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Just 5 Days Left To Bid On Dinner With Envolve Winemaker/ABC’s The Bachelor Ben Flajnik


Envolve Wine Dinner with ABC's Bachelor & The Mutineer + Bardessono Stay for 2 Couples

The bids are starting to come in and just five days remain to bid on a chance to have dinner with Ben Flajnik of ABC’s The Bachelor and Envolve Winery. The lucky winners will dine at Chef Victor Scargle’s restaurant “Lucy” located within the renowned Bardessono eco-luxury hotel in Yountville, CA. After a memorable dinner paired with delicious Envolve wines, both couples will stay the night at Bardessono in the lap of luxury.

Ben was gracious enough to donate his time to help further and enrich education at Florida International University as part of Food Network’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival’s annual auction. Proceeds will be going to Florida International University.

Interested in bidding? Click here.

Bidding closes March 5, 2012 at 7pm EST.

Comments Off on Just 5 Days Left To Bid On Dinner With Envolve Winemaker/ABC’s The Bachelor Ben Flajnik 02.29.2012 |

Academy Awards Best Pictures Pairings



Image used under Creative Commons from Dave_B_

Much ado has been made about this weekend’s upcoming Academy Awards ceremony – mostly from the haters’ camp. As a native Angeleno, I generally love the Oscars – I grew up with them.  I love watching pretty people arrive in beautiful dresses and sometimes I love even more seeing a total train wreck make its way down the red carpet. I like winning money for making educated guesses about the winners and I like winning money even more for taking home the prize just because I bet on some foreign film with a controversial title.

Champagne exudes the kind of class that The Academy Awards personified once upon a time. I’ve recently been introduced to a new online boutique called Henri’s Reserve that specializes in selling hard-to-find Champagnes from small tucked-away family estates and, especially, those that fall under the rising category of Grower Champagnes. I’m a big fan of these particular Champagnes as they’re often made with the kind of attention to detail that has become a thing of the past for many of the region’s bigger houses.

So, I’ve teamed up with the e-boutique to pair some of the nominees in the Best Picture Category with their offerings. Why not all 9? Because I philosophically object to the fact that there are NINE nominees to begin with. So I’ve decided to exclude Hugo because kids can’t drink Champagne, Incredibly Loud & Extremely Close because Champagne is for celebrating and 9/11 was sad. Also because kids don’t drink Champagne. And War Horse, because, similarly, horses don’t drink Champagne.

Anyways, here’s to the winner!

The Tree of Life: A love it or hate it movie that yours truly lost all desire to see after hearing reports of 30 minutes of random footage of everything from pretty space pictures to dinosaurs to fetuses in utero. Not for me. This movie definitely divided the critics and movie-goers alike, and for that reason I’m pairing it with Fleury’s Biodynamic “Carte Rouge” Blanc ($45.00). Mention “biodynamic” to anyone in the wine world and you’re guaranteed to stir up about as much controversy as this film.

 The Artist: This black and white silent film, evoking the bygone era of glamour that is so often mourned by film critics today, deserves to be paired with Henri Billiot Brut Rose ($60.99). Romantic and lively as The Artist’s Peppy Miller, this beautiful pale salmon sparkler is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Midnight in Paris: Don’t try to tell me you didn’t Charleston around for a few days after seeing his movie – it was too magical. Get carried away all over again and try something delightfully old-fashioned with J. Dumangin Fils Brut ($45.00). This Champagne has that classic biscuity, rich, and dry character that devotees love.

The Help: Depending on who you ask, there’s either a lot to celebrate in this movie about the Civil Rights Era south, or this movie is a race-relations disaster on par with previous best picture winner, Crash. Luckily, I don’t write about movies, I write about wine so I’m going to politely excuse myself from that conversation. However, one of the most enjoyable performances in the film, for me, came from the wonderful Octavia Spencer (who is also nominated!). In honor of her performance, I’m pairing The Help with the sassy and expressive Marc Hébrart, Brut Rosé ($50.00).

The Descendants: Usually Champagnes don’t evoke flavors of rich, lush, tropical fruits – and for a movie based in Hawaii, that’s kind of what you’d like to find. So I was thrilled to find Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs ($45.00). This Champagne doesn’t quite scream “tropical paradise” but neither does the movie’s rendition of Hawaii, frought, as it is, with the kinds of familial and marital tensions that most of us like to imagine don’t exist in such a beautiful place.

Moneyball: A movie about baseball demands a different approach to the dainty and feminine Champagne. Rene Geoffroy “Expression’ Brut ($46.99) is richer with a buttery nose that has hints of tobacco – which everyone knows baseball players love to chew! Also, it’s a little musky and a little funky, just like the dude that probably made you go see this movie.

For more from Caroline Helper, visit her blog ForgetBurgundy.com.

San Francisco’s Candybar skips dinner: serving gourmet dessert and adult beverages


Candybar SF
With the lights turned low and an agreeable mix of hipsters, financiers and more than a handful of local debutantes, San Francisco’s first dessert lounge provides locals with a place to appreciate dessert, local art and fine beverage.

Imagine taking your favorite part of the meal as a child: Dessert! and pairing it with your favorite part of the meal as an adult: Cocktails!

As I sipped my Kir Royale and watched patrons order another round of voluptuous Sangria, we nibbled on shortbread cookies and realized that Candybar seems to have found a sweet combination.

Located in the Western Addition Neighborhood, Candybar is part lounge and part epicurean candy shop. They boast an international wine list, creative sparkling cocktails and Chef Cathleen Li serves a rotating collection of innovative desserts like Lavender Honey Crème Fraiche Semi Freddo, Peanut Butter Jelly Time! and an Ice Cream Sandwich that isn’t exactly old fashioned.

The lounge further encourages playtime with a selection of board games to enjoy while you tickle your sweet tooth from Battleship to Parcheesi, Candyland (of course) and an impressive collection of trivia decks.

Board games. Dessert. Drinks. Yes. To put it short and sweet this unique lounge is so easy to enjoy, it’s like giving candy to a baby.

1335 Fulton Street at Divisadero
San Francisco, CA 94117

Comments Off on San Francisco’s Candybar skips dinner: serving gourmet dessert and adult beverages 02.14.2012 |

Sweet Wines + Valentine’s Day


Valentine's DayI’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that wine, like love, means never having to say you’re sorry. That doesn’t mean, however, that too much of either can’t tickle your gag reflex.

Until recently, I felt much the same way about sweet wines as I did about that couple pawing at each other on the subway: “Gross”. But if love is unapologetic foreplay in public, then wine must surely be approaching every glass with an open mind.

Which is how I found myself nose to rim with a glass of ice wine over lunch recently. I could hardly help but to be enticed by the perfume of baked apricots, fresh almonds and marmalade that was unfurling from the preciously small desert glass. But my inner wine snob balked. “Isn’t this the stuff of sophomoric delight? Worse yet, isn’t this the nectar of naivité? A sippable incarnation of girlish silliness?”

It only took one small mouthful to quiet those snobbish reservations. On my tongue, the flavor of liquefied peach gummy candy; bright, juicy, sweet, and tangy danced a lovely little number before slinking down the back of my throat like silk.

So this was love: being so pleasantly wrong and stupidly happy. It was kind of like getting a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day – you’d think that such a clichéd gesture would initiate ruthless eye-rolling, but the pleasure in the whole thing is disarming. There’s a reason it’s done, my friends, and so it is with sweet wines.

One of the key components in any dessert wine worth drinking is a high level of acidity. That acidity is what makes these wines delicious and prevents them from being cloying saccharine messes. Acid is to dessert wines as good sex is to any loving relationship – the key to longevity (or is that communication? Good thing I’m not a relationship blogger I guess…).

This Valentine’s Day, do yourself (and your significant other if you’re so inclined) a favor and arrange a rendezvous with a sweet wine. I’ve rounded up five sweet wines from Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes – a region that’s producing desert wines that easily hold up to the best from abroad. Much easier to get your hands on and less expensive, why not show a little love for the good ole’ USA while you’re at it? Yup. Went there.

Forget Burgundy’s Picks:

Wagner Vineyards Semi-Dry Gewürztraminer 2010 ($12.99) – Not technically a desert wine, this is a good choice for who might be hesitant to go all the way on the first date…with a sweet wine. A floral nose of roses and peonies mingles with notes of lychee and a trace of nutmeg on the finish. That rich, heady perfume carries through to the palate where the wine fills the mouth with a slightly oily texture. The weight of the sugar is gorgeously balanced by the wine’s sparkling acidity, making this an old-world style Gewürz that is an unbelievable bargain for the price.

Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Glaciovinum ($13.99) – This super affordable desert wine is made with a grape called Delaware that some claim is native to North America and others argue is the result of some sexy time between European and native varieties. Either way, Delaware yields some delicious desert wine – I likened the nose to cherry Jolly Ranchers but fancier reviewers call it “sweet tangerine.” Bright, juicy, and just bursting with sweet exotic flavor, this desert wine is quaffable delight.

Treleaven Eis Wine 2008 Late Harvest Riesling ($29.99) – Peaches, marmalade, and a streak of caramel make up the nose of this luscious iced wine. The late harvest grapes are frozen after they’ve been picked, which excludes it from being a true ice wine, but its no less delectable. Rich and juicy, this dessert wine has stunning acidity and perfect balance.

Sheldrake Point Riesling Ice Wine 2008 ($50) – The nose of baked apricots and fresh almonds brings to mind the smell of a Danish. On the palate, it’s really bright, juicy with flavors of white peaches, and even a hint of peach gummy candies. It’s sweet without being cloying at all.

Martini-Reinhardt 2008 Reiesling Trockenbaren ($100) – This wine smells like Hawaii; fragrant mango, frangipani, cocoa butter, and even a whiff of sun tan lotion. It’s bright, juicy, rich and warm – cheaper than a tropical getaway but just as indulgent.

Read more by Caroline on her blog Forget Burgundy. Image courtesy of digitalart.

Mutineer Auction Lot: Bid for 2 Couples Envolve Wine Dinner with winemaker/star of ABC’s “The Bachelor” & Alan Kropf


Envolve Wine Dinner with ABC's Bachelor & The Mutineer + Bardessono Stay for 2 Couples

Photo by Ian Andreae/Mutineer Magazine

Mutineer Magazine’s Editor in Chief was recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list for food and wine and was asked to put together an auction lot for Food Network’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival to benefit Florida International University. Alan, wanting to do this big as he does all things, put together an incredible auction lot.

Bidders have a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the chance for two couples to dine with Ben Flajnik, winemaker at Envolve Winery & star of ABC’s “The Bachelor”, and Alan Kropf, Editor-in-Chief of Mutineer Magazine. The lucky winners will dine at Chef Victor Scargle’s restaurant “Lucy” located within the renowned Bardessono eco-luxury hotel in Yountville, CA. After a memorable dinner paired with delicious Envolve wines, both couples will stay the night at Bardessono in the lap of luxury. Both couples will also receive 2-year subscriptions to Mutineer Magazine.

Special Instructions

  • Valid from May 1, 2012 – February 1, 2013.
  • Dinner to happen at a mutually agreeable date.
  • Package redeemable Sunday – Thursday nights based on availability.

Click here to bid on this incredible lot. Bidding closes March 5, 2012 at 7pm EST.

Special thanks to Envolve Winery, Bardessono, Teplin+Nuss, and Charlotte Milan Communications.

Michel Rolland Turns Wine To Water in Africa

Beverage NewsWine


NAPA, Calif. — World-famous winemaker Michel Rolland built his reputation by working wonders in the cellar. Now he’s doing miracles of a different sort by turning his South African wine into water for Ethiopians in desperate need.

A crisis of epic proportions is unfolding in Ethiopia, where every day millions struggle for their very lives due to drought and contaminated water. Recognizing this urgent need and the critical role that water plays in the production of fine wine, Michel Rolland has partnered with CNN Hero Doc Hendley, founder of Wine To Water, and Montesquieu Wines, a California winery and importer, on a special project – the Bonne Nouvelle, a wine from the land of Africa, for the people of Africa.

The 2003 Bonne Nouvelle, Michel’s signature Cabernet blend from Stellenbosch, is aptly named: it means “good news” in French. Proceeds will go directly to Wine To Water to dig deep bore wells in the Dale region of Southern Ethiopia, where 6 out of 10 people lack access to clean water, causing life-threatening diseases to run rampant. The project’s initial goal is to raise $40,000 – enough to fund four wells, providing permanent water access for over 8,000 people. The Bonne Nouvelle is available at www.winetowaterstore.com, where wine lovers can learn how they can save a life with each bottle they drink.

Montesquieu Wines’ founder Fonda Hopkins, who works separately with Michel Rolland and Doc Hendley on several other projects, brought them together to forge this partnership. “Michel and Doc come from completely different backgrounds,” observes Hopkins. “But both men are so passionate about life and committed to excellence that this project came together as a natural fit.” Montesquieu is facilitating the partnership by importing and distributing the wine at no charge.

Hendley, whose organization has provided water to approximately 100,000 people in twelve countries, says, “It’s wonderful to see some of the top players in the wine community step up to the plate to make such a difference.” In 2009, Hendley was named a CNN Top 10 Hero for his work. He is currently touring the nation discussing his new book Wine to Water: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World, published by Penguin.

For more details, please visit www.winetowater.org or www.montesquieu.com.

Comments Off on Michel Rolland Turns Wine To Water in Africa 01.30.2012 |

Fine Beverage Photo Blog: Imagery Estate Winery Petite Sirah


Imagery Estate Winery Petite Sirah

This photo comes to us from Mutineer Photography Henchman Phil Jimcosky and features 2008 Imagery Estate Winery Petite Sirah. This wine was recently awarded a gold medal in the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition and comes from the Paso Robles appellation.

To view more of Phil’s photography that features food, beverage and beyond, visit his blog Food Aperture.

Do you have a photo you’d like considered for the Fine Beverage Photo Blog? Email us at brian@mutineermagazine.com!

Comments Off on Fine Beverage Photo Blog: Imagery Estate Winery Petite Sirah 01.18.2012 |

Mutineer Magazine Partnering with Second Glass on 2012 Wine Riot National Tour


Second Glass

After a roaring 2011, Mutineer Magazine and Second Glass have partnered on their 2012 US Tour, and it should be known that I’m very excited about this. In terms of fine beverage cultural badassery, Wine Riot ranks near the top for us due to it’s inspired nature and ambitious vision. Especially in the confused culture that is wine, Second Glass is a ray of light showcasing what the millennial generation of drinkers is all about, and we sense even bigger things to come for these fine folks in 2012.

Here is the 2012 schedule, which includes an additional stop in San Francisco:

Boston: April 20-21
DC: May 4-5
Chicago: June 1-2
San Francisco: August 3-4
New York City: September 21-22
Los Angeles: November 10

If you are a enthusiastic wino in one of these cities, you should do yourself a favor and attend. If you work at at winery that is hoping to tap into the millennial wine drinking scene, do yourself an even bigger favor and pour at one this year to experience it for yourself.

2 comments 01.17.2012 |

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