Having spent the last several days in the Southland (with another 4 to come next week), there were a number of things I liked:

  • The Ford Crown Vic from Thrifty Rent-a-car. On the road for hours at a time a very comfortable ride. Much better in the front seat than in the back…
  • The 100% Malbec from Buoncristiani Winery. All the blueberry compote one could want, and a plushness in the mid-palate that suited the variety beautifully.
  • The Aperol/Campari-Reposado-sweet vermouth concoction that Barry Richter of Testarossa Winery and I came up with while sitting at a bar. Weird, but delicious, take on both the Negroni and the Margarita…a Margaroni?
  • The camaraderie from other members of the In Vino Unitas group. We’re all small brands trying to sell wine direct in CA…a tough job when the overwhelming force of the large distributors and brands are brought to bear.
  • The Charcuterie platter – and especially the chick liver pate – at The Winery Restaurant in Tustin. Coupled with a traditional Negroni…the sweet, bitter, ginny, creamy, liver-y goodness was mind blowing.
  • The Patland Winery 2007 Cabernet, Stagecoach Vineyards. Showed gorgeous breadth of texture and flavor from mid-palate to finish. Better than their 2009 from the same site.
  • The response to our wines from the generous wine buyers in Orange and LA counties. We all believe ourselves (in our own heads) to be first string; it’s nice to find out other people think we can start too!