Pearl Jam, Blue Wine, Popcorn Lung, Happy Birthday Robert Mueller, and Other Notes on a Wine Card.

Just got back from a week-long trip to Las Vegas so I’ll try to catch up with what’s been happening in the wine world and beyond.

There’s a lot more to do in Las Vegas than gamble and gamble.  My son and I along with my sisters took a detour off the Strip to have some fun at The Pinball Hall of Fame.  Over 150 vintage pinball machines, all in working order are there for you to have a load of fun.  The machines range in age from 1947 to 2009.  I liked the Bugs Bunny Birthday Ball.  Check out The Pinball Hall of Fame next time you’re in Vegas.

Did you hear Pearl Jam released a limited-edition box set of red wine?  If you want some, you are SOL!  The 450 cases sold out in 15 minutes!  The four case set featured labels representing the four stops in the Home x Away tour – Seattle, Missoula, Montana, Chicago, and Boston.  All of the proceeds were donated to the Vitalogy Foundation, a homelessness awareness and relief charitable organization based in Seattle.  I don’t have any of the wine at The Tasting Room, but I will play a few Pearl Jam songs and you can drool over Eddie V on the TV screen!

A visitor from Canada was in a few weeks at The Tasting Room and the conversation turned to the artificially produced chemical diacetyl.  This chemical was used in the manufacture of microwave popcorn to give the popcorn its buttery flavor. Back in 2000, it was found to pose health risks when the heated vapors of the additive were inhaled. This led to a condition known as popcorn lung.  The additive is no longer used in the manufacture of microwave popcorn.  Diacetyl however is the chemical compound that occurs organically in the making of some chardonnay.  It is produced when malolactic conversion turns sharp malic acid into softer lactic acid. Since this is a naturally produced compound and it is not heated, there is no health risk at all to wine consumers.  So, drink up and enjoy the buttery flavor of your chardonnay and have some popcorn while you’re at it too!

If you’re feeling blue and want to drink some wine, this wine might do it for you.  It seems a Frenchman is making a blue wine – not artificially colored but naturally produced – called Vindigo.  It’s a chardonnay produced in Spain that gets its blue color from anthocyanin – a natural pigment in the skins of red grapes. It supposedly is a slightly  sweet, fruity wine with notes of cherry, passion fruit, blackberry, and I guess blue.  This sounds like it could be a blue light special at K-Mart!  Please don’t drink so much that you’re blue in the face.  And don’t tell me that this wine blue you away either.  Ok… that’s all I got.

Here’s what I’m enjoying lately… a couple of weeks ago I featured a rosé from Provence called Commanderie de la Bargemone 2017 Rosé.  It was so good that we sold out of it in 2 days and I had to order more!  The estate was founded back in the 13th century by the Knights of Templar.  The  rosé is refreshingly clean and bright with gorgeous minerality.  It’s balanced and and crisp and the finish has brightness and lift and bracing acidity.  It’s perfect for these hot summer days and nights.  Great price at $17.99! Get it before we sell out again!

If you haven’t been to Javier’s in Newport Beach, you really should go and have some of the best Mexican food around.  The setting is spectacular and matches the level of the food.  There’s also locations in Century City, Irvine, Los Cabos, and Las Vegas.  This is fine Mexican dining at its best.  Check out their website Javier’s Finest Foods of Mexico.

Sad news about Jonathan Gold passing away a few weeks ago. I always admired his reviews and I especially enjoyed that he would visit restaurants on this side of town.  For many years it seemed that no one would review restaurants unless they were located on the west side.  It was a breath of fresh air to have someone who was interested in the vibrant culinary scene that was happening on the east side and the San Gabriel Valley.  He opened a whole new world to people who didn’t realize the fabulous array of cuisines existing here and throughout the east side and other parts less traveled and visited.  He will be sorely missed but I will always be thankful for his contributions and his passion.

Happy Birthday to Robert Mueller who turned 74 yesterday.  In honor of his birthday, I will be pouring chilled wines to take the heat off these hot summer days because as you know, the heat is on!  You’ll flip over these wines and I’ll pardon you if you go crazy over them.

Pegau Pink Rosé, Vin de France 2017  $18.99

Tessieux Rouve Terrier Heritage de Calcaire Bourgogne Blanc 2015  $17.99

Damilano Arnies, Langhe 2016   $19.99

El Lugar Pinot Noir Blanc, Greengate Ranch Edna Valley 2017  $24.99



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