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Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15/2014 - Somm Lives!

This week, we hear the stories of three sommeliers who have taken their careers in very different directions - sales, journalism and lecturing.  It's an eye-opener to see the many avenues of a career in wine beyond the restaurant floor.  All are presenting at Pebble Beach Food and Wine, and we'll firstly hear from David Bernahl about the event.

Kim Beto
VP of Key Accounts
Southern Wine and Spirits

Kim Beto is known by numerous industry folk for his dynamic and inspired work with Southern Wine & Spirits, but prior to working with Southern, he was the Director of Beverage for the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Many also know him from his days as the Wine Director and GM at Postrio, and prior to that, he was at his restaurant, 231 Ellsworth.


Jordan Mackay
Author and Journalist
Jordan Mackay is the James-Beard-award winning wine and spirits writer for San Francisco magazine. His writing on food, wine, spirits, and beer has also appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, The Art of Eating, Wine and Spirits, Food & Wine, Gourmet and many others. Currently, he writes regularly for San Francisco, as well as a monthly pairing column in Cooking Light. His first book, Passion for Pinot, was published in 2009, and his second, Secrets of the Sommeliers (with Rajat Parr), was released in October 2010, winning the James Beard award in 2011. His latest book, Two in the Kitchen, with his wife Christie Dufault, was published in late 2012. Currently, he is working on a book about Texas barbecue and two more books on wine. He lives in San Francisco.


Christie Dufault,
Wine and Beverage Instuctor,
CIA Greystoneclose

Christie Dufault is a member of the wine faculty at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. Previously, Christie worked as the wine director for Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, where she was featured on the Food Network and earned the Grand Award from the Wine Spectator.  As the head sommelier at Quince, Christie was awarded “Best Wine Director 2007” by San Francisco Magazine.  In 2009, Christie helped open RN74 Restaurant where she remains a part-time sommelier. Christie is also a guest lecturer at the San Francisco Wine School and is a regular contributor to Sommelier Journal.   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

10/27/2014 - Coquerell Wines and the Bordeaux Link

Brenda Cockerell
Owner, Coquerel Wines

Brenda and Clay Cockerell
As high school sweethearts who have been married since 1977, we have enjoyed hundreds of memorable meals and great wines with family and friends. We have travelled extensively throughout the great appellations of Europe and sampled everything from simple, honest regional bottlings to some of the world’s most celebrated wines. We have trudged through vineyards and shivered in cold cellars as we barrel tasted with some of the world’s top vignerons.

Several years ago, while visiting the Napa Valley for our anniversary, we decided the time was right to make our own wines. Coquerel was born. (The name Coquerel is an archaic French derivation of our family name - Cockerell.)

In 2005, we purchased a vineyard in Calistoga planted to old-vine, dry-farmed Sauvignon Blanc. In 2008 we acquired the adjacent site that was planted to a handful of traditional varieties rarely found in modern-day Napa. Since then we have revamped, replanted and upgraded our property to luxury-class winegrowing standards.

Early on, we hired Christine Barbe, one of the world’s great Sauvignon Blanc specialists, to handle our winemaking duties. Each vintage, in addition to our two bottlings of SB, Christine produces small batches of Chardonnay, Verdelho, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon that capture the essence of the vintage, variety and site.
Christine Barbe

Winemaker Christine Barbe is a master of Sauvignon Blanc. Born and raised in Bordeaux, she studied biochemistry and received her doctorate degree in Enology and Viticulture from the Bordeaux Institute of Enology. Christine worked with the renowned Denis Dubourdieu and made Sauvignon Blanc at Chateau Carbonnieux and La Louviere in Pessac-Leognan. In California, she has worked with Robert Mondavi, Gallo and Trinchero. Although Christine is from Bordeaux, her “Le Petit” Sauvignon Blanc has a decidedly Loire Valley character, bearing a striking resemblance to a top Sancerre.

 About Coquerel Wines
Coquerel Family Wine Estates is located just beyond the town of Calistoga at the north end of the Napa Valley. The heart and soul of our winery is our estate “Walnut Wash” vineyard, a gorgeous, oak-studded property that sits in the afternoon shadows of the Mayacamas Mountains. The combination of warm temperatures and deep, clay/stone soils makes this ideal terroir for Sauvignon Blanc, their flagship variety, made in a classic Bordeaux style. It also produces exceptional Verdelho, Tempranillo and Petite Sirah.





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12/08/2014 - A Pebble Beach Food and Wine Teaser

Slow Living Radio this week brings you a taste of what is to come in next year's Pebble Beach Food and Wine Classic. We hear from the founder, David Bernhal, Wine director, Lara Sailer Long and three of the esteemed wine presenters.

The legendary Larry Stone, Master Sommelier, winemaker and more, enlightens us with his amazing story. Carlton McCoy, Wine Director for the Little Nell in Aspen and Seth Kunin, proprietor and winemaker for Kunin Wines also join us to share their own journeys and a sampling of what they will be sharing with guest at the Pebble Beach extravaganza.

Larry Stone, MS,

Larry Stone is the Estates Director of Quintessa in Rutherford and works with Huneeus Vintners on other projects such as Neyen in Chile and Flowers in Sonoma Coast.  He is also the Dean of Wine Studies for the International Culinary Center.  Prior to this appointment, Stone was President of Evening Land Vineyards and general manager of Rubicon Estate in Rutherford. He is a two-time recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.  An English-certified Master Sommelier, Stone passed the examination on his first attempt.  He was elected to the board of directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2004 and became a trustee of the James Beard Foundation in 2005. He is the only American to earn the title of Master Sommelier from the Union de la Sommelerie Francaise. His wine-buying and management expertise brought acclaim to the wine programs at the Four Seasons Olympic, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Chicago hotels, Charlie Trotter's restaurant, and finally Rubicon restaurant, which was an iconic destination in San Francisco for 15 years.

Seth Kunin,
Sommelier / Wine Maker, Kunin Winesclose


Seth Kunin (along with his wife, Magan and their daughter, Phoebe) is the owner of Kunin Wines, a boutique producer of Rhone and other varietals from California’s Central Coast. He started the venture in 1998, after a long stint in the restaurant business – most notably as the GM of Santa Barbara’s Wine Cask (the Central Coast’s only Wine Spectator Grand Award winner at the time, and one of fewer than 100 restaurants in the world with the award). In addition to producing award-winning wines under the Kunin label, Seth was the consulting winemaker for Westerly Vineyards in Santa Ynez’s Happy Canyon for ten vintages, and crafted what FOOD & WINE magazine called “America’s Best” Sauvignon Blanc in 2006. He has served as an associate faculty member in Alan Hancock College’s Viticulture and Enology program and currently sits on the board of the Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association. He is on the steering committee for the Central Coast Wine Classic and has been working and consulting with the Masters of Food & Wine, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and now Los Angeles Food & Wine for over 15 years.


Carlton McCoy,
Wine Director
The Little Nell, Aspen

Wine Director Carlton McCoy discovered his love for the food and beverage world when he took a culinary arts course in high school. A scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America called Carlton to his true passion—wine and service. Before arriving at The Little Nell in 2011, he passed through several legendary institutions, including Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Marcus Samuellson’s Aquavit, Tom Colicchio’s Craft Steak in New York and Eric Zeibold’s CityZen at The Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC. Carlton was drawn to The Little Nell by the hotel's Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning program and the property's exciting reputation. In May of 2013, Carlton became the 10th Master Sommelier to come through The Little Nell's  deservedly famed wine team.





Monday, December 1, 2014

12/01/2014 - Wineries in the Hills of the Napa Valley

This week, Slow Living Radio heads into the hills to discover two very different wineries - one housed in a bold and ambitious and authentically-styled, 13th century, Tuscan castle and winery, The Castello de Amorosa, which sits proudly in the hills between St Helena and Calistoga. The other a more rustic boutique winery, Smith Madrone, nestles in the heights of Spring Mountains.

Mary Davidek
Castello di Amorosa

Meet Mary

"When I first came to Castello in May 2008, I watched a video, as many of you may have, made by Dario Sattui. In this video Dario spoke of Castello di Amorosa’s Italian style wines hand-crafted specifically to pair with food. He referred to his trips to Italy, to a time and place when the simplicity of sharing an unhurried afternoon of delicious food and wine with family and friends outweighed the importance of anything else. I come from a large Italian family and Dario’s words evoked images and memories of Sunday afternoon’s at Nonna’s house and the heady aromatics of the food and always, the presence of wine. Ultimately, this inspired the food and wine program, Castello di Amorosa’s Royal Pairing. With Dario and Georg on-board, the food and wine pairing experience was created. It is a perfect way not only to showcase the castle, but to bring this amazing portfolio of award-winning wines to center-stage."

The Royal Food and Wine Pairing
An interactive and educational program designed to enhance visitor’s enjoyment of Castello's wine in a lively tour and tasting experience. After touring the castle and winery, guests are secreted away to the elegantly appointed Royal Apartment overlooking the picturesque northern end of Napa Valley. Then Mary Davideck, gives an educational tour of the property followed by a luxurious tasting in a private tasting salon, the Royal Apartment. Here guests will savor many of Castello di Amorosa’s award-winning wines including reserve selections, La Castellana and Il Barone, paired with delicious savory bites.



Stu Smith
Winemaker, Vineyard Manager
Smith Madrone Winery

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery.  Also in the family attic is the Fetherolf family, German farmers from the Palatinate region, who came to America on the Good Ship Thistle in 1730.  The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.

In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the ‘terroir’ which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master’s in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa. Today he is respected for his expertise and leadership as a mountain vineyardist.

Stuart was born and raised in Santa Monica.  While pursuing his master’s at UC Davis, Stuart was the first teaching assistant for wine industry pioneers Maynard Amerine and Vernon Singleton in 1970-1971. He taught enology at Santa Rosa Junior College and Napa Valley College; he has chaired the 1986 and 2006 Napa Valley Wine Auctions.  He is an active member of the G.O.N.A.D.S. (the Gastronomical Order for Nonsensical and Dissipatory Society), a group of Napa Valley vintners who started getting together for monthly lunches in the 1980s. He served on Napa County’s Watershed Task Force for several years, appointed by the Board of Supervisors; in 2006 he was appointed again by the Board of Supervisors to sit on Napa County General Plan Steering Committee, responsible for updating Napa’s General Plan, a three year project. Stu also serves as auctioneer for an Omaha (NB) charity auction every year.

Stuart served as Scout Master for St. Helena’s (Boy Scout) Troop One for many years. He is an avid canoeist, having canoed through the Quetico Wilderness in Canada many times and often canoes the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in California. He has five children and one grand-child; the family includes a photographer, beekeeper/artist, management information specialist, up-and-coming winemaker, distributor salesman and high school sophomore.