Friday, June 28, 2013

Calabasas Malibu 2013

The Seventh Annual Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival was a happening not to be missed.  We attended on Saturday with the VIPs, celebs, and invited guests.  The weather was nice on top of the Calabasas Mercedes Benz building--sunny and breezy.

We started off with a nice sparking brut from Moreno BHLV in a Natural Leopard Print bottle. It not only looked good, it tasted great as well!

Everyone was a VIP in front of the CMWF red carpet backdrop.

Applying some Calabasas style before the photography session.

Alan Semsar puts this event together every year--and looks good doing it.

Emily and Debra of Veedercrest Wine poured us the 2010 Chardonnay, Yountville - Napa Valley, Ruhl Vineyard.  Fermented and aged in stainless steel, without malolactic fermentation or oak barrel aging, this chardonnay had clean and crisp flavors without overpowering vanilla or buttery characteristics.
They also poured 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville - Napa Valley, Villa Mille Rose Vineyard and a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.

The Naked Grape - California & Argentine Red and White Table Wine (Grape Valley Wine Company, Modesto, CA) poured five wines.  We tried the un-oaked NV California Chardonnay.  It's also available in a 3 liter box.

Eric, who's at every LA wine festival, poured some 2010 Columbia Crest, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley for me. and Devon tasted the 2010 Columbia Crest, Charddonay.

Marc Spellman of Spellman Family Vineyard/Bridle Trail Wines poured his  2009 CabIn Cabernet Sauvignon produced on his single estate in Hidden Hills on Bridal Trail Road. It was very good!
And as usual, there was "NO WHINING" at this booth, just wining.

Thomas Booth does wine consultation and sales with his Southern California Vineyards business. It is an organic grapevine installation company for homeowners.  What a great idea! I'm seeing more and more vines showing up along hillsides in Westlake Village. And just to illustrate he knows what he's doing, Tom poured his 2011 backyard Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Calabasas. No labels were on the bottles, but it was excellent! 

Natasha Swords poured Gauchezco Wine from Argentina with  Premier Cru Wine Cellars. We tasted the 2010 Malbec Rosé and the 2009 Malbec Clásico (both made with 100% Malbec). They were also pouring the 2010 Malbec Reserva.

Mike Stan, owner of Ritual Wine Company, poured his 2009 Viognier for us--very nice! I also tasted the Ritual 2009 and 2008 GSMs and they were both very good too.  The 2009 had 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Mourvèdre and the 2008 had equal amounts of each.

Four Sisters Ranch, Serena's Vineyard poured their Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.

Magnavino Cellars kept cool and poured their fine red wines - my favorite is the Syrah.

Bill Candela from Wades Wines pours a 2008 Mulholland Highway, Califonia  Sundowner (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel).

Dan Bock, of Benchmark Wine Group, poured a very nice Super Tuscan--the 2004 Torrione Tenuta di Petrolo.

Ahnfeldt Wines poured some special 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain District, their 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, and a 2010 Provocative Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. All were very good!  Consulting Winemaker Paul Hobbs, Winemaker Julian Gonzalez, and Crossbarn Operations Director Jason Valenti produce Ahnfeldt's premium wines.

Pomar Junction poured their wines at the Celebrity Cruises booth. I tasted my favorite again--the 2010 Train Wreck (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre).

Stanger Vineyards poured a 2009 Tempranillo Reserve and a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon and it was very good.

Teri Love, owner of Gioia Wines, poured a taste for Paul, the Wine Snobs Meetup coordinator.
The Gioia 2009 DAX Ryder Red, a Sangiovese and Petite Sirah blend, was very good.

The Goodie Girls handing out over 1600 cupcakes--there goes number 956.

We tasted a tiny sample of Elderberry and Lavender Vanilla at the Marco Paolo Chocolates table. Not being a Lavender fan normally, I was a little skeptical, but they were good.  Devon bought the "Siesta" 4-pack of their regular-sized chocolates. We'll have to figure out which wines to pair with Mango Chili Geles & Dark Lime, Tamarind Tea with Green Cardamom, Pineapple & Burnt Caramel, and Coconut Cilantro with Dark Lime.

Gladstones Chef Dean Grill's King Crab and Beet Carpaccio with orange, green beans on red & yellow beet slices with micro greens and creme fraiche was very tasty!

Maria's Italian Kitchen served Bruschetta (Crostini) with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil & sliced garlic with grilled garlic herb bread. The Bruschetta tasted very good. Did I say garlic?

Pacific Dining Car with a repeat performance of last year--lamb burger sliders.  They are great every year!

Fresh Brothers served some spicy pepperoni pizza on thin crust--I could have had several of them, but settled for one. Call me traditional, but I like an Italian red wine with this sort of pizza. 

Pink's was very popular and they served their cosmic famous chili dogs. It was a complete dinner on a bun and required a fork and several napkins to eat it.  I didn't try any pink wine with it.

Sweet Dreamery Desserts SweetBites makes Cake Pops. They are bite-sized cake balls hand dipped in white or milk chocolate or peanut butter candy coating. YUM!

Good times with the LA Times and their "Think. Talk. Question." button.

El Cortez poured their 12 Year Old Rum.  Described as a golden amber color. Sweet buttered toffee, toasted nut, and sweet tobacco, and spice aromas are appealing. Round and supple entry, dryish medium-full body with toffee, nuts tobacco, brown spice and a touch of cola nut. Finishes with a very peppery wood spice and nut fade. Must be good, it's $94.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

Hpnotiq is a blingy liqueur made from fruit juices, vodka and cognac. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur is made with pomegranate juice, vodka and tequila. Both are 34 proof.

The LAB Brewing Company poured their Honey I'm Home Blonde Ale and Bad Influence IPA. My favorite style is IPA, so I had some of the Bad Influence. It's a lighter IPA focused on hops more than malts. Dry hopped with a floral aroma this IPA has a rating of 87 IBUs and an 8.2% ABV.  I thought it was fantastic!

I have heard good things about Ninkasi Brewing, but I guess their beer will remain a mystery to me.  I stood at the table taking a few pictures, with an empty glass, and listened to the Ninkasi guy talk with someone about a distribution deal for about 5 minutes, then I gave up and went back to wine tasting.

DJ Roco kept it hopping all night long.  I think he enjoys his work.

Mount Gay Rum poured their Black Barrel rum and mixed me a Manhattan with it. Black Barrel is a small batch, handcrafted blend made of matured double pot distillates and aged column distillates. In a process called finishing, the blended rum is then matured for a second time in deeply charred Bourbon oak barrels. This unique process releases spicy aromas that are at once balanced, and bold.

The Manhattan recipe is worth mixing again:
2 oz Mount Gay Black Barrel
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
2 - 3 dashes of Angostura BitterS

A maraschino cherry

It was a lighter, but very good version of a Manhattan.

 The VIP area was a mellow place to relax and have a cocktail.

 Rémy Martin was mixing up some interesting drinks.

Some very cool, jazzy artwork was available.

This group of women was having a little too much festival fun.  We all had fun!

This festival always blends the right amount of wine, spirits, beer, food, art, and entertainment together.
It was a super party that ended with a super moon rising over Calabasas.  See you next year!



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