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Earlier this year, I attended a seminar at Pebble Beach Food and Wine entitled Discover Garnacha & Grenache. The world’s seventh-most planted grape, it is produced in Spain and France, as well as many other wine regions around the world. In celebration of International Grenache Day on Friday, September 20th, my story ran in the Napa Valley Register and now I am sharing it here.
Sing it: “You say Grenache, and I say Garnacha. You say France and I say Spain. Grenache, Garnacha, France, Spain, don’t call the whole thing off!”

Let’s agree to both and beyond!

Whether you call it Grenache or Garnacha, it is the world’s seventh-most planted grape.

The world of sparkling wines is vast and the king of sparkling wine is Champagne. When I sat down for a seminar at Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the glasses in front of me looked like Champagne and had some of the same mineral, citrus and brioche aromas. But, in fact, it was not Champagne in front of me. Nor was it Italian sparkling wine or California sparkling wine. It was, in fact, British sparkling wine, a category that I had been hearing about but had not had the opportunity to taste, until now. British Bubbles are a very exciting category which I wrote about in the Napa Valley Register, which you can read here, and I look forward to continuing to explore British Bubbles in the future.
I took a look at the glasses on the table. The liquid was a pale gold with a stream of small bubbles. The nose ranged from mineral and citrus to apple and brioche notes.
A simple guess was that Champagne was in front of me. But it was not. I had eight glasses of British Bubbles in front of me as I sat down for a seminar at Pebble Beach Food & Wine titled “Oysters, Pearls and British Bubbles” led by Champagne-lover Kim Beto, Sommelier Tim Smith, an American living in England, Master Sommelier Joe Spellman and English-born Master Sommelier Laura Rhys. Kim recalled a few years ago when Chef Gary Danko first asked him about English bubbles. He had no answer then but today, make no mistake that British Bubbles is a serious category of wine.
One of the most iconic California wines is Ridge Monte Bello. It is a Cabernet Sauvignon that needs little explanation. It is a wine that is admired and enjoyed and I had the privilege to sit down for a tasting of eight vintages at Pebble Beach Food & Wine, as I wrote about in the Napa Valley Register and you can read here. ************* Ridge Monte Bello is considered “the most internationally admired producer of American Cabernet Sauvignon” by the Oxford Companion to Wine.
Since 1962, Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello has been garnering recognition, from placing fifth at the 1976 Judgement of Paris to receiving four 100-point scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. So, when I had the opportunity to sit down and taste wines spanning five decades of this historic vineyard at Pebble Beach Food & Wine, I did not hesitate.
Ridge Vineyards’ Monte Bello is an iconic California wine. However, is it also one of the most unusual. For one thing, it is not from Napa Valley, or any other marquee regions, but rather the remote Santa Cruz Mountains. In fact, it is the wine that defines the Santa Cruz Mountains.