Wine needs food” is the customary mantra, but I’m not sure how devoted Americans have ever been to that idea. We’ve been a country of beer and cocktail drinkers since the end of Prohibition and as wine has become more mainstream in the past 20 years, it has become another alcoholic beverage that’s OK to drink by itself.
You may not recognize John Lasseter or even know his name but he’s involved in your life, or at least your children’s or grandchildren’s. He is the mind behind the three Toy Story movies, Cars, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Up! and the soon-to-be-released Brave.
Time magazine named Lasseter one of the 100 most influential people in the world last year. He is the undisputed master of animation and the creative force behind Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation. With his wife, Nancy, he is also producing some outstanding wines from their ranch in Sonoma Valley.
Whenever someone whines about the lack of value in California they usually point to Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. That's like claiming there's no value in Bordeaux because of Cos-d'Estournel and Château Margaux. That just doesn't compute. Smart buys can be found in California as easily as in Bordeaux.
That became obvious while I was researching "Best of the West for $25 or Less" for the April 30 issue of Wine Spectator.
when the lists are small and smartly selected—and backed up with a knowledgeable waitstaff—you get a sense of the restaurant’s wine karma. The excitement and energy of wine comes at you on a personal level, with a connection between you, the food and the person recommending the wine.
Keeping customers happy with a modest list can be a tightrope, put plenty of restaurants do it. Two in Sonoma County epitomize the best of these focused lists: Terrapin Creek Café in Bodega Bay and Scopa in Healdsburg.
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