Author Archive | Laura Ness

2019 Off to Banner Start For Ann Hougham of Mesa Del Sol

January 22, 2019 – Ann Hougham of Mesa Del Sol came home with a Judge’s Choice win for Best Red Wine for her 2013 sangiovese from the Fungus Faceoff this past weekend, the annual mushroom-centric feast held at The River Inn this year to benefit the Big Sur Health Foundation. She couldn’t be more thrilled. “Bowled away!” was her comment. Well-deserved kudos!

Hougham also received word earlier this month that Mesa del Sol had been chosen to receive the 2018 Best of Greenfield Award in the Wines category by the Greenfield Award Program. Congratulations on that honor, too.

It certainly appears that the New Year is off to a fresh and shiny start for Hougham. Just before the ongoing government shutdown/letdown/paralysis commenced in December, she received news from the United … Read More

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Medals for Monterey County Wines at SF Chron Competition

January 15, 2019 – Judging the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is a marathon of commitment. You spend three and half days judging this competition, whereas others usually entail just a single day or at most a day and a half. That’s because there are over 6,800 entries to evaluate, from all over the world, at what is the largest wine competition held in the United States.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, as this was my first time judging at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, where the competition has been held since it began. Initially, it included just wines from Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties, gradually adding all of California, and then Oregon, Washington, New York and Virginia. Eventually, it expanded to include wine from all over the world, … Read More

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Chef’s Choice: January Is Restaurant Month at Edgar’s

The New Year is off to an exciting start at Edgar’s restaurant at Quail Lodge, where executive chef Brian Kearns is getting creative for Restaurant Month. Locals and regulars already know this guy’s got game in the kitchen, but give him a little more latitude and he’s going to show you a whole new attitude when it comes to cuisine.

Armed with a degree in Culinary Management from the University of Colorado and lots of local experience, including at La Bicyclette, Casanova and The Whaling Station prior to joining the Quail Lodge team, Kearns is bringing a fresh and healthy approach to the Edgar’s menu, just in time for a brand new year.

With the advent of Restaurant Month, which runs Mondays through Thursdays, from January 7 through 31, … Read More

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Tasting Chalone: Delicious Wines From the Desert

January 7, 2019 – The 8,640-acre Chalone wine region, first planted to Chenin Blanc in 1919 and established as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982, is largely a bone-dry desert east of Soledad, about 15 minutes drive from Highway 101. You definitely feel the ascent off the valley floor, as you climb to an elevation of 1,800 ft. and suddenly find yourself in the shadow of the Pinnacles.

It’s a trip in so many ways, especially considering the journey the rocks that form the Pinnacles itself, which are part of a volcanic field that originated some 200 miles to the south and took over 23 million years ago to get here. It’s still moving northwards to this day.

Michael Michaud, long-time Chalone resident and winemaker, has been making wine … Read More

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Passport to Tasteful Adventure on River Road

The River Road Wine Trail continues to expand with merry destinations, bringing more places to explore, and more ways to visit the wineries you already know and love. Over the years, it’s been gratifying to see all the winery signs popping up along this bucolic byway that bisects the benchlands of the Santa Lucia Highlands mountains as they give way from grapes to row crops.

It wasn’t all that long ago when there were barely enough wineries to qualify as a “trail,” but the stalwart pioneers, including Hahn, Paraiso, Pessagno and Scheid still remain, more recently joined by Manzoni, Puma Road and Odonata.  Time certainly flies, and change is inevitable, many times for the better. Remember Hammond Cellars? Ventana? You never know what might come to pass.

Speaking of changes, … Read More

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