Archive for the ‘good wine’ Category

Chronic Cellars Dead Nuts

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The brand new release of Chronic Cellars Dead Nuts Zin is on the shelf at $21. This is a blend of 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah. Chronic Cellars wines are extremely popular so get yours while you can.

Mediterranean Salad Recipe w/ Wine Recommendation

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I’ve been experiencing a lot lately with food and wine pairing – mainly because, well, I love wine and I love food, so the next best thing is putting them together in such a way that they compliment eachother. Here’s a perfect summer time salad to pair with those lighter, more acidic whites such as Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio…

Mediterranean Summer Salad
Serves 12 (1 cup serving size)

8 oz Orzo Pasta cooked according to package directions
2 Cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 Cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 Cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 Cup Greek olives, such as Kalamata, pitted and halved
4 oz (or more) feta cheese, broken into large chunks
2 Cups (or more) baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olives, garlic, pine nuts, feta, and spinach – toss and then add cooked orzo.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to tate

Toss with salad, pour yourself a glass of vino and relax in the sun.

Santa Ynez & Paso Robles Wine Tour

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Courtesy of Mark Johnson, Commander Products

We went wine tasting last week (Wednesday through Saturday) touring Santa Rita Hills, Lompoc, Los Olivos and all around Paso Robles. Plus I attended two mega Rhone tastings at the Hospice du Rhône in Paso There is mucho to report!

Here are a few of the items I will review later this week:

Which wineries sucked in Santa Barbara County? Who were the few that passed muster?

Which highly rated restaurant in Solvang got a ho-hum report from us?

I tasted 3 all new releases from Saxum  and they were all great. But, whose other wine did I taste that was just as good (that you can actually buy) for much less money?

What is the name of a stunning new tasting room in Paso that should have spent less on the beautiful building and more on a real winemaker?

What is the name of a new restaurant in Paso that might take the crown from Artisan Restaurant as the best restaurant in town?

Which wines from Booker Winery already sold out in their first week of release? And I got to taste them (and buy them) and I must say they are fantastic.

What Paso winery is putting out the best wines across the board?

All above will be reported and posted here within a week so stay tuned…Linda

JC Cellars Marsanne

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I participated in a food and wine party a week ago with a dozen of my uber-foodie friends – these are the kind of people you love to know because they’re all chefs (unpaid ones, but nonetheless), plus they always break open the best wines. This is a California wine lovers group though, rarely do you see a wine from France or Italy make an appearance.

We usually start out with appetizers and white wine, then move into the main courses paired with our reds.  I took a chance and brought a 2005 JC Cellars Marsanne from the Preston Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. For one, I was concerned about the age of the wine and knew these guys would be brutally honest if it had turned and two, I knew if it was still good, it would be great.

Cowabunga!  Beautifully balanced, full-throttle Marsanne loaded with creamy pear and not even a hint of fruit-gone-bad. It was perfect and, if I don’t say myself, the best white of the night!  Only 4 bottles left on the shelf so don’t dilly dally.

St. Patricks Day Party, RiverStar Vineyards, Friday Night Flights

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

We’re starting the week off early on Wednesday with a St Patty’s Day Celebration starting at 5:00pm with $5 Guiness, $5 O’Rielly wines (from David O’Rielly of Owen Roe wines and traditional Irish grub until 9:00pm. Note: nothing you’ll consume will be green, I promise, but please feel free to wear some green if you please.

This Thursday, 3/18 RiverStar Vineyards of Paso Robles will be visiting and educating us on their lineup of small production wines that are packed with flavor. I’m always in search of those small, family owned and operated wineries who made fab wines for everyday drinking – in other words, RiverStar is great wine that fits nicely into anyones budget.

Come out and taste for yourself 5 RiverStar wines and appetizers for $15, 3/18 between 6-9pm.

Flight night Friday from 5:00-9:00pm. Enjoy a different flight every Friday night for only $10. Pair with a cheese plate for $7 more. This Friday Night Flight (3/19): Santa Barbara County.

Remember, whomever comes to the most flight nights from now until May 31st will get a FREE seat on our Santa Rita Hills Wine Country tour in early June – dates yet to be determined, but let me know if you’re interested & I’ll put you on the list!

To view upcoming tasting events, visit us at

New Items:
Plumpjack Cabernet
Owen Roe Ex Umbris
Carina Cellars
McPrice Myers Kristina & Les

Looking for a great venue to have a private party? The Wine Closet can be yours for a night for groups of 25 or less. Call Linda for details 805.746.5708.

Pick up a bottle of wine from The Wine Wine Closet to enjoy with dinner at JJ Brewsky’s, Verona Trattoria or D’Amore’s Pizza and enjoy free corkage! Great wine deserves great food!

Check out our entire selection of wine online at

Retail store hours: Tues & Weds 11-7pm, Thurs & Fri 11-9pm, Saturday 11-7pm, Closed Sunday & Monday (for now).

We look forward to seeing you here.

Linda & Rob
The Wine Closet
Old Town Camarillo
2423 Ventura Boulevard

Doin’ the Mollydooker Shake

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Here’s what’s going on this Thursday night at The Wine Closet…

Whether or not you’ve heard of or tasted wines from Mollydooker, this is a tasting NOT TO MISS! Seriously, I mean it when I say Australia’s best – I love all of these wines! But wait, there’s more…we’ll teach you to do the “Mollydooker Shake” – bonus!

For 12 years, Sarah & Sparky Marquis (pronounced Mar-kwis) have been “WOW”ing wine fans around the world with their award-winning Australian wines. This dynamic duo has been awarded the title of Australian Winemakers of the Year; is the only husband and wife winemaking team to receive Mclaren Vale’s prestigious Bushing Award three times; and is responsible for crafting four of only 24 Australian wines to receive 99 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in the last 10 years.

Tasting is $18 per person for 5 delicious wines and appetizers- this Thursday, 3/4 between 6-9pm.

To view upcoming tasting events, visit us at

So here’s a little info about the Mollydooker Shake and a link to the video demo created by Sarah and Sparky Marquis so you can check it out yourself.

Apparently, the Mollydooker wines are made with less sulfites and more nitrogen in an effort to help ward off headaches suffered by those who are allergic to sulfites. Because of the addition of nitrogen, the Mollydooker wines need to be “shaken” prior to consumption to help release the nitrogen – ever had a Guinness Stout in the can? – same concept used here, except there’s no nitrogen capsule inside the bottle.

The proper way to “release” this extra nitrogen within the bottles of Mollydooker wine is to unscrew the cap and pour about 3 ounces into a glass, screw the cap back on the bottle, turn the bottle upside down and give it a vigorous shake, unscrew the cap to release the gas (foam will be noticeable on top of the wine which quickly disipates), put the screw cap back on and repeat the Mollydooker shake once more, now the wine is ready to consume.

check out this link – of course, this “shake” is not recommended on their Sparkling Shiraz for obvious reasons.


Great News for Dubost Winery

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Dubost family in Paso Robles sent this Tempranillo review conducted by the UCSD Med School Wine Group – pick up your bottle of Tempranillo at The Wine Closet today:

“…wanted to share this review from a UCSD Med School wine group. ”

Begin forwarded message:
From: David Rapaport <>
Date: January 11, 2010 7:23:58 PM PST
Subject: Our Tempranillo Tasting
Dear Kate and Curt,
   Wanted to let you know that the Dubost 06 Tempranillo arrived first thing in the morning on Saturday, well in time for our evening Tempranillo tasting.  Thank you so much for providing the bottle, leaving us the unexpected Carmenere to try at our leisure, and for getting it here on time.  You will be pleased to know that of the 7 Tempranillos at the tasting the Dubost was the number one rated by the group (based on the UCD ratiing scale and then giving a “group score” based on- 3 points for each person who rated it number one, 2 for each second place…).  Five of the tasters rated the Dubost the number one wine and almost everyone placed it in the top 3.  For your information I attach a summary so you can see the competition.  There was, in fact, a seventh wine, funnily enough the most expensive ($50). but it was clearly corked so no one wanted to have anything to do with it and the couple that brought it were keen to return it to the wine shop from which they purchased it.  The numbers represent the group score of each wine with the large font number indicating the top 3 group scores.
   FYI, our wine group, fondly called The Oenophiliacs, is a group of friends, mostly colleagues who work and teach at UCSD School of Medicine, but including others from varying walks of life.  We have been together for over 15 years and I dare say that our monthly tasting are the highlight of most of our social calendars.  My wife Kathy and I urged all Oenophiliacs to visit you when then go to Paso Robles, and I suspect you will get some of us.  I know we look forward to our next visit.








Marques de CaceresGran Reserva



$35- Whole Foods





Cellar Door

Paso de Paso2008

La Mancha

$9- La Costa Wine Co.

Navarro Lopez2004


$13- Bev Mo

Cala Blanca2008

La Mancha

$16- Bev Mo

Cepa 212006

Ribera de Duero

$26- La Costa Wine Co.

Find wine tasting events in your neighborhood

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Did you know you could visit and view wine tasting events in your neighborhood?  The Wine Closet posts its Thursday night tastings on this site so if you’re interested in what’s going on around town, check it out.

Dubost Winery…preserving a family heritage

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Kate Dubost of Dubost Ranch Winery from the Adelaida area of West Paso Robles will be here at The Wine Closet to taste us on her new lineup of wines. We’ll start with a tasty Viognier/Roussanne blend, then taste the Homestead Red Tempranillo blend, Syrah, 100% Tempranillo and their Gran Reserve Tempranillo/Garnacha blend.

In it’s 5th generation, Dubost Ranch is entirely family-owned and operated. They’re dedicated to the production of premium, limited quantity wines handcrafted from locally grown grapes. Not to mentiion that Kate is hoot and will keep us all entertained throughout the evening.

Tasting is $15 per person and includes 5 wines and appetizers – this Thursday, 1/14 from 6-9pm.

Champagne Wednesday!

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Special WEDNESDAY night tasting at The Wine Closet…

The Holidays are indeed a special time of year and a great time to taste some fab bubbly to share with friends and family. Champagne makes an ideal brunch wine, a perfect wine to get your tastebuds ready for your holiday dinner, and we all know it’s a tradition to ring in the New Year! Let’s hear it for traditions :-)

So let’s find that perfect bottle together shall we? We’ll be tasting three beautifully made Champagne’s, a domestic Sparkler you’re sure to fall in love with and maybe a Prosecco from Italy or something bubbly from the Loire Valley of France – either way we’re sure you’ll find something perfect for your occasion.

Tasting is $25 per person with light appetizers
Wednesday 12/23 6-9pm