Monday, July 30, 2012

7/30-Michael Horn visits with Barrie Lynn & Stuart Spoto

Barrie Lynn - The Cheese Impressario

Welcome to The Cheese Impresario!

Here we are going to talk about all kinds of cheeses from all around the world.  We will learn together and I will help you bring the world of cheese closer to your heart and learn the great enjoyment that it can bring to you, your family, and your guests.

I am the cheese columnist forThe Beverly Hills Times and write the monthly "Cheese Matters" column that covers all things cheesy.  I will keep you posted on events that I will be covering and other cheese events in your local area. 

Stuart Spoto - Owner/Winemaker, Spoto Napa Valley Wines

The Spoto family has been hand-crafting wines for over 30 years.  Stuart Spoto learned the art of winemaking from his father Henry Spoto Jr. who was featured in Wine Spectator for his award-winning wines in June of 2003.   This family collaboration has greatly influenced Stuart to create his small boutique winery and perfect his Oakville Bordeaux blends.  Stuart’s formal education is in Chemical and Civil Engineering from the University of California at Davis.  He has also acquired an extensive knowledge in the art of winemaking by working closely with the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.  Stuart’s daughter, Arianna, recently graduated with a degree in Wine and Viticulture from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo and is currently distributing Spoto Wines around the Central Coast.  Spoto Wines is truly a small family business dedicated to producing the finest Oakville Cabernet and Bordeaux blends.
“Family, friends, food and red wine are key ingredients to a happy life” - Stuart Spoto

Monday, July 23, 2012

7/23-Michael Horn talks with Ben Papapietro & Nick Frey

Ben Papapietro - Papapietro Perry Winery
Wine has always been a part of Ben’s life. A native San Franciscan of Italian descent, Ben grew up with wine as part of every family meal and gathering. His grandpa made his own red wine blend in the basement, where Ben listened and learned.

Ben’s heritage and love for wine always beckoned. The passion caught fire in his early twenties as he explored wines from around the world—Bordeaux and an occasional high-end California Cabernet. But the wines that really turned Ben’s head were Burgundies from 1956 and ’57. Seduced by those captivating aromas and elegant nuances, Ben volunteered to work during harvest at a friend’s Sonoma County winery specializing in Pinot Noir. There he honed his craft and never looked back.

During his 37-year career with the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, Ben met future partner Bruce Perry. Through their common passions—cooking and wine—they became fast friends.

Today, the Papapietro Perry cellar is simply a more elaborate version of Ben’s garage where he started making wine more than 25 years ago. “Authentic, not pretentious,” says Ben. “Confident, but not too serious. Humble. The winery is an extension of my home and personal hospitality.” 

Maybe that is why one corner of the cellar is dedicated to a makeshift kitchen where family favorites are prepared for the staff, and the occasional lucky friend who drops by at lunchtime.

In Ben’s words, “cooking and wine are indistinguishable.” He simply cannot imagine one without the other.

When Ben isn’t in the cellar or the kitchen, he and his wife Yolanda like to travel and pour Papapietro Perry wines wherever they land. Yolanda joined the family business in 2009 handling distributor relations and enjoys pouring with Ben at events.  When they're not traveling,  Ben and Yolanda enjoy spending time with their two grandsons. 

Nick Frey - Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
With more than 1,800 growers, SCWC’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world.

Monday, July 16, 2012

7/16-Michael Horn talks with Jim Fiolek

Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival Weekend - April 20, 21, 22, 23. The annual Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival Weekend attracts wine lovers from near and far for an opportunity to meet member vintners, taste their wines, and enjoy great food and music over a long spring weekend. The highlight of the weekend is the Festival itself, where every one of our 110+ member wineries gather to present their wines, often poured by the winemakers themselves. The Festival also presents some of the best local food from restaurants, catering companies and gourmet food creators. The Festival takes place on Saturday, April 21st, from 1 to 4pm at The Carranza, just outside Los Olivos. This weekend, wineries also present their own events, ranging from Winemaker's Dinners through library tastings and sales to new wine releases and barrel tastings. Check back here to see a full listing of events as they are finalized. A favorite feature of the weekend is the Vintners' Visa - your passport to twelve winery tasting rooms - use the Vintners' Visa to explore new wineries - or revisit old friends.

Monday, July 9, 2012

7/9-Michael Horn visits with Benjamin Silver

Benjamin Silver - Winemaker, Silver Wines

Who would have guessed that a kid from Amherst, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences (Pre-Veterinary) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian from the University of Massachusetts, would end up in Santa Barbara County as an up-and-coming winemaker? Benjamin Silver did just that after catching the wine bug in 1993 at a summer job at Chicama Vineyards on Martha’s Vineyard.
After graduating from college in 1994, Benjamin used his science background to land a harvest intern Lab Technician position with winemaker Daniel Gehrs at Zaca Mesa Winery in Santa Barbara County. After harvest, the winery offered him a full-time position as Lab Supervisor. “Dan took me under his wing as an apprentice winemaker and nurtured my passion for viticulture and winemaking” explained Benjamin. Upon Gehrs’ departure in 1998, Benjamin took over Zaca Mesa’s winemaking helm.
Benjamin also began to experiment with small quantities of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Nebbiolo. This experimentation laid the foundation for the eventual formation of his Silver label. He left Zaca Mesa in 2000 to pursue the development of his own label, while also taking over as winemaker for White Hawk Vineyard.
Benjamin Silver Wines currently produces extremely small bottlings of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Mourvedre, Syrah, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese from Santa Barbara County. The vineyards in Santa Barbara County benefit from sandstone and loam soils, over 300 days of sunshine a year, and a maritime regulated climate. Within the region, there is a diverse range of mesoclimates. These unique areas provide the ideal climatic conditions for growing a wide range of grape varietals well. The ability to purchase world-class quality fruit, fruit which produces wines with intense flavor and complex regional character, keeps Benjamin committed to Santa Barbara County wines.
Benjamin sums up his winemaking philosophy: “My focus is to enhance the multidimensional character of each varietal—to reflect the personality of the vineyard and the grape in perfect harmony in each of my wines! That’s what makes winemaking exciting!”

Monday, July 2, 2012

7/02-Michael Horn visits with P. J. Ochlan & William Bloxsom - Carter

P. J. Ochlan - General Manager of Cobblestone Vineyards
From his humble beginnings on a Michigan farm, Saul Levine became an FM radio pioneer in 1959 launching Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters in Southern California. Levine’s radio success helped him get back to his roots, and with his wife Anita he started Cobblestone Vineyards. For over 30 years the Levines grew grapes for premium California wineries before releasing their own wines under the Cobblestone label. These limited production, single-vineyard wines have since received consistent acclaim from the top critics and publications, and are featured at many of the nation’s premier restaurants and wine shops.

William Bloxsom - Carter  Executive Chef Playboy Mansion

Mr. William S. Bloxsom-Carter is the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, California. He has been creating extraordinary food and exclusive wine offerings for Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion parties for over 25 years.
His passion for pairing food flavors with wines, both unique varietals as well as the classics, is paramount to the guests’ enjoyment at the Playboy Mansion. To foster the food/wine relationship, Chef Carter serves as a professional judge at numerous wine competitions throughout California yearly. The take-away knowledge from each competition provides him with guidance for future wine buying decisions. In turn, featured wines gain exposure to over 100,000 guests that visit the Playboy Mansion each year.
Chef Carter features food products purchased directly from farmers and ranchers throughout the United States. Working with the farming and ranching communities, he places great importance on “best practices” for all food products served to Playboy’s international clientele and his private hospitality clients.
Chef Carter’s philosophy is to bring out the best flavors in food products from beginning to end with minimal intervention and uncompromising standards of excellence. He relies on the principal that, “there is no substitute for fresh.”
Chef Carter completed intensive studies with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company focusing on their Gold Standards of Hospitality Service to enhance the hospitality experience to all guests attending corporate and charity events at the Playboy Mansion. He initially completed his college studies at Florida Tech. He enhanced his education in hospitality related studies at UC Los Angeles Extension. Additionally, he has successfully completed UC Davis Extension classes in enology studies.
Complementing his responsibilities for Playboy Enterprises, Chef Carter has prepared winery dinners in Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Paso Robles and the Santa Ynez Valley as well as special events for high-profile clients throughout the United States, focusing on the importance of food and wine pairings and extraordinary hospitality service. Additionally, Chef Carter is a recurring featured guest on numerous radio shows syndicated nationwide describing and promoting California wines and foods.
At the Playboy Mansion, Chef Carter has developed an internship/externship program with culinary schools nationwide. The program has garnered an exceptional reputation as the preeminent host facility for students.
In June 1999, he received the PEI AWARD from Ms. Christie Hefner, former Chief Executive Officer of Playboy Enterprises, for his superior performance in cost savings and value-added product enhancement. The award also bestowed special recognition for his leadership and people management skills.
In April 2002, Chef Carter received the esteemed Auguste Escoffier Medal of Merit from the American Culinary Federation for his fundraising dinner to provide scholarship funds to culinary students at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
Most recently, Chef Carter has established himself as the recurring celebrity chef for the annual Bakersfield College Foundation’s Sterling Silver Dinner, netting over $25,000 the past two years for student scholarships in agriculture and culinary arts programs at the college.
Chef Carter lends his expertise to Pacifica High School in the Oxnard Unified School District in California reviewing the curriculum, mentoring and lecturing to class students throughout the school year. Additionally, he is has been active in fundraising efforts for the Oak Park Unified School District and Caregiver’s of Ventura County.
Chef Carter achieves his personal sense of purpose through a high standard of integrity, working tirelessly with the next generation of culinarians, giving back to the community, seeking-out hospitality food service innovations for the guest’s pleasure and synergizing creativity to increase staff morale. Chef Carter strives daily to achieve a “gold standard” of leadership accountability.