The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 4 of 112

4 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2015 { letter from the publisher } Spend the Spring on the Central Coast I HAVE BEEN ENAMORED WITH THE Central Coast of California long before I started writing about food and wine. The drive from Los Angeles through Ventura is a Zen-like experience, the Pacific Ocean gleaming and spraying, altering your mind and body with a calming effect. Your drive through Santa Barbara alerts you to its landscape of white-washed Spanish architecture, with terra cotta accents matching with an azure sky, reminiscent of the Italian Riviera. Further north, Santa Ynez, which I once called home for ten years, is at once a cowpoke town, with Quarter Horses grazing on ranchlands and, in another dimension, a series of undulating hills of vineyards. The tourist towns of Solvang and Buellton—with windmills and Danish-inspired shops— appear as Hollywood façades where those in the know may enter through a magic gateway to the stunning Santa Rita Hills. The next half hour north finds you in Santa Maria, an agricultural community with strip malls and a dearth of fine dining, which is odd since it is home to many famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, such as Bien Nacido, Tepusquet and Sierra Madre. San Luis Obispo is our next stop, a college com - munity where aggies and enologists from Cal Poly are minutes away from wine countries of Arroyo Grande and Edna Valley, and so close to the waters off the shore of Pismo Beach. Read the article on the wines of SLO on page 88. Only 25 miles away is Paso Robles. My, how this area has made a name for itself over the last decade! But it seems as if the past five or so have seen Paso truly elevated to world-class rank in Rhônes and, even more recently, Bordeaux varietals. See Randy Caparoso's story on Paso's new AVAs on page 105, and make sure you come to Paso May 5–7 to experience the Cabs of Distinction event and meet NYC's Mike Madrigale, Head Sommelier from Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, and The SOMM Journal's East Coast Editor, Lana Bortolot, as they bring the Quaff Report to Paso. Drive further north on the 101 Freeway through farmland and rustic scenery, vineyards competing with fragrant produce growing along each side of the road and suddenly, on your left, the magnificent Santa Lucia Mountains appear in the distance. At the base of the mountains lies Santa Lucia Highlands AVA—our next adventure. See Paul Hodgins's story on page 96. selected contributors Master Sommelier Christopher Miller began his culinary career in college, working his way through some of New Orleans' finest restaurants while attending Tulane University. He began his wine career at Seattle's legendary Canlis Restaurant; several years—and a move to Los Angeles—later, he won the title of Best Young Sommelier in the World while running Wolfgang Puck's award-winning Spago Beverly Hills. Chris's efforts have been rewarded with features in Wine Spectator, The L os Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Food Lover's Guide to Wine, Eater National, L.A. Confidential, The 4-Hour Chef, and being named StarChef's Rising Star Sommelier for Los Angeles as well as L.A. Weekly's Best Sommelier in Los Angeles. He is now a consultant for restaurant and hospitality groups in California and Nevada. Award-winning author and sommelier Marnie Old is one of the country's leading wine personalities, an engaging speaker known for her refreshingly direct style and incisive insights. Marnie's humorous column on wine and spirits, Cheap Buzz, appears biweekly in the Philadelphia Daily News. Formerly the Director of Wine Studies for Manhattan's French Culinary Institute, she continues to lead seminars for the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and provides consulting services for all levels of the trade. Marnie's latest book is the revolutionary Wine: A Tasting Course, a fully-illustrated introduction to wine that uses the power of images to explain complex wine concepts. Hailing from a dual freelance writing and craft bartending background in NYC, Éva Pelczer started shaking up cocktails behind the bars of Los Angeles in the summer of 2013. Éva has been a part of the international craft cocktail community since 2009 and is lucky to have traveled all over the world visiting distilleries and experiencing cocktail cultures, honing her palate and depth of knowledge. Since moving to L.A., Éva has won the William Grant May Mixoff 2014 cocktail competition, placed in the finals at Speed Rack San Diego 2013, worked extensively with the Campari Group and helped open Honeycut with Proprietors LLC in downtown Los Angeles. Kyle Schlachter, CSW, is a Denver- area wine writer. He publishes Colorado Wine Press and has written for, Palate Press and Wine Spectator. He also works with the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board in the CO Department of Agriculture. When he is not reading or writing about wine, he can be found tending his garden, caring for his four backyard hens, or playing with his four-year-old son. Contributing photographer Stephanie Secrest was born in Denver, Colorado, into a family of journalists and writers in which creativity was particularly valued. She acquired her first camera at the age of seven and her journey began. She went on to receive her BA from the University of Northern Colorado, and her MA in photojournalism from the journalisti- cally prestigious Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She has been entrenched in the Bay Area journalism scene for 19 years and lives happily in her teeny cottage near the water. Having grown up in the Washington wine industry, Dan Vogel has roots deep in the culture and soils of a classic wine region. Holding both CSW and Certified Sommelier credentials he has worked distribu- tor, retail and restaurant divisions and has been a corporate Trainer for Young's Market Company and Key Account Rep for Southern Wines & Spirits in the Hawaii market. Dan now lives and writes from Whitefish, Montana. Meridith May, The SOMM Journal's Publisher and Editorial Director, with celebrated Central Coast vintner Jim Clendenen. PHOTO: JEREMY BALL Join the SOMM Journal for these Central Coast Adventures: Paso Robles Cabs of Distinction: May 5–7 The International Chardonnay Symposium: May 28–30 Pismo Beach For more information, visit us at

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