Oh we were bad boys and girls, but it was all worth it. Out to show wine for a few days in the market then the big pouring at the Wine Spectator events. The visit was a good one, my new grenache will be in Vegas locations soon. I think that is the perfect place for her these days.

 

The week was one long wild ride, as usual, and this time all those hellions we hang around with helped out. My favorite moment: sitting in the absolute jewelbox that is the dining room at Joel Robuchoun. I had an out of body experience during our very late dinner that stretched into the Vegas night like a seam up the back of a sheer, black stocking. The food was insane, the attention to detail stunning. I know a few new things now: I am a caviar slave, and my next sofa will be velvet in perfectly, deep violet.

 

xo,

Ruby


The book is coming right along. I have been working with my agent to get the chapter sections into an order that makes poetic sense and flows with ease. Recipes have arrived from friends and family. I am excited to include them alongside my own favorites. There will be Helene’s Quiche and some of Mama’s Peach Pie, just in time for peach season, thank you very much!

And the vines are puzzled it seems in this strange cool summer, wanting more sun, more heat, to ripen the heavy set we were blessed with. Seems like dropping crop is a theme this year. So I walk through the rows and lightly touch the still-green clusters, knowing only a few will make it into the bottle.

My barrel garden of vegetables and herbs is also a bit unsure. The basil is fine, as usual, but not one ripe tomato yet.

The season has at least been one heavy with the blessing of friends. We have said yes to every dinner party, even if we did need sweaters after dusk. Looking forward to many more, one even tonight I believe. Looking forward to seeing what harvest brings.

xo, Ruby


the food at ame was clever and balanced perfectly and the staff was wonderful. i eased into the night with an old favorite argyle brut rosé. always good. was still reeling from the party in mendo the night before… we also had the pouilly fumé 07 sauvignon blanc. nice start.

 

on to aziza, a mediterranean place in outer richmond that we wanted to try. the food was very good and we decided to open our own bottle of Ruby there to see how she liked morocco. turns out she likes it very well. the food was just spicy enough. two dinners were plenty for one night so we headed back to the swanky palomar for some beauty sleep. :)

 

the next day we tried out luce. what i loved most about it besides my great company was the besserat de bellefon brut rosé from france. this was a remarkable champagne and my notes say: grandma’s potica (traditional slovenian nut bread served at holiday time oh i miss you gramma k), <3 this and it has the quality of the carmelized almost burnt crust on the top of the nut bread, wonderful! the entire bouchon bakery in a glass… later root beer float with good vanilla bean ice cream. exceptional.

 

also had the zind-humbrecht riesling from alsace 2007 a clean crisp riesling but i went back for another glass of the besserat…

 

after a long walk around town we ended up at the ferry building for some oysters and — of course — a sparkler for ruby. 2007 gerard bretrand cremant de limoux, france which was pleasant and light and perfect with kusshis and kumamotos, ahhh. thus restored it was off to dinner at the fifth floor. i love this place and we were not disappointed. the food was fabulous and so were the wines. we had a guigal hermitage 2003 notes: acorn forest floor, irises, raisins, later burnt almond, deep plum and dates! the foie gras dish was perfect pairing with this wine… salty donuts, yes, my favorite. the second wine was 2005 la pialade côte du rhône full of cigar tobacco, perfume in a glass smelling earthy and woodsy and spicy like a good man should (reminding me of eighth grade and cheerleading uniforms for some reason… ;) dessert was muscat de beaumes de venise from domain de durban 2006 paired with the “most amazing almond cake ever! watch out zuzu… ”

back home to the valley the next day, stopping by at girl and the fig for a little lunch in sonoma. we at everything on the menu. it was all really good. especially the bumble bees and humingbirds. (no, we did not eat the hummingbirds).

xo,

ruby


what fun we had… little black book says slingshot sb 07, nice. Michael James wines, syrah 05? 06? remind me j :) leather & horsehide, snickers bar, buttered popcorn. GKG 2007 popped yay! lush jam, well balanced, red velvet cake, pencil lead and pacific sunsets. roessler pinot noir whispery cola, anise. tournesol 05 cab, loved this poppy seed roll! carter cellars 99 fortuna block cab mag format was in fine form, dark as ink and layered fruit and earth rich as could be. philips hill pinot noir gigantic fruit.

Toulouse Pinot the drippings goddamn is that good! clover necter sucked right from the flower blossom itself. (this was the point I had an entire glass of red wine poured over me, always keep a black tshirt in your handbag) keplinger grenache, omg sweetness and light, jelly beans. 2007 kepllnger sumo always always a treat. there were a few others too but I had to sing for a bit and so stopped writing… Ty AW for a night to remember

 

xo,

ruby


solbar in calistoga is one of my favorite places to while away the hours. the people are great, the wines are always flowing and the food is exceptional. in the summer the big widows slide wide and let the inside out. winter, the contemporary fireplace is a good spot to cozy up and drink heavy red.

recently, we had dinner with a few friends and what a line up it was…

i have a new favorite champagne (ok, i know a new one today) but it is “supergood” as stated in the little black book. get this – Jacques Selosse Brute Rose nv – buttered biscuit with honey (and maybe honeycombs), duck fat, watermelon popcorn from adrea b’s fifth grade sleepover while watching raiders of the lost arc, reddest raspberry. i loved this champagne so much that my friends taught me about the irish pour. we laid the “empty” bottle down on its side for a bit so every last drop could collect, and then i was awarded with one more fragrant taste in my flute. thanks, guys!

quivet cellars, spring mountain 2007: really good… blackberry pie, donut holes with jam, stroopwafel from the albert cuyp market in amsterdam… yum! onto burgundy with bonnes mares louis jadot strong cheese and earthy liver and mushrooms and onions, honeysuckle.

then it was coffee and bed. ahhh. i heart calistoga. i really do.

xo,

ruby


i was recently asked on facebook for some thanksgiving feast pairing ideas. thanks katie from Anne’s Fabulous Finds! this was my response. thought it might be fun to see (if you missed it in the comments…)

katie writes:

I’m an AFF employee and fellow wine lover:o) Can you suggest a wine that will pair nicely with my Thanksgiving day meal? TIA!!!”

 

def. if you are doing the traditional thing, i would suggest you start with a champagne, my fave: vintage dom. ;) heaven help me i love that stuff. oc, if that is unavailable a chilly veuve clicquot is always appropriate. moving on to the meal…

 

if you are starting with anything light you can transition from bubbles with a nice viognier or a robust sauvignon blanc (they are not all high notes, some are very mellow and great for this time of year). the go-to start white is always a good riesling, but i want to give you some options here.

 

off to red-land… well now things get interesting. i always love syrah or rhone blends of course, but which? well, are you into chateauneuf du pape? they are the most wonderful wines, complex and yet very approachable. the rich, heavy foods we like for thanksgiving want wine that is just as bold. it has to hold up! if you go with duck you might do well with a bigger pinot noir…

 

dessert – who needs pie when you have Château d’Yquem Sauternes!!! ;) heavenly!

 

remember, wine is a very personal thing. you can’t go wrong if you follow a few simple pairing rules which — i will actually post on my site today. thanks for the nudge.

 

btw, i won’t carry a bag unless i can fit an entire 750 bottle into it comfortably. my favorite kooba serves me well these days. ;)

 

xo, ruby (lmk how it goes….)


…then somewhere between glass one and two of my Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Épernay (always lovely cream cheese and poodle skirts), it went slightly awry. in a very, very good way.

we stopped at Marché for a little bite before heading over to the coast for the evening. what a great idea that turned out to be. along came a broadley pinot noir (marché’s own cuveé) which was a solid and elegant wine. we tried the domain du trapedis côte du rhône 2007…the saint bartholomew cabernet, columbia valley, caramel, smokey jammy, really good.
it was at this point we dove in the trunk for a few bottles of our own goods. toby was happy with that… continuing…
i really fell for the evesham wood pinot noir, willamette valley 2007, chinese five spice horehound, love this! Roller skates and reminds me of raceday! and what a pretty label you have my dearie. ending with madeira, the rare wine company historic series (boston bual special reserve) this is so good, nutty, great acid, orange peels and sherry.

it was at this point, with glasses of all sizes sparkling around me, that we just looked at toby and laughed. it was all just right as rain but the coast was waiting. i jumped in the car with my favorite driver and off we went.
xo,

ruby


last night had dinner at a little inn up in eugene oregon and drank some fun wines…

we had the 07 pinot blanc from apollini williamette valley a playful beginning of grapefruit and saddle soap – a glycerin feel almost like a riesling, interesting …

then the silvan ridge pinot noir 07 williamette valley a briary raspberry nose and a full on plate of sweet and sour pork on the palate and later the end of a manhattan on the rocks…

we had abacela 2006 syrah from southern oregon which was delicious and full of deep blackberry pie

dessert was a honeysoaked fig tart that really was divine and so worth it. on the side: two clear creeks side by side the apple and the pear… so leathery saddles and applesauce, the other full of clarity and perfectly dried pears…

and the “star of the night” was the house noccio (?) a black walnut liqueur all hobnail boots at a barn dance on a cold november night full of sulky ponies and pumpkin spice cake omg i loved that stuff…

xo,

ruby


well, i started with a splash of William Févre Chablis Premier Cru full of orchids and oysters, crisp green apples… then Krug round and nutty with peaches layered on good and warm (but not too warm), the Schramsberg — “You’re Hugh Davies! No, YOU’RE HUGH DAVIES!” creamy and lush, vintage 2000 Dom Pérignon (yes, i know i had it last night, but they were next in line) i wrote “this is so delicious… so smooth and really so feminine lemon cream… ” i do love vintage champagne! then the Salon 1997 speaking of vintage, wonderful, clean and open… then the Louis Roederer Cristal in my book it says: “the ocean the sea, like licking salt water off warm skin” now that’s good. there was Pol Roger in there as well, bringing me back to earth…in a very good way

it was right from bubbles to Lafite and the 2003 was perfection. i really loved this wine. “fall leaves and oh so subtle and lush, restrained and elegant power like a strong horse in harness held lightly back… really lovely ” Bob Foley’s Claret was exceptionally nice, at high recommendation the Red Car pinot and it was indeed well received delich is the note in the book, the 2001 Château Margaux was perfume in a glass yes! lilac and lavendar.

then the Château Cheval Blanc also an 01 oh St Emilion i can taste you all right there… chocolate, almonds, earth… delicious, again!

then i moved from france to argentina. but in the middle i did a few dessert wines to mix it up. why be linear when the night is young? my favorite was the 1998 Château d’Yquem sauternes… bliss in a glass perfectly balanced between heaven and earth. on to Robert Weil reisling auslese 2005 also lovely…

the Trapiche Malbec omg big, explosive, juicy and spicy… massive and fabulous! xoxoxo in the book. Nosotros 2006 was dusty earthy and full of ripe blackberry… Bodegas y Viñedos O. Fournier was yummy and juicy, too…Catena Zapata was like a good, powerful manhattan full of bourbon and cherries, the Alta Vista was a courageous blend of seventy five percent malbec and twenty five percent new vine cab a great experiment, i want more!

somehow next was La Fleur-Pétrus the 2005 was young yet deep cherry wonderful fruit love this… on to the 1989 Ridge which started out funky and turned to silk in my glass oh my…and the Chapoutier Sizeranne was outstanding as well they are so ambitious…

by this time as you can imagine my book was getting heavy with all those notes but on i pressed. the ports were waiting after all.

i tried the Lagrange, the Chryseia from Prats & Symington (fruitcake soaked in rum) there was the Warre 2007 clean and rich and Taylor Fladgate was wonderful too… and at some point, very late in the evening i needed a place to put my book down and write. i walked up to a table of beautiful men who leaned into it all in a circle with one small opening, just for me. they introduced themselves: christophe, matthieu, louis, more. they were from a small region in france called the Rhone, did i know it they asked? ah, i knew these guys looked familiar.

 

xo

ruby


for me the grand tasting on friday evening started with a sip of Chateau Montrose a delicious earthy bordeaux blend. this was what i grabbed on my way downstairs to start properly with a good champagne. yes, i was in search of three glasses of Dom one for me two more for friends who would be pouring for the next 4 hours. i could not help myself once standing in front of champagne row. i had a taste of Perrier Jouet whose bottle is as lovely as its contents. yum and crisp and fruity love. ok back upstairs a girl has to stay on task if she plans to taste through 200 wines in one night. (and i had to deliver the dom).

and suddenly into my hands came the Columbia Valley Betz Family (Cab 2007), i have no idea how this happened first, but it ended up as one of my favorite wines of the whole experience. jelly beans and fall leaves, sweet tobacco, chocolate covered pretzels sitting right on top of dirt. wonderful.

next the Masseto – Tenuta dell’Ornellaia oh yes please, the Vega Sicilia – Unico with its great nose and firm tannins, my secret lover Beaucastel all full of gingerbread was delivered to me in perfect time, ah… and the Côtes du Rhône as you all know i love with my whole heart…old sparkey (thanks freddy!) surprised me with a most distinctive hyacinth (yes!) nose… the Harlan (2005) was all berries on poundcake. now we get to the Novy syrah. before sipping my taste i bumped into a friend and forgot about my project (tasting!) for a minute which was meant to be. the wine which had started as a complete barnyard in a cup had suddenly turned into candy in my glass. my notes say “i <3 this wine, really layered and delicious…” the Yarden was very interesting (Cabernet from Isreal) and the south african syrah grenache blend Chakalaka was fun. by this time i was thinking manhattans in manhattan… met friends from philly completely by accident and died laughing til our faces hurt, tucked into velvet chairs neat as pearl earrings in jewel boxes, high above the glitter of times square just before the rain. which happens to be terribly romantic.

xo,

ruby