Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vino Las Vegas visits with Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobant


Even our name states we are about "wine". However just like any thing in life we have evolved to encompass and learn about many subjects as we come across them
Vino Las Vegas is not only about wine but also fine dining and travel. Dining and travel can also be about another beverage known the world over as " Beer ".
While attending the Bon Appetit Vegas Uncorked events we had the opportunity to speak to a Master Beer Sommelier and learned the worlds of Fine Beer and Wine are not too far apart.
Marc Stroobandt is a Master Beer Sommelier so what a better person to speak to about Beer. We were not even aware there was such a title . Marc first became interested in speciality beers during his first year in law school in Belgium in 1982.
He had the opportunity to work side by side with Belgian brew masters and obtained a one of a kind education of Belgian beers while working at many of the renowned Belgian beer bars. Marc attended catering school and there he gained an appreciation of beer and food pairings
In 1998 Marc received world wine acclaim when he was awarded an honorary Knighthood by one of Europe's oldest trade guilds, the La Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs ( the Knighthood of the Brewer's Mashstaff ) .
We spoke with Marc about the steps of beer tasting and Marc agreed it is very similar to wine tasting. Marc suggested we start with a Cabernet Sauvignon glass which really surprised us. No frosty mugs with beers like these ! Like wine , you look at the body and color of the beer. Then on to the "nose" . Marc explained you are looking for many of the same things like the esters. In beer you are looking for the hops and other aromas that set it apart. And yes, like wine, beer has a finish as well. Food Pairing is done exactly the same way as wine. Each course is matched with a beer that either contrasts or complements the dish.
We asked Marc about his opinon about what is happening regarding the Food and Beverage industry in Las Vegas. Marc had visited Las Veags several years before. On this visit he agreed that Las Vegas has taken it's place among the world's best culinary destinations and sees no sign of letting up as more and more world renowned Chefs are coming into the city serving world class dishes.
It was an education and a pleasure to speak with Marc while he was in Las Vegas. He say he plans to return soon to enjoy more of the Culinary experience of the city. Marc is currently the director and master beer sommelier for the F&B Partnership and lives in London England.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Robert Mondavi June 18th 1913 - May 16th 2008



Robert Gerald Mondavi June 18, 1913–May 16 2008 was a leading American vineyard operator whose technical improvements and marketing strategies brought worldwide recognition for the wines of the Napa Valleyin California. From an early period, Mondavi aggressively promoted labeling wines by variety rather than generically. This is now the standard for New World Wines

In 1968 he made a dry oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc, an unpopular variety in California at the time, and labeled it "Fumé Blanc". The wine was a success and, in time, Fumé Blanc became accepted as a synonym for Sauvignon Blanc.
Mondavi successfully developed a number of premium wines that earned the respect of connoisseurs and vintners alike. In 1979, he built the Mondavi Woodbridge Winery in Lodi, California developing it into a leader of popular-premium wines. He also entered into a joint venture the Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton Rothschild to create Opus One Winery, and since the 1990s has set up joint ventures with local partners in Europe, South America and Australia.

In the Grand European Jury Wine Tasting of 1997, the Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve was ranked number one.

In Robert Mondavi was nominated and inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame by the Culinary Institute of America. The election was based upon ballots from seventy wine journalists. The decision for their election of Mondavi is for contributions to the wine industry of California during his life-time.
Inductions with Robert Mondavi on March 7, 2007 included Agoston Haraszthy, Andre Tchelistcheff, Georges de Latour, Charles Krug, Gustave Niebaum, Brother Timothy, Maynard Amerine and Harold Olmo.

2005 Robert Mondavi and his younger brother Peter made wine together for the first time after their feud. Using grapes from both family vineyards, they produced one barrel of cabernet blend, which was sold under the name "Ancora Una Volta" ("Once Again")

Robert Mondavi died at his Yountville home on May 16, 2008 at the age of 94.

We never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Mondavi in person but his legacy will go on forever and all of us in the Food and Wine Industry owe our professional existence to him. Join Vino Las Vegas in raising a glass of California Sparkling wine and say " Thank you Mr Mondavai , Cheers !

Thursday, May 22, 2008

VINO LAS VEGAS goes downunder with SandalFord Wines in Western Australia
















As we have said time and time again, Las
Vegas is a culinary and wine destination. We
recently had the pleasure of meeting Grant
Brinklow CEO of the award winning
Sandalford Wines when he made a stop in
Las Vegas.




Sandalford was founded in 1840 and is one
of Western Australia's oldest privately owned
wineries. Sandalford offers award winning premium wines. Many of which are allocated.







Sandalford's Chief Winemaker Paul Boulden began his career in the 1980's in the the McLaren Vale region of South Australia as a cellar hand with Ingoldby Wines and Thomas Fern Hill Winery.
He graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1993 where he won the chemistry award while studying Oenology. In his third year of the undergraduate program he worked as Assistant Winemaker at Tarrawarra in the Yarra Valley of Victoria.
He spent his graduate year as vintage Winemaker at Stonier Wines in Victoria under the guidance of Tod Dexter. After completing the vintage of 1993 he accepted a position as winemaker for Chateau Monbazillac in the Bordeaux region in France. His work took Paul to the Penedes region of Catalunya each week to oversee production of both traditional and non-traditional Spanish wines.
From Europe Paul returned to South Australia as a winemaker with Yalumba Wines in the Barossa region of South Australia. In 1997 he made the move to Western Australia to a well-known boutique winery, Killerby, located in the Geographe region of the state. Within a year he also undertook the role of General Manager as well as winemaker.
After four years at Killerby he started with the 2001 vintage at Sandalford Wines as Chief Winemaker. At Sandalford he has won consecutively the state's, "Most Successful Exhibitor" at the annual Western Australian Sheraton Wine Awards. Paul also has multiple trophy and Gold medal wine successes at all of the Australian Capital City wine shows, in addition to numerous outstanding wine reviews by the national wine press.
His focus has been on developing the premium Sandalford wines from the company's 33-yr. old dry grown Margaret River vineyard, one of the largest and oldest vineyards in this famed wine region. Aside from this he sees the development of the Element range of wines as critical to the ongoing fine reputation of Western Australian wines.


Scott from Vino Las Vegas spoke with CEO Grant Brinklow about Sandalford wines on his visit to Las Vegas and join Vino Las Vegas as we listen to Jeremy Wilkenson of 4winesplusmore take us on a tasting journey of some of these wonderfull Sandalford Wines. We here at Vino Las Vegas are pleased to announce that you can purchase some of these allocated wines from our website with special Vino Las Vegas pricing. Just remember " VINOLV" at checkout and for a limited time only free shipping untill May 31st 2008 with code word "AUSSIE ". We know you will enjoy these wines as much as we have so take advantage of this special offer



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One of the Sandalford wines that really stood out for us was the Sandalford Premium Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Margaret River Western Australia 2007. With
summer upon us we can not think of a better wine than this 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. It has a typical Sauvignon Blanc profile but the Semillon adds wonderful citrus notes that are refreshing on a warm summer day. It also scored a Gold Medal at the Australian National Wine show in 2007.

All of these wines really stood out and many are allocated. We here in the Northern Hemisplere are truely lucky to have these premium limited prodcution wines for us to enjoy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

VINO LAS VEGAS dines at Payard for the Bon Appetit Master's Series Dinner for Vegas Uncorked



With Bon Appetit in town for
the 2008 Vegas Uncorked there
were several Master Dinners to
choose from.







With Dinners at Mesa Grill, Payard Patisserie and Bistro, Rao's,

and Guy Savoy how could you go wrong with any of them. The
answer to that is , you cant . We attended the Payard Master's
Series Dinner hosted by Chef Francois Payard and award winning
author Dorie Greenspan.




Francois Payard is a third generation French Pastry Chef. While
in Paris he earned his way into several of France's finest kitchens.
He became Pastry Chef at the Michelin 3-Star Tour d Argent in 1988. And the next year moved to another Michelin 3-Star Luca
Carton with renown chef Alain Senderns.






New York was Francois next stop and was named "Pasty
Chef of the Year" by the James Beard Foundation. Francois is now
an author as well as a renowned Pastry Chef and has opened Payard Patisseries in Las Vegas, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.





The Patisserie and Bistro's design is one of a kind and any guest would enjoy the ambiance. When you enter the front door the custom tile floor with the Payard insignia is worth a look down. But before long you eyes are drawn to the dinning room where the kitchen is located in the middle and guest seated around in a small intimate atmosphere with almost an art-deco style.


We were greeted with Amuse Bouche , Tomato Gelee with Monk Fish & Tomato Salad
paired with Chartogne-Taillet "Cuvee St Anne" Merfy Montagne De Reims, Champagne,France
1999-2000 non vintage.



The Appetizer consisted of Aspragus Salad, Artchoke & Tamarind Dressing paired with Skouras Moschofilero 2006 Peloponnese Greece

We were now ready for the Entree and it melted in our mouth. The Braised Short Ribs, Mashed Potatoes and Baby Carrots paired with Trapiche Single Vineyard Malbec, Vina Francisco Olive Mendoza Argentina 2005 was one of the best short ribs and
wine pairing we have had.

But now we were ready for what Payard is famous for, desert. And he did not let us down. We actually had a desert tasting consisting of five deserts. Seared Pineapple with Thyme & Coconut Sorbet , Slow Baking Apple, Cardamine Streusel and Granny Smith Sorbet, Milk Chocolate Payard Candy Bar with Gianduja and Caramel Glaze , Palet d Or, Hazenut Succes , Marquise Chocolat and Crispi Wafer. All of the deserts were paired with the Lustau Moscatel Emilin, Jerez Spain non vintage.


Chef Payard and his staff did a magnificent job with this dinner. The wine and food pairings were right on target and of course enjoyed the deserts. We will definitely visit this wonderful new restaurant in Caesars Palace often.

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Enjoy a visit to Payard with Elaine and Scott of Vino Las Vegas as we attend the Master Series Dinner for Bon Appetit 's Vegas Uncorked 2008.

VINO LAS VEGAS slips and strolls through Bon Appetit's Vegas Uncorked Grand Tasting














Bon Appetit Magazine named Las Vegas one of the top five
restaurant cities in the U.S and Travelocity ranked the city second among the world's top gourmet destinations. It is only natural that Bon Appetit once again, chose Las Vegas as home for one of their most exciting culinary events of the year.











Vino Las Vegas is based in this world-renowned entertainment and culinary destination city. Bon Appetit came to town with their Vegas Uncorked for a four day celebration of culinary excellence so we had to stop in for several of these events.

The Grand Tasting sip and stroll was like walking through a culinary Disney world. We walked
into the event took our glasses and paused at the sight before us. We saw legends like Guy Savoy,Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, and Daniel Boulud serving up their best to the guests.










One of our first stops was RM seafood to sample seafood from
Chef / Author Rick Moonen. Having been at the Francois Payard
Master Series Dinner the night before, we had to stop by for
another taste of his luscious creations. Guy Savoy is a culinary
icon and also present at this prestigious culinary event.










Emeril Lagssee's presence was in the house as well with Table 10's executive Chef Jean Paul Labadie serving his newest creations from the latest Emeril restaurant located in the Palazzo Hotel and Casino.












Many of the Bon Appetit staff was on hand as well. Executive Chef Cat Cora was present along with Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild.










There was much more to enjoy. Every isle we explored brought us names like B&B Ristorante, Joes Seafood and Stone Crab, David Burke, Mesa Grill, Bistro Zinc, Spago, Border Grill, Bradley
Ogden, Aureole,L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon, Alize and so many more.


Just these names alone can give a "foodie" sensory overload.One of the best parts of this event was most of the "big"names were present to represent their restaurant in person.
These culinary stars were very approachable and available for book signings or just to stop by
and say how much you enjoy their creations.










We had the opportunity to speak with colleagues and others in the field that attend many events throughout the year. Almost everyone agreed nowhere in the world could you stand under one
roof and enjoy food of this quality except in Las Vegas. This great city has perhaps the largest collection of "celebrity" chefs and renown restaurants found anywhere in the world. There are
more Master Sommeliers in Las Vegas than any other city.


Las Vegas has been on the world stage in many capacities over its short but colorful history. But
now with AAA Five Diamond Award winners and recently the prestigious Michelin Guide awarding the only three star rating to Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand for Las Vegas and Los Angeles, lets Las Vegas take its right full place among the world's best culinary cities.

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Take a slip and stroll with Elaine and Scott of Vino Las Vegas as we talk to a few Chefs, winemakers and sample some culinary creations we will not soon forget.

VINO LAS VEGAS watches Chefs and Celebraties go head to head at the Bon Appetit Vegas Uncorked Culinary Pro-Am Masters vs Rookies












When you bring a publication like Bon Appetit ,the worlds best chefs, add some celebrities and put them in a culinary city like Las Vegas you are in for a treat.
Vino Las Vegas attended the Culinary Pro-Am Masters vs Rookies events at the world famous Caesars Palace when Bon Appetit came to town with their Vegas Uncorked
four day culinary event.








This event paired world renown Chefs like Rick Moonen ,
Paul Bartolotta and young upcoming Chefs like Carlo Buscaglia
with talented actor John O' Hurley and comedian Louie
Anderson to prepare a meal in 30 minuets for a tough panel
of judges.








The big twist in the competition was there was a secret ingredient
that had be the focus of the dish. And to make it more interesting, the meal would be judged by a panel of culinary experts and in front of a live audience.







Both rounds were emceed by Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and
Susan Feniger who did a great job explaining the rules and keeping
tabs on the teams as they created their dishes within the 30 minuet time frame.




The judging panel was quite impressive with Barbara Fairchild
Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit, Alan Richman Bon Appetit's
Special Correspondent , Andrew Knowlton Bon Appetit's
Restaurant Editor and the Food Network's Vice President of Program Planning and Acquisitions Bruce Seidel critique each
dish



Round one had a secret ingredient of Lobster. We were surprised
they would use Lobster as it is fairly common and not to mention one of the competing chefs is renown world wide for his seafood.
Nevertheless, the kitchens went to work and produced culinary
works of art. Once we saw the finished creations it was hard
to believe these dishes were done within 30 minutes without knowing the "secret" ingredient.


The talented team of Chef Rick Moonen and Louie Anderson
prevailed in a very close vote by the esteemed panel of judges.







Round 2 began with Renown Chef Paul Bartolotta putting his
skills to the test against the young and very talented Chef Carlo
Buscaglia. Of course, team Bartolotta would not be complete with
out the help of actor John O' Hurley.





Round two got off to a tough start when the secret ingredient was
revealed to be Squash Blossoms. We knew this ingredient would
really push their culinary skills to the limit to be able to impress
the judges.





After a tough battle and alot of laughs from the John O' Hurley team, Bartolotta was declared the winner. In a competition like this we all winners to be able to see culinary talent like this put to the test.





This was a great event to showcase renown Chefs as well as giving
us a hint of the young talent that is on deck and always ready to
go to bat.







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Join VINO LAS VEGAS as we watched both of these incredible competitions unfold at the Culinary Pro-Am 2008 Bon Appetit's Vegas Uncorked.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Adam and Dianna Lee winemakers from Siduri and Novy wines visits Double Helix Boutique in Palazzo Resort and speak to Vino Las Vegas



It is not often you meet a wine making couple in this business
but it was a pleasure to meet
Adam and Dianna Lee from
Siduri and Novy wines. We have
enjoyed their high scoring wines
immensely in the past.

Adam and Dianna made a stop at the Wine Spectator Grand Tour
event being held at the Venetian Hotel Casino. Prior to the
event they held a wine tasting at one of our favorite stops ,
Double Helix Wine Bar and Boutique in the Palazzo Hotel Casino.



We were attending the Wine Spectator event as well, so we did not need to be coerced to stop at Double Helix , taste some Siduri and Novy wines and speak with Adam and Dianna. They have a great wine making
philosophy and work together very well. They feed off each other
and make a great wine making team.
To quote their website , " By focusing solely on Pinot Noir from the most prestigious vineyard sites in California and Oregon, and by vinifying each barrel separately by lot, clone, yeast and cooper, we champion individuality of place and intensity of flavor in each wine we produce ."

That quote could not be more on target. We spend alot of time in many of the vineyards and
appellations where they get their fruit. These are some of the most prestigious
vineyards to be found from Napa to Santa Barbara County. The Siduri
vineyard specific labels read like a who's who of California vineyard owners and wine growers.

It was a pleasure to meet this great team and couple and spend a few
minutes talking with them about their past and future plans.

If you are in Las Vegas, Double Helix is a great place to stop for wine, food
and events located right on the Fabulous Las Vegas Strip.


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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Elaine speaks with winemaker Richard OH of Otter Cove and OH wines








Winemaker Richard Oh recently made a stop in Las Vegas. While in town , Richard joined Vino Las Vegas for lunch and to talk about the release of OH Wines Pinot Noir 2006 Santa Lucia Highlands.

Under the Otter Cove label Richard produces Gewurztraminer, Resling , Syrah , Merlot and Pinot Noir varietals. They all have a designation from either Santa Lucia Highlands or Monterey County. We had the opportunity to try the Otter Cove wines last year and were pleasently surprised.



On this occasion we tried OH Wines Pinot Noir 2006 Santa Lucia Highlands that has just been released. On the nose we were greeted with the classic aromas of cherry and spice .In the glass the wonderful burgundy color shinned and led us to the palate where cherry, black fruit and spice came through. The finish was unique in that in had a little more tannins than we would expect. This however is a good thing as this great Pinot should hold up in the bottle very well.



Richard has done a great job producing his other varietals under the Otter Cove label and we expect he will do the same with his new label of OH Wines.









Like most of his fellow winemakers in Monterey County you can taste the labor and passion that has gone into making these wines. Richard likes to experiment with aromas and flavors to produce some classic varietals with his own unique twist. It is very good to see young winemakers such as Richard really begin to come into their own by making quality wines that are recognized by experts in the Food and Wine industry worldwide.



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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Vino Las Vegas samples the best of Las Vegas at the Epicurean Affair 2008 poolside at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino





The Flamingo Hotel and Casino played host
to the 18th annual Epicurean Affair which features the best of Las Vegas's Food and Beverage Industry.












The Nevada Restaurant Association and the Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association teamed up with the Flamingo Hotel for a culinary and beverage smorgasbord. Las Vegas has become a primere culinary and beverage destination
of the world. The Affair, held poolside at the Flamingo Hotel,
really showed the world the diversity Las Vegas has to offer in Food and Beverage.



When you walk in you can,t help but be in awe of the beautiful
tropical pool at the Flamingo. It was decked out with lights,
music and of course surrounded by some of the biggest names
in the culinary world.


You almost get sensory overload as you stroll along the pool
smelling the culinary creations of such renown Chefs as Guy
Savoy , Michael Mina and Andre Rochat. Many of these Chefs have been awarded the coveted Michelin Stars and attendees could sample the cuisine that is known world wide.

While you are walking in Tropical Paradise at the Flamingo over
70 signature dishes from some of these renown chefs were
available for tasting and many of the world class clubs were
present to temp us with their beverage creations as well.












This event really showed off how much diversity Las Vegas has
to offer. One thought kept coming to our minds as we walked
around the pool sampling the food and beverages.

Las Vegas has come along was from its beginnings as mainly an
entertainment city. This great city has the ability to change with
the times as it has many times in the past. Entertainment has
always been world class in Las Vegas and will continue to lead
the world as a major entertainment destination.



When you attend an event like this it
really opens your eyes and showcases
what Las Vegas has become. No other
city can offer the combination of world
class entertainment , gaming , award
winning world renown Chefs and
nightlife that is unmatched.




In this great city one can now walk the
Las Vegas strip , try their luck in
many of the famous hotel casinos or

go shopping in designer stores by day. Have a great lunch poolside prepared by the well trained resort culinary staff of the many hotels.
After lunch enjoy a massage or workout at the many well equipped Spas. Dinner is worth waiting all day for and what an experience. No other city has so many famous renown Chefs

all within a short walk or cab ride. Dinning at these restaurants
is truly a memorable experience and should not be passed up.





The many shows available in the evenings can keep you busy
for weeks if you saw a different show every night. There is a show
for most any taste from a traditional Las Vegas show to Broadway
musicals. There is something available 7 days a week.

Las Vegas has always been known for its nightlife and still has
no rival in the world. Guests travel from the 4 corners of the
world to experience these clubs with multiple levels, music and sensory experiences.
That is a day in Las Vegas. No other city can match that. Walking
around the historic Flamingo Hotel we could not help but have those thoughts as we got a first hand view of what Las Vegas has
become and will continue to evolve into.





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Join Elaine and Scott of Vino Las Vegas as we take you into the Epicurean Affair and see what
Las Vegas has to offer.

Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott