Let's Talk Wine with Eric Garnier

January 2011

Welcome to 2011! With the holidays behind us, and lots of good wine consumed, we need to look back on what we liked and look forward to what our new wine adventures will bring us this year.

I must admit that I am partial to reds during winter, enjoying varietals from all countries and regions. We are blessed in Ventura and Santa Barbara Country with wineries that duplicate the wines from all over the world. Wonderful varietals like Tempranillo ( Spain), Syrah’s , Cabernets, Merlots, and Cabernet Francs (France) and Sangiovese (Italy) are all made here by our local wineries and done very well.

Most novice wine drinkers start liking a particular varietal, like Cabernet Sauvignon, and stay with it, afraid to venture out to other big reds. Depending on what food is being graced with that wine (another subject at a later time) , try a Syrah from our local wineries. Merlot has made a great comeback in recent years, again available throughout our county.

When visiting Ventura or Santa Barbara County, stopping at some of the wineries is a must. Napa Valley used to be THE destination for fine wine, but no longer. AND, if you have extra time, check out the wineries in San Luis Obispo County.

With several holidays behind us, let’s talk about the wines we drank with each occasion. Since prime rib is usually the meat of choice, I would say that the majority of us drank a Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner. If ham was served, a lighter wine, such as a Rhone style (GSM) would have been a great match. For the New Year celebration, perhaps a big buttery Chardonnay would be a great choice with lobster. But don’t forget about trying a sparkling wine with that lobster and continuing with it throughout the evening.

With January starting out being very cold, it’s a perfect time to make stews and pot roast. With these warm comfort foods, experiment with wines. I suggest Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cab or Merlot, all available at the wineries on the Ventura Wine Trail wineries.

In the coming months, I will talk about the wineries themselves, and where and how to taste and buy their wines.


Questions or comments? Reach me at : Wineoeric@gmail.com

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