Food and Wine

Winemaker and Viticulturist Andy Erickson (Courtesy Photo)                                Winemaker and Viticulturist Andy Erickson (Courtesy Photo)

Napa Valley icons share inspirational wines to support Alzheimer’s research

Magnificent wines represent the extraordinary skill of Napa Valley winemakers

Winemaker and Viticulturist Andy Erickson (Courtesy Photo)                                Winemaker and Viticulturist Andy Erickson (Courtesy Photo)
The Balvenie Stories are the newest releases from Scotland’s esteemed whiskey maker The Balvenie Distillery. (Courtesy photo)

The Balvenie Stories are innovative Scotch whiskeys

Scotland’s century-old Balvenie Distillery introduces new line

The Balvenie Stories are the newest releases from Scotland’s esteemed whiskey maker The Balvenie Distillery. (Courtesy photo)
Brook Bannister, current winemaker at Bannister Wines, and his mother Marty, the winery’s founder. (Lyle Norton/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

New Bannister wines pair well with Chef Shane McAnelly’s creative small plates

It was a beautiful day. We sat under a huge old oak…

Brook Bannister, current winemaker at Bannister Wines, and his mother Marty, the winery’s founder. (Lyle Norton/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
The Herrera family of Mi Sueño Winery.(Courtesy photo)                                The Herrera family of Mi Sueño Winery.(Courtesy photo)

Mi Sueño Winery: An Immigrant’s Dream

The theme that is woven through Rolando Herrera’s inspiring story is one of hard work and persistence.

The Herrera family of Mi Sueño Winery.(Courtesy photo)                                The Herrera family of Mi Sueño Winery.(Courtesy photo)
Fred Noe and Shinji Fukuyo have their stamp all over Legent because the whiskey is the first collaboration between Beam and the House of Suntory. (Shannon Kinsella/styling) (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Great grandson of Jim Beam puts mark on a whiskey worth drinking

The signatures of Fred Noe and Shinji Fukuyo adorn the bottle of Legent.

Fred Noe and Shinji Fukuyo have their stamp all over Legent because the whiskey is the first collaboration between Beam and the House of Suntory. (Shannon Kinsella/styling) (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
SPiN, the South-of-Market ping pong club, has a spiffy remodeled patio and new menu items on the way. (Courtesy photo)

SPiN ping pong bar makes tweaks to keep the social club going

Social club has renovated patio, new drinks and snacks

SPiN, the South-of-Market ping pong club, has a spiffy remodeled patio and new menu items on the way. (Courtesy photo)
Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace is fresh, crisp and offers variety of subtle fruit nuances to the palate. (Courtesy photo)

Sparkling Cremant d’ Alsace wines offer diversity and value

With the arrival of summer, rose’ and sparkling wines naturally come to mind.

Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace is fresh, crisp and offers variety of subtle fruit nuances to the palate. (Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

Turning oddball spirits into fun cocktails

Bar pros Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz launched the well-known Bittercube Bitters in Milwaukee in 2009, macerating unique flavors of cocktail bitters.

(Courtesy photo)
Inside Villon at the Proper Hotel in San Francisco. The spirits library is in back. (Courtesy photo)

Villon adds vibrancy to San Francisco’s mid-Market scene

Described by some as “the city’s hippest hotel,” the new Kelly Wearstler designed Hotel Proper, located at Market and McAlister Streets offers ambience.

Inside Villon at the Proper Hotel in San Francisco. The spirits library is in back. (Courtesy photo)
Sonoma Distilling Co. founder and whiskey maker Adam Spiegel. (Courtesy photo)

Sonoma Distilling Co. offers tours, and pours of its craft whiskey

Sonoma County, home to some of California’s finest wineries, is beginning to establish itself as a leader in creating premium craft beer and spirits.

Sonoma Distilling Co. founder and whiskey maker Adam Spiegel. (Courtesy photo)
Ramey Wine Cellars. (Courtesy photo)

A new generation puts its stamp on Ramey Wine Cellars

Ramey Wine Cellars has established itself, over many years, as one of this country’s top wineries.

Ramey Wine Cellars. (Courtesy photo)
Stappi Red Bitter is refreshing over ice, or in a nonalcoholic or even low-proof cocktail. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

An ode to Stappi, Italy’s red bitter soda

I don’t know if my love affair with Stappi is because of the bitter edge to the sweet soda or because of its vibrant vermillion color and the super-cute little bottles.

Stappi Red Bitter is refreshing over ice, or in a nonalcoholic or even low-proof cocktail. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
The Oak Farm Estate Vineyard Tasting Center in Lodi. (Courtesy)

Exploring the gateway to the Lodi wine region

Things are often initiated through a glass of wine.

The Oak Farm Estate Vineyard Tasting Center in Lodi. (Courtesy)
The Stone Terraces Vineyards (Courtesy Photo)

The 2017 vintage port wines mark consecutive years of excellence

Hot, dry growing season produced concentrated flavors

The Stone Terraces Vineyards (Courtesy Photo)
Glenmorangie’s Allta was made by Bill “Dr. Bill” Lumsden, the distillery’s director of whisky creation, distilling and whisky stocks, and a pioneer in finishing whisky in oak barrels that once held other spirits. He discovered and developed the wild yeast used in making Allta. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

Glenmorangie experiments with wild yeast in its scotch

Bill “Dr. Bill” Lumsden, director of whisky creation, distilling and whisky stocks at both Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, is a grand wizard.

Glenmorangie’s Allta was made by Bill “Dr. Bill” Lumsden, the distillery’s director of whisky creation, distilling and whisky stocks, and a pioneer in finishing whisky in oak barrels that once held other spirits. He discovered and developed the wild yeast used in making Allta. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)
Distillery tanks at Hendrick’s Gin Palace (John Paul)

Hendrick’s unveils “Midsummer Solstice,” a limited-edition gin

To preview their new cocktail, created exclusively for the Napa Valley’s Bottlerock event later this month, Hendrick’s Gin has released “Midsummer Solstice.”

Distillery tanks at Hendrick’s Gin Palace (John Paul)
The 2018 Inspire Napa Valley VIP Dinner at Abreu Vineyard (Courtesy photo)

Ways to immerse yourself in the wine experience this spring

We live near or among some of the world’s finest vineyards.

The 2018 Inspire Napa Valley VIP Dinner at Abreu Vineyard (Courtesy photo)
The Dolomites mountain range serve as a majestic backdrop for many of the vineyards in Trento. (Courtesy photo)

Looking beyond prosecco for Italian sparkling wine

We often mistakingly define all Italian sparkling wine as prosecco.

The Dolomites mountain range serve as a majestic backdrop for many of the vineyards in Trento. (Courtesy photo)
Downtown Paso Robles. (Courtesy photo)

Don’t overlook the Cabernet Sauvignon of Paso Robles

The Paso Robles wine region was built on zinfandel.

Downtown Paso Robles. (Courtesy photo)
When a bar is crowded, consider skipping the fancy cocktails. (Courtesy photo)

A few words about bar etiquette

For many, bars are sacred spaces. People go to them to make memories, and to forget.

When a bar is crowded, consider skipping the fancy cocktails. (Courtesy photo)