Before we look at the wine we took a look at the vineyard history, the region and the people behind it. Ventisquero began making wine in 2000. Unlike other wineries in the area they are led by a young, creative team of entrepreneurs whose mission is to create distinctive, high quality wines. In a word, this young eager team strives challenge the status quo, always searching for unique and different ways to accomplish their goal to create great wines.
Under the guidance of head winemaker Felipe Tosso, the winery was built in the Coastal Maipo Valley, Casablanca, Leyda and Colchagua . Felipe Tosso is the craftsman behind GREY, involving himself in every detail of production. He works the vineyards, selects the fruit, controls fermentation, and oversees the 18-month ageing regimen for each of the wines. Single Blocks from Maipo Alto, Casablanca and Apalta make GREY a rarity in the world of wines.
After looking at the winemaking it was now time for the panel to get to work and put the wine to task. The Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 is interesting in that only 50% of the grapes are crushed. A pre-fermentive maceration is carried out at 8C for 5 days. The Carmenere is aged 18 months in French Oak barrels, 33% of them new and 66% second and third use. The wine is then bottle aged for 8 months.
In the glass the wine showed hues of purple to garnet and medium bodied. On the nose, blueberry and black cherry are prominent giving way to wet earth and spice. On the palate, big flavors of blueberry and cherry tantalize the palate followed by pepper, earth and slate, ending in a long finish with light feminine tannins. This Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 is a beautiful blend of 97% Carmenere and 3 % Petit Verdot and nicely balanced acidity.
Drink the Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 now or age 10 years when it will become more complex over time. Look for this Carmenere , at $23.99 it is affordable and enjoyable.
Cuisineist Tasting Panel Score (Dec 2013) Vina Ventisquero Carmenere 2011 Trinidad Vineyard , Maipo Chile
Life was certainly beautiful at the first Life is Beautiful event at the continuing evolving downtown area of Las Vegas.
This downtown extravaganza showed off the musical talents of 70 bands and DJs that drew standing room only masses of dancing, peaceful, fun-loving fans of all ages. Two Ferris wheels and Cirque du Solei performances kept attendees busy all day and into the night .
In addition to the music and other events, Life Is Beautiful teamed up with Wirtz Beverage to feature wine tastings, a beer garden with live music and an Alchemy Village where mixology experts poured creations from their very talented beverage team.
The Culinary arts were a big part of the multi-day celebration the culinary village was located in the heart of the festival and ground zero to many world’s best chefs and restaurants. These chefs and over 50 restaurants provided gastronomic delights that made palates dance from the incredible dishes served all day and into the evening hours when renowned band’s tunes filled the air.
Over two incredible days, 20 of the most highly regarded chefs in the world showed their culinary skills live on a Sub-Zero Wolf, Westar Kitchen & Bath stage. These demonstrations featured celebrity Chefs such as Scott Conant, Johnathan Waxman, Hubert Keller, Cat Cora, Jet Tila ,Todd English and the two hot tamales themselves Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken as well as others who shared their kitchen secrets with eager guests.
Tony Hsieh, over the past few years has transformed downtown Las Vegas into a vibrant community abuzz with boutiques, locally owned restaurants, bars and of course the Zappos headquarters. The good news for the area is the inaugural event sold 40 percent of tickets to Las Vegas residents, most of whom have not spent much time downtown. After attending the festivities, we have no doubt Las Vegas residents will be spending much more time exploring what the area has to offer.
Overall, for an inaugural event, Life is Beautiful was a success.15 blocks of music, food, celebrity chefs and art showed off the new downtown that is Tony Hsieh’s on going vision. We look forward to the continued evolution of downtown over the next year
The weather is changing and the holiday season is fast approaching. There are worldwide celebrations and positive energy is contagious most everywhere you look.We have been fortunate to attend one winter celebration since its inception in Las Vegas.The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas are home to their Winter in Venice celebration on the Las Vegas Strip, this year’s theme is "A Gift of The Venetian."This third celebration of music, food and culture will feature 49 days of seasonal experiences throughout both resorts running Nov. 18, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014.
The 2013, a schedule of events include a nightly winter parade, tree-lighting ceremonies, a stunning 3D light projection show,an elaborate Winter in Venice fantasy scene in The Palazzo Waterfall Gardens, and a romantic skating rink above The Venetian's romantic outdoor Grand Canal.
"The holidays are such a magical time for everyone and Winter in Venice offers the perfect place to truly enjoy this special time of year,"said John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo.
"Winter in Venice finds its inspiration in the folklore and tales that generations of Italians have grown to know and love,"said Caparella.“Those stories have filled the imaginations of generations of Venetians with the experiences of festive holiday seasons coupled with the long-treasured spirit of giving and sharing.Within these tales are the characters that exemplify the good will, the fun and the excitement of the season."
The Venetian's front exterior facing the Las Vegas Strip will be adorned in winter schemes reminiscent of the city of Venice.Thousands of festooned lights will hang over a majestic ice skating rink as large snowflakes, ranging from 48 to 72-inches in diameter, surround the façade of The Venetian.
This extravagant celebration will kick off with the Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas,The Symphony Tour, at 8pm on Nov. 22-23 and Nov. 27-28. The 90-minute show features music from the all-female music ensemble's second Christmas album, Home For Christmas, including holiday favorites "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Silent Night."
In addition to the daily events there will be two specialty weekends that are definitely a reason to visit and enjoy.First up is La Cucina Italiana Weekend, with Chef Mario Batali and Buddy Valastro (Dec 6-8): In conjunction with Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, La Cucina Italiana magazine will feature a three-day event celebrating the epicurean traditions of Italy. La Cucina Italiana, the undisputed expert on Italian food, wine and culture worldwide, will feature a weekend of food demonstrations, wine dinners, and other culinary-centered activities to keep your palate in the holiday mood.
For an upclose look at La Cucina Italiana visit http://cuisineist.com/events/las-vegas-food-and-wine-events/la-cucina-italiana-food-and-wine-festival-at-the-venetian-palazzo-resorts-promises-italian-culinary-excellence/
The exciting Culinary Clash Weekend, with Chef Emeril Lagasse is (Dec 13-14): Guests can witness the best Chefs of the resorts compete to see who will be named winner of the second Culinary Clash Master Chef Competition. The competition, which unfolds over the weekend, is open to all chefs at the food and beverage venues located inside The Venetian and The Palazzo.These chefs will vie for the prestige of THE VENETIAN CULINARY CLASH AWARD.
It is not all about Italian gastronomy at Winter in Venice,a mixology cocktail competition will feature scheduled appearances by Tony Abou Ganim, Francesco Lafranconi and Dale de Groff, each recognized as being among the greatest mixologists in the country.
Over this culinary extravaganza, a seasonal Winter in Venice cocktail menu, including holiday-inspired spiced cocktails such as Gondolier Blanco, will be available throughout the resort lounges, including The Bourbon Room, Zebra Lounge, Bellini Bar, Fusion Mixology Bar and Laguna Champagne Bar.
Certainly to join in the spirit of the season, Holiday-themed prix fixe menus and specials will be offered by select world-class restaurants throughout the holiday including Aquaknox, B&B, Bouchon, Canaletto, Canyon Ranch Café, Delmonico, FIRST Food & Bar, Grand Lux Cafe, Pinot Brasserie, Postrio, Table 10, and LAVO Italian Restaurant.
What more can you say but hop a train, plane or drive to The Venetian / Palazzo resorts and enjoy 49 days of true culinary and artistic bliss. See you on the rink at Winter in Venice.
For more information on Winter in Venice please visit thttp://www.venetian.com/winterinvenice.
Paso Robles CAB Collective Predicts a Remarkable Vintage. Association members share thoughts on the 2013 harvest.
Formed in 2012, the Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective (PRCC) is an independent collaborative effort of leading Paso Robles growers and producers of Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals specific to the Paso Robles AVA in California. The group strives to promote the full potential of the Paso Robles region in producing superior quality, classic and age-worthy Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals .
Members of the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC) recently joined fellow vintners and growers across California in praising the virtues of the 2013 harvest. At the top of the list are an early start to the growing season, long hang-time and near-absence of inclement weather.
“The climatic conditions on our mountain during the growing season contributed to smaller berries and fewer berries per cluster,” said Daniel Daou, Winemaker and Owner at DAOU Vineyards. “These conditions have allowed us to generate phenolics in our wines that are, on average, thirty percent greater than in previous years. This means darker and more intense wines that will age well. A great year for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties.”
Also commenting on the harvest was Michael Barreto, Winemaker at Le Vigne Winery. “An early and warm spring got the growing season off to a quick start. Some cool stretches in the summer allowed varieties like Merlot to coast a bit and be ready for harvest around the same as an average year. However, for us, Cabernet Sauvignon came in around two weeks earlier than normal. Our harvest size was about average with nicely-sized clusters that should provide nice flavor and concentration.”
Calcareous Winemaker, Jason Joyce shared, “All in all, at this earliest of stages in the wines’ life, I could not be more enthusiastic about this vintage. It may not be until 2016 that these wines are ready to taste, but if there is enough patience to let natural aging run its course, this vintage has all the requisite fundamentals for the production of remarkable Bordeaux varietals.”
With more than 25 Paso Robles harvests under his belt, Jeff Meier, Director of Winemaking for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines added, “Given the phenomenal quality of our fermentations so far this harvest, and the color numbers we are recording, I’m reminded of the legendary 1997 vintage. While every vintage is unique, 1997 and 2013 were very similar in that we had ideal moderate weather from veraison onward with no significant heat events, factors that have contributed to the remarkable color of our red wines. This is especially true for our Cabernet Sauvignon, which is showing the voluptuous black currant and cherry flavors we love from warmer vintages. The fact that I’m even thinking about 1997 right now is a testament to how excited I am about this vintage.”
This prestigious group seeks to improve awareness among consumers and retailers worldwide regarding the distinctive attributes of Paso Robles Cabernet as well as other Bordeaux varietals. Current members include: ADELAIDA Cellars, Ancient Peaks Winery, B&E Vineyard, Calcareous Vineyard, Chateau Margene, DAOU Vineyards & Winery, Eberle Winery, HammerSky Vineyards, Hunt Cellars, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Le Vigne Winery, Jada Vineyard, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, L’Aventure, Parrish Family Vineyards, Record Family Wines, Robert Hall Winery, Sextant Wines and Vina Robles.
The next time you are in the area , stop in to one of these wineries and sample a world class Cabernet Sauvignon than can stand against any on the world stage.
A evening of classic dishes and iconic wines with Sirio Maccioni at Sirio Ristorante in the Aria Resort .
Long one of Manhattan’s most celebrated restaurateurs, Sirio Maccioni has wined and dined high society in New York for nearly half a century. In March of 1974, Maccioni opened Le Cirque in the Mayfair hotel. Le Cirque was the first privately owned hotel restaurant in the city and quickly became the hub of café society in New York.
In 1998 he opened Circo and Le Cirque in Las Vegas’Bellagio Hotel.Then In 2009 Maccioni along with his sons opened their third Las Vegas restaurant, Sirio Ristorante at the Aria Resort and Casino here in Las Vegas.
No stranger to accolades , Maccioni has received numerous honors and accolades including the coveted James Beard “Restaurant of the Year” award, the Impresario dell’ Anno (Entrepreneur of the Year) award at Affreschi Toscani, a festival in Tuscany and being selected Father of the Year in 2002 by the National Father’s Day Committee.
We have received many invitations to dine in our years as journalist from tops in their fields, when we were asked by Sirio Maccioni to join him at Sirio Ristorate ,humbled b y the prospect we accepted . Walking into a very busy Sirio Ristortate were were greeted by the always pleasant General Manager Carlo Cannuscio and his staff.
A few feet away, sitting in a chair poised like a king on his throne ,there he was ,the man ,the legend, Sirio Maccioni waiting with a smile and an outstretched hand of greeting . Sitting at the Chef’s table overlooking the pristine kitchen “a buzz “with activity we began a culinary expedition of epic proportions.
After opening a lovely bottle of GAJA we began with our appetizer , Carpaccio Di Manzo .This traditional tasty dish of beef carpaccio ,lemon oil dressing ,fried capers and a shaving of parmesan cheese was the perfect way to start. The suggested Vermintino , Rocca Di Frasselino , Sirio, Tuscany 2011 was a nice touch , picking up on the richness of the dish.
Seeing a antipasto and squash soup we just had to indulge as we listened intently to Siro recount his culinary pedigree from hotel training programs in Paris and Hamburg , apprenticeships in Montecatini and Paris and a variety of positions at hotels and restaurants in Italy, France, and Germany.
A bottle of Rosso , Rocca Di Frassinello , Sirio, Tuscany 2009 signaled the beginning of yet another delight from the kitchen. Of course, being at Sirio, our treat of Pici Toscani Al Ragu, Di Carni was a must. This mouthwatering hand rolled spaghetti with three meats ragu was a gastronomic delight.
Sirio kept us entertained with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor as Carre’ D ‘ Agnello arrived at our table. A succulent Roasted Rack of Lamb with creamy potato fennel gratin and garden vegetables was a perfect example of why Sirio and his world class restaurants have been at the top of their game for decades.The exemplary Chianti Classico, Castellare , Tuscany , 2011 married with the layers of flavors of the dish that will soon not be forgotten.
Gastronomically satisfied by signature dishes, classic wines and a renowned host, we settled back a little as Sirio engaged us in a lively conversation.
When asked about retiring, he smiled, leaned back in his chair and said “Me, retire? I am too busy to retire”, we could not have been happier to hear that. Sirio has always been “hands on “and has no plans to stop. He still has fiery passion even after all these years.
Our experience would not be complete without a Panna Cotta Tricolore and house made Berry Cello 2013.Enjoying a cappuccino as Sirio singed his namesake book “Sirio Maccioni” made the evening one we will remember for a very long time.
WINE OPINIONS RESEARCH SHOWS U.S. TRADE READY TO EXPLORE AUSTRALIA’S REGIONALITY, DIVERSITY AND PREMIUM VALUE.
Wine Australia’s ‘Next Chapter’ Research Project Results
Join us for “Grills & Guitars” as it commences festival weekend with live music, 16 well-known chefs and flamed-kissed fare that will satisfy all the senses on Friday, October 25, 2013
Life is Beautiful Festival has l released more details about its kick-off party featuring musical performances by Dawes and Todd Rundgren. On Friday, October 25, 2013, from 8pm – Midnight, 16 celebrity chefs will come together to participate in “Grills & Guitars,” a celebration of the beloved backyard barbecue combining creative open flame cookery with craft brews, artisanal wines and original cocktails created by some of the country’s finest mixologists.
Participating chefs, including Clayton Arakawa, Bruce & Eric Bromberg, Kim Canteenwalla, Scott Conant, Cat Cora, Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, Rick Moonen, David Myers, Aarón Sánchez and Jet Tila, will serve dishes like Whole Roast Goat Enchiladas, Shrimp and Sugar Cane Skewers and Whole Hawaiian Pigs smothers with Big Island Hearts of Palm. Special appearances will be made by chefs Tom Colicchio, Nancy Silverton and Michael Symon.
Celebrated Chef Jonathan Waxman will be honored with the first-ever commemorative award at the event for his dedication to educating and mentoring many of today’s top toques including all of the chefs in attendance.“Waxy’s approach to life is mirrored by the way he cooks,” says Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon Restaurants and Head of Life is Beautiful Festival’s Culinary Advisory Board. “Respect, compassion, confidence and humility are at his core and his unwavering love of life and food evoke huge smiles from even his casual acquaintances so you can imagine what it’s like to be called his friend.”
Tickets are available for purchase here; Price: $175, VIP $225 *Does not require purchase of a festival ticket, must be 21 or over.
Tickets for the Life is Beautiful Festival Culinary Programs are available for purchase at www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com
Regular Two-Day General Admission & VIP Tickets for the 2013 Life is Beautiful Festival are available for purchase at www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com
Regular Two-Day GA: $159.50
VIP Tickets: Two-Day VIP Ticket: $349.50
VIP tickets include: Exclusive VIP lounge with shade, lounge seating, activities and more; Viewing Areas at Main Stages; VIP restroom facilities; Access to special VIP food concessions; Access to special VIP beer, wine and spirits concessions; Commemorative Poster and more.
Three Caesars Entertainment Restaurants Earn 2013 Wine Spectator Awards,Restaurant Guy Savoy renews its Grand Award; Old Homestead garners its first Award of Excellence.
It’s all about the wine! , Restaurant Guy Savoy and Old Homestead at Caesars Palace and Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas have been honored in Wine Spectator’s 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards. Restaurant Guy Savoy has successfully renewed its coveted Grand Award, Old Homestead earns the Award of Excellence for the second time and Gordon Ramsay Steak is proud to be a new recipient of the Best of Award of Excellence.
With world-renowned terroir ideal for producing complex and concentrated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district celebrates its 30th anniversary as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) this fall.
One of the first areas in Monterey County to be distinguished as a unique winegrowing region, and one of the smallest in California, the Arroyo Seco AVA had already been recognized for growing outstanding wines – Chardonnay in particular – since the 1960s. Factors such as a cool climate influenced by nearby Monterey Bay, well-drained rocky soils, extreme winds, and experienced growers have combined to make wines from the Arroyo Seco AVA some of the most sought-after and awarded in the country.
“As one of the pioneers of Monterey County, Jerry Lohr planted his first grapes in the Arroyo Seco in 1972 knowing that the region was destined for producing high quality Chardonnay and Riesling,” said J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines President and COO, Jeff Meier. Since that time, Jerry Lohr’s passionate efforts to instill farming practices that bring out the best from the terroir have prompted his namesake and family owned company to expand varietal programs with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Valdiguié. “Celebrating thirty years as an AVA is a milestone for the region and we at J. Lohr look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for all of us who will continue to have a presence in the AVA over the next 30 years.”
“There just are not many places in California – or the world – where all of the elements that make Arroyo Seco unique can exist,” said Rich Smith, owner and founder of Valley Farm Management, one of Monterey County’s pioneer wine producers. “We began growing the forty-two acres of vines at Cobblestone Vineyards in the Arroyo Seco area in 1975, and have added about eleven-hundred acres of vines over the past thirty-five years on four other properties in Arroyo Seco. If imitation is the best compliment, we obviously believe in complimenting the Arroyo Seco.”
Fourth-generation winegrower and Chief Executive Officer of Wente Family Estates, Carolyn Wente, recalls how her father, Karl Wente, came to plant vineyards in the Greenfield area of Monterey County in 1963. “He was attracted to the unique soils and climate he found along the Arroyo Seco river and bench lands, and became an advocate for others to plant in the region. At that time, there were no other vineyards in the area, which was widely planted to vegetables and row crops such as sugar beets.”
Wente went on to describe how additional winegrowers gradually purchased and planted in Arroyo Seco, learning how different rootstocks, clonal selections and varietals excelled in the region with the experience of multiple vintages. Eventually, it came time for recognition of the district’s excellence. “My mother and I drafted first the Monterey and then the Arroyo Seco appellation petition and championed them with other vineyard and winery owners in the early 80s. Since then, our belief in the unique attributes of the appellation has only strengthened with the outstanding quality of the wines produced through the years. This AVA is clearly a hidden gem in the coastal winegrowing valleys of California!”
In 2007, the Arroyo Seco Winegrowers & Vintners Association was established to promote the district’s distinguished terroir and wines. Headed by Michael Griva of F&G Vineyards, the association has made great strides in defining and celebrating what makes this district so special. “I grew up among the greats of the Arroyo Seco AVA,” said Griva, “people like Karl Wente, Rich Smith and Jerry Lohr. It’s been a pleasure to promote their vision for what makes Arroyo Seco stand out, and to support their legacy of incredible wines grown by people who are passionate about its terroir.
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