Pasadena wine tasting to feature hundreds of pinot noirs

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The Pasadena PinotFest is getting better with age.
Wine-guy-about-town Mike Farwell and his partners from Noir Food & Wine are taking their third annual wine festival to new heights this year, with a capstone Grand Public Tasting to be held up at the Altadena Town and Country Club on Feb. 12.
Taking center stage for the occasion is, of course, that moody elixir, the pinot noir. And, for Farwell, there could be no more perfect a pairing.
He’s spent the better part of the past two decades getting acquainted with the red-grape variety, and still today he’s continually discovering new and notable pinot noir winemakers.
With the headlining event of the 2011 Pasadena PinotFest, guests can expect the opportunity to taste hundreds of pinot noirs from California winemakers, especially from the inestimable Santa Rita Hills and Russian River Valley.

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Nose Diving: French ros winemakers seeking foothold in U.S. market

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To find a local constituency fluent in the language of ros wines, one need look no further than a gathering of French food professionals.
And Club Culinaire, which earlier this summer put on its Picnic des Chefs to raise money for the Concern Foundation and the Hope Program at Childrens Hospital, is just such a flock.
At the fundraising soiree in Elysian Park, I met up with Lauren Sanne and Ricardo Chapa, project managers with the D.C.-based American World Services Corporation, a firm that helps international businesses — in this case, a council of Provence wineries — break into and navigate the U.S. imports market.

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Nose Diving: TastingRoom’s tiny wine bottles have big tech behind them

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In an operations center near the Sonoma County Airport, highly sensitive liquids are handled in a meticulous process that prevents their contamination.
Exacting scientific standards require the most unpolluted environment possible: a semiconductor clean room, devoid of oxygen, into which no human can enter. Materials arriving in and exiting the clean room do so through airlocks that preserve the zero-oxygen environment. The liquid is automatically measured and dispersed — gently and accurately, over and over — by some of the world’s smallest peristaltic pumps.
And all of this is done, essentially, to decant a bottle of wine. Or, rather, hundreds of thousands of them.
Welcome to the manufacturing pipeline of TastingRoom Inc., the innovators behind TastingRoom.com, which recently began shipping out to California consumers its taste-sized sample kits of wine from vineyards like Trefethen, Patz & Hall, Gundlach Bundschu, Talley, DeLoach and Grgich Hills.

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Nose Diving: It’s a wine world (after all) at Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival

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Nose Diving is a feature column, in which a novice wine writer fumbles toward grace.
My feet are dangling freely as we coast, hang-glider style, over the vast expanse of California below us. It’s a gloriously sunny day as we float by the majestic Golden Gate Bridge; seconds later, we’re looking down on the winding Redwood Creek watershed.
Then, it’s on to Napa. I think, “Mmm, let’s stop for a drink.”
And how fortuitous: Outside this popular simulator ride at Disney’s California Adventure — Soarin’ Over California, it’s called — the theme park’s fifth annual California Food & Wine Festival is just kicking off.

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Nose Diving: Good taste runs in the Family Winemakers sampling in Pasadena


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Nose Diving is a new feature column, in which a novice wine writer fumbles toward grace.


I’m standing just outside the Pasadena Convention Center, cursing my five-inch heels.

There’s a lot of ground to cover here, but grumbling at a time like this seems indecent; it’s not often I have the good fortune to sample wines from more than 200 California wineries.

Even better is that I’ve lucked into riding sidecar with the owners of South Lake Avenue’s Wine Detective as they negotiate their way through the Family Winemakers of California trade tasting.

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Lush scenes from the Pasadena Wine Festival at the Arboretum in Arcadia

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The Pasadena Wine Festival took up residence for two evenings this weekend at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Attendant vinophiles shared the space with the Arboretum’s resident peacocks, while looking up at a backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains set off by a canopy of lights. Amid these surroundings, they sampled food and wine — lots of wine — from labels the world over. And they did this all night, for two nights, in a row. How did they ever stand it?

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(Photos by James Carbone / Correspondent)