September 2017 - Page 2 of 6 - Please The Palate
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I have enjoyed thirty-six meals at Maude over the past four years and while every menu has been very good, with some dishes being great, a few months have just been a home-run with each and every bite being as good, if not better, than the last one. September's melon menu is one of those months. Melon is a quintessential summer ingredient. With the bitter-sweetness of summer ending, the sweetness of the melon was a perfect ingredient to feature. A relative of the cucumber, summer melons include cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon, as well as many others. Maude explained on their website that "summer melons include those with a raised cross-hatched pattern or netting on the rind. The Charentais variety is characterized by the green ribs on the rind. Its tender, apricot-orange interior and gorgeous fragrance, make it the perfect dessert melon. Muskmelons are known as cantaloupe in the U.S. Their pale orange flesh is juicy and sweet. The Galia is a honeydew-cantaloupe cross. Spherical and small, the creamy, light green flesh is spicy-sweet. The Ambrosia is a hybrid muskmelon with a highly-perfumed scent, best enjoyed fresh. The popular Spanish variety, Piel de Sapo, has a rough, dark green exterior and crisp flesh and pairs well with salty, smoked meats. And we'd be remiss to exclude the watermelon, the largest of the melons. Barrel-shaped with bright, pink flesh, which can also be yellow or white." For this menu, we decided to do the wine pairing created by the Maude team. And, like most meals at Maude, we started with champagne - Vazart-Coquart Brut Reserve Blanc de Blancs Champagne.
Located on a yet-to-be-developed street in Virgil Village in Silverlake, Vinovore is a brand new specialty wine shop. The store is not very large, about the size of a comfortable living room, and is home to approximately 150 different wines, with plans to grow to 250 in time. But there are two unique elements to this wine store that set it apart from anything else in Los Angeles and that is why Vinovore is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Vinovore is co-owned by Coly Den Haan, a sommelier who previously owned The Must and Perch in downtown LA. With her partner Dean Harada, a developer, they own Hot Hot Food just up the street (and really the only other business currently on the street). The first thing that makes Vinovore unique is that 90 percent of the wine selection happens to be made by women winemakers. With a strong emphasis on female winemakers, there are wines from California, Washington, Oregon, Finger Lakes, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia. I think it is wonderful that there are so many female winemakers out there and at this store, I will be introduced to more than the ones I already know! While it is important to note that wine is not any better because it is made by a woman, I think it is wonderful to highlight female winemakers in an industry that is still rather male-dominated.
This story originally appeared in Wine Industry Advisor. Across the entire wine industry, there are significant challenges, stated Robert McMillan, executive vice president and founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division at the recent forum of Santa Barbara’s wine industry. Premiumization is the dominant trend, but continuing consolidation of distribution is significantly limiting wineries access to consumers. To address this issue, McMillan stressed the need for direct-to-consumer sales. While direct sales are not necessarily more profitable than through wholesalers, explained McMillan, “it is more about necessity.” However, direct to consumer sales have their own constraints and require an investment in hospitality to attract consumers and make the emotional connection. “In the past year, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of regulations gone haywire. They are frustrating family winery owners across the country, increasing the cost of doing business and reaching the point where some of the regulations will put family-run wineries out of business. The problem can’t be ignored, and it’s not going away by itself.” McMillan wrote in his State of the Wine Industry 2017 report (p55).