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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
I enjoy creating original wine-pairing recipes that are healthful and delicious. I work for Touring & Tasting a Santa Barbara based wine club and national magazine as Food Editor. However, I am not paid for this blog and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I received my Personal Chef Skills Competency Award from the SBCC's School Of Culinary Arts. In 2012, I started Inside Wine - Santa Barbara with pal Lila Brown which features wine tastings with winery owners and winemakers. I also serve on the Board of the Santa Barbara Culinary Arts group, which had Julia Child as one of the founding members and funds scholarships for SBCC culinary students in her name.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Sunset Rare & Reserve Wine Tasting

Touring & Tasting at the California Wine Festival The sun smiled on the 10th Annual California Wine Festival--three days of ocean front wine, music, and food. We were able to stop in briefly to the Sunset Rare & Reserve tasting on Friday, July 19th. With the colorful antique Carousel as a backdrop, the Sunset Rare & Reserve tasting offered proprietor's reserves, end-of-vintage and award-winning wines, along with live jazz and appetizers from local restaurants. My favorites: the spoons of lobster bisque from Fish Enterprise and the juicy nuggets of beef from Holdren's.

Leticia Winery at CA Wine FestivalAt the Festival entrance, Leticia Vineyard & Winery was pouring their Brut Cuvée, their finest reserve bottling of their méthode champenoise sparkling wine. Among the wonderful wines we tasted were those of Carol Shelton, who is said to be the most awarded winemaker in the United States. She has been Winemaker of the Year numerous times and her "Wild Thing" Zinfandel was recently awarded 92 points in the latest issue of Wine Spectator. Carol was enthusiastic about her Petit Sirah, saying that she discovered that "splashing" the juice was the secret to her success. I've heard of macroaeration being used during pump-over for a softening effect on tannins, but the crush of people around her booth made it impossible to carry on a conversation. No wonder she had a crowd at her table, considering the deliciousness of her wines!

food at California Wine FestivalAmong the many other wineries of note, wonderful wines were being poured from Hearst Ranch Winery, whose east-side Paso Robles vineyards and winery have been producing wines with big scores, like their 95 Point 2010 "Pico Creek" Merlot. Also, Hammersky Vineyards, with their rich, complex wines from westside Paso Robles. It was a shame to have to leave early and not taste through the stellar line-up of wineries, but that leaves even more to anticipate for the California Wine Festival 2014!
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Touring & Tasting at CA Wine Festival

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