Monthly Archives: November 2012

Entertaining naturally: KINFOLK MAGAZINE

Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings.

So begins the short manifesto of Kinfolk, whose gorgeously designed magazine, blog, and “reader dinners” would inspire even the least hospitable among us to call a few friends and share a simple meal.  And when better to spend time among food, family and friends than the holiday season?

While the magazine is truly beautiful – lush layouts, fine writing, and the sort of photography you can really lose yourself in – it was the intrigue of the dinner series that drew us to Kinfolk.

Portland Kinfolk Dinner

The Kinfolk dinner series is about inviting people to gather and take advantage of the rich community that already exists around them, opening up and drawing close to the people that share a common place. We aim to encourage collaboration amidst local artisans and small businesses.

Specifically, the people behind Kinfolk choose a city – whether Los Angeles or Paris or Brooklyn – and host a detail-driven dinner featuring local purveyors in a charismatic space.  The best part?  The price.  Just $20 gets you a three-hour dinner with a menu like this:

…in a setting like this:

We applaud the Kinfolk team for keeping it simple, beautiful, and real.  We’re all asking for subscriptions and dinner tickets for Christmas.  Thanks for the inspiration!


Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Travel, Wine

A Very Good Year

2012 Was a Promising Vintage for Monterey Wine Country

Pssst!  Want to know which wine to look for when the new releases emerge next year?  Try anything from Monterey County’s 2012 vintage.  As the busy harvest season winds down to a close, winemakers and vineyard managers across the region’s nine American Viticulture Areas agree that the quality and flavor concentration in grapes from the 2012 vintage are extremely high.

Jason Smith, Valley Farm Management and Grower Chair for the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association (MCVGA) said of the 2012 vintage: “Overall, it was a nice moderate year. Mother Nature cooperated, the growing season was long, and the grapes matured well. We were able to have a nice average crop with great quality! This was a nice change after the challenges of 2011.”

Steve McIntyre

While several grape-growing counties across the state battled early rains that threatened rot and crop loss, Monterey County fruit went virtually unaffected, with rains averaging only one-tenth of an inch. As the storm passed Monterey County, Steve McIntyre of Monterey Pacific said, “Once again the Santa Lucia Mountain rain shadow has saved the day! We seldom get much out of these northern storms and such was the case with this one – a tenth of an inch was our highest reading. Actually, we were still running the water truck the following day for dust control.”

Andy Mitchell

Andy Mitchell of Hahn Winery concurred: “The recent rain events here in Monterey County have been relatively light when compared to other parts of the State, both north and south of us. A few picks have had to be rescheduled as a direct result of rain, and the cooler temperatures associated with the storm systems have pushed back some scheduled harvests due to Brix levels dropping. But as far as any added pressure of botrytis caused by the rains, we are not finding this a problem.”

From an economic standpoint, the region is seeing similar trends to those of 2011, when wine grapes sold at an increased price-per-ton average across all major varietals.  According to the County’s 2011 Crop Report, of the leading ten grape varieties (five white and five red), nine sold at an increase of several percentage points from 2010 to 2011. Local growers hope to see that trend continue to boost the region’s economy.

“I’ve been watching Monterey County harvests for ten years now,” said Rhonda Motil, Executive Director for the MCVGA. “Low yields, fine weather, and long hang times will put this vintage up in the realm of the best I’ve witnessed thus far.”

1 Comment

Filed under Wine

Where Wine and Goats Mingle

Winery’s Commitment to Sustainability and Tradition Yields Delicious Results

“Green” wineries may seem a modern development, but sustainability and tradition are not mutually exclusive, as any wine from Laetitia Estate Vineyard & Winery proves.  Putting tried-and-true, ancient methods to use in concert with modern technologies, the Laetitia team sustainably produces some of the most refined and sought-after wines on the market today.

The famous Laetitia goats

One of Laetitia’s eco-friendly methods involves a hungry herd of 200 goats and their watchful leader, “Lucky” the llama. These goats roam specific areas of the estate as needed, eating away at weeds and invasive plants that can jeopardize the health or production of the vines. The use of goats for weed abatement is an age-old practice, and the famous Laetitia goats preclude the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, as well as tractors that run on precious fossil fuels.

“We graze the goats on the rocky and steep hillside surrounding the vineyards,” said Laetitia Vice President of Vineyard Operations, Lino Bozzano. “They keep the hillside clean and minimize our weed pressure.  Plus, by using goats to do our work for us, we are able to focus on growing great wines.”

Promoting vineyard management that is certified Sustainable in Practice (SIP™), Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has helped set the standard for responsible farming and winemaking. Laetitia recognizes that its approach to vineyard management and winemaking impacts the community at large as well as that of future generations. Qualifying for SIP certification requires a rigorous third-party audit of ten criteria, including water and energy conservation, social equity, and pest management. In addition to the use of goats in the field, Laetitia’s commitment to sustainability includes re-use of compost and water reclamation and investment in cutting-edge weather station and soil moisture technology.

Brut Coquard, perfect with a creamy chevre

To celebrate the ancient goat-vineyard partnership, a classic food and wine pairing (and one that’s perfect for holiday entertaining!) is the Laetitia Brut Coquard sparkling wine with a creamy chèvre.  The Brut Coquard is made using Laetitia’s time-honored Coquard wooden basket presses – the only two in North America – renowned for their gentleness in squeezing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes whole-cluster and releasing their juices without the inclusion of solids.  The result is an Old World-style sparkling wine: dry and crisp, with clean minerality and mouth-filling flavors of green apple and Asian pears.  Paired with a mild chèvre, secondary tones of coffee, yeast, and lemon pith emerge.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Lifestyle, Wine

Best of the Bay: Party in the Hangar

Imagine a deluxe airplane hangar teeming with all the delectable bites and breathtaking wines a passionate gourmand could wish for.  Now add fun music, direct access to wine and cuisine experts, and even helicopter rides over some of the planet’s most stunning scenery, and you have the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association’s (MCVGA) annual “Party in the Hangar.”

After the hubbub of the winegrape harvest this fall, the MCVGA will host its “Party in the Hangar” for those who want to experience the essence of Monterey county’s burgeoning wine region. On Saturday, November 10, from 1-4 PM, the champions of Monterey Wine Country will congregate at the Del Monte Aviation Center’s private 20,000 square-foot hangar to pour Monterey County wines alongside fun, delicious dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients.

Del Monte Aviation Center

“The Party in the Hangar will be an ideal opportunity for wine and cuisine-lovers to witness the exceptional quality of flavors from Monterey Wine Country,” said Rhonda Motil, executive director of the MCVGA, whose members represent nine distinct American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and forty-two winegrape varietals grown throughout the county.

For those seeking VIP treatment, a special VIP ticket will include early entry, a Riedel tasting glass, and access to an exclusive “Bubble Lounge,” where Monterey sparkling wines and caviar will be on offer.  Furthermore, a Sparkling Winemaker Discussion Panel will be hosted by Steve Heimoff, West Coast Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Steve Heimoff

Staged in Monterey’s finest full-service executive air terminal with its luxurious yet industrial charm, the “Party in the Hangar” will be a true celebration of all things Monterey County, including wines produced by over 40 wineries across Monterey County. Guests can purchase bottles at the “Try and Buy” marketplace and pick-up their purchases at “Baggage Claim” upon departure. Over 10 local restaurants will be serving creatively-conceived, delicious samplings. Meanwhile, a new 1,000-square-foot center stage, sponsored by Rabobank, will host revolving winemakers featuring special wines and Q&As with Steve Heimoff, as well as cooking demonstrations by local meat-lover and celebrity Chef Todd Fisher.  Fisher is host of the new television series The United States of Food distributed by the Discovery Channel. For an additional fee, guests can also sample flavors from visiting gourmet food trucks like San Francisco’s Bacon Bacon (, purchase a premium Riedel tasting glass, or take to the skies with a helicopter flight over the Monterey Peninsula.

VIP admission is $95 and includes early admission at 11:45 AM. General admission tickets are $60 bought in advance and $70 at the door, and include access to 40 wineries and 10 restaurants.  Designated driver tickets are $30 and include a glass for water and soft drinks. For tickets and more information, visit

1 Comment

Filed under Cuisine, Lifestyle, Wine