Wine Bloggers Conference Day 3 1/2 Recap!

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On the last day of the Wine Bloggers Conference, several bloggers were invited to a private party hosted by The Wine Spies and Cruvee in honor of Levendi Winery. While there, we tasted some lovely wines, all of which were offered in a half bottle format. This is a great way to pour wine, as it allows Levendi to open fresh bottles every day, with minimal waste. It is also a great way to buy wines for people who may not be able to consume an entire bottle in one night, or are single (umm me!) and don’t want to use one of the alternative closure options available to recork their wines. I really enjoyed the 2006 Red Hen Chardonnay, which while being a rich Napa Valley Chardonnay was not overpoweringly buttery and creamy – something I dislike. It had distinct notes of tropical fruit, and was very refreshing on a warm afternoon by the pool. Alas, by this point my brain was a bit fuzzy after 3 days of WBC, and so my notetaking ends here. Unfortunately, that precludes me from participating in The Wine Spies’ contest to review this wine, but c’est la vie! That said, I had a wonderful afternoon with my fellow wine bloggers!       After the Levendi party, a group of bloggers were invited to a special tasting at C. Donatiello Winery,a newer luxery producer in Dry Creek Valley. Chris Donatiello creates world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at the former Belvedere winery on West Dry Creek road; with his

Wine Bloggers Conferenece Day 3 Recap!

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What happened? Where did it all go? Damn that flew by. Day 3, the final day of the Wine Bloggers Conference. Am I awake? Well…sort of. I enjoyed a nicely greasy IHOP breakfast with the man himself, Joel Vincent, Megan Wannabe Wino, Dirty South Wine and Doug from Able Grape. Nothing like carbs and sugar to cure a hangover! Err I mean an energy slump. Back at the Flamingo, as tempting as it was to veg by the pool again, I ducked in to the Unconference just in time. The few stragglers that made it to the morning session really deserve extra credit, since it was the end of a pretty intense weekend. Michelle Lentz, my new BFF, led round tables of the hot discussion topics from the WBC. there were mini sessions recapping the breakouts from Saturday, and there were also new topics, such as Twitter / Social Media, Organic Wines, and Most Surprising Thing. I spent a few minutes at the Should Bloggers Post Negative Reviews sessions and heard some interesting feedback in both directions. Personally, I don’t have the time to post about every negative wine that I taste. That said, I will absolutely post something negative if it was really terrible or really surprising, but I do try to have a balanced approach to my blog. However, my blog is about really terrific wines. I don’t write about mediocre wines, or the mass produced wine I had at a friends party. What do you do? Do you post all reviews? Do you post only good reviews? Do you post negative reviews? Vinquiring minds want to know. After that, I found myself being drafted in to the Twitter table. Apparently, I have been nominated Twitter Queen of the WBC. Do I get a crown? Please? I have found Twitter and other social media tools to be very valuable in terms of networking and getting to know more wine bloggers. As both a wine blogger and an employee of a wine related business, it is critical that we find new ways to market and get the word out. Some key points of the Twitter discussion were Twitter social etiquette, introducing new members, getting started, and how to separate your business from your personal Twitter life. One of the most important lessons for Twitterers to understand is that it is a tool. I fyou abuse it, you will be unfollowed. If you are not giving as much as you are getting, then you are not going to be a member of the club for very long. Moral of this speech? Make sure if you meet new wine bloggers, and they are on Twitter already or they are going to get on Tiwtter that you do them the courtesy of announcing them to your followers. This allows them to gain a small following to start with, and they can earn additional followers based on the content they are tweeting. After the Unconference, it was time for the final tasting and […]

Wine Bloggers Conferenece Day 2 Recap!

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After spending the morning resting, eating and blogging, I was finally ready to get back in to the WBC action. Or so I thought. After perusing the options of breakout sessions, like Beyond Blogging, Increasing Visitors, and the dreaded Wine Blogger Credibility issue, I decided that I would rather be a fly on the wall and headed to the pool to hang with El Jefe and Sonadora instead. Corey from Inertia Beverage Group came by too! We managed to create a pretty hoppin’ Anti-Conference, where several of us were enjoying the Twitter conversation regarding the breakouts from afar while enjoying some wine in the gorgeous weather. By 5, the party was in full swing as the entire conference joined our BYOBG (bring your own bottle and glass) party poolside. After our soiree, we headed in to the Grand Sonoma tasting where many of my favorite wineries were pouring, including Willowbrook and Inman Family, two pinot producers that have stolen my heart. And taste buds. And wallet. Finally, we got on the bus for dinner at Sebastiani. That’s right, we were on the cool bus, aka bus #2, with our brave driver Gina. Gina successfully guided the rowdy bunch to Sebastiani in Sonoma, where we had dinner and the keynote by Alice Feiring. After dinner, the Brave, The Proud, The Truely Twisted were invited to an after party in the Oak Room, where Doug Cook from Able Grape let loose with a plethora of amazing and aged Italian wines from his personal collection. Lenn Thompson also brought out the rest of the Long Island and Finger Lakes wine from the previous nights after party, to be enjoyed by any one who could still keep their eyes open. Unfortuntely, I only lasted through the first 5 bottles of wine before I had enough and passed out in my room. It was only midnight. Eeeesh. The next day, up WAY WAY WAY too early for my taste, is another story! More to come of course, as the Wine Bloggers Conference has been a great success and great fun for all. There will be more pictures rest assured, although I have been told I am not allowed to publish some of them 😉   Google  

Lest I forget…

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After being shushed more than once, I have to give a shout out to Table 11 at dinner because we were: The Loudest The Goofiest The Twitterist The Funnest And BESTEST table at dinner! Love to El Jefe of Twisted Oak Wines, Sonadora aka Wannabe Wino, Russ The Winehiker, Josh the Pinotblogger, and the new friends made at dinner! Incidentally, Josh and Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours deserve a massive thank you for a great tasting of Long Island and Oregon wines last night. Palates smashed, I still found some Long Island and Oregon wines to love. Too bad I didn’t push Randy in the pool thought 😉 How much fun did we have? We’ll let’s just say that I was laughing so hard I forgot to take notes and there was nearly a wine spit up accident every 5 minutes. Now that I am relatively well rested and full of a Bacon Omlette from Hank’s Creekside Cafe, BRING IT ON!

Wine Bloggers Conferenece Day 1 Recap!

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Yesterday was the first day of the first ever American Wine Blogger’s Conference, held in Santa Rosa at the historic Flamingo Hotel. You can catch up on the action by using Twitter Search and the hashtag #wbc. It started out so well, with a welcome lunch at Kick Ranch, a lovely piece of property just east of Santa Rosa, overlooking the valley. While there, we were given the opportunity to taste several wines grown on the property. Yummy! After lunch, we headed back to the hotel for the Live Blogging Session. Let me just say, madness ensued! One we got past the technical glitches, 14 wineries played round robin running from table to table. They had 5 minutes to talk, and we had a minute or so to respond via Twitter, our Blogs or some other method.Here is my rundown of the tasting: Bonterra Organic The McNab Menocino blend 60% Merlot, 26% cab, 14% petite. Dark fruit. Loganberry with chocolate on top! Dusy spice easy drinking. 2007 Lionheart Roussanne has a very carmellly characteristic. Creamy custard, lemon, tropical fruit…guava and peach Yellow + Blue = Green Malbec in a Tetrapak 1 liter container. Thin but a lot of spice. Leather dark blue frut. 2007 James David Dry Muscat honey floral melon with tangerine quite refreshing actually 2005 Clos LaChance Estate Cab quite a sweet note to the Clos La Chance Cab. This wine could use decanting. Cassis and spice. Only 1200 cases made! Classic cab. Rich velvety. A little dry, needs some time chocolate, coffee Four Bears Cabernetsmoke, tobacco, earth. A little merlot and Petite Verdot blended in. It has a lot of cedar, and menthol to it. but the price point is RIDICULOUS as in CHEAP for this level of quality. Small Vines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is concentrated deliciousness. Very rich biodynamically farmed, with very limited production. It is concentrated smoky earth, with a healthy Dr. Pepper zing followed by pomegranate…leather…baking spices. Stands on it’s own. Lingering finish that i adore. So named Small Vines because most vineyards are planted 1000 vines per acre but Small Vines only has 250 vines per acre. Kanzler Estate Pinot Noiras the classic richness of RRV pure cherry cola – fizzes like a wild cherry pepsi! Kanzler Estate Pinot rich style, Russian River / Sebastapol Hills micro AVA. Cupcake Central Coast Chardonnay is so nice and not overly oaked. 50% new american oak gives it such a light crispness and well balanced acidity on the finish, very French in style. Dark Horse Zinfandel treborce Vineyardspicy rich raisens 2006 Twisted Oak The Spainard Smokey deliciousness! I cannot say enough great things about Twisted Oak. Not only am I twisted by nature, I am now addicted. Egads! Boho Central Coast Chardonnay Bag in Box funk on the nose creamy lemon not very oaky. LEMON. Bink Pinot Noir Weir Vineyard is not a shy wine. This is a BOLD wine not for the faint hearted. Spicy cinnamon, candied apple, strawberry. Yorkville highlands rich cheery […]

Live Tasting Session from the WBC!

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Upon the advice (Ok, not advice, just post) of fellow wine blogger Joe of 1WineDude fame, I am going to give this crazy piece of thechnology a whirl. Dunno if it will work, but stay tuned for the WBC to find out! Holy Blogger Failure Batman! What I was trying to say before I was so rudely interrupted was… On Friday October 24th at 3:30pm PT, the attendees of the WBC will be participting in a whacky tasting event where 14 winereis will pour in a round robin tasting. Bloggers will have 1 minute to respond LIVE to the wines, and then interact with the vintners. Should be fun! If I can get this toy to work, tune in for live updates!

Everyone say it with me!

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Albariño (/ˌal.baˈɾiː.ɲo/ – Galician) or Alvarinho (/ˌal.vaˈɾiː.ɲo/ – Portuguese) is a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and northern Portugal, where it is used to make varietal white wines. I’ve decided recently to refocus my efforts on my Century Club application, and really expand my international knowledge of wine as well as tasting more California varietals. Last night at dinner, we opened the 2007 Bokicsh Albariño (Mokelumne River), which was a sample provided to me by my friends at Wine Q. This Albariño is produced in Lodi, a hot growing region in Central Californian which has recently become a hot bed of Spanish varietal production. While Lodi has long been known for producing some of the States most prized Zinfandels, the Spainairds are invading this hot dry growing region, with some amazing results. Bokicsh also produces another Albariño, as well as Garnacha and Tempranillo, two classic Spanish varietals, among others. This Albariño was a lovely aromatic white wine that had a lot of citrus aroma. It was a rich golden straw color, that really shone in the glass. I smelled lemons, lime leaves, and a touch of earth. I tasted a burst of citrus flavors, like grown up lemonade, with a twist of lemon rind, followed by an interesting hazelnut character. Because it is 100% stainless steel fermented, you don’t see any oaky or toasted notes like you would in many other California whites. The nutty flavors are a component of the wine itself. We all really enjoyed the mouthfeel of the Albariño , which was not light but not heavy. It coated the palate with the rich flavors, and had a long finish. While i really enjoyed this wine, i think it could have been even better if we served it with the spicy Middle Eastern fish dish we were having with dinner. The bright acidity and citrus flavors would have cut through the spiciness nicely, and really complimented the fish.   Google

88…89…90! Ready or not! Here I come!

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What’s the point? What IS a point? 10 point scales, A-F Grades, 5 star systems. How do we rate wine? Is it right? Is it accurate? Could it be, *gasp* subjective? Dhonig, our illustrious host of 2 Days Per Bottle, has kicked off the 89 Project, a community blog where wine bloggers everywhere can contribute their notes on 89 point wines. Are they undervalued? Are they amazing Are they crap? Head on over and read my first contribution! Google

In South Australia I was born

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Heave away, Haul away! In South Australia ’round Cape Horn, We’re bound for South Australia! As you might have guessed, this post is about Aussie wines. A week ago, I was able to attend a fantastic tasting presented by South and The Jug Shop in San Francisco. South is a wine bar in SOMA that specializes in wine & food from Down Under, and I love it. I’ve picked out my favorites (ok, fine, the wines I purchased) to write about, since there were so many to drink that night and I lost track of my tasting notes at the end! The Traveling Winemakers of the Country Vintner is a road show of Aussie offerings (with one New Zealand host for good measure). This wine event gave us Yanks an opportunity to taste some smaller production and country vintner examples in a fun format, at a small venue. We tasted a large variety of wines, from five wineries from all over Oz – Pemberton and Denmark, way out Western Australia-way, over east to South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, a few clicks north to the Barossa Valley, then across the Tasman to NZ’s famed Marlborough district. LOOSE END – Barossa Valley, South Australia Loose End gets my Gold Star winner of the night award. Rob’s GSM blend was stunning and RIDICULOUSLY affordable! The 2005 Loose End GSM Blend retails for $16, and is a smooth ripe blend of 43% Grenache, 30% Shiraz, and 27% Merlot. For a full bodied red with dark fruit and spice, you cannot beat this for the money. The other wine that Loose End poured was a classic Aussie Shiraz. Typically, I am not a huge fan of the Barossa Shiraz that we get here in the states, mainly because I find them over oaked and over manipulated. This was the exception to the rule. The 2005 Loose End Barossa Shiraz Viognier blend is fermented on 4% of Viognier grapes which gives this wine a beautiful aromatic quality and softens the hard edges you can sometimes find in Shiraz, and shows blackberries, chocolate and and earthly backbone. Vinaceous Wines & West Cape Howe – Denmark, Western Australia Vinanceous wins for Best Label Design. In addition, the content of those bottles were AMAZING! The 2006 Vinaceous Red Right Hand blend of Syrah, Grenanche and of all things Tempranillo, was unusual. It showed as a juicy red, with some interesting spice and great body. I also enjoyed the Snake Charmer Shiraz. While more expensive than the Loose End, at only $24, this was an affordable wine as well. The other label produced by this winemaker, West Cape Howe, had a lovely Unwooded Chardonnay that was really creamy and delicious without having that overpowering oak characteristic. I don’t drink very much white, but I really enjoyed this wine with its crisp & juicy flavors, topped with some mineral and citrus. For less than $20, you can drink this at a Barbie, a picnic, or at the beach. I could go on […]

Tweeps, Eats, and East Bay Drinks!

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Wow what a busy week this has been! Where have the last two weeks gone? I can’t find them. Have you seen them? Hmm might have to look under my chair, or in my stair, over here, over there. In recent happenings, fellow wine bloggers met to taste through several delicious wines. From left to right: Marshall & Brittney of WineQ, (@wineq, @wineqt), Ward of WineLog (@drxeno), Farley, late of Behind the Vines and currently of Rosenblum Cellars (@WinePoet), Megan of Wannabe Wino (@sonadora) and Russ of California Wine Hikes (@winehiker). Togeter, we had some great wines and great dinner and talked blogs, politics and wine! The following day, Brittney, Megan and I headed up to Michel-Schlumberger in Dry Creek Valley, where we were treated to a tour of the vineyard and an amazing tasting afternoon. Judd led us through the organic garden out back, before taking us up the hill to admire the grapes as well as the view. After scrambling down a few hills (yes I’m a girl, and wasn’t wearing hiking shoes), we headed in to the luxe Club Room to taste through their current offerings. Highlights for me were the Pinot Noir and the Syrah, but the library reserve vertical of Cabernet Sauvingnons was amazing too! I confess, I was being lazy, somewhat induced by a cold, so i didnt’ take great notes. Head on over to Wannabe Wino for a complete report shortly! Amazingly, we spent over 2 hours enjoying our day, and were somewhat remiss in keeping our lunch date with Patrick of Iridesse Wines (@oenophilus) at Bovolo in Healdsburg. Once there however, we were all drooling over the multiple forms of bacon offered. Three of us ordered the decadent Carbonara, which was served with black pig bacon. And of course, we had a side of bacon to go with that! After lunch, the girls and I headed across the street ot Stephen & Walker, before heading to the south end of town. After Stephen & Walker, we headed south to Longboard Vineyards, where we were fortunate enough to hit a clearance sale on their 2005 Syrah which was only $15. For a daily drinker, I really enjoyed this wine with a rich & earthly character, balanced by dark fruit and spicy cola. I also picked up a bottle of the Dakine Syrah, which is the reserve offering. I especially enjoyed the Dakine for winter sipping in front of the fireplace. After Longboard, we continued to the south end of town to the Front Street Five, a collection of small wineries. Here we stopped at Huntington and Camelia Cellars. I have always enjoyed Huntington’s Petite Sirah, but this time I purhcased a reserve Merlot for fall sipping. At Camelia, they had a lovely soft Sav Blanc called First Kiss, so I brought some of that home too. You can find all of these wines by using Vinquire my favorite search tool! After two full days of tasting and laughing, I was ready for a […]

Where has the summer gone?

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Gracious what happened to the summer months? I feel like a kid who’s summer vacation has been cut short. Fortunately, we get a late summer out here in San Francisco, but it is amazing that it is already September 1st. Yesterday being the Sunday before an extra day off, I took the opportunity to cruise up to Dry Creek with some wineaux friends. Little did we know that Trentadue was having a 50% off sale, and my friend stocked up! Their La Storia line has always been a favorite of mine. This being a new month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you about a few evetns coming up: September 13/14 Spotlight on Zinfandel in Kenwood Seven Heart of Sonoma Valley wineries are participating. Enjoy wine tastings, verticals, barrel sampling, select discounts, educational seminars, and more! Eric Ross Winery Family Wineries Kenwood Kaz Winery & Vineyards Loxton Cellars Muscardini Cellars & Ty Caton Vineyards The Wine Room VJB Vineyards & Cellars September 14 Country Vintner tour at South, brought to you by The Jug Shop Rob “Gibbo” Gibson with LOOSE END Nick “Kilo Man” Stacy with WEST CAPE HOWE Barbara “The Law” Lawson with LAWSON’S DRY HILLS Peter “The Adelaide Longhorn” Saturno of LONGVIEW VINEYARD George & Liz “The Country Duo” now on tour with PICARDY Sept 20th Release the Spaniard Dinner -at Twisted Oak Winery Being a recent convert to the Twisted Few wine club, I decided this would be a fine opportunity to visit the Murphy’s area to do a little wine reconnaissance. Since I haven’t been there since I was prospecting for gold in high school, I am looking forward to a grown up tour of the area. Some other wineries in the area that we will try to taste at are: Black Sheep Winery Bodega del Sur Winery Brice Station Winery Broll Mountain Vineyards Chatom Vineyards French Hill Winery Frog’s Tooth Winery Hatcher Winery Indian Rock Vineyards Ironstone Vineyards Laraine Winery Lavender Ridge Vineyard Milliaire Winery Newsome-Harlow Wines Solomon Wine Company Stevenot Winery Tanner Vineyards Twisted Oak Winery Vina Moda Winery Zucca Mountain Vineyards   Google

Pinot Envy indeed!

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Last night I had the opportunity to attend a New Zealand Pinot Noir tasting of Calvert Vineyard wines at The Jug Shop. Being a pinot-phile, and planning a trip to NZ next year, this was a terrific opportunity for me to hone my Pinot tasting skills. NZ is pumping out some amazing Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs these days, and the Central Otago region, located on the southern end of the South Island has been cranking out some amazing examples. The tasting offered three wines produced from the same vineyard, in a variety of styles, all from Calvert Vineyard. For you wine geeks, you can see a block map here. Calvert Vineyard Block Plan 2006 Felton Road This was the first wine we tasted, and right off the bat I tasted red fruit, cola, and cherry. It had an earthy backnote, with a hint of violets. This was a fruit forward wine, and did not show immense oak. 2006 Pyramid Valley This wine was ever so slightly different than the Felton Road, with it’s woody flavors and increased chewiness. The difference was in the handling of the fruit, which was 100% destemmed and whole cluster fermented for 15 months in French Oak. This extra time in the oak added the texture and complexity. 2006 Craggy Range Calvert Vineyard This is an example of an over extracted Pinot Noir done well; yes, it was a rich and bold wine, and not a delicate flower, but we all loved it and it clearly has a cult following if only 2 cases are imported in to the US. These wines are difficult to find in the States, and I was happy to be able to take advantage of The Jug Shop’s tricky negotiation skills to taste these gems. I even left holding in my hot little hands, a promise of delivery for a three-pack of these treats. How could I ressit? With only 2 cases imported of the Craggy Range, it is an excellent opporutnity to do a horizontal tasting of some of the world’s hottest new growing regiosn. Hey, if your wines were this good, woudln’t you keep them for yourselves? I know I would!   Google

A Rosé By Any Other Name is…

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A Cabernet! This is not your mother’s Rosé. You will not find any sweet pink punch here my Luscious Lushes. Yes, it’s true. My favorite Rosé at last night’s Pretty in Pink tasting, hosted by my friends at Bottlenotes, was the 2004 Croze Vin d’Une Nuit, Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was a stunning deep rose red color, and really stood out from the lineup of 6 different Rosés. I found intense flavors of strawberry, blood oranges and pink grapefruit with a nice tang. I loved this rose because of its juicy red fruit flavor, but also because of its beautiful color. It was magic in the glass. Croze gets its amazing color from Cabernet Sauvignon, which is an unusual variety to make rose with. This wine is made in a traditional French style, and the name Vin d’une Nuit means “wine of one night” because the the juice & skins are only soaked for a single day. This is what gives the Croze the amazing color and undertones of a big Cab. This wine is best enjoyed ice cold, since it releases more flavors and aromas as it warms in the glass. I also particularly enjoyed the 2006 Pretty Sally Rosé, an Australian concoction that was also a deep pink color, although not as ruby as the Croze. The flavors exploded with raspberry & watermelon, with a tinge of strawberry. Other wines that were being poured were: 2006 Sullivan Pink Ink from Napa 2006 Wild Rock Vin Gris Rosé, a really lovely rose of Pinot Noir from Central Otago 2006 Two Wives Rosé, from Napa The moral of this pink story? Go out and try some pink!   .Google

And speaking of Roses…

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As I sit here and have my morning dose of Twitter, the illustrious Agent Red of The Wine Spies pointed out that their deal today is a delectable little number by Chandon. Since I do love my Blanc de Noirs, and pretty much anything with bubbles, I will have to give this one a try. Which reminds me. This Thursday, August 14th (that’s tomorrow folks!) is Pretty in Pink at Jovino in San Francisco. Hosted by BottleNotes, this is your chance to taste some lovely Rosé wines paired with foods for the occasion! What are you waiting for? Sign up and join us! For details, please click HERE!   Google

Pretty in Pink

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Summer is here (in some parts of the world) and the weather is heating up. This is particularly true in the East Bay, where I happen to spend my weekdays. Some things I love about summer are: -Peaches -Tomatos warm from the sun off the vine -BBQs -and sitting outside on a warm afternoon, sipping a nice dry Rosé wine! Since there are so many different types of Rosé, I have started to drink more to explore different territories. One of my strategies this year at Family Winemakers is to taste some new ones to add to my cellar list. As it happens, my friends at Bottlenotes are hosting an event here in San Francisco next week all about Rosé. If you’re not familiar with Bottlenotes, they are an online wine club that you can customize to suit your tastes. Each time you recieve a wine, you can rate it, and you get future selections based on these. It’s kind of like your suggestions list on Amazon. Pretty cool! Rosé wines and paired appetizers from the The Little Black Apron Cookbook (purchase from Amazon.com below) will be served on Thursday, Thursday, August 14 at Jovino on Union. Click here for details and to make reservations See you there! Google