Congrats are in order! Arroyo Grande's Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and NADIA Wines recently took the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Int'l Wine Competition with a double-gold medal for NADIA Wines' 2012 Santa Barbara County Cabernet Sauvignon and silver medals for Laetitia Vineyard & Winery's NV Brut Cuvee, 2011 Brut Rose, 2012 La Coupelle Pinot Noir and 2012 Les Galets Pinot Noir (laetitiawine.com) ... Edna Valley's Claiborne & Churchill is known for its Alsatian-style dry riesling and dry gewürztraminer, but they certainly aren't afraid to go to the dark side, too. The winery is churning out some luscious and delicious pinot noirs as of late, including new releases: 2012 Classic Pinot Noir, 2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, and 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir out now (claibornechurchill.com).
Winter fun: Two Paso Robles hot spots are pulling out all the stops for restaurant month, including Il Cortile Ristorante (which will host Wednesday reverse wine dinners through March featuring a smattering of local wineries) and LXV Wine Lounge, which will feature sensual Tantric Bites pairing each weekend in January (for all restaurant month deals at local eateries and wineries, click over to visitsanluisobispocounty.com) ... Speaking of the Pass of the Oaks, if you haven't been to Derby Wine Estates in downtown Paso Robles, you're missing out on great wine with a side of local history. The old iconic Farmer's Alliance Building (aka The Pink Tower) has been dramatically transformed into a gorgeous 1920s inspired tasting room"hence, the recent Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce 2014 Beautification Award. Check it out for yourself during the Downtown Wineries Winter Wine Stroll (featuring food and wine at each tasting room) on Jan. 17 and see just why folks are all abuzz.
More than a cup of joe: Kreuzberg hosted its first-ever Latte Art Competition earlier this month, pitting the best baristas from Sally Loos, Scout, Bello Mundo, and Linnea's. The winner? Kberg barista Mickey Julian, who crafted a delicate swan out of foam ... A cool new food organization to watch: Farm Hack is an open-source community that shares its innovative farming technology with the world meaning that you, too, can gain insight into sustainable agriculture through online and offline meet-ups (farmhack.com) ... It's January, so you may want to ingest a few more leafy greens. My favorite new smoothie: One cup kale, half a cup frozen berries, half a cup frozen pineapple, two ounces Greek yogurt, one tablespoon almond butter, and a splash of almond milk. Yum! ... Have you been out to Alta Colina Winery in Westside Paso Robles yet? Their brand-new tasting room is an experience to be had, from the rusty corrugated metal siding of their new winemaking facility to their elegant Rhône wines, each with a name unique to its position on the mountainous vineyard (altacolinawine.com).
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