Friday, November 27, 2009

Cozy Up to The Art Place

Are you ready for some … art? If so, plan to join us for our next event Thursday, December 10th at The Art Place. The indoor/outdoor event unfolds at Palm Desert's enclave of art galleries and unique shops.

Savor Russ Olden's creative cuisine as you stroll gallery boutiques that feature home furnishings, pottery, sculpture and eclectic accent pieces to brighten your world. Be sure to also check out Custom Vintage Wine Cellars and taste a selection of boutique wines by 4WinesPlusMore.

Our December charity is Mourning Star Center, a community service of the Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Counties that provides grief support for children and their loved ones.

Russ will keep us warm with creamy homemade tomato soup and an piping hot assortment of fresh mini-panini. For fun, grab a skewer and dip into Maytag blue cheese fondue indulgence with Mornay sauce before you head over to Olden's sweet dreams for holiday cookies and chocolates.

The Art Place is located around the corner from the north Palm Desert (Hovley Lane) post office at 41801 Corporate Way – map it here or download/share details from our event flyer here. Call Kathleen with your pre-paid reservation by Monday, December 7. Share comfort and joy this holiday season with friends and WinewomenPSP at The Art Place. See you there!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Wines – Part 2

Here are wines sure to juice up your holiday meal. We found them around town at LA Wine Company and Dan's Wine Shop in Palm Desert (760.674.0305), Albertson's, BevMo! and Costco. Most are $10-$20 and deliver big value. Inventory and prices will vary – ask your wine merchant for similar suggestions in these styles:

Sparklers: Italian Prosecco (Adriano Adami), Spanish Cava.

Whites: Riesling, Riesling, Riesling (Chateau St. Michelle, Trimbach). Note: German Rieslings are lower in alcohol; start with dry Rieslings and save the off-dry and sweeter stuff for later in the meal.

Other Whites: White Rhône and other blends (d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab, Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier), unoaked Chardonnay (A to Z), Pinot Gris (Bethel Heights), South American Sauvignon Blanc (Montes). Note: New Zealand sauv blanc can be a bit tart or limey for turkey day.

Rosé: Probably the best wine to carry the entire meal (A to Z, La Grenouille Rouganté from Frog's Leap, rosés from Provence, Tavel).

Reds: Pinot Noir (Cambria, Wild Horse), Cru Beaujolais (Côte de Brouilly), Rhône blends (La Vieille Ferme, St.-Esprit), Spanish Tempranillo (Lan), some Syrahs or lighter Zinfandels (Foxglove).

Dessert: Late-harvest Gewürztraminer (Gunderloch), Riesling, Port (especially with chocolate desserts).

Drop us a comment with your faves. You can also view wines we like on the photo album inside our WinewomenPSP Facebook page. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Wines – Part 1

If you're thinking about busting out a big Napa cab or Chardonnay for your Thanksgiving meal, well, we'll be nice and say please reconsider.

Unless you plan to serve juicy steaks or lobster with butter sauce, those bold, oaked wines won't be at their best with Thanksgiving foods. Frankly, not many wines can carry an entire Thanksgiving meal given the crazy clash of flavors that ride in on stuffing, gravies, those once-yearly sides, the bird itself and your family or host's specialties.

Here are a few tips we hope you'll find helpful:

Offer two or more different wines. Depending on the size of your crowd, have more than one wine style at the table. Even though you might not care for rosé, someone else at the table probably does, or at least might be willing to give it a swirl at holiday time.

Leave the oak in the forest. Many Thanksgiving foods just don't go well with oaky wines. If you simply must have your Chard, try an unoaked variety. Not sure what's oaked and what's not? Ask your wine merchant or look for key words on the label like fresh, clean, fruity, or stainless-steel fermented that might indicate an unoaked Chardonnay. Words that imply an oaked style are toasty, vanilla, rich, smoke or creamy.

Check the alcohol percentage. High-alcohol wines will not only make you tipsier, they can also taste hot or harsh with all that food. Go slow and go low. Look for the alcohol percentage on the bottle before you buy. Choose wines below 13.5%, or save blowtorches for late in the meal. Zin lovers, beware – Zinfandels are generally higher in alcohol.

Be safe.
Agree on who'll be the designated driver and stick to it. All that good food doesn't soak up alcohol and won't help your liver metabolize it any faster. Be careful not to flood your engines and if you do, give your car keys to the tee-totaler.

Next post, we'll give you a few suggestions on value-priced wines you can find around town or drop us a comment and we'll get them to you sooner. Watch for more wines we like on our Facebook page, too. Find the fan box in the right column of this blog and FAN our page today.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

First Up at Morgans

Fans of Rattlesnake can finally dry their tears: Jimmy Schmidt and his A-team are back at Morgans in the Desert at La Quinta Resort and Club. Or, we should say, will be back as Winewomen were honored by last night's fab debut sneak preview dinner by Schmidt, Chef Brian Recor and sommelier Francois Cinq-Mars in support of Shelter From The Storm.

In case you weren't able to join us, plan to scout out Morgans' soft-opening beginning in early December before they officially open around Jan. 26th. Schmidt & Co. have already hit their stride as we savored exquisite cheese, olives and spiced nuts for starters with Pommard Champagne, followed by a floral-scented local fig salad accented by pink grapefruit-perfumed St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc.

Next came the double-whammy: entrees of Maine über-scallops with extra-terrestrial spaghetti squash and duck breast with wild mushroom risotto and crispy onions, served with 2007 La Crema 2007 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pinch us, but not too hard - dessert's coming.

Pastry? Coming up, as Schmidt's team rolled out chocolate truffles with a big whiff of espresso shot on the finish, mini-chocolate mousse towers, two-bite fruit tarts and choco-laced strawberries that made us weak in the knees. Morgans' able staff kept us tanked on coffee and tea for the ride home.

Lovely Kate Spates introduced Shelter's moving video about the good they do and a prayer by a Sheltered sister, who tucked in her children at night thankful for an "average day" – a deep comment to remember on days when we're sidetracked by silliness.

Thanks to Jimmy, Kate, Michelle, John, Kathleen, Francois and all who made this debut night so magical. We'll be visiting you all season long – welcome back!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

South African Wine Safari

Salud, salute, jabula! Jabula? Winewomen chorused the Zulu word for rejoice at our South African wine tasting safari this week as Jeremy Wilkinson of 4WinesPlusMore gave us a tour of his native land's wine country.

We were blessed by another splendid desert evening, this time at Miramonte's outdoor piazza with roaring fireplace to keep us warm. Chef Robert Nyerick prepared five separate appetizers paired to each wine, all hits.

Jeremy started us off with Cape Rock 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from the inland Robertson appellation. Refreshing and racy, we enjoyed its lime and grassy flavors with herbed goat cheese crostini.

Next came Chef's shrimp and salmon mousse brochette with a Western Cape 2008 Chardonnay from Heron's Nest. With only a gentle touch of oak, the food-friendly white showed fresh fruit flavors and medium body. Some of us caught a whiff of Riesling-like petrol, for even more interest.

Chef called the next pairing a no-brainer – we suppose so, if you're a chef. To us it was perfection: duck breast with raspberry and fig reduction served with Clos Malverne 2007 Reserve Pinotage. A cross between the Pinot Noir grape and Cinsaut, Pinotage is a South African original with flavors and aromas all its own. We enjoyed this Stellenbosch gold-medalist's lovely color, earthy fruit and soft tannins.

Also from the Stellenbosch appellation, Wolverine Creek 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon proved a treat. Flavors of blackberry fruit gave way to a long, minerally finish. Each bottle is numbered – how special is that?

For a finale, bites of pumpkin-spiced cheesecake arrived with Cape Rock 2007 Special Late Harvest Gewürztraminer. Ladies deep-sniffed its rosy perfume and savored its honeyed spice flavors. We spotted dessert wine converts among men and women alike.

By evening's end, Jeremy's sign-up sheet was filling up with wine orders and contacts of those interested in joining him on a South African wine tour. Thanks to 4WinesPlusMore for a guided wine tasting of this exotic quintet. Who knew a geography lesson could be this much fun? And thanks to all of you who will remember those served by Martha's Village and Kitchen this season. Jabula!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Encore at Miramonte

We had such a blast at last month's Winewomen & Song event at Miramonte that we're going back on Thursday, November 12th for a South African wine safari and more of Chef Nyerick's delights.

Our October 23rd event featured elegant and talented Romanian soprano Angela Bunea who filled the perfect night air with magical coloratura under a starlit sky. Accompanist Gale Enger, a virtuoso performer himself, provided signature polish to the performance. We thank Lola Rossi for wrapping the lovely lady in red's powerful voice in crisp sound and ethereal lighting.

At tables atop the Mediterranean Lawn, antipasti towers offered tempting treats to accompany Novas 2007 Chardonnay. Novas features wines made with organically grown grapes from Chile's Casablanca Valley. The gently oaked Chardonnay was crafted with a smidge of Viognier to add subtle tropical notes alongside refreshing citrusy fruit. Your Winewomen consensus: delicious and versatile.

Main courses were paired with a 2005 Novas blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Chile's warmer Central Valley. We enjoyed its ripe berry and dark cherry fruit with smooth tannins – a perfect accompaniment to chef's slow-roasted Black Angus sirloin.

Well in the Desert President Arlene Rosenthal gave thanks for our fundraising efforts and recapped the charity's outreach programs and support for the working poor, homeless and our less fortunate neighbors. Thank you, Arlene for all you do! Mark your spring calendar for Opera Arts' Opera Under the Stars dinner and show at the Renaissance Esmeralda on Saturday, April 17th.

Season is definitely upon us with two WinewomenPSP events this month. On Thursday, November 12th, a Miramonte encore on the Piazza: South African wine tasting safari courtesy of 4 Wines Plus More with special appetizers paired to each of five exquisite wines by Chef Nyerick. Details in our flyer here. If you haven't had South African Pinotage, don't miss the gold-medal winner we'll be serving from Clos Malverne – reserve today for this nearly sold-out event.

We'll post more information soon about our Friday, November 20th wine dinner at La Quinta Resort and Club's new Morgans in the Desert. Join us to welcome back chefs Jimmy Schmidt and Brian Recor to the desert culinary scene! You remember Jimmy and Brian from our Go Red for Women February event at Rattlesnake. Reserve with Kathleen today for this important event to benefit Shelter from the Storm. Welcome to the season of giving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanks for Stopping By

Thanks to all Coachella Valley women, visitors and yes, more than a few brave men who stopped by our booth at the 2009 Desert Woman's Show this weekend!

We were thrilled to hear how much you've enjoyed our events and to let you in on all we do in fun, learning and charity with WinewomenPSP. In case you missed us, here's a look at our booth with goodies and Kathleen, our hard-working President who endeavors to make all our events unfold seamlessly with pizazz and pop. Click on the image to also get a closer look at our logo aerators, custom wine charms and fabulous welcome necklace.

Lip-smacking details about our Miramonte South African wine tasting safari are now posted on our Web site, too. Don't let the party leave without you - hurray and grab your reservations today by calling 760.799.7076.