One book can teach everything you need to know about SoCal wine tasting

Janene Roberts knows more about Southern California wineries, wine bars and restaurants than anyone I know. For 10 years she has been guiding readers of her three books on wine tasting in Southern California. The latest, the third edition of “Wine Tasting in Southern California and Beyond,” is just out and I joined her book signing in Rancho Santa Fe at the new Decanter Wine Lounge and Restaurant.
She had asked me to make a statement about the book on the back cover, so I wrote “earlier editions were constant companions of mine as I wrote my weekly wine columns about the lovely vineyards and wineries in the area. Janene Roberts’ newest edition alone is the singular, most reliable source for what’s new in the wine scene. I salute her and recommend the book to anyone who wants a more enlightened wine experience.” Janene explained why this most recent edition had to be written. “My first edition had 30 wineries. This version has over 70 wineries with more coming as this book was printed. For the first time I have sponsors and a coupon section for substantial values at the participating wineries. My goal with this book is to give readers ideas about where to go to experience wines they may not have known about.”
She also has some good-to-know subjects like wine tasting techniques, serving wine, wine history and grape varietals.
On page 187, you will find my “Five S’s of Wine Tasting: detailed tips on sight, swirl, smell, sip and swallow, to get the most out of your wine experience.”
To order the book, which is just $15.95, call Popcorn Press & Media at (858) 759-2779, visit or ask for it at your favorite bookstore.
New releases to love
It’s been a summer of sensational new wine releases so let’s get into some of the best I have tasted recently:
— Spring Mountain Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2006 for $24. This one opened up the latest wine dinner event at Firefly in Encinitas. Subtle honey and grassy flavors. So fresh tasting.
— Miner Napa Viognier 2007 for $16. Available at Meritage Wine Market Encinitas, has the tropical notes of great Viogniers. Clean, with a hint of spice and almond.
— Pedroncelli Sonoma Dry Rose of Zinfandel 2008 for $10. Zin Country crisp, flavorful beauty, best when chilled. A favorite with Wine Spectator’s profile of California Zinfandels.
— Brolio Tuscany Italy Ricasoli Chianti Classico 2003 for $9. An unbelievable value from the architects of modern day Chianti. One hundred percent Sangiovese grapes. Family winemakers since 1141!
— ZD Napa Founder’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 for $65. Gold medaled wherever entered, a masterful 100 percent organic wine with “open top” fermentation. Tribute to founder Norman deLeuze. ZD’s 40th Anniversary Celebration in Napa is Oct. 3.
— Renzoni Temecula Valley Fiore Di Fano 2006 for $48. Italian “Super Tuscan” style blend of Cabernet, Sangiovese, Merlot and Cab Franc. Twenty-two months in French Oak. A triumph for a small, young family winery. Salute!
Wine bytes
— Hacienda de las Rosas in the Fiesta de Reyes center in San Diego is hosting an old fashioned Grape Stomp on from noon to 6 p.m. Labor Day Sept.7. It includes wine tasting food, music and grape stomping in old barrels and competition with prizes. Price is $25 for adults, $10 for children. Call ahead at (619) 840-5557.
— Vino 100 in San Marcos is hosting six wines, each under $20 from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 11. Cost is $15 each. For details, call (760) 591-9113.
— The authors of the new book “Temecula Wine Country,” Vincent and Audrey Cilurzo, will have a book signing from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept 12 at the Little Temecula History Center next to Kohl’s, at Highway 79 and Margarita. Courtesy wine and hors d’oeuvres. For details, call (951) 552-3516.
— Bernardo Winery is hosting their annual Grape Stomp and Italian feast from 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 13. Wine, music, food and fun for $65 per person, $125 for two. Call (858) 487-1866 for tickets.
— The great saxman Kenny G has a concert at Temecula’s South Coast Winery, Resort and Spa, part of a benefit Rhythm on the Vine from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sept. 12. Tix start at $85. Visit


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