Category Archives: Wine

It’s the world’s favorite grape. Is it yours?

Logo for EventbriteWe at Parker Sanpei love a good Chardonnay: everything from Burgundy and Chablis to the Finger Lakes and Edna Valley gets us purring. So when we heard that the world’s foremost gathering of Chardonnay producers will take place in our backyard, we bought our tickets right away. The International Chardonnay Symposium will feature top global Chardonnay winemakers during this year’s events, May 28-30, 2015 at The Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa and The Cliffs Resort in Pismo Beach, California.

310 Sat Tasting _MG_3688


A sampling of panel discussions includes:

  • Hanzell Vineyards and Mount Eden Vineyards Retrospective Tasting, moderated by Fred Dame, MS
  • To Oak Or Not To Oak?: Exploring Chardonnay as the Chameleon of Vitis Vinifera, moderated by Brian McClintic, MS, Proprietor of Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Diversity in Balance:  Pairing Chardonnay and Food, moderated by Bob Bath, MS, Wine Instructor for the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Napa, CA
  • The Fashion of Chardonnay: Examining Winemakers’ Stylistic Influence on Chardonnay, moderated by Nicholas Miller, Bien Nacido Vineyards, Santa Maria, CA

213 Sat Seminar & Lunch  _MG_3557Additional events include a Vintners’ Wine Tech Symposium, artisanal sausage and Chardonnay pairings, Sommelier Chardonnay Challenge, two Grand Tastings and La Paulée Dinner and Awards Ceremony. To learn about participation in these events or for tickets, please visit


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Laetitia x THO x NYC = OMG

Stop the presses: Our friends at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery recently announced their invitation to join Thomas Hill Organics Bistro’s Chef Christopher Manning to present a dinner at the iconic James Beard House in New York City on Saturday, April 25. (Want to join us? We’ll be there.)

Eric Hickey

Eric Hickey

“A chance to share a taste of the Central Coast at the James Beard House is a true honor,” said Eric Hickey, Laetitia’s President and Head Winemaker, “especially in collaboration with a talent like Chef Manning. His cuisine and Laetitia wines say so much about the beauty and bounty of this place we call home.”

Chef Christopher Manning

Chef Christopher Manning

“Cooking at the James Beard House is a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Chef Manning, who presented a dinner there as Executive Chef of Domaine Chandon’s étoile Restaurant in Napa. “I feel lucky to be invited back, this time representing the Central Coast and partnering with Laetitia and their phenomenal wines.”

The menu for the evening will include:

 Hors d’Oeuvre

Big-Eye Tuna Crudo with Zucchini, Roma Tomatoes, Osetra Caviar, and Lemon Cream on Toasted Brioche
Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese, Olea Farm Olive Oil, and 100-Year-Aged Balsamic on Crostini
Saint Angel Cheese with Pea Tendrils and Bianchetto Truffles in Phyllo Cups
Cognac-Glazed Jumbo Prawns with Piment d’Espelette
Kusshi Oysters with Laetitia Brut Cuvée, Pink Peppercorns, and Lemon Mignonette


Pan-Seared Dayboat Scallops with Sunchoke Purée, Blonde Frisée, Spring Garlic Vinaigrette, and Oyster Mushrooms

Skuna Bay Salmon with Ramps, Marble Potatoes, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Heirloom Carrots, and Saffron Aïoli

Liberty Farms Duck Breast and Leg Confit with Beluga Lentils, Montana Huckleberries, Navel Oranges, Petite Salad

Wildflower Honey Olives, Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Red Bell Peppers, and Rosemary Glace de Viande​

D’Anjou Pear Mille-Feuille with Pear Mousse, Pear Brandy Butterscotch, and Almond Toffee

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Converted from the home of the influential American gastronome whose name it bears, the James Beard House continues to be a center for celebrating taste, skill, and artistry in American foodways, including a kitchen and dining room to feature up-and-coming talents and as an important meeting place for America’s food community.

Tickets for the dinner are $130 for James Beard Foundation members, $170 for non-members. For more information about Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and Thomas Hill Organics Bistro’s Chef Christopher Manning at the James Beard House on Saturday, April 25, please visit

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Wedding season field trip: Rings and wines and gowns, oh my!

Olivia, Elissa, Nathan (our bodyguard), and Kyndal

Olivia, Elissa, Nathan (our bodyguard), and Kyndal

In celebration of the upcoming wedding and awards seasons, the Parker Sanpei team recently took a field trip to San Luis Obispo’s Marshalls Jewelers to try on jewels and Starlette O’Hara to try on gowns. And then, just to round-out the festivities, we tasted several Central Coast wines to match. (Tough work, but someone has to do it.)

Marshalls Jewelers

This beautiful jewel of a shop is actually the oldest continuous shopfront in San Luis Obispo, established in 1889. Owners Jeff McKeegan and Steven deLuque continue Marshalls’ heritage of fine quality service and artistry with beautiful baubles to tempt any bride- or groom-to-be. Marshalls Jewelers, 751 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805.543.3431

Starlette O’Hara

We passed this formal dress boutique on our way to the Parker Sanpei offices for years and had to stop ourselves from pressing our noses against the glass, so appealing are the gowns on display in the window. Owner Shelly Schafer offers a wide selection of mostly imported gowns to brides looking for something very unique, as well as those seeking fun, one-of-a-kind glamour for special occasions. Heads up: Shelly also offers mobile teeth whitening for a fraction of the normal cost using organic products all made in the USA. She caters to those of us who love red wine (hello, Parker Sanpei!) and are looking to lift stains for a cleaner, more confident smile. For more information, call Shelly at  805.453.6894.
Starlette O’Hara Formal Dress Boutique, 641 Higuera Street #101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805.305.1577

…And now, for the dress/ring/wine pairings! Click on each collage for the full picture.








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One-stop shopping for Central Coast vintners and growers.

Wivi Central Coast Tradeshow offers wine producers a convenient roundup of industry vendors

UntitledThis year’s WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Tradeshow, taking place March 18 at the Paso Robles Event Center, will include more industry exhibitors and vendors than ever, making the event the most valuable and convenient place for wine producers to learn about the latest products, services, technologies and equipment.

Hosted by the wine industry’s leading trade publication, Wine Business Monthly, and regional viticulture consulting group, Precision Ag Consulting, the WiVi Wine Industry Tradeshow offers an important opportunity for vendors eager to share new products and technology with the rapidly-growing Central Coast wine community.

Becky Zelinski

Becky Zelinski of WiVi

“Our exhibit spaces have been sold-out for months,” said WiVi Director, Becky Zelinski. “The tradeshow is really a win-win for Central Coast wineries and their staff, who get to meet with their preferred vendors and learn about new ones in the span of one day, right in their own backyard.”

Jennifer Porter of the PRWCA

Jennifer Porter of the PRWCA

“Many of Paso Robles’ wineries and growers can’t make it to the big out-of-town tradeshows,” said Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Porter. “We’re really fortunate that Wine Business Monthly and Precision Ag Consulting have brought WiVi to Paso Robles, where we can meet with so many big-name vendors and learn about the latest technologies and trends.”

The 2015 WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Tradeshow will feature approximately 150 local and international suppliers, showcasing everything for the vineyard, winery and tasting room. From bare root vines to glassware, there’s something for everyone in the wine industry to see.

…And the list goes on. To discover all of the products and services exhibiting at WiVi, please visit the Exhibitor Directory at

The tradeshow is part of the larger WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Conference, held March 17th and 18th, which offers educational and networking opportunities for every member of the wine industry, from winemakers and grape growers to winery managers and hospitality staff. It also provides valuable continuing education credits for pest control advisors and certified agronomists. Furthermore, WiVi is California’s largest industry networking opportunity south of San Francisco.

Tickets for the tradeshow only are free to Central Coast wine trade association members before February 28 (but must be reserved at, after which admission is $30 per person. For non-members, tickets to the tradeshow are $30 before February 28 and $40 thereafter. Early registration discounts are available on session passes if purchased before February 28, 2015. There is also a discount offered on session registrations for two or more people from the same company. For more information on this as well as tickets to the larger WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Conference, please visit or call (888) 974-WIVI (9484).

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The Darker Side of Claiborne & Churchill

CC_Pinot_Noir_2012_cropThough the name Claiborne & Churchill Winery is synonymous with Alsatian-style dry Riesling and dry Gewürztraminer, the pioneering Edna Valley AVA producer has also developed a reputation for complex, layered Pinot Noir that bears out in the recently-released 2012 Classic Pinot Noir, 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir and 2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir.

Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia

Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia

“All three Pinot Noirs are very different in flavor profile, but similar in style,” said Winemaker, Coby Parker-Garcia. “At Claiborne & Churchill we do not produce an extracted, heavy Pinot Noir. Instead, we try to reflect Pinot Noir’s inherent elegance and complexity. All our grapes are grown within 3.5 miles of the Pacific Ocean, which helps when it comes to balance between acidity and fruit, as well as aging potential.”

2012 Classic Pinot Noir (1,222 cases produced, $28)
Since the late 1980s the “Classic” Pinot Noir has been a staple of Claiborne & Churchill’s repertoire, and has always been made to showcase the elegance and complexities of Pinot Noir from the Edna Valley. With fruit sourced from Wolff Vineyards and Twin Creeks Vineyards, the 2012 vintage balances flavors of ripe cherries, herbs and spices and aromas of vanilla, cherries, and lightly toasted oak. The Classic Pinot’s smooth mouthfeel, silky tannins, and good acidity makes this wine a perfect match for wild Alaskan salmon, lamb chops, duck breast, and an assortment of cheeses.

2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir (236 cases produced, $42)
The coveted Twin Creeks Pinot Noir is distinguished by its source: a collection of small vineyards on and around Twin Creeks Way, just down the road from the winery. These vineyards’ special soil and clonal selections help give the Twin Creeks its famous bold and spicy flavors, vivid cola and earthy aromas, and outstanding ageability. Pair it with lamb, duck, or beef bourguignon.

2012 Runestone Pinot Noir (173 cases produced, $48)
To produce the Runestone Pinot Noir, sold exclusively to members of the Claiborne & Churchill Cellar Club, Coby Parker-Garcia selected eight standout barrels from the 2012 vintage, which he blended together to create a remarkably elegant yet complex wine. Fruit was sourced from Twin Creeks Vineyard, located on the west side of the Edna Valley, where the cool, coastal climate and heavy clay soils provides exceptional quality; as well as Wolff Vineyards, on the east side, which grows Pinot Noir that yields undeniably fleshy fruit-forward flavors. Together, these vineyards produce a wine that balances its soft tannin and velvety mouth feel with ample fruit notes. The 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir offers vivid aromas of cherry, dried strawberries, and hints of oak. The palate is complex, layered with bright cherry, sweet raspberry, dark fruit and baking spice, with a finish that is ethereal and long lasting. A quintessential wine for pairing with winter fare, the 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir complements rack of lamb, sage-brushed turkey, and wild Alaskan salmon, and will continue to develop and improve over the next 8-10 years.

For more information on Claiborne & Churchill Pinot Noir, please visit

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Your 2015 Travel Punch List

Last year, we at Parker Sanpei had a lot of fun developing an international punch list for 2014, and this year, we thought we’d try it again. Here are the places and experiences we are most excited about this year, broken up by season.

WINTER: Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah

sundancefilm-parkcityThis January 22 through February 1, Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival will once again draw thousands of film-lovers to experience the release of hundreds of new indie movies. Film festivals are often thought of as private affairs for insiders, but tickets are available to Sundance films at just $20 each – a steal when you consider that the directors and actors in the films take the stage after each show to discuss their work. Add to that the charm of Park City, its accessibility to the Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (just 30 minutes away), and its home to some of the world’s finest ski resorts – and powder! – and you have the makings of a dynamite getaway.

SPRING: James Beard House Dinner with Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro, New York City

2011-06-09-minidiningroom3When James Beard, the godfather of American cuisine, passed away in 1985, his colleagues and friends sought to purchase his Greenwich Village townhouse and convert it into something of a performance space for chefs. They enlisted the help of a talented young chef from California, Wolfgang Puck, to craft a multi-course dinner, the proceeds from which would benefit the renovation project; Thus was the James Beard House dinner series born. Today, the James Beard House hosts 250 events each year, one of which will be a dinner celebrating the bounty of California’s Central Coast (Parker Sanpei’s beautiful home) including wines from Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and cuisine from Chef Christopher Manning at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro. The date for the dinner is Sunday, April 27, at 7pm. Tickets are $130 for members and $170 for the public. Reservations will be available mid-January by calling 212.627.2308.

SUMMER: A Taste of Stockholm, Sweden

20100608-lola01Between The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Wallander, and The Killing, the world clearly has an obsession with the dark side of Scandinavian culture of late, and we’re no exception. But what about the bright side? That’s where A Taste of Stockholm comes in. From June 3 through 7, this culinary fête takes place in downtown Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården park with bites from two-dozen of the city’s best restaurants, classes, demonstrations, and performances by top musicians. Afterwards, go back to the dark side with a (Volvo) drive to Ystad and walk in Detective Kurt Wallander’s footsteps…

FALL: 84th Annual International White Truffle Fair, Alba, Italy

alba-international-white-truffle-fair-italy_57135_600x450Worshipers of the elusive tartufo bianco flock from far and wide to the small city of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont region for the International White Truffle Fair each fall. In 2015, the festival will be held October 11 through 16 with a line-up of international chefs, sensory analysis sessions, wine pairing demonstrations and cultural happenings (e.g. a choral competition and a palio for donkeys in the style of Siena’s more famous one for horses) to tickle the heart of the most devoted gourmands and oenophiles. Just remember to bring your wallet. And you might want to take out a loan first.


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Celebrating FOUR years: Our most popular posts.

Birthday-Wishes-for-a-Four-Year-OldWe at Parker Sanpei can’t believe it’s been four years this week since The Dish went live. Four years! In those four years, we’ve covered everything from the history of Father’s Day and mustards of the world to emergency preparedness and the best music festivals in the west. We’ve also shared personal tastes and memories on everything from our least favorite food trends to how we dropped it all to pursue a love of wine. And speaking of wine, we’ve talked lots, and lots, and lots about wine.

We’ve also met thousands upon thousands of you through a shared passion for food, wine, travel, and hospitality. Thanks for making these four years so delectable!

To celebrate the occasion, we’ll be re-running a few of our most popular posts to date. Enjoy! And happy holidays!


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