Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy New Year and Thank you !


As the year ends our wine trail heads east once more .This time to Miami Florida for some fine dinning and of course great wine. 2007 was a great year for us and for Vino Las Vegas. We could not have done any of this without you.
To our readers, customers and friends we say thank you and wish you all the best for 2008. Please join us in the coming year as we have many trips and events planned for all of us to enjoy.
We have spoken to many of you from all over the world and have shared and learned together about some fantastic wines. This is what the "world of wine"is all about. It is about sharing food, knowledge and conversation about wine with good friends.
Please be safe over this holiday season and have a great and prosperous 2008. We will see you in January
Cheers !


Godolphin Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvingon Barossa Valley 2005


We had the opportunity to do some blind tasting with Tex and Gidget at Marche Bacchus and once again owner Jeff Wyatt did not disappoint us. Jeff informed us that our first wine was rated 93 points. As we watched Jeff pour this wine we and suggested by color in the glass it was an Australian wine most likely a blend with Shiraz. In the glass it was red-purple in color and medium bodied. The lack of an age ring suggested is was perhaps a 2005 vintage. The nose gave us hints of casiss and tannins then finished very smooth with medium tannins. Jeff came back and showed us the
Godolphin Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Barossa Valley. We felt good about this one as we hit it right on the nose!
This wine was a blend of 80% Dry-grown Barossa Valley 85 year-old Shiraz vines & 20% Dry grown Barossa Valley 60 year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vines. It was fermented in 1 ton open fermenters , hand plunged 3 times daily and then matured for 14 months in 100% new oak of which 20% is American and 80% French (70% hogsheads & 30% barriques) and was bottled unfiltered. This wine was amazing and the favorite of the day by far.
Because we did so well on the first wine Jeff decided to be tougher on us the second time around. In the glass this wine had a deep purple color and medium body and not much of an age ring. The nose gave us some old world characteristics with very little fruit at first. The wine opened up after about 15-20 minuets and Gidget described it as a "party in a glass" and was right. Black plums and spice aromas were prevalent on the nose . The palate was consistent with the nose and finished with black fruit shaped by sharp acidity soft Tannins.
Jeff showed this to be a Palacios "Pétalos" Bierzo 2005. We were everywhere from Italy to France on this wine. We had never had a Bierzo so we decided to learn more about it.
The Bierzo Denominación de Origen is in the northeast of the province of Léon Spain and covers about 3,000 km². The area consists of numerous small valleys in the mountainous part (Alto Bierzo) and of a wide, flat plain (Bajo Bierzo). The DO covers 23 municipalities including the largest town of the area, Villafranca del Bierzo. he soils in the mountains consist of a mixture of fine elements, quartz and slate. The vineyards are planted mainly on humid, dark soil which is slightly acidic and low in carbonates. The wines produced under the Bierzo DO must be made only with the varieties that are authorised by the Consejo Regulador (Regulatory Council). Red grapes: Mencia, Garnacha Tintorera, (experimental: Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) White grapes: Doña Blanca, Godello, Palomino, (experimental: Malvasía, Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer) The experimental varieties can only be used for crianza and reserva wines, and may not comprise more than 15%.
The climate of this region is very interesting. It has a special micro climate which is beneficial for viticulture. The area is similar to the climate of Galicia with regard to humidity and rainfall, but is also similar to the hot, dry climate of Castile. The low altitude also helps to prevent late frosts and means that the grape harvest is usually about one month earlier than in Castile. This special area of Spain is remarkable for its climate diversity and is well known for its native Spanish varietals.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lumen Illuminati Italy and Juslyn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain Napa Valley 2001




As we have always said the best way to increase your wine knowledge and skills is to do"blind" wine tasting. We joined Tex, Gidget and Michael at Marche Bacchus for some "work".
Jeff Wyatt , owner of Marche Bacchus was given the task of finding two blind wines for us. As he walked toward us with the decanted wine we all waited with anticipation.
Jeff poured the wine in our glasses and we went to work.
The color was a deep dark red and appeared medium to full bodied in the glass. We had differing opinions of the nose. There were opinions on both sides New World vs Old World. Most of us agreed this was a blend and most likely Cabernet Sauvignon. Other members suggested a blend with Syrah as well. This was a nice well balanced wine that had a long finish with medium to heavy tannins.
Jeff appeared with the bottle hiding in a brown bag ! We gave Jeff our opinions and he smiled when on of our group suggested it was Old World, Cabernet Sauvignon blend that could be Italian. Jeff placed the bottle in front of the person that got this one right !! He read the bottle as Lumen IGT Illuminati from Italy.
We did some research on this wine and found some interesting facts. Lumen was conceived by Dino Illuminati and the eminent enologist, Dott. Marone, assistant to the famous enologist Dott. Giamoco Tachis, to serve as a vehicle to show how red wine from Abruzzo can achieve a world class status.
This famous team of enologists,renown for their role as the architects of such great wines like "Sassicaia", "Tinganello" and "Solaia", created another great red wine, a blending of Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is primarily Montepulciano blended with varying percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on the outcome of the harvest. The 1993 vintage was the premier release of this wine. From mature vines only the outer clusters of ripe grapes go into this wine.
Free run juice is gathered and the remaining grape pomace is gently pressed.At the end of the secondary fermentation .The two wines were put together in small 225 ltr casks of different qualities of oak and aged for 18 to 24 months. The wine rested in bottles in the cellar, for more than one year before its release.
The area around Controguerra and Nereto is situated on the North of the Abruzzo region, between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea and is endowed with a fortunate, natural position for its climate and renowned from ancient times for its vineyards.It was here that Nico Illuminati, an impassioned master in the art of wine making, lived during the latter half of the last century. Around the year 1890 he initiated the activity of wine production and set up the then known Estate of Nico - "Fattoria di Nico."
The Estate vineyards extend over 150 acres of the finest terrain of the whole region. The nature of the terrain is a perfectly balanced mix of clay and sand with marked presence of siliceous substances (potash, magnesium, lime, and components of silicate). The terrain is loose, deep, and fertile on considerably high, hilly grounds, twelve hundred to fifteen hundred feet above sea level.All of the vineyards have south/southwestern exposure. At present there are 150 acres of vineyards in production which makes the Estate the largest privately owned winery in the region.
Jeff Wyatt appeared once more with another decanted wine. Jeff poured the second wine and we went to work once again. The nose on this wine once again gave us mixed opinions and we were spit between New World vs Old World. There were hints of red fruit, cassis and licorice on the palate. Some of the group suggested it was a Cabernet Sauvignon blend and possibly with Merlot. Because of these characteristics some suggested it could be a french Bordeaux blend. This wine was very elegant and finished with moderate tannins and smokey oak. Jeff brought us the bottle and explained it was a Juslyn Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain 2001. This wine was magnificent and scored 92 points from Robert Parker in February of 2005.
A further examination of the bottle found this wine is made in a Bordeaux style with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot , Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Good job to those who suggested it could be a Bordeaux blend.
Juslyn vineyards was founded by Carolyn and Perry Butler on a site overlooking the renowned Spring Mountain Winery. In 1998, they made their first vintage of Juslyn from grapes purchased. In 2000, they harvested their estate for the first time to produce 80 cases of Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker Craig MacLean who holds a n Masters Degree from the University of California, Davis has done a great job with this wine and has really shown Juslyn wines that display elegance in the style of Bordeaux.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunset and Vines Lake Las Vegas




Sunset and Vines is located at Lake Las Vegas. For some of us it is quite a drive but well worth it. We have dinned here previously and knew we had to come back. When we think of a bistro or wine bar one may have visions of eating at a winery or in a wine cellar. Sunset and Vines gives you that feeling from the time you walk in the door. You can dine outside over looking Lake Las Vegas , inside at a table or enjoy some wine and cheese upstairs in the lounge. No matter what you are in the mood for, We are sure you can find a place at Sunset and Vines. Their wine list is extensive and you can find some good values if you look closely. On this visit we were welcomed by our server Jamie who was very personable, professional and attentive. We started of our meal with a Piedmonte Barbera Bersano 2002 from Italy. At first we were a little "worried" about our choice in wines. Once this Barbera opened up it was well worth the wait. We dined on the Lump Crab cakes and Cesar Salad. Both of which were very good. On our last visit we had a very nice cheese and fruit plate with Italian salami. Unfortunately, Sunset and Vines only offers a cheese plate now with very nice choices of cheese but no meat. When we left the restaurant we mentioned our request to the Chef. Hopefully on our next visit we can enjoy one of their fabulous salami and cheese plates again.
If you are in the Lake Las Vegas area stop by Sunset and Vines for lunch or dinner. I know we will.

Rock N Roll Wines Rocks into Ovation at Green Valley Ranch




We have attended many of the Rock-N-Roll wine events in Las Vegas. In the past we have questioned the quality of the the wines. The wine quality at the larger festivals has always been good.


However , we have always enjoyed the venues and the music that Chris Hammond , Founder of Rock-N-Roll wines has put together. It is very hard to find a venue, music, and quality wines at the same event. The other issue is the age group of guests that enjoy these venues and music may not necessarily be educated in wine or know what quality wine is. To us , this is what Chris has been trying to do for years with his events. In our opinion he is doing a great job.




As stated before , we have attended many of these events in the past . This event at Ovation was a turning point for Chis and Rock-N-Roll wines.


Ovation is a great venue for this event. When we first walked in you could see that this was going to be a class act. A quick glance at the list of wineries confirmed that for us. There was even a special "tasting lounge" set aside for the more discriminating wine connoisseurs and the opportunity to purchase at Riedel "O" series Rock-N-Roll wine glass as well.


First up on the Entertainment list was guitarist Nick Motil who treated us with

some original "folk"music. Moteil was right on with his technical skills on the acoustic guitar and spent some time on the key boards as well. The main feature was Ingrid Michaelson who treated us with her very sultry tones and great key boards. Her style is similar to that of Nora Jones and was big success at this event.

Hearing these artists was a real treat and went well in this type of venue. Now we can talk more about the wines. First all we have to mention Stillman Brown, Winemaker of RedZepplin wines. He was pouring his Red Zeppelin Chardonnay 2006 Santa Barabara County and his "Black Zeppelin" 2005 Paso Robles in the tasting lounge. His wines were one of the best there and we will be looking for them in town soon. In the grand tasting room Brown also let us sample his Jungle Room White 2006 Blend, Jungle Room Red 2006 Blend, and his Red Zeppelin Syrah 2004.

Other wineries represented were Icon Estates, Precept Brands and Pernod Ricard. For those of you who like bubbles G.H Mumm Codon Rouge NV and Perreir-Jouet Grand Brut NV located in the tasting lounge for us to enjoy.



There were over 23 wines available for tasting many of which are very well known. Chis and Rock-N-Roll wines also had their Rock N Roll Wine "The Grotto" Shriaz 2005 there as well.








These Rock N Roll wine events are very unique and don't think
anyone has been able to do it right until now. Like with any project these events will continue to evolve. Rock and Roll Wines did it right this time and we are sure they will continue to move in a direction to find a balance between great venues, award winning artists and quality wines.

It is not often that you can get such a good value for the money. The concert alone was worth the price of admission.
Good Job Rock N Roll ! We are waiting to see what you come up with next.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keller Estate and Delectus wines at Bleu Gourmet

We stopped in at Bleu Gourmet for the weekly wine tasting and were pleasantly surprised. Joseph and Bibiana from Vin Sauvage were there pouring the latest from


Keller Estate Vineyards.










We started off with the Pinot Gris Keller Estate 2005. Winemaker Michael Mc Neil did a great job with this Pinot Gris. It is done in an Alsatian style with aromas of peach and flowers on the nose. The palate complements the peach flavors with hints of mineral and finishes long and refreshing.

Bibiana brought over the second wine of the evening which was La Cruz Vineyard Chardonnay Keller Estate 2005. On the nose aromas of pear, apple and mineral jumped out with the palate taking over with flavors of pear and apple finishing with hints of lemon. This was a very nice Chardonnay that for us was a nice change from the "big, bold" Chardonnays also found in Sonoma and Napa Valley.


The final Keller wine we tasted was the La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir Keller Estate 2004. Winemaker Michael McNeil has a real hit with this one. PinotFile magazine stated this pinot noir is " darn near perfect" and we agree. In the class this pinot was medium bodied with the classic Burgundy color you would expect. Aromas of cherry, spice and tobacco all combine with a wonderful nose. The palate comes alive with bold ripe cherries, spice and smoke and got better as it opened up . The rich flavors and aromas carry through together for a long finish.


The Pinot Noir was by far our favorite of the night. Our group purchased two bottles for the table and were enjoyed immensely.


Joseph at Vin Sauvage always has something special for us to try and this was no exception. After we finished the Keller Wines , Joseph brought over a bottle of Argentum Delectus Napa Valley 2005. This wine has become sought after at several high-end restaurants' by-the-glass program..The interesting fact about this wine is that it is made from parts of all of the high end Delectus wines. It is Cabernet blend with Merlot, Petite Syrah, and Syrah which combine for a fantastic nose of tobacco and spice with flavors of clove and molasses.


These wines were impressive and we plan to look for them in the future. We raise our glass to Sonny, Joseph and Bibiana for a great tasteing ! Thank you

Cheers !

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clos des Papes 2004 and Domaine du Gaillou Cuvee Unique 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape


We have spoken many times
about wines you will always
remember and these are two of them.
We joined our friends Tex, Gidget and Michael on a quest to have these incredible wines with dinner. Both of these wines have been called some of the finest in the world right now.


What a better place to have these wines and great food is Rosemary's Restaurant. Chefs Michael and Windy Jordon are very well known for there fabulous restaurant and great service.
We asked for the Clos Des Papes 2004 Chateaunuef du Papes 2004 and it lives up to very bit of the 96 points awarded by Wine Spectator. In the glass it showed medium to full bodied with a dark red purple color. On the nose there were aromas of earth, and liqueur. The palate brings forth earth and raspberries and the finish is smooth and lingering. The blend of the 2004 is 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah with the balance being filled with Counoise. The "Clos des Papes" 2005 was recently elected best wine of the world by the U.S. "Wine Spectator" magazine.

The father-and-son team, Paul and Vincent Avril are already established as one of the very finest wine making-partnerships in the southern Rhône. As early as in 1896 Paul Avril's grandfather started bottling wine under the mark Clos des Papes.
The blend, though this will vary annually depending on conditions, is predominantly Grenache (65%) with the remaining being made up of Mourvèdre, Syrah and a tiny amount of Counoise.
The Sommelier informed us there were two bottles left of the Domaine du Gaillou 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape so we "had " to try that one as well. It gave us a great opportunity to do some side by side tasting of the same vintage from two vineyards. In the glass this one appeared darker than the Clos Des Papes and was medium to full bodied. On the nose a slight hint of earth came through initially but gave way to floral notes and red berries. The mouth feel was silky with red fruit , floral and a hint of spice. This wine finished beautifully over a long time with floral and fruit notes to the end.
This was memorable Châteauneuf from 50-year-old vines, all aged in older foudres. The blend was 95% Grenache, with a dash of Syrah and Mourvèdre to finish it off.
We took a vote among the five of us and the Domaine du Gaillou just edged out the Clos des Papes as the favorite. In our opinion the Clos des Papes had more or a lighter feminine quality whereas the Domaine du Gaillou was more fruit forward and bolder all around. Nevertheless, both of these wines were memorable and will not be forgotten any time soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chefs for Charity Wine and Food Event


This time of year most of us think about giving

and what we can do to help others less fortunate


than we are. Chef Cindy and Chefs for Charity


held a wonderful event at Queensridge to support Catholic Charities.


The event, Chefs for Charity Sip and Savor featured Chefs from Las Vegas and from as far away as Napa Valley California. These renowned Chefs teamed up for Holiday with the Chefs Toy Drive. The event started with a meet and greet with Top Chef Contestant Chef Otto Borsich from season two. Santa stopped

by and joined in watching a live Ice sculpting demonstration . There were even pony rides for the kids. The adults enjoyed a gourmet food and wine reception. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a cooking demonstration by Executive Chef James Aptakin from the Hilton in Napa Valley and our own Chef Vic Vegas from the House of Lords at the Sahara Resort Hotel and casino. These two great chefs teamed up to make a Bananas Foster that was out of this world. The afternoon finished with Chef James demonstrating vegetable and fruit carving. He amazed everyone with his culinary creations. This was a great event for a very worth while cause that will help some children and families in the Valley. Cheers to Chef Cindy, Chef Borsich and the others who took time out of their very busy schedules and put on this great event !






Vintner Grill a rising star in Las Vegas




We have been dining at Vintner Grill from its grand opening and have yet to be disappointed. Executive Chef Matthew Silverman does a great job including American, Mediterranean, Italian and French influences in the menu. Beverage Director/Sommelier Troy Kumalaa has done a great job with the wine list as well. We have seen the list grow significantly over the last year. Vintner Grill even has a wine room just off the kitchen area where you can dine surrounded by 100's of wines from all over the world.

In Las Vegas finding a restaurant of this caliber open for lunch is very hard to find. We stop in for lunch often and enjoy a fabulous bottle of wine and a cheese plate which features Wisconsin Cheese brought in specially for the restaurant. Another feature we enjoy is the patio dinning. You dine al fresco among all types of tropical plants which for a while makes you think you are no longer in Las Vegas. We travel often to Florida and Key West. From the moment we walk in the architecture reminds us of South Beach or Key West beach side fine dining restaurant. Vintner Grill has been getting some great reviews which are highly deserved. Vintner Grill is located at 10100 W Charleston Blvd. To learn more about Vintner Grill click on the link to the right of the page. This is new and rising star here in Las Vegas and we plan to continue to watch it shine.

Vino Las Vegas visits Vino 100 Wine Shop


We have heard so many great things about Vino 100 for a while now, but had not had the opportunity to stop by. We met Natalie Buster , owner of Vino 100 at an American Wine Society event a few

months ago and promised we would come by. Vino 100 is located in NW Las Vegas at 7220 W Azure Dive. We really didn't know what to expect as there are not many small wine shops in Las Vegas. When we walked in, it was what we would want from a "real" wine shop. Walls are full of wines for every budget. Natalie has done a great job with wine education and special events focusing on a particular country and appellation. She had just completed Bordeaux week and has many great events planned for 2008. Vino 100 has a wine tasting every day and the staff's knowledge is very good. We will come by often and try those great wines, some of which are not easily found in this area. For more information about Vino 100 there is a link to the right of the page.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rosenblum Petite Syrah 2005 San Francisco Bay Heritage Clones


Rosenblum wines has had a a great reputaion for many years. It was a great honor to meet Ken Rosenblum at the American Wine Society Chapter picnic a few months ago and he was gracious enough to donate several of his wines to the event.
We met Tex and Gidget's wine group for our monthly blind wine tasting. This month the wines were Syrah, Zinfandel and Malbecs. Six wines were selected for this meeting. 2005 Rosenblum Petite Syrah San Francisco Bay Heritage Clones (90 ws), 2005 Bodega Melipal Malbec Mendoza Argentina(89 ws) , 2004 Achaval-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Argentina (91 ws), 2005 Torbreck WoodCutter's Shriaz Barossa Valley Australia (88 ws), 2005 Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County California (87 ws), and the 2002 Arrowood Syrah Saralee's Vineyard Russian River Valley California (87ws, 93-96 wa)
All of these wines were great and it was difficult to distinguish them apart. Of the entire group one member correctly identified 3 of the 6 wines. We identified 2 of the 6 wines. As usual, the group voted on their favorite wine of the evening before they were unveiled to us. The Rosenblum Petite Syrah 2005 won the vote.
This Petite Syrah-Hetitage clone 2005 is from San Francisco Bay appellation at the foot of Mt Diablo. The Vineyards are planted with two selections of Petite Syrah both from 80 to 100 years old. The wine was aged in 60% American and 40% French oak and once barreled they were not racked again until bottling .
In the glass this wine was medium bodied with a deep dark color. On the nose aromas of ripe blackberries, plum and spice. The palate explodes with flavors of plums, chocolate and spice with a nice finish of mocha and medium tannins. This wine is very well balanced with a great nose, flavor and finish typical of a Rosenblum wine.
The wine makers comments suggest pairing this Petite Syrah with Prime Rib, Leg of Lamb or Pot Roast.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Amarone della Valpolicella La Coeta Corte Lenguin DOCG 2003 blind wine at Marche Bacchus

We have not done a wine review in a while mainly because we have been on the road. We stopped in at Marche Bacchus to join our friends Tex, Gidget and their sons for some blind wine tasting.

Jeff Wyatt , owner of Marche Bacchus brought us over a decanter with a red wine and we gave it our best shot !

In the glass it was medium bodied and with a nice rose color. The age of the vintage was thought to be in the 2004-2005 range. On the nose we had hints of spice and a over ripe dark fruit. The palate came through with spice, dark fruit and one report of liquorice. This wonderful wine had a medium finish with light to medium tannins

Jeff Wyatt brought to bottle out to us and explained it was a Amarone della Valpolicella La Coeta Corte Lenguin DOCG 2003 . He also added that he had just enjoyed this wine at home the previous evening. We were so intrigued by the wine we had to learn a little more about it.

The Amarone della Valpolicella La Coeta Corte Lenguin DOCG 2003 is a blend of Corvinone 60% , Rondinella 30% and Cabernet Sauvignon 10% This wine is made in the Italian Veneto region using the Passito method. Grapes are dryed in a cool dry place for up to 4 months until they are semi-dry which produces the concentrated sugar and flavor. If the fermentation continues and becomes completely dry it is called Amarone which means " strongly bitter". The grapes used in this process are always of high quality. Also of note is the Corvina grape is blended with Rondinella to produce a light colored , light bodied wine that are usually characterized by tart cherry flavor and even a slight bitter almond flavor as well.

We usually don't drink too much Amerone but this wine has sure opened our eyes to pay more attention to this great wine from the Veneto region in northeastern Italy. Thanks Jeff for a great selection

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Congratulations to Elaine Harris, Vegas Wine News Person of the month !


Congratulations to Elaine Harris of Vino Las Vegas for being named wine person of the month by Vegas Wine News ! The web site is moderated by Charles Moncrieff and is a great way to stay in touch with events in Las Vegas. Charles Moncrieff also travels to Europe often and has a great travel section on his web site. Stop by http://www.vegaswinenews.com and get some very good information on wine, travel, restaurants and a whole lot more.
Congratulations Elaine !

Peter Work ,Vineyard owner, Ampelos Cellars writes about 2007 Harvest


It’s almost over – but it was great! On Sept 17 we started picking the first grape: Viognier from Cuatro Vientos. And then the race began! We have now been going for about two months with no days off but the results are impressive. In general the harvest was late with low crop but very intense. A nice summer without any heat spells gave us the long hang time that works so well in Sta. Rita Hills. We started picking Pinot Noir on Sept 29 and finished Oct 19. Crop levels were at 1.6 ton/acre – well below 2005 and 2006. Good intense fruit for the winemaker but low crop for the grape grower – bottom line is that the vintage looks very promising. All is now fermented, drained, pressed and resting in barrels where the malo-lactic fermentation in going. Colors are the darkest and most intense we have seen so far and flavors are big and bold – another vintage of real Sta Rita Hills Pinot is on its way.

But as soon as we were getting the Pinots to rest in the barrels it started all over: Rhone time! Syrah and Grenache is always about a month behind, so on Oct 29 we got back to the cold mornings with clippers and buckets and started again. It was a great year for the Rhones as well – best crop load with 2.3 ton/acre, which is not much for a Syrah or a Grenache but we are very happy with the outcome. As we are writing this we still have 20 fermenters going with the Rhones but we expect to have everything in barrels around Dec 1.

As usual we have a had a lots of friends: “filos” (our wine club members) stopping by to help us out. Early, cold mornings, running around with buckets of grapes, punch-downs and barrel filling doesn’t seem to scare them as long as there is a good lunch and dinner with wine, stories and laughter. Thanks to all of your that joined us and shared the magic of picking grapes in a yellow/green ocean of the vineyard when the sun is rising – life is good!
Peter Work, Ampelos Vineyards, Lompoc Ca


Monday, November 19, 2007

Congratulations to Chef Andre Rochat Michelin Star Award Winner


As we have said many times before Las Vegas has become one of the wine and gourmet dining hubs of the world. This week the Michelin Restaurant Guide awarded the prestigious one-star rating to Chef Andre Rochat's Alize at the Top of the Palms and to Andres French restaurant downtown. For Chef Andre to win a star for both of his restaurants is a great accomplishment and has received world wide recognition.
Chef Andre Rochat stated, “I am honored beyond words for having been selected as the recipient of such incredibly meaningful honor”,
he went on to add, “I would like to give credit to the members of my staff for their dedication
to their craft and unwavering quest for culinary and service excellence; without them this would not have been possible". Additionally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Michelin Guide for their recognition and to George Maloof for allowing me the opportunity to open Alize, and bring this wonderful award to The Palms Casino Resort” Chef Rochat concluded.
This is truly a great honor to Chef Andre Rochat who is a culinary icon in Las Vegas. Congratulations once again Chef Andre for receiving this well deserved honor.

6th Annual Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation Dinner At Andres's


Some of the biggest names in gourmet dining came together at Chef Andre Rochat's Andres in Las Vegas to honor the late Chef Jean-Louis Palladin and raise money for his foundation.
In 1974, at 28 yrs old, Jean-Louis won 2 Michelin stars for his restaurant Tables Des Cordeliers in Gascony, France. At the time he was the youngest chef to have won 2 stars. In 1979 he came to The United States to open Jean-Louis at The Watergate, in the Watergate Hotel, Washington, DC. Jean-Louis found farmers in the area to grow fresh herbs and organic vegetables, and encouraged others to raise poultry and meats to his standards.
When Jean-Louis became ill, his friends, colleagues and customers sprang into action to help him. Benefit dinners were held all over America to raise money for his medical expenses. Jean-Louis passed away in November 2001. At the time of his death there was an excess of funds, these funds were used to initially fund the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation.
The Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation was incorporated in June, 2002 to serve as an ongoing tribute to the memory of chef Jean-Louis Palladin. The goal of the foundation is to create a memorial to his determination in seeking out and using the best ingredients, mentoring talent wherever he found it, and encouraging creativity among chefs.
The dinner was a who's who of Chefs from all over the world. All were there to rasie money for this very important foundation. Each of the Chefs prepared a mouth watering course that was paired with a fabulous wine.

Passed Hors D’Oeuvres
Rose Wine Poached Silk Chicken and Ginger Radish
&
Kobe Shabu Shabu, Potato Dill Cake and Lobster Bolognese
Wolfgang Von Wieser – Bellagio Hotel and Casino

Foie Gras and Chicken Pressed with Brioche and Black Truffle
&
Kampachi Sashimi with Cauliflower Rémoulade and Meyers Lemon Emulsion
Bruno Davaillon – Mix Restaurant, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc, Brut, Reims, NV
1st – Alternating Course
Crustcea – Chilled Shellfish Platter
Maine Lobster, Florida Stone Crab, Deer Creek Oysters with
American Caviar and Spicy Cocktail Sauce
Barry S. Dakake – N9NE Steakhouse, Palms Casino Resort
or
Napoleon of Alaskan King Crab and Celery Root Rémoulade
Jean Joho and Joung Sohn - Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Paris Hotel
Langwerth von Simmern, Estate Riesling, Rheingau, 2005
2nd – Alternating Course
Pan Seared Halibut with Yukon Gold and Truffle “Buchette”
Chicken Jus and Banyuls Vinegar, Petite Mâche with Hazelnut Oil
Laurent Pillard and Hubert Keller - Fleur de Lys,
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
or
Stuffed European Calamari with House-Made Chorizo and “Basquaise” Vegetables
Vincent Pouessel - Aureole, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Qupe Chardonnay Reserve, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Block 11, Santa Maria Valley, 2004
3rd – Alternating Course
Sautéed Squab Breast on Foie Gras Toast, Chestnut Butternut Squash Gnocchi and Winter Truffle Sauce
Mark Purdy – Alizé & Greg Engelhardt, Andre’s
or
White Marble Farms Pork Belly Braised in Almond Milk with
Celery Root Purée and Blood Orange Gastrique
Michael Demers – The M Resort
Etude Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2005
4th – Alternating Course
Day Boat Scallop with Braised Pork Belly, Melted Leeks andGrain Mustard Beurre Blanc
Rick Moonen – RM Seafood, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
or
Scampi Lessi in Brodo di Cappone con Cavoletti e Tartufo Bianco
“Langoustines Poached in Capon Broth with Brussels Sprout Leaves and White Truffle”
Paul Bartolotta – Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Wynn Las Vegas
Kuentz-Bas Pinot Gris, Cuvee Tradition, Alsace, 2004
5th – Alternating Course
Bone Marrow Stuffed Veal Shank with its “Sugo”
Luciano Pellegrini – Valentino’s, Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
or
Bordeaux Braised Cured Leg of Duck of a Bed of French Green Lentils
with Sizzle Leeks and Infused Garlic Oil
Michael and Wendy Jordan - Rosemary’s
Chateau Gruaud-Larose, St. Julien, 1998
6th – Alternating Course
“Brillat Savarin” Cheese on the Spoon
Baby Farm Yellow Frisée and Celery Salad with
Hazelnuts Oil on a Toast of Roasted Flour Bread
Aged Port Wine in Tube
Eric Damidot – Caesars Palace
or
Black Truffle Salad with Walnut Brioche
Sven Mede – Nobhill by Michael Mina, MGM Grand
Moet et Chandon, Brut Imperial Rose, Epernay, N
V
7th – Alternating Course

Timbale of Pistachio Financier with Passion Fruit Chiboust and Compote of Exotic FruitQuenelle of Coconut Sorbet with Wild Strawberry Coulis
Jean-Philippe Dufoin – Café Soleil
or
Hazelnut Fondant filled with Caramelized Bananas and Chocolate Custard Topped with a Crispy Tuile and White Chocolate Creme Glace
Sean DiCicco-Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Inniskillin Riesling Icewine, Niagra Penninsula , NY
Apres Diner
Coffee or Tea and Petit Fours
Megan Romano-Aureole, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
The Cocktail Reception and Dinner was $325.00 per person. This magnificant dinner by these talented Chefs was followed by an Auction. All the proceeds of this event benifited the foundation.
For more information please contact http://www.jlpfoundation.org/ Also a big thanks goes out to Southern Wine and Spirits for providing the wines. This was a fabulous event for a great cause and we look forward the the 7th Annual Fund Raiser next year !

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beaujolias Nouveau and Marche Bacchus






November 15th 2007 ! That means the Beaujolais Nouveau has been released. As per French tradition we set out to find just the right place to try the 2007 Vintage. There many choices here in Las Vegas but what a better place than Marche Bacchus
to enjoy this great tradition.
Chef Christophe created a nice pre-fix dinner to pair nicely with the Beaujolais. A fantastic view with friends and good food made the celebration of the 2007 Vintage one to enjoy. This is a great French tradition that is alot of fun. If you did not have the opportunity to celebrate on the actual release date, don't worry there is much to go around. Just remember these wines are not meant to age so enjoy over the holiday season !


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Vino Las Vegas LLC is Born !


VINO LAS VEGAS LLC. Is born ! Thank you for all of the support from our friends, emails, and phone calls. All of our readers have interests that they want us to explore. We became Vino Las Vegas LLC so we can continue our journey in a much better way. As we said a week ago, There are big announcements coming from Vino Las Vegas. This is only the first one.
We have a guest Vineyard Owner that will be a contributor to the blog from time to time. His first article about Harvest 2007 is on the way.
We are very excited about what the future has for all of us. Thank you all once again !
Cheers !

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ampelos Cellars Lompoc




In Lompoc you will find the Tasting








room of Ampelos Cellars. It is open by appointment only and make some of the best wines in the area.

Spending time in the

Santa Rita Hills of

California is one of our favorite pastimes. On this visit we stopped by

Ampelos Winery to help out our friends Peter and Rebecca Work, owners and wine makers.

Today we were following behind Peter and Rebecca as they were doing the "punch-down" which is the process of climbing on top of the bins and using a stainless steal rod to push the grape skins down three to four times a day. When they were finished with this process,

we measured the temperature and sugar content to see how the fermentation was progressing. After our hard work, we had a satisfying lunch and then barrel tasted wines with Peter. We barrel tasted the upcoming vintages. Learning by doing is always a great way to become intimately acquainted with the real labor and passion that is behind a winemakers desire to make the perfect bottle of wine. We want to thank Peter and Rebecca for the privilege of following them through the various stages of making their wonderful wines.

Cheers and Thank you !










Hitching Post Resturant Buelleton





Further North in Buellton you will find One of our favorite dinner jaunts while we are in this area is the Hitching Post, a restaurant that has been popularized by the movie Sideways. The steaks are always delicious and cooked to your liking. Most of the local wines are available and the line out the door is a good indication that many feel the same way about the food and family style ambiance. Because of the overwhelming popularity of this restaurant reservations are suggested.

Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott