Monday, January 28, 2013

1/28-Michael Horn talks with David Duncan & George Skorka

David Duncan - Silver Oak Cellars
Silver Oak is single-minded in the pursuit of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. For 40 years, we have produced delicious and distinctive Cabernets from our Napa Valley and Alexander Valley wineries. Each Cabernet is food-friendly, extensively aged to be drinkable upon release, and perfect for enjoying with friends or family.

Master Sommelier George Skorka - Pasadena PinotFest

The Sixth Annual Pasadena PinotFest—sponsored by Pasadena's top-rated Noir Food & Wine—will be highlighted by a Grand Pinot Noir Tasting event on February 9th at the Altadena Town & Country Club, located at 2290 Country Club Drive in Altadena, California.

Guests will have the opportunity to taste 200 pinot noirs from 100 leading California and Oregon wineries including: Alma Rosa, Ampelos, Arcadian, Badge, Carr, Clary Ranch, Clifton-Brewer, Clos Pepe, D'Alfonso-Curran, Dierberg, Dragonette, Dutton-Goldfield, Flying Goat, Fogline, Hitching Post, Ken Brown,  Ketcham Estate, Landmark, La Fenetre, Loring Wine Company, Marimar Torres, Sojourn Cellars, Sierra Madre, Stephen Ross, Thorne, Zotovich Cellars, Cottonwood Canyon, Derby, George Wine, Gypsy Canyon, Prodigal and many more. Several of the showcased wines are exclusive to Pasadena PinotFest, and all featured wines are available for purchase at prices lower than most “tasting room” wines. Those in attendance also will be treated to top-notch noshing prepared by Noir Food & Wine and Altadena Town & Country Club.

Tickets for the event—which runs from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.—can be purchased online at Two levels of tickets are available: general admission for $89 and VIP admission for $119 (the latter comes with admittance to the event at 11:30 a.m. as well as access to the VIP lounge and celebrity sommelier host George Skorka). For additional information call (626) 795-7199 or email

A portion of the PinotFest proceeds—including purchased wines—will benefit Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services—one of the largest providers of children's mental-health services in Los Angeles County. (To learn more about Hathaway-Sycamores, visit

Monday, January 21, 2013

1/21-Nicole Nielsen speaks with Wes Hagen & Barrie Lynn

Wes Hagen  -  Winemaker, Clos Pepe Vineyards
Wes Hagen: Vineyard Manager, Winemaker.  Wes has run the show here at Clos Pepe since 1998.  He manages the vineyard and the crew, communicates with our producers and fine-tunes viticulture to suit the stylistic needs of their winemaking.  Involving himself in every aspect of the planting, growing, harvest, crush, fermentation, aging, bottling, shipping and marketing (jncluding the photography and text in the website), Wes is passionate about his life's goal -- producing and celebrating world-class Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  From 1997-98, Wes researched and wrote the petition that established the Santa Rita Hills American Viticultural Area with help from Bryan Babcock, Richard Sanford and other local wine personalities.  The 'Santa Rita Hills AVA' was approved in 2001, and the name was changed a few years later to 'Sta Rita Hills AVA'.  In his quest to promote the wines of Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Rita Hills in particular, Wes created and served as Director of the Santa Barbara County Fair Wine Competition from 2002 until 2004.  As a result of his hard work promoting the region and penning the AVA Petition, Wes was awarded the Central Coast Winegrower's Association 'Grower of the Year Award' for the 2001-2002 growing seasons.  Wes writes a bi-monthly column for WineMaker Magazine called 'Backyard Vines', and has written content for the L.A. Times Magazine, guest blogged for the Wine Spectator and, articles for the Sommelier Journal,'Burgundy-Report', WestCoastWine.Net, and other small publications.  In his free time Wes consults on establihsing small vineyards (hillside Pinot Noir only), and has judged the L.A County Fair Wine Competition for eleven years, Riverside International for twelve, and the Long Beach Grand Cru for thirteen years. Wes also lectures on subjects such as the history of wine, backyard winegrowing, and general topics of viticulture and wine education.

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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

1/14-Michael Horn talks with Gary Pisoni & Jay Johnstone

At Pisoni Vineyards & Winery, we are committed to growing the best grapes possible and producing exceptional handcrafted wines that represent our vineyard and the dedication of our family. When Jane and Eddie Pisoni started farming vegetables in the Salinas Valley in 1946, they had no idea what lie ahead for the future Pisoni generations. They started a heritage that continues today. Their son Gary, an avid wine collector, had ambitious dreams of his own vineyard. In 1982, against many obstacles, Gary planted his first 5 acres of vines. With the success of his first vineyard, he planted an additional 40 acres. Today Pisoni Vineyards consists primarily of Pinot Noir, with most of our grapes sold to recognized producers of vineyard-designated wines. The partnerships with these small wineries are based on long-term friendship and enthusiasm for great wine. In 1998, we started retaining a small percentage of grapes for our own Pisoni Estate label. Gary Pisoni exudes passion—for adventure, for family and friends, for grape growing and definitely for wine. He is the Burgundian-crazed founder and visionary of Pisoni Vineyards & Winery. After collecting and making wine for most of his life, Gary wanted to plant a vineyard of his own. He was fascinated by the mountain landscape of the ranch his parents purchased in 1979, so he decided to plant the first vines early in the spring of 1982, without even having a source of water. As he will tell you, the story started with him driving a water truck from the Salinas Valley floor to the vineyard to irrigate his young vines, which would struggle to survive in the shallow, granitic soil. After ten years, Gary finally discovered a well hidden within the far reaches of the mountains. With this source, Gary propagated his vines and began selling grapes to California’s finest Pinot Noir producers. In 1998, he started the Pisoni Estate label. According to Wine Enthusiast, this free spirit and maverick among winegrowers personifies the new face of American Pinot Noir.

Jay Johnstone - Former Major League Baseball Player
Jay will talk about his upcoming charity Golf event at the Hacienda Golf Club on January 21, 2013.

John William Johnstone Jr. (born November 20, 1945) is an American former professional baseballplayer, active from 1966 to 1985 for the California AngelsChicago White SoxOakland Athletics,Philadelphia PhilliesNew York YankeesSan Diego PadresLos Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. Johnstone was known as a versatile outfielder with a good sense of humor, known for keeping clubhouses loose with occasional pranks and gimmicks. He later served as a radio color commentator for the Yankees (1989–1990) and Phillies (1992–1993).

Monday, January 7, 2013

1/7-Michael Horn visits with Christian Roguenant & Fintan du Fresne

Christian Roguenant - Winemaker, Baileyana Winery

Christian Roguenant was born to wine. A native of the Burgundy region of France who grew up among the vineyards, he decided early on to become a winemaker. His studies at the University of Dijon focused on enology and winemaking and included graduate coursework in wine marketing. This education served him well as he traveled the world to make wine on five continents. Included in his experience were fifteen years with Champagne Deutz, one of the premier Champagne houses in France and service as a consultant to wineries around the world. His travels brought him to wineries in Argentina, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Korea (where he made sparkling wine for the 1988 Olympics) and finally to the Central Coast of California. "Where better to first make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir than Burgundy; or Sauvignon Blanc than New Zealand, or Syrah than the North Rhone?" smiles Roguenant. "I have been very fortunate," he continues, "I have learned so much from so many winemakers and experiences!"
When the Niven family, owners of Baileyana, decided to build a new winery in 1998 they gave a blank slate to Roguenant to design the winery of his dreams. His gracious, light-filled design is state of the art and elegantly functional. Red wines are fermented in the classic Burgundian method in numerous small, open-top fermentors. This compact system allows for gentle punch down of the caps as the wine ferments and enables Roguenant to keep each lot separate by clone, vineyard block, yeast trial, or whatever he chooses. Three individually climate-controlled barrel cellars are available to Roguenant for completing fermentation and for aging. Roguenant is also pleased with the esthetics of the winery. "The windows let in a lot of natural light," he says. "Although the wine never sees the light, the people do and that makes the winery a very pleasant place to work."
Roguenant delights in selecting among the hand picked fruit from the Firepeak Vineyard. The estate vineyard, adjacent to the Baileyana winery, is planted with carefully chosen clones and rootstocks, and is the jewel of the Edna Valley. "This vineyard allows me to achieve my goal: to make the wine as true to the varietal as possible," Roguenant confirms. "My philosophy of winemaking is this: give me rough but nice diamonds; my job is to polish without scratching them." He also enjoys the premium varietals selected for the Baileyana wines, including fruit from not only from the Firepeak Vineyard and other estate vineyards. "My passion and desire is to make better wine every year. A winemaker is the greatest critic about his own wine-always striving to get closer to perfection."
A judge for numerous wine competitions, Roguenant enjoys the camaraderie of his peers. "I continue to learn so much, consulting with other winemakers-here in California and around the world. I enjoy so many wonderful friendships!" He would welcome the opportunity to spend some time with his life-long hobby, photography. For now, he contents himself with taking pictures of his wife Lois and their young son Blake.

Our winemaker, Fintan du Fresne, brings a wealth of fine winemaking and wine growing experience. Before his first Chamisal harvest in 2006, he managed seven crushes in his native New Zealand and then acquired the art of California winemaking with stints at several well-respected wineries.
Our winemaking philosophy is a natural approach and is all about bringing our special vineyard to life. Everyone at Chamisal shares a respect for the estate and a hands-on approach to all aspects of winegrowing. All vineyard work is done by hand. During harvest, we may take as many as four passes through each block to ensure that fruit is brought in during ideal ripeness. We also ferment and age each lot separately, tailoring our winemaking details, like the kind of French oak used, to highlight characteristics unique to that particular clone and block.

From our painstaking work in the field to the careful handcrafting of our wine, our style is driven by nature. It's about allowing the specific varietal to shine and expressing our vineyard's naturally bold and complex flavors.