Author: Helen Melville

Gambero Rosso: Italian Wine Masterclass

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Gambero Rosso: A couple of months ago, Ken and I attended a fabulous Italian wine tasting event at the Beverly Hills Hotel. We were introduced to some stellar wines from Chianti Classico via a series of tasting classes. Chianti is made from the finicky Sangiovese grape varietal, which has been responsible for some pretty rough…

Santa Barbara Wine Country Road Trip

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Goethe says, “…The moment one definitely commits one’s self, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance…” Santa Barbara Wine Country Ken…

Hilliard Bruce Moon 2012

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In the final lines of Now Voyager, Bette Davis says, “Don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the stars.” (Romantics, reach for a tissue.) I had heard tell about the Moon – an enigmatic wine from Hilliard Bruce, comprising of their most exquisite five barrels of Pinot Noir, with standards so exacting, some vintages…

La Voix Winery: Small Production Big Personality

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In my experience, small production winemakers have big personalities. Whether they lean towards Science, Art, or Balance, there is something of the mad professor in their demeanor. They seem to possess childlike enthusiasm and curiosity along with very adult passion and focus. Steve Clifton (a founding partner at Brewer-Clifton Winery) and his wife, Crystal, fit…

Hilliard Bruce Wine Tasting Dinner

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I’m not a big drinker. Seriously, in spite of my great love of complex, beautifully crafted wine, I only imbibe in social situations. This is why I have such a yummy collection of favorites to share on special occasions. What better way to present my latest Santa Barbara discovery, Hilliard Bruce, than at the birthday…

Santa Barbara Vintners’ Festival 2015

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On the morning of the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Festival there was a 60% chance of rain, or so the weather report said. Taking no chances, I opted for layers topped by a Patagonia rain jacket. I had hoped to dazzle in a beautiful sundress with purple flowers (to match the color of my post swishing teeth).…