
Featured items for this year’s live auction include a Maurice Lacroix Limited Edition 999 Watch, a private dinner party courtesy of Neal Fraser paired with wine from Frank Family Vineyards, a Border Grill Truck Party for 25, a La Loggia party for 25, two round-trip business class tickets on American Airlines to one of their European destinations, and a five-night stay at Aurelio-Lech, a brand new luxury ski lodge in Austria. The silent auction will include items such as a sports memorabilia, travel packages to international destinations and numerous wine and spirits packages.
FOR: NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION
OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Last Saturday, my wife and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. This may sound like a cliché, but we went to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. We are season pass holders and truly enjoy what Walt Disney has established, California Adventure, Disneyland Park and Downtown Disney. There are a couple of favorite restaurants that we like to go to when we are there, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Catal. For this special occasion I chose Catal which is a member of the Patina Restaurant Group. I called ahead and got a table on the balcony overlooking downtown Disney which is an ideal location for viewing the evening firework display presented by Disneyland. Catal Restaurant was given the 2009 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award. So not only do they have great gourmet food, but also a fantastic wine list to pick from.
Our Server for the evening was Priscilla Parise. The one thing that I enjoy about Catal is that they don’t rush your orders. After reviewing the food menu for our selection of appetizers and main course, I searched through their wine list for an appropriate wine. Below are the food selections that we decided on.
· Slow roasted pork belly with roasted grapes, pine nut “risotto” and sweet wine emulsion
· Grilled octopus with pickled vegetables escabeche, grilled potato, micro parsley and coriander yogurt sauce
· Roasted duck breast with grilled plums, almond polenta, mizuna greens, smoked bacon and roasted plum jus
· Colorado lamb mix grill – rack, sirloin and bacon with Harissa, toasted grains, sweet corn and gem lettuce
What is the proper wine choice for these entrees? We both tend to enjoy red wines more than whites. The old rule of thumb is you serve white wines with fish and poultry and red wines with red meats. My wife does a lot of food preparations for the Valencia Wine Company’s (VWC) food and wine pairing class. She and Jeff Prange of VWC carefully select different wines and foods to serve for the class. Selecting proper wines for foods can be viewed two ways. Either you select it to compliment or to contrast with it. Daniel Evans (former manager of VWC) did a tasting where they served one course and two different styles of wine. This allowed the participants to get two different perspectives from different wine styles on the same food. By complimenting each other, the food and wine become one and blend together. When a wine is chosen to contrast, it brings together food and wine that have contrasting characteristics such as a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc and fish with a creamy, lemon sauce. The crisp, acidity of the wine serves as a contrast cutting through the creaminess of the sauce giving a different, refreshing sensation for the palate as oppose to a complementary pairing, such as a creamy, buttery Chardonnay would bring.
Forget the old belief that white wines with fish and red wines with red meats. Drink what you enjoy. One caveat is that sauces change the playing field. Chicken by itself (no sauces) does taste better with a fine chardonnay, but if you add a barbecue sauce to the chicken, a fine red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon would go great. I am not saying that there are wrong selections, but there are classic wine and food pairings that cannot be ignored.
At Catal’s, Tracy and I were leaning toward a Pinot Noir to go with our selection. White wine may be the old standard for two of the food selections, but we both enjoy the reds. Sabrizio, the restaurant wine sommelier, came over to help us narrow down our Pinot Noir choices that would complement our food selections and provide enjoyment. Our decision was a 2007 William Seylem Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. This Pinot is not your typical cherry flavored fruit forward wine. It has cranberry and red raspberry with a little spice and a slightly dry finish on the palate. He agreed that this would be a perfect match for our special evening.
Here are a couple of rules to follow. Rule One: Drink red wine with meat, and white wine with fish and poultry. Rule Two: Forget about Rule One and pair any food with any wine you desire; when it comes to personal preferences, there is no right or wrong.
Our evening and choices of food and wine was fantastic. I want to thank Catal for providing such an excellent staff. Priscilla Parise, our server, and Sabrizio, the wine sommelier ,were phenomenal. Sabrizio is extremely knowledgeable about wines and how they interact with food. He grew up in the Monterey area where his family produces wines. I would highly recommend a visit to this restaurant if you have never been there.
After being off my blog, books, WINE BARS, food, WINE, church, friends, parties, SCOTCH, work, exercise, marital duties (well there was that one nap) MARTINIS and food for at least a week due to H1N1 I now have to contemplate: What will be my first drink and what will I pair it with?
Owing respect to the pig that pulled me into this dirty trough…he shall get his due. So will I roast him? Barbecue him? Or lay him down, wrinkled and bare, next to a side of scrambled chicks? And, more importantly, what will I drown him with?
I refer to the best book of all time, thank you Jeff Jacobson (wine chair of the annual SCV Wine Classic) for telling me about it years ago, WHAT to DRINK with WHAT you EAT THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO PAIRING FOOD WITH WINE, BEER, SPIRITS, COFFEE, TEA – EVEN WATER – BASED ON EXPERT ADVICE FROM AMERICA’S BEST SOMMELIERS by ANDREW DORNENBURG and KAREN PAGE, JAMES BEARD AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS OF Becoming a Chef AND Culinary Artistry (This mix of CAPITAL LETTERS and italics is how the cover looks – and I don’t think it’s the perfect pairing!)
The book is divided in two sections: First is alphabetical by food; second is alphabetical by drink. Actually there are 8 chapters in all but it still is encapsulated in the two ideas. So, like my pal Jeff, I use it as a handy reference book when my husband (of course) is cooking or someone asks me for advice on a pairing I’m not familiar with.
Under the guise of unsuspecting “Pork” alone I found: Beaujolais, Beer (noted was Oktoberfest beer! Yes!) Champagne, Chardonnay, cocktails made with Brandy, orange-flavored drinks, Gewurztraminer, Ginger Ale, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sake, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Viognier and Zinfandel.
Now if I preferred my Pork grilled or roasted: Beer, Merlot, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio, Riesling or Zinfandel. Cream or Mustard sauces: Chardonnay. Spice rubbed: Gewurztraminer. Pork rinds: Beer, Sherry or Sparkling wine.
So, that leaves me to pick the exact wine. Since I like Zins I would have to have my pork grilled up with…any of these make my list:
Michael Perlis’s Turley (I’ve been sick! The guilt alone will make him hand one over!)
Cosentino Cigar Zin is a favorite as I’ve had the additional benefit of enjoying it with Mitch Cosentino.
Bogle, Bonny Doon and Rosenblum are inexpensive and consistently drinkable as are:
So, I’m almost ready. Only one thing I’m missing…I have to shower, get dressed, go to the market and get my swine home. Still too tired…in recovery mode…so shall suffice with the wine alone! See, I’m a professional. I will make sure I can consume a lot of Zin before committing myself to a little swine.
And besides, Eddie isn’t home to cook it for me…yet.
For the seventh straight year Valencia Wine Company has opened its doors to the after world allowing goblins, ghouls and witches to come together for a Halloween Bash. And yes it was a graveyard smash. We had Sookie and Bill from True Blood, the Village People, gladiators and damsels, doctors, nurses, hippies, counts and countesses, etc, etc, etc. Even Jon and Kate plus 8 showed up with all kids in tow as they were unable to find a babysitter.
To awaken the crowds from their usual morbid state The Helen LaPrairie Band rocked the crowds throughout the night with many of the classic rock and roll tunes that we all know and love. Even Kevin dropped his role as server for VWC and got up on stage with the band and sang a couple of tunes from the Doors. Guy, Helen and the Band were all dressed as the Village People. And yes, they did YMCA with a very enthusiastic and participating crowd. There was standing room only both inside and out as the night went on.
VWC provided some very nice gifts for the best and worst costume, most unusual, funniest and best makeup.
The comments that I was hearing from various patrons were that of pleasure and enjoyment. With such a fine selection of wines to chose from and the entertainment provided by VWC, as well as the guests, was fantastic.
Hey Folks – It’s another chance for a Fraschilla Family OTBN dinner. One of the few times my son in law was in town and not fighting fires we all had a chance to watch the Yanks and Angels go at it for Baseball’s ALC. Of course we were pulling for the Angels, but no matter what the outcome we knew the dinner, wine, and company would still make for a great evening…
So the night started with a mixed green and veggie salad topped with pancetta, feta, and a light raspberry balsamic dressing. We paired that with 2 nice starters of Estancia Pinot Grigio and Barrel 27 High On The Hog Viognier. The PG was crisp but loaded with nice citrus notes – Not sweet but with a rich fruit component not seen in most PG wines. The Barrel 27 was a lush monster Viognier. Often decadent Viogniers can seem flat or flabby on the finish but this was NOT one of those Viogniers! For the money (under $20) I think this is one of the best Viogniers you can find.
We moved on to our dinner of an American classic of NY Steaks Mesquite grilled medium rare to medium and topped with a peppercorn and red curry sauce. We paired the steaks with a side of roasted Asparagus topped by a dash of citrus cilantro cream sauce. With big red meat we looked for big red wine and we found some good stuff! We opened a 1997 Kenwood Artist Series Cab. Now in the past I have had mixed results from the 97 Cabs I have tried. Once declared the best vintage of the last 25 years many of the wines I tried have not impressed me as they passed 5 years and reached towards their 10 year mark.
My trepidation turned to joy however when we opened this 97 Cab. We were overjoyed to discover that the Kenwood Artist series is standing up beautifully! Rich with dark fruit and full of life this wine still has years left to age. The 2 bottles of the Kenwood 97 also showed better as they spent more time in the glass. I kept saying to myself – This is what a well aged Cab should drink like! Yes the Angels did blow the game for use but it still was another great dinner and wine shared with family – If only every night could be so special…
For those that care I still have this 97 Kenwood Cab left included as part of a 3-year vertical of 96 97 and 98 Cabs. Contact me for pricing. You do not have to wait years to enjoy these great Cabs. they are at their peak and will be all you will want from and aged Cab for at least the next year or two.
So now the question is: When is, and what the hell are you opening at your OTBN dinner???
All the best and remember
In Vino Veritas
Wine & Spirit Specialist & Partner
24-Pinot Media LLC
(805) 217-4518 Ph
(805) 522-4337 Fax
The most underrated great Cabernet produced in Napa Valley….with perhaps the best second label wine in Napa, the Caravina Cabernet…keep in mind I have Seaveys going back to 1990 in my cellar.”
– Robert Parker, Wine Critic, The Wine Advocate, Dec 2008.
2007 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 95-99 Points]
2005 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 95+]
2003 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 96]
1997 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 96]
1991 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 97]
In the early 1870’s, the Franco-Swiss Farming Co. was established along a lovely stream, which flowed down the center of Conn Valley, an eastern spur of the Napa Valley. Grapes were grown on the South facing hillsides, and a stone winery and distillery building were built next to the wagon trail that is now Conn Valley Road. A handsome stone dairy barn was constructed in 1881, the same year that the stone foundations were laid for the bridge across Conn Creek. Those foundations today continue to support the bridge across Conn Creek.
In 1979, after a long period as a horse and cattle ranch, the original acres east of Conn Creek were purchased by William and Mary Seavey, who began to replant the vineyard. Initially, the planting and managing of the vineyard was sub-contracted by the Seavey’s to Roy Raymond, Jr., and all of the grapes were sold to Raymond Vineyards.
Since the inaugural 1990 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, all Seavey Vineyard grapes are used exclusively for our estate produced wines.
In addition to grapes, the Seavey’s raise a small number of beef cattle, whose primary function is to keep the grass down on the 200 acre property. They also provide a welcome source of organic beef for family and friends.
In 1989, the Seavey’s renovated the original 1881 stone dairy barn as their winery and tasting room, and in 1990 began to make Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay under the Seavey Vineyard label, adding Merlot in 1994. The success of their early vintages encouraged them to expand production, especially of Cabernet Sauvignon, and required construction of a second winery building in 2000.
In 2003, the Seavey’s installed one of the first solar energy systems used by a Napa Valley winery. The project eliminates 24,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The Seavey’s practice old world grape growing techniques while utilizing modern technology.
Our flagship offering is the Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon, known for its classic Bordeaux styling, richness, and longevity, with some vintages achieving 30-40 years of cellaring potential. This wine is built for strength and ageability, with long macerations and three years of barrel and bottle aging prior to release. Certain vintages remain 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Although, recent vintages have included very powerful and concentrated Petit Verdot from the steep rocky slopes of the top of Seavey Vineyard, with grape yields at or below 1 ton per acre. These wines are very well-received by critics and fans alike.
A second label Cabernet Sauvignon was initiated in 1999, the Caravina Cabernet. Caravina is Latin for “dear vine”. The Caravina is a handsome, opulent, very approachable wine upon release, still in small productions of 800-1000 cases annually.
While Seavey is known for crafting world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, we take great pride in our very small 400-500 annual case production of Merlot, which has in the last decade has developed a fan following of its own.
And let us not forget the ever-popular Burgundian Mersault styled Chardonnay, with a scarce production of 40-70 cases annually. 100% Chardonnay with arrested malolactic conversion at 0-25%, so as to fully express the rich minerality and terroir of the vineyard. Barrel fermented, unfiltered, unfined, and without cold-stabilizing tartrates…a 19th century approach to a 21st century wine.
PHILIPPE MELKA, SENIOR WINEMAKER
Winemaker Consultant Philippe Melka has been with Seavey since 1995. A graduate of the University of Bordeaux, he holds degrees both in enology and geology with a specialization in terroirs and clones. Before joining Seavey he worked at a number of well-known wineries in France, Italy, and California. His advice has been valuable in the vineyard as well as in the winery, where he strives to produce a perfectly integrated wine with classic structure, balance and elegance. He treats his wines gently and controls the amount of oak, so that the fruit flavors will not be lost. In addition to viticulture, his favorite hobby is surfing. Jeremy, Philippe & Bill Seavey work very hard to find the best possible blends of wines from the separate harvest lots.
World-reknown wine critic, Robert Parker, of The Wine Advocate, posted an article in a Summer 2008 edition of Food & Wine magazine, that he considered Philippe Melka among the 9 most influential winemaker consultants in the world. Philippe continues to achieve international acclaim, including Food & Wine’s prestigious 2005 AWA Winemaker of the Year Award.
P.S. – Philippe’s dog, Mocha (above), is famous in the Valley. Mocha is always hard at work in the vineyard at Seavey, along with Philippe, inspecting the Cabernet Sauvignon before Fall harvest…
From MelkaWines.com website:
Philippe spent much of his early life in Bordeaux, receiving his geology degree in 1989 from the University of Bordeaux. In his final year of study, he took a wine course purely out of sheer curiosity, and from that moment on realized his passion–and future–lay in the world of wine. In 1991 he completed a masters program in Agronomy and Enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, a reputed specialist with regard to terroir. Philippe was fascinated by the relationship between soil and wine quality and his appreciation of the study of soil agronomy continues to this day in his work as a viticulturist as well as winemaker.
Philippe set out for the New World to discover its wines and expand his knowledge in the process. In 1991-1992, he worked for Dominus in both winemaking and vineyard management. He split 1992 between working harvest at Chittering Estate in Western Australia, and returning to Dominus to study grape maturation and ideal picking times. In 1993, Philippe studied soils at Badia a Coltibuono in Italy as well as the emerging Sangiovese varietal. In the spring of that year, he was once again on French soil, joining the J. P. Moueix company in Libourne, where he stayed until returning to Napa Valley in 1994 to devote himself to winemaking and continuing soil studies.
Fifteen years later, Philippe is one of the most sought after winemakers and viticulturalists in California. His extended family of wineries represents a diverse range of vineyard sites and soil types, from cool-climate, shallow, volcanic soils to deep, rich, warm-microclimate clay. Philippe’s wines express the voice of the soil as much as that of the winemaker. This common stylistic thread is apparent in the following wines crafted by Philippe Melka:
Marston Family Vineyard
Vineyard 29 & Aida Vineyard
Flanagan Family Vineyards
PreVail Winery Estate
Skipstone Ranch Winery
FROM FANS OF SEAVEY:
“Your 1991 Cab is one of my all time favorite California wines!”
Gary Vaynerchuk, WineLibrary.TV in NJ
“Dear Brandon: Thank you so much on behalf of myself, Jacque, and Leslie, for the above-and-beyond experience you gave us at Seavey yesterday. The wine was amazing, the land and winery beautiful, and the experience truly educational and FUN. We talked about it all afternoon, from getting to see the full operation and the stages of the winemaking process to getting to hang out with Scooter and Leife. It was truly a special day that you made for us. Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Lisa B. in Bronx NY
“Brandon, my wife, Keiko, and I received our shipment of Seavey wine yesterday to our great delight. Thank you so much, and we can’t wait to enjoy it and share it with friends in the weeks ahead. It brings back fond memories of our great visit there. I hope you are well and are in the middle of a terrific fall season.”
Very best regards,
Phillip Y. in Rochester NY
“For those of you from San Diego that don’t know this wine it has SD roots…the proprietor (William Seavey) is the former mayor of Coronado…but, regardless,the wine is AMAZING! If you can find it TRY IT…I am a particular fan of the Caravina but anything you can find with this label is unreal…you will not be disappointed! I love wine and this is an amazing producer. I have paid for every bottle from this producer so this is not a paid endorsement. It is that good. Robert Parker doesn’t hand out 90+ ratings, so this IS that good. No puff here…I have visited the winery and it is bare bones but evidences a commitment to quality in the product and the proof is in the wine. Get it while you can…this is a cult wine but not for long. In fact, I don’t know why I am telling you this. DON’T RAISE MY PRICE POINT!”
Brad B. in San Diego CA
“Awesome…one of the very best Cab’s domestically produced…”
Marc A. in New York NY
“Bill / Brandon: Seavey is my favorite California Cabernet. I must tell you how much I prize your wines. The 1991 is legendary and the 1997 is merely excellent … perhaps slightly too young at this point. In one of my wine group’s tastings of 90 to 92 California Cabs, your 91 took honors over 3 Montelenas, 1 Togni, 2 Shafer Hillsides, 2 Mondavi Reserves, 2 Newtons, 2 Ridge Montebellos, 2 Silver Oak Napas, 2 Fisher Coach Isignia, and 1 Fisher Wedding Cuvee. I look forward to the 2001 to 2005. Meanwhile we are enjoying the 2003 Caravina … which we think is better than most people’s top cuvee.”
Scott P. in Atlanta GA
“Brandon: You may remember my wife Anna and I visited you early on the 20th of August—thanks again for opening the vineyard so early that day for our visit…and I hope you don’t mind that we’ve told anyone that will listen that Seavey was our favorite winery visit in our 5-day tour!”
Thanks and all the best,
Ben & Anna S. in Greenwich CT
“Brandon: Just ordered the 2006 release. Denise and I were there last year and had our first taste of the Cab and a wonderful tour from you. One of the best we have ever had. We are huge Seavey fans now, as it our neighborhood “wine club”. Of course I now hide it from them.”
Mike and Denise in North Richland Hills TX
“Brandon – Just wanted to drop a quick email to thank you again for having all of us at Seavey Vineyard. Everyone really enjoyed meeting with you – the tour was great! It goes without saying that the wine was wonderful. Mandy and I really enjoyed meeting Mr. Seavey as well – we would have loved to have spent more time talking to him, but then we would have held up everyone else even longer! Please send him our regards. We did go see Ehlers Estate – thank you for arranging that – it was well worth the visit. While we managed to go to a number of other wonderful wineries, Seavey was our favorite.”
Jim R. in Dallas TX
“Brandon – Hey thanks again for having us out at Seavey. My parents had a great time. We had the ’06 Caravina at Bottega that night and it was killer!”
Ryan Clark in Calistoga CA
“Hi Brandon – We shared a magnum of your ’99 cab with our waiter at Town (a steakhouse in San Carlos) when we recently celebrated my son’s birthday (my son was born in 1999, so he didn’t get to drink it!) and he told us that it may have been the best wine that he tasted this year :-)”
Mark C. in San Mateo CA
“Hi Brandon: Exciting news about your new Cab releases. I have been a fan of Seavey wines for several years, thus am thrilled to see the accolades for yet another exceptional vintage. Congratulations!”
Lisa F. in San Francisco CA
“I’m a huge Seavey fan (20% of my cellar is Seavey) – and I just bought my 2006 Cabernets…”
Craig C. in Pittsburgh PA
“Brandon – I love your wines…I have been coming to northern CA to drink wine every year since 1981. Anyway, I have been saving my Seavey. I have many years back, but have only opened one bottle. Wonderful!!! The Seavey wines we have had are made with remarkable structure and complexity and we would love to visit with you and the winemakers. I know many more people participate in the final product, but it is obvious Seavey has always had great leadership. I am really!!!!!!!!!!!!!! interested in ’07…”
Edwin F. in Houston TX
“Hi Brandon, Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality today. It was a real pleasure tasting the beautiful Seavey wines and seeing the property…”
Brook D. in Santa Rosa CA
“You guys have fantastic wine!”
George C. in New York NY
“Have been a Seavey fan/customer for awhile…every year words spreads and you all get more and more buzz. Well-deserved! Need to get my next order in now :)”
Bob Q. in San Carlos CA
“Brandon, we recently attended a niece’s college graduation from the University of Colorado and had a fabulous bottle of Seavey Cabernet at the Flagstaff in Boulder. We visited the winery a couple years ago and fell in love with your wine.”
Steve L. in Madison WI
“Brandon: Thanks again for taking the time to meet with Wendi and I last week. It was truly a highlight of the trip. Thanks also for the Larkmead suggestion. I was also quite impressed with their offerings. I passed your name to two other people in town. I strongly suggested they try to get their hands on some Seavey!”
Scott N. in Chicago IL
“Brandon: Wanted to send you a very special thank you from Paul and I. We both enjoyed our visit with you. We learned so much. We enjoyed our 10th anniversary at French Laundry along with your gift, the 2007 Seavey Chardonnay. And we kept your signed bottle!”
Take care and very best wishes,
Paul & Paula V. in Atlanta GA
“Brandon, I hope the harvest season is going well for all of you. My wife and I visited you at the winery for a tasting in August on a beautiful Sunday and we ordered the Seavey collection. We recently enjoyed a bottle of the 2004 Seavey Cab at a local restaurant (we were shocked they had it – great surprise!) last week. The ’04 is wonderful! It is one of those wine you thoroughly enjoy every sip over the course of an entire meal.”
Thanks so much,
Don A. in Hartford CT
Brandon St.Martin, Wine Director
Seavey Vineyard, Napa Valley
“The greatest underrated Cabernet in Napa Valley…”
[2007 Seavey Cabernet: 95-99 Pts], Robert Parker Jr.
Philippe Melka, Senior Winemaker Since 1995
Jeremy Weintraub, Winemaker