It’s wine time, North Hollywood. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be in the hands of the Wine Goddess
Does this sound like you or someone you know? “I like wine. I know nothing much about wine. I want to learn more about wine.” When part of the NoHo Arts District dot come team felt this same way on a recent trip to Napa Valley, we went to the Goddess for help, the Goddess of Wine. Now’s your chance to get some wine knowledge but in a fun, hands-on way, by tasting wine. Join Denise Lowe, the Goddess of Wine, on Sunday, March 16 for what we like to call wine school.
How did you become a wine aficionado?
I always liked wine – even before I was old enough to drink it legally (ahem…) – but I had a life-changing experience when a friend brought me a bottle of Rufino Riserva Chianti Classico back in the early 80’s. That was a $10 wine at a time when people were drinking jug wines – Carlo Rossi, Cribari, Riunite – so it was a heckuva gift. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted, and went exceptionally well with the spaghetti and meat sauce I made for dinner. That was the beginning. Several years later, my husband and I fell in love with a Merlot from Clos du Val in Napa; we went searching for the winery, found lots of other wines, wineries and friendly folks who loved to talk about and share their wines, and that set us on our path.
What tips do you have for wine novices to learn more about wine?
Keep tasting! It’s really the best way to learn. The more you taste, the more your palate remembers what you tasted, what you liked or disliked. And find a wine store in your area where the staff is knowledgeable and helpful. The big stores like Bevmo are OK for quick stops, but if you really want to learn, your best bet is to develop a relationship with a local wine purveyor. They can introduce you to wines that you might not find on your own.
What can we expect from your Wine 101 class?
Fun! The whole idea of Wine 101 is for students to realize that there’s no mystery to wine tasting. Students will learn how to look at, smell and taste wine; they’ll learn how wine is made, the many regions of the world where grapes are grown, and we’ll throw in some history and personal experiences.
WHAT: Wine 101
WHEN: Sunday, March, 16 at 12PM
WHERE: Luna Vine Wine Bar 3206 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
In terms of wine etiquette, what are some dos and don’ts while tasting wine?
Be open. Taste everything, but don’t drink everything. That’s what dump buckets are for. You don’t want to get drunk. Besides it being bad form, it fatigues your palate and you can’t taste effectively. And then you fall down, and it’s embarrassing…
What are your favorite places to taste wine?
I love, love, love the Central Coast of California, from Malibu to Paso Robles. You read that right – Malibu is one of the newest AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in California – and there are great wines coming out of there. Personally, I’m really passionate about the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County. It’s really close to visit for a day or two of wining, the winemakers are friendly and the wines are extraordinary.
Do you have a top 5 list of your favorite wines?
I have to limit it to 5!? That’s a tough one. Here is a list of 5 wineries within 1 to 2 hours’ drive from the Valley, and whose wines I keep in my cellar:
Shai Cellars – Buellton – No tasting room, but on the wine list at several great restaurants, including the Tam O’Shanter here in LA. Big, beautiful Rhone varietals from the Happy Canyon and Ballard Canyon AVAs in Santa Ynez. Buy direct from the website: www.shaicellars.com
Four Brix – Ventura – Great tasting room in an industrial park. Most of the grapes are sourced from Paso Robles. Winemaker and owner, Gary Stewart, is extremely knowledgeable and happy to talk about winemaking. www.fourbrixwine.com
Cantara Cellars – Camarillo – Mike and Chris Brown have a lovely tasting room, also in an industrial park, and most of their grapes are sourced from their family estates in Lodi. Cute dogs, too. www.cantaracellars.com
Tercero Wines – Los Olivos – Winemaker Larry Shaffer is passionate about Rhone varietals, and I’m especially fond of his delicate white wines as well as his full-bodied reds. www.tercerowines.com
Clos Pepe Estate – Lompoc – Winemaker, vineyard manager, and all-around Renaissance man, Wes Hagen, makes some of the best Pinot Noirs from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. He also makes killer, and very affordable, Syrah under the Axis Mundi label. www.clospepe.com
Find the Goddess of Wine here:
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