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Oct 31

Election Cocktails

Just a little bit of fun for a Halloween, pre-election Friday. Available now through the election on Tuesday (yes, it will finally be over), you can get a special election martini at Morton’s Bar 12-21. Democrat-tinis, Republican-tinis, and for those of you who somehow still haven’t chosen a side – Undecided-tinis. I know, cheesey, but fun. Costs run $11 per drink. (Happy hour food specials are happening too!) Of course, Morton’s will be broadcasting the elections, so you can come out and cheer on your candidate and watch the stimulating news coverage. At our house, we’ll be tuned to Jon Stewart & Steven Colbert’s live coverage.


Staying home? The fine folks at Morton’s have provided us with the recipes.


  • 1.5 oz Absolut Citrus Vodka
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • .5 oz Sour Mix
  • Place all ingredients into shaker and add ice. Shake 15 times and strain into a Martini Glass.


  • 1.5 oz Absolut Citrus Vodka
  • 1 oz Pama
  • .5 oz sour mix
  • Place all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake 15 times and strain into a Martini Glass.


  • 1.5 oz blue curacao
  • 1 oz Pama
  • .5 oz pomegranate syrup
  • Place Blue Curacao into shaker and add ice, shake 15 times and strain into martini glass. Place Pama and Pomegranate syrup into shaker. Shake 15 times and slowly strain down the side of the Martini glass so that the mixture floats to the bottom. You should have half red with half blue floating on top.
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Posted by Michelle at 1:32 am in Cocktails | Permalink | Comments (2)
Oct 30

Wine Tech: AbleGrape.com

cross-posted from bub.blicio.us

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be writing about some cool
technology sites that focus on wine. Having just come back from the
first ever Wine Bloggers Conference, it’s all fresh in my mind. My first big find was AbleGrape.

is a niche search engine, focusing on wine. It’s the brainchild of Doug
Cook. Now, at the conference, I called Doug a wine superhero,
considering he’s running a wine-related startup, he won the blind
tasting challenge, and he showed up Saturday night with cases of some
amazing (and older vintage) wine that was either donated by a San
Francisco wine bar or straight out of his own cellar. Talking to him,
and others, I learned more about the search engine.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Michelle at 3:34 pm in Wine Tech | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 30

Photos: Wine Bloggers Conference and Russian River Valley Hike

Kevin and I returned from California late Tuesday afternoon. I’m still exhausted and still functioning in the west coast time zone.

The Wine Bloggers Conference was jam-packed with activity, wine, and fun. From the tasting at Kick Ranch Vineyards and liveblogging session on Friday afternoon to the Unconference and Luxe Sonoma tasting on Sunday morning, there was hardly a moment to rest. It was an amazing group of bloggers, wineries, and PR folks. I can’t even express how great it was to walk into the room and know so many of the people there, because we’d met through blogging and twitter. It further illustrates my theory that online social media is there to help us meet people in real life. It breaks down barriers for us, and makes those face to face meetings more comfortable.

I’ll cover some different parts of the conference over the next few weeks. I haven’t unpacked yet, which means all my notes are still buried. You can, however, track what happened at the conference by our overwhelming Twitter feed and, until I get everything up, I leave you with a slideshow of the conference and our excellent hike (really, a strenuous walk) through Saralee’s Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. You can see all of our photos, including our personal trips through San Francisco, Tiburon, Santa Rosa, and the Dry Creek Valley by visiting our California Flickr collection.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:49 am in Knowledge, Photos, Tastings, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)
Oct 27

Step Away from the 2-Buck Chuck: Wines Under $10

About a week ago, one of my girlfriends approached me and asked, "So really, what do you think of Two-Buck Chuck?"

I suggested that she branch out. It’s okay if you don’t want to spend a lot on your wine. You can still try some new things and not break the bank. In fact, head to your favorite wine retailer and spend some time in the Spanish aisle. You’ll be surprised at what you find!

Prices vary depending on where you buy the wine. Vintages may have changed the wine and prices may have gone up since I last tried the wine as well – after all, prices on EVERYTHING seem to be going up. The wines I’m going to suggest are all everyday table wines.

Red Guitar, $5.99-$7.99: We love our Red Guitar. This one has been our default gift wine in the past. Red Guitar is a grenache/tempranillo blend from the Navarro region of Spain. It’s a bright and happy table wine that’s easy to drink. (red wine)

Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja, $6.99-$7.99: This is another grenache/tempranillo blend. Actually, you’ll see a couple of those here. It’s a favorite of mine. Although not overly complex, this is a fun wine with cherry, strawberry and other red fruits up front and some white pepper mixed in for good measure. (red wine)

Garnacha del Fuego, $7.99-$8.99: We just tried the new vintage – 2006 I believe – of this grenache. We found it to be more supple than the last few vintages. I actually liked it better, and we loved the previous iterations.(red wine)

Las Brisas Blanca, $8.99-$9.99: From the Spanish region of Rueda, this is a summery, breezy white. This is a Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viura blend, but a lot of that Sauvignon Blanc comes through. This is a great relaxing wine, perfect for a hot day or just a day when you wish you could be on the beach. (white wine)

You can even venture into the French aisle.
Vin de Pays du Vaucluse, Cuvée Sélectionnée par Kermit Lynch, 2006: We picked this up at CorknBottle last week for $7.99. We were so excited about it, we’re thinking of picking up a case. It might be our gift wine this holiday season. It’s a bright and fruity red, with just enough earth in it to remind you it’s French.

For a more local flavor, Henke Wines, on Harrison near Cheviot, offers a great table red called Vin de Rouge for only $9.50. It’s a blend of several different locally grown French-American hybrids and it’s fun and easy to drink.

I’d love to hear your favorite under $10 wines in the comments. In this economy, we all need wine, but wine on a budget. What are your favorites?

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Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (7)
Oct 24

Wine Blogger Conference: Live Blogging Event

Welcome to the live blogging event from the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma! Kevin and I will be using a software called CoverItLive to accomplish this, so cross your fingers that it works. We’ll be tasting wines from all over,  including right here in California and as far away as New York. If you’re reading this via RSS feed, you’ll probably have to break down and visit the blog. Live blogging via CoverItLive is cool technology, but probably requires your presence on the web site – even after the event ends. 😉


11/09: Since we switched blog hosts, the original Live Blog isn’t displaying properly. You can now view the Live Blog by viewing this page.

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Posted by Michelle at 6:14 pm in Tastings, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()

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