Food and Wine

Croft Pink, a rose style of the famous Portuguese port, is great chilled as an aperitivo, neat or on ice with club soda. It also has become a hit as icy frose. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Port is no longer just an after-dinner drink

We talked to Adrian Bridge, CEO of the Fladgate Partnership in Portugal, about the newer apertivo-style ports.

Croft Pink, a rose style of the famous Portuguese port, is great chilled as an aperitivo, neat or on ice with club soda. It also has become a hit as icy frose. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Chef Dustin Valette and fourth generation vintner Jason Passalacqua. (Karen Norton/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Healdsburg’s Passalacqua Winery takes a minimalist approach

Jason Passalacqua is a fourth generation winemaker in the Dry Creek Valley.

Chef Dustin Valette and fourth generation vintner Jason Passalacqua. (Karen Norton/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Empirical Spirits is a new line of distillates from Noma restaurant alums. The very plain labels belie the complex spirits inside, including this Charlene McGee Blend, made from juniper berries smoked over juniper wood and aged in sherry casks. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Copenhagen’s Noma alums create spirits with flavors—and names — like no other

“Lars and Mark were looking for a new way of expressing flavor and all the work they’d done in that (Noma) space for so many years.”

Empirical Spirits is a new line of distillates from Noma restaurant alums. The very plain labels belie the complex spirits inside, including this Charlene McGee Blend, made from juniper berries smoked over juniper wood and aged in sherry casks. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
The Dirty Bicicletta is a breezy sipper of Campari, wine, soda water and citron flavored soda, called cedrata. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago TribuneTNS)

Holding onto summer with an Italian drink that got a little dirty

It’s a malleable recipe that invites improvisation, which leads us today to the Dirty Bicicletta.

The Dirty Bicicletta is a breezy sipper of Campari, wine, soda water and citron flavored soda, called cedrata. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago TribuneTNS)
The outdoor Live Fire Chef Dinner series at Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena. (Lyle Norton/Special to S.F. Examiner)

California’s Long Meadow Ranch Live Fire Chef series showcases local food, wines

It is a location that reaps the benefits of the Long Meadow Ranch business model to source the finest organic wine and foods.

The outdoor Live Fire Chef Dinner series at Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena. (Lyle Norton/Special to S.F. Examiner)
The Seavey Vineyard in Napa Valley (Courtesy photo)

Merlot month helps restore respect to a legend

Not all problems with merlot were caused by the “Sideways Effect.”

The Seavey Vineyard in Napa Valley (Courtesy photo)
This villa at Bricoleur Vineyards is available for those who prefer lush accommodations. (Courtesy photo)

Bricoleur Vineyards opens a new retreat in California

They are either following an aggressive business plan to turn their 40-acre estate into a hospitality retreat or willingly flying by the seat of their pants.

This villa at Bricoleur Vineyards is available for those who prefer lush accommodations. (Courtesy photo)
Vineyards in Bordeaux. (Courtesy photo)

The Iconic Bordeaux wine region is coping with climate change

Although still the premier Bordeaux red varietal, merlot is being scrutinized as a potential future victim of rising temperatures.

Vineyards in Bordeaux. (Courtesy photo)
Oak barrels inside the Texas Tavern room at Firestone and Robertson Distillery’s Whiskey Ranch in Fort Worth, Texas. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

Whiskey with a Texas flair

Their homegrown Fort Worth brand known as TX is now on its way with August’s sale to Paris-based Pernod Ricard.

Oak barrels inside the Texas Tavern room at Firestone and Robertson Distillery’s Whiskey Ranch in Fort Worth, Texas. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)
The amount of alcohol associated with “double” and “triple” varies from brewery to brewery. (Courtesy photo)

Beer politics and random brew questions

In the current campaign cycle, Big Beer backs Republicans while smaller breweries tilt Democratic.

The amount of alcohol associated with “double” and “triple” varies from brewery to brewery. (Courtesy photo)
Kathleen Gaffney, winemaker at Spear Vineyards and Winery. (Courtesy photo)

Sipping through California’s Sta. Rita region

I tend to fall back on some traditional favorites and am never disappointed.

Kathleen Gaffney, winemaker at Spear Vineyards and Winery. (Courtesy photo)
The Diemersdal Estate near Capetown covers 840 acres of which nearly 450 is planted under vine with pinotage, merlot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and others. (Courtesy photo)

On the Vine: What to pair with crocodile and other African cuisine

Pinotage is a signature grape in South Africa, created in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University.

The Diemersdal Estate near Capetown covers 840 acres of which nearly 450 is planted under vine with pinotage, merlot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and others. (Courtesy photo)
Almanac spent about two years working on its series of mixed culture sour beers that it could package in cans. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Canned sour beers that explode with flavor

Over the past decade, both sour beer and canned craft beer have grown mainstream.

Almanac spent about two years working on its series of mixed culture sour beers that it could package in cans. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Sauvignon blanc is California’s fourth most planted white grape. (Courtesy photo)

Eight of the best California sauvignon blanc wines

With so many good sauvignon blanc releases across the state, it’s difficult and subjective to select a few.

Sauvignon blanc is California’s fourth most planted white grape. (Courtesy photo)
James Beard Award-winning cocktail book author Nick Fauchald with a daiquiri at one of his favorite Minnesota bars, the back bar at Young Joni. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

The country’s hottest book on cocktails

The book was named Book of the Year from the James Beard Media Awards.

James Beard Award-winning cocktail book author Nick Fauchald with a daiquiri at one of his favorite Minnesota bars, the back bar at Young Joni. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Sara Fowler, winemaker at Peju Province Winery. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Lyle Norton)

Peju Province Winery: A story of stability and sustainability

In 1983, Tony and Herta left a florist business in Los Angeles and purchased the 30-acre Rutherford site.

Sara Fowler, winemaker at Peju Province Winery. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Lyle Norton)
Watermelon smoothies. Yum. (Courtesy photo)

Getting creative with watermelon

Watermelon is 92 percent water, making it almost as thirst-quenching as an…

Watermelon smoothies. Yum. (Courtesy photo)
Frank Family Vineyards owners Rich and Leslie Frank and their German Shepherd named Magnum. (Courtesy/Frank Family Vineyards)

Frank Family Winery: A vineyard rich in Hollywood history

Stories have been told of Marilyn Monroe making annual visits to Kornell to stock up on the bubbly.

Frank Family Vineyards owners Rich and Leslie Frank and their German Shepherd named Magnum. (Courtesy/Frank Family Vineyards)
Elmy Bermejo stands outside Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, which she opened with her late husband, Tommy in 1965, on Monday, July 15, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant: A place of friendship

“It’s a beautiful country but I don’t think I’m going to stay here forever,” Tommy Bermejo wrote in a letter from the United States to his wife.

Elmy Bermejo stands outside Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, which she opened with her late husband, Tommy in 1965, on Monday, July 15, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Clairin is a Haitian spirit made from fermenting cane juice. The brands available in the U.S. include Vaval, left, made on the southern Haitian coast, and Le Rocher, made in a distillery at a higher elevation. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The Haitian spirit clairin is more like mezcal than rum

In 2017, the first clairin was officially exported to the U.S.

Clairin is a Haitian spirit made from fermenting cane juice. The brands available in the U.S. include Vaval, left, made on the southern Haitian coast, and Le Rocher, made in a distillery at a higher elevation. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)