Wine Country Report: Duck Tacos and Live Music at City Winery, Passport Zinfandel Tasting in Sonoma

Categories: Wine

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City Winery
City Winery takes over the old opera house in the town of Napa.
If your idea of a great music experience has morphed from brown-bagging booze and stage diving in a purple velvet skin revealing outfit to something more comfy -- say, a seated meal of local duck tacos with decent (on tap) wine and music acts with sound from Meyer Sound -- then the opening of City Winery in Napa this week has potential.

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Lulu McAllister Talks Magnum Mondays, Greek Wines, and Hitting Her Stride as NOPA's Wine Director

Categories: Wine

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Nopa's Wine Director, Lulu McAllister
Lulu McAllister's curiosity has led her to establish her own ice cream food cart in San Diego, work on a farm in Hawaii, and cover the music scene as a journalist in Austin. She eventually directed her inquiring mind towards wine, which resulted in a path that led to a position as Nopa's wine director.

"I'm very curious. I take little adventures through my curiosity for wines," the 28-year-old says over pork hash and strawberry waffles at Blue Jay Cafe. "It's not really about what's out there, it's about what's good out there. I think my curiosity and my desire for exploration comes through in some of the more unusual choices on the list."

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Wine Country Report: Hall Wines, Exciting Sweets from Matthew Tinder

Categories: Napa Valley, Wine

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Tubay Yaput / Hall Wines
It's always a kick to hit the road and see and of course taste what's happening up north. We're guilty of saving Wine Country outings for "special occasions" ranging from big birthday celebrations to visits from childhood pals and family. No more -- there's a lot to do, and it's an easy and fun way to unwind. This marks the first Wine Country Report, chock full of the juiciest food & wine happenings. Do like the pros and use that spit bucket and please send tips our way via writereadeat@gmail.com. Ready, set, go!

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February Event Planner: Tofu-Making Class, Guided Cheese Tasting, and Salute to African-American Winemakers

Categories: Classes, Wine

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Facebook/Hodo Soy
Learn the art of tofu-making this month from the folks at Hodo Soy.
February isn't just about chocolate and roses. This month, satisfy your hunger for education, inspiration, and of course, a little inebriation with these three events:

What: Tofu-Making and Cooking Class
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Good Eggs, 630 Tennessee
Cost: $75
Details: Discover the secrets of tofu with Hodo Soy founder Minh Tsai. In this three-hour class, you will learn the history and science of tofu making, as well as the differences in type, texture, and flavor profiles. Most importantly, you will try your hand at dishes like uni on creamy nama yuba, Sichuanese Braised tofu salad, kale pesto yuba, and silken tofu with ginger sauce. Purchase your tickets on the Good Eggs website.

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Five Places That Offer 50-Percent-Off Wine Nights

Categories: Deals, Wine

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Flickr/heidi schempp fournier
Why have a glass when you can have the whole bottle? That is our philosophy most evenings, anyway. Thankfully, a number of our city's restaurants share our slightly lush-ish view. Here's where (and when) to head for half-off bottles of wine.

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Napa Winery Sues Duck Dynasty Wine Brand Over Trademark Infringement

Categories: Controversy, Wine

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Duckhorn (left) is suing Duck Commander (right) over trademark infringement.
The wildly popular family behind A&E's Duck Dynasty has found itself at the center of another controversy. The Robertsons, America's favorite Bible-thumpers, recently teamed up with St. Helena's Trinchero Family Estates to create a new "Duck Commander" wine series, producing Wood Duck 2012 Chardonnay, Triple Threat 2011 Red Blend, and Miss Priss 2012 Pink Moscato.

The wines retail for $9.99 at Walmart -- the root of the problem for St. Helena's Duckhorn Vineyards, which has been producing significantly more expensive wines under a similar label for more than 30 years. The company has sued Trinchero Family Estates, Duck Commander, and Walmart for trademark infringement and unfair competition "to prevent further confusion, dilution and reputational and other harm to Duckhorn."

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The (Ice) Bucket List: Great Sparkling Wines and Where to Buy Them

Categories: Wine

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Lou Bustamante
Gatherings and celebrations provide ample excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly, but here's the secret: You can have sparkling wine year round and it can be enjoyed with an entire meal, not just to start one off. My Bay Area Bubbles series explored the local wineries making bubbles, and now I'm bringing you a list of great stores to buy those, Champagne, and other sparkling wine from here and beyond.

I've enlisted the help of three of San Francisco's best sommeliers to build a focused list of stores and bottles to help the spendy or sparing. Here are a few picks from Mark Bright (Saison), Ian Burrows (Atelier Crenn), and Sian Nagan (Quince).

See also: Great Bay Area Liquor Stores to Stuff Stockings or Cabinets
Bay Area Bubbles: Iron Horse Vineyards
Bay Area Bubbles: A Visit to Schramsberg's Candlelit Tasting Cave

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Three Sparkling Cocktails to Take You Into 2014

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Absinthe Group
Christmas may be over, but the season of holiday indulgence is still going strong until January 1. And whether you're celebrating the impending new year, looking fondly upon the one passing by, or simply numbing the pain inflicted by visiting family members, these three sparkling cocktail are perfect to celebrate the waning days of 2013 -- and so delicious you'll be sipping them throughout the new year.

See also: Bay Area Bubbles: Wrapping it up at Roerderer Estate
Bay Area Bubbles: Mumm's Tour and Oak Terrace Make It Worth a Visit
Bay Area Bubbles: A Visit to Schramsberg's Candlelit Tasting Cave

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Bay Area Bubbles: Wrapping it up at Roerderer Estate

Categories: Road Trip, Wine

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Lou Bustamante
The last in the series of Bay Area Bubbles wraps up at another one of my favorite places: Roerderer Estates.

My first introduction to Roerderer Estate came at a time when I was looking for a good local bubbly that I enjoyed by itself, but also came at a price where I wouldn't feel bad about mixing it into a French 75. This search led me to their Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut, a multi-vintage sparkling wine made from estate grown pinot noir (40%) and chardonnay (60%) in the cool Mendocino climate. Much like in the Russian River Valley and Carneros region, the proximity to the ocean provides the cool nights provide optimal conditions for the grapes. And at about $20 a bottle, aged en tirage for a two years, and made in the same style as the parent company Champagne Louis Roederer in France, it's a total deal.

See also: Bay Area Bubbles: From Rubble to Bubbles at J Vineyards
Bay Area Bubbles: Scharffenberger Cellars
Bay Area Bubbles: Mumm's Tour and Oak Terrace Make It Worth a Visit

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Bay Area Bubbles: From Rubble to Bubbles at J Vineyards

Categories: Wine

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Lou Bustamante
Sometimes the most seemingly obtuse bits of knowledge lead to bigger, better, and in some cases, bubblier things.

When Judy Jordan got her degree in Earth Sciences/Geology from Stanford and returned home to work at her father's winery, Jordan, she was able to apply her knowledge to the geology of the vineyards. At the same time, the exposure to the winery provided her with enough skills in business and marketing that she was able to start her own winery J Vineyards, in 1986.

See Also:- Bay Area Bubbles: Scharffenberger Cellars
- Bay Area Bubbles: Mumm's Tour and Oak Terrace Make It Worth a Visit
- Bay Area Bubbles: A Visit to Schramsberg's Candlelit Tasting Cave

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