I’ve had a very busy start to 2013. In the first 29 days, I’ve made trips to Arkansas, Las Vegas, and Southern California in my on-going mission to tell the world about the good works the folks at Steven Kent Portfolio and the Livermore Valley are doing.

So, lots of travel means lots of hotel rooms, lots of meetings with great people, and lots of wonderful wine and food. Last night I poured wine under the auspices of a group called IVU (In Vino Unitas) – a collection of wineries (like us) who self-distribute in California. We were pouring at The Winery Restaurant in Tustin and the audience of restaurant and wine shop buyers seemed really interested in the wines.

I had the good fortune to share a drink and a Charcuterie platter with Master Sommelier, Steve Poe. I think we inadvertently discovered a new (and potentially classic!) cocktail/food pairing: a Negroni (all bittery, slightly sweet goodness) and the exquisitely gorgeous, house-made chicken liver pate that graced the platter with its creamy, earthy deliciousness. Together, new heights of flavor! Spectacular!

Just a tip…and I can’t believe how long it has taken me to cotton on ear plugsto this little miracle…when in a hotel surrounded by the running feet and joyous eructations of a group of high-schoolers on a field trip, the greatest gift you can give yourself…silicon ear plugs. Heaven.