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Does LA Love Ice Cream? Can Ice Cream Legends Ben & Jerry do a Million Scoops on Free Cone Day April 16

Does LA Love Ice Cream? Can Ice Cream Legends Ben & Jerry do a Million Scoops on Free Cone Day April 16

On April 16, Ben & Jerry’s is throwing its annual Free Cone Day celebration, and while any day free ice cream is involved is a win, the Ben & Jerry’s team behind the annual fan appreciation event, now well past its 40th year, are inviting fans to help make this year’s Free Cone Day the biggest and best yet with 1 million scoops served.

Ben & Jerry Free Cone Day is April 16

 

Ice Cream Legends Ben & Jerry Have a Million Scoop Goal, Can They Do it? Find out on Free Cone Day April 16

Free Cone Day returns after a four-year pause

Last year, Free Cone Day made its highly anticipated return after a four-year pause, and dedicated Ben & Jerry’s fans showed the Vermont-based ice cream maker just how happy they were that the giveaway tradition was back.

“It was nothing short of amazing to see our fans back in our shops in their full Free Cone Day glory,”

Dave Stever

Ben & Jerry’s CEO

…who dished out ice cream at the Scoop Shops in Vermont.

“We gave out over 970,000 scoops across the globe, but we know together with our fans we can break 1 million scoops.” Stever added, “We’re asking our fans to really bring it this year: invite their friends, family, neighbors, and help us beat our goal of 1 million scoops on Free Cone Day 2024.”

The beloved tradition began in 1979 as cofounders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield survived their first winter – as a tiny, independent, two-person ice cream business – in the frozen tundra of Vermont.

National Weather Service records dubbed it “the brutal winter of 1978-1979” as the average temperature reached a record low of 14.1°F (-10°C) and the winter season snowfall set a record of 52.9 inches (134 centimeters).

The first Free Cone Day in 1979

Today’s traditions are no different than the first Free Cone Day in 1979 as it has always been a way to give back to the community and thank fans for their support.

The only difference is that the once single “mom & pop” shop is now one of the largest, most successful ice cream businesses in the U.S., as well as in 35 other countries around the globe.

New flavors debut on Free Cone Day

Fans can stop by their local shop for a go-to favorite or ask about new flavors like brand-new Scoop Shop exclusive Mango flavor, made of mango ice cream swirled with sweet cream ice cream, or recently debuted Non-Dairy Strawberry Cheezecake.

New additions Impretzively Fudged and PB S’more make great options for the sweet and salty lovers.

Can’t decide?

Flavors may vary based on location but fans are welcome to try any and all available flavors and are encouraged to get back in line as many times as they’d like. Experienced fans understand it’s easiest to jump back in the queue on Free Cone Day with a scoop already in hand.

To find the nearest participating Scoop Shop, visit https://www.benjerry.com/scoop-shops/free-cone-day.

Ben & Jerry’s is an aspiring social justice company that believes in a greater calling than simply making and selling the world’s best ice cream.

The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and Non-Dairy/vegan desserts using high-quality ingredients and lots of big chunks and swirls. As a Certified B Corp, Ben & Jerry’s incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices via values-led sourcing initiatives when purchasing ingredients.

Ben & Jerry’s is distributed in over 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchised Scoop Shops, and via on-demand delivery services.

Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, a fair financial return, and addressing issues of social, racial, and environmental injustice around the globe.

The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, guided by Ben & Jerry’s employees, granted $5.1 MM in 2023 to support progressive, justice-focused grassroots organizing around the country.

For up-to-date information visit benjerry.com.

Big Hollywood Shake-Up! American Film Market 2024 Moves To Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort

American Film Market 2024 Relocating To Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort

The Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®) and its Board of Directors announce that the American Film Market (AFM®), its industry flagship event, will relocate to Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for its 45th edition.

New Chapter for American Film Market in 2024

Scheduled for November 5 to 10, 2024, this move marks a new chapter for AFM.

Held in Los Angeles and Santa Monica for over four decades, AFM is a cornerstone event for the independent entertainment industry.

Companies Including Arclight Films, Blue Fox Entertainment, Cornerstone, Film Mode Entertainment, FilmNation Entertainment, HanWay Films, Lakeshore Entertainment, Millennium Media,

Myriad Pictures, NEON, Protagonist Pictures, The Exchange, WME Independent & XYZ Films

Already Committed as Exhibitors at the Palms for AFM24

American Film Market 2024 multi-City Search

The decision to move American Film Market to Las Vegas comes after a multi-city search and careful consideration of the needs of AFM’s Exhibiting Sales Companies and Buyers and reflects IFTA’s dedication to creating the optimal environment where the global film and television industry can converge, collaborate, and conduct business seamlessly.

“After extensive research, discussions with the Board and invaluable feedback from stakeholders, this move underscores our determination to evolving AFM to meet today’s industry needs,”

Clay Epstein

IFTA Chairperson and President of Film Mode Entertainment.

“The strength of the AFM lies in its ability to create community and present a sophisticated platform for all our participants’ activities in one convenient location. The Palms enables us to do all of that and beyond.”

Palms Casino Resort offers a wealth of modern facilities and conveniences, all in a single location for an enhanced market experience. Highlights include newly renovated rooms and suites for Exhibitor office space and guest rooms, the Brenden Theatres’ 14 screen state-of-the-art multiplex, and more than 170,000 square feet of dedicated conference, meeting, and event space. 

Las Vegas presents easy travel options, including domestic and international flights from over 160 locations, and its close proximity to Los Angeles, with over 35 daily flights, expands the options and allows AFM participants easy stopovers. Furthermore, Las Vegas offers a wealth of dining, sleeping, entertaining, and shopping opportunities, providing added value for AFM participants.

Epstein further added, “This move to Las Vegas is generating support and enthusiasm from colleagues around the world and we are excited to welcome everyone to AFM 2024 in November.”

Major production, finance, sales and distribution companies, including Arclight Films, Blue Fox Entertainment, Blacktop International, Cinema Management Group, Cornerstone, The Exchange, Film Mode Entertainment, FilmNation Entertainment, Film Seekers, HanWay Films, A Higher Standard, Lakeshore Entertainment, Millennium Media, Myriad Pictures, NEON, Protagonist Pictures, The Asylum, The Solution Entertainment Group, Vision Films, WME Independent and XYZ Films have already committed to participating in AFM24 in the new Las Vegas Palms locale, underscoring the industry’s enthusiasm for this monumental move and the importance of AFM to their businesses.

Jean Prewitt, IFTA President & CEO commented:  “AFM was created by the Independents and remains the Independents’ market.  The industry has called for a fresh look at how the market can better serve a rapidly changing business.  The Board has made a monumental decision that allows us to better serve these needs.  We look forward to introducing everyone to the new AFM venue and its offerings.”

“We’re delighted to extend a warm welcome to the American Film Market,” said Cynthia Kiser Murphey, General Manager of Palms Casino Resort. “Our team members are committed to providing the Palms signature and personalized hospitality to each and every guest. The AFM’s needs and our offerings make for a perfect match and we look forward to hosting the AFM participants this November.”

As AFM prepares to make its debut in Las Vegas this Fall, further details will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months. 

About the American Film Market® (AFM®)

The AFM is where the global film and television business comes to life every November. The only independently produced international sales market, hundreds of finance, production, sales and distribution companies and thousands of professionals from every segment of the industry, convene at AFM for six days of discovery, development, deal making, networking, marketplace discussions and world-class conferences. The AFM is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®) and serves as the annual fundraiser for the association.  

About the Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®)
IFTA is the global trade association for independent film and television production, finance, distribution, and sales companies. The organization represents the independent sector before governments and international bodies and provides significant entertainment industry services to independent companies around the world.

About Palms Casino Resort

Palms Casino Resort is making history as the first resort in Las Vegas fully owned and operated by a Native American Tribe. Palms Casino Resort features two distinct towers with 766 hotel rooms and suites, a diverse mix of bars, restaurants, live entertainment venues, and immersive lifestyle experiences across a 95,000-square-foot reimagined casino. Offering free valet and self-parking, the resort also includes over 190,000 square feet of meeting, convention, and event space; the Pearl, a 2,500-seat theater; an expansive pool, The Spa & Salon at Palms; a wedding chapel; the Brenden Theatre 14-screen cinema and nearly 600 units at Palms Place condominiums.

Palms is located just west of the center of the Las Vegas Strip off I-15 on Flamingo Road. Palms Casino Resort is owned by The San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority (“SMGHA”) an affiliate of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. For more information visit http://www.palms.com/ or the Palms Press Room. Follow Palms on social media Facebook Twitter Instagram.

Local SoCal News

Los Angeles: With Moby Pod, Multi-Award-Winning Rocker Moby Joins Podcasting World

Moby Pod celebrates the artist’s unique perspective on the world of music, activism, and so much more.

There are some people who master one skill, and then there are some whose creative versatility seems to know no bounds. That’s multi-hyphenate artist MOBY.

Moby, the award-winning punk rocker-turned-electronica artist, who has sold 20+ million records across the globe, has joined the podcast age and launched Moby Pod (available on all podcast platforms).

The new show is distributed in partnership with the Human Content podcast network.

Still as active as ever, this year has been full of releases, records, and real conversations with people all from Moby’s circle.

With Moby Pod, Multi-Award-Winning Rocker Moby Joins Podcasting World

With Moby Pod, Multi-Award-Winning Rocker Moby Joins Podcasting World

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to tour with David Bowie, cure your panic attacks with your own musical creation, or own the world’s dirtiest teacups, Moby Pod is a must-listen.

The podcast, which stars the renowned musician himself and his co-host and producer, Lindsay Hicks, offers Moby’s personal and professional insights in addition to sharing unique perspectives on the world of music, animal activism, and beyond.

Moby Pod, which releases new episodes every other week, features Moby’s occasional sit-downs with surprising guests to discuss their careers, creative processes, and more.

Listeners who are fans of Moby’s music and those simply interested in hearing candid conversations with fascinating people alike, you will find something engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining each week.

Early guests have included Derrick Green, renowned vocalist of the groundbreaking metal band Sepultura (2/10); American actress and painter Lisa Edelstein(3/10); and actor and sustainability advocate Ed Begley Jr. (7/28).

I went where everyone went, the world of podcasting!

Moby jokes

I love talking, and I love having fascinating conversations with fascinating people, so this podcast has been a long time coming.

In addition to his podcast debut, Moby made his directorial debut with the worldwide premiere of his new film, Punk Rock Vegan Movie, at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January. “Punk Rock Vegan Movie,which has now won “Best Documentary” at multiple film festivals, explores the ongoing relationship between punk rock and animal rights.

A longtime vegan and animal rights activist himself, Moby is offering his film for free to spread the importance and urgency of his message: going vegan to protect the world’s animals.

And there’s more!

On May 12, Moby released his new album “Resound NYC” via Deutsche Grammophon / Universal.  The album features reimagined versions of some of his best-known tracks with new vocalists, including Gregory Porter, Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs), Margo Timmons, and Amythyst Kiah.

New Moby Pod episodes release every other week on all podcast platforms. 

Napa Wine: Malek Amrani’s The Vice Wine Invites a new Generation of Wine Lovers to Open a Bottle

Napa Wine: Malek Amrani’s The Vice Wine Invites a new Generation of Wine Lovers to Open a Bottle.

Winemaker Malek Amrani’s The Vice Wine is about as personal of a brand as it gets.  Each batch is crafted from single grape varietals sourced from hand selected Napa Valley vineyards that best express the grape varietal and the region.

Passionate labor, sustainable farming, a long expertise of the wine industry and a current understanding of the consumer’s wine trend.

The Vice Wine's Winemaker Malek Amrani

The Vice Wine’s Winemaker Malek Amrani

Today I sat down with The Vice Wine’s Malek Amrani for a conversation about luxury sales, Napa Valley’s legendary grapes, following your passion and inspirations and the future of wine for the next generation.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  The full conversation can be found on our YouTube channel.

 

 

 

I just want people to understand how busy you are sharing your wines with the world. Can you share a little bit about your average calendar week?

 

Sure, thank you. First of all, thank you so much for having me today. I just literally just walked in three minutes ago I was in Miami. So I landed in San Francisco a couple hours ago and just got in here So speaking about travel, a lot of what we do is travel because you can make the best wine in the world, but it’s really the ability to go out and sell it that makes us successful or not.

It all comes down to sales. On average, for me, for the last eight years, I average about five, six nights a month at home. A lot of my time has been spent on the road. Although this year I’m trying to shift gears a little bit and spend more time here in Napa Valley and less time on the road.

Got it. So what inspired you to get into the world of wine? Any memorable celebrations?

What inspired me to get into wine was my love for it. I was fortunate enough to start tasting wine at an early age with my father. And I graduated high school at 16 in Casablanca, Morocco.

Went to Senegal, West Africa for med school. I did a year there and realized that it wasn’t for me. And speaking of celebration, I really wanted to do something that was quite celebratory on a daily basis and fun. I moved to New York and the first six months in New York I really just tried to survive and bounced around and did all types of jobs.

Winemaker Malek Amrani tasting Vice Wine barrel samples

Winemaker Malek Amrani tasting Vice Wine barrel samples

But then I quickly realized that I needed to get my hands on wine and not have to pay for it and then meet people as well, because I was new to New York and I had no friends, no family. So I wanted to meet people. I realized that working in the wine industry, wine bars, and restaurants would be ideal to fulfill the two needs that I had at the time.

I dove into the wine industry early on at the age of 18. And between 18 and 21, I worked in the restaurant world a lot. I was working 2-3 jobs consistently. I was fortunate that when I was 21, I got a job in distribution representing Diageo and Moet Hennessy Brands in Manhattan to on-premise accounts, basically restaurants, bars, hotels, and whatnot.

And during that time, I also got inspired to start importing small batch boutique wines to New York and selling them too, selling them to people I knew and make a name for myself in the industry through imports as well, beyond the territory that I had at my first job.

Then in my mid twenties, I was doing it. I realized I had done it all in the wine business, except to make wine. The wine region that I’ve always been a big fan of was Napa Valley. So I looked for a brand that kind of was a solution to what I was looking for one, a Napa Valley winery that made wine for that everyday occasion that I can afford accessibly and to a winery that made more than the classic three or four varietals: Cabernet, Sauvignon Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and there aren’t many really.

And lastly a winery that kind of broke down Napa Valley to the sub regions that there are because Napa has such a very diverse terroir and sub regions, 16 in total today. Wow. So I couldn’t find one. So I decided to make one, start one, create one. 

 

 

You worked at the biggest wine company in the world.  How did you go about getting that job?

And then what kind of lessons did you learn while being there?

 

It was out of luck. I was a buyer for a restaurant on Park Avenue in Manhattan. And I was talking to my sales rep. I asked him if he liked his job and I really didn’t think about applying or anything.  He thought that I was interested in a similar position and out of luck, they had open positions and he spoke to my first manager at the company and she called me and she asked me to meet with her.

I honestly didn’t know what she wanted to meet about. I thought she wanted to meet about the restaurant where I was working; and work on some program or something. And in less than 48 hours, I had a job. So I was quite lucky. 

But how intense and how it is working at Moet Hennessy or LVMH is a big umbrella.

It’s the number one luxury company in the world. They certainly do a lot of things, they are number one for a reason. And at the same time, I was with the sister company that also owns part of the Moet Hennessy Diageo. Diageo is the biggest liquor supplier in the world and at the time they had wine as well.

 

So in a way it is easier to walk in anywhere and say I have Johnny Walker or Veuve in my portfolio. But at the same time, from a sales perspective, it was very not aggressive, but very goal-driven. And I found myself that out of 116 months of employment, I was a top quarter performer for 112.

So it was extremely competitive and I wanted to be the best at what I did. All the time. A lot of it really has to do with building relationships and working harder than the competition and doing a lot of things right and never promising something and not delivering.

 

 

Is there a major lesson that you learned while working at that global luxury company that has helped the Vice wines?

 

Yes, I think, many things. My first, probably my most important lesson was to intertwine your personal life and your professional life in this industry. You can’t really separate them and be successful at it. I think it’s just making it work. It is a fun industry, we do go out a lot and get to enjoy a glass of wine during the day or two or three.

At the same time it is work and finding the balance between the personal and the professional and making one feed the other in a sense. It’s one of the biggest advantages that one can do to succeed in this industry.

I think you fulfilled two fantasies that a whole lot of wine people dream about doing. One being rockstar salesman at these amazing companies.  The other becoming a winemaker. 

Any advice for someone who wants to be who you were a few years ago?

Advice? Yeah, absolutely. One, it takes time.  You have to be patient; and persistent and consistent.

To build relationships and establish and build a territory and build certain sales revenue. It doesn’t happen overnight. You first gotta establish relationships and relationships come down to trust. The second thing is it really comes down to being patient and consistent.

Outlasting the competition because there’s such a huge turnover in the industry. So if you trust the process that if you stick around long enough and do certain things right for a long time, people will turn over in the industry and there will be opportunities that will pop up left and right and they will be yours for you to capture.

Personally, one of the things that really made me successful, and a lot of people may not do it, is that for 10 years in Manhattan, I commuted on a motorcycle 12 months a year. The subway was fast, but I never wanted to miss a phone call.

When the average salesperson is probably seeing 5, 6, 7 accounts a day, I was seeing consistently 15 to 20. So I was able to have a bigger territory and see my clients on the regular without appointments. I was on a motorcycle.  I was the guy just going to show up and just say hello and I was in and out, just checking on you, see if you need anything versus I have to make an appointment, find parking, all that kind of stuff.

 

 

The work ethic definitely, 15 in a day is a very deliberate choice with time and energy.

Your wines are called “Vice”.   Was there a “Vice moment” where you knew it was time to move on and become a winemaker? 

 

That moment probably lasted a couple of years. There was a lot of self questioning and self doubt on the daily because I had, at one point, two very successful businesses.

One, I worked my job on a W-2 and the other one, my own business, my imports business. And I was doing pretty well at the time in my mid twenties and, within three, four years, I may have paid a little bit over a million dollars in taxes. How do you let all this go and jump into the vice and, basically not have a revenue?

Especially in the beginning stages, it took me a couple of years to really decide what to do but The Vice, the idea started in 2013.

Winemaker Malek Amrani

Winemaker Malek Amrani

We really became a business in 2016. And I let everything go for The Vice in 2018. It took some time. At one point I was having three businesses happening all at once, and it was very stressful.

So that “Vice Moment, it wasn’t like sudden. It wasn’t quick. It was a long vice moment. 

 

 

Tell us about the regions that The Vice grapes are sourced in and equally important,  how the heck did you get grape sourced from these in-demand areas? 

So I chose Napa Valley because Napa, one, is their vice to me, hence the name of the Vice Wine, name of the brand. My vice is wine, but their vice is Napa. And I’ve always been a huge fan of Napa.

And Napa is the apex of the American wine industry is what set the tone for us, what opened, it’s what really led this American wine revolution in a sense. It all started really with Napa back in, in the 60s and 70s. So I wanted to shoot for the top because of that aspect.

And also, it’s just part of the American dream.  As an immigrant, there is nowhere on the planet, I can’t imagine myself going to France, Italy, or Spain, and walking right into their top wine region and say, I’m going to do what I do today.  I have no doubt I wouldn’t be welcomed.

Napa did just the opposite and welcomed me and gave me an opportunity, not just as a wine region, but as a community. 

The second thing, how I got into having access to these grapes, a lot of it is street work.  Putting in the time, coming a lot to Napa and hanging out at a lot of places where winemakers hang out for lunch or dinner and talking to the bartenders and doing my due diligence and investigating on my own and really networking and knocking on doors.  Not being afraid to knock on doors and introduce myself to people and tell them about what my plans are and see if they’re willing to sell me some grapes.

In this industry, when you buy, when you contract to somebody, you pay a little bit of what the grapes are worth when you first pick the grapes and then the rest within time in the new year or so.

A lot of what I’ve done in the beginning was pre paying. So I pre paid for the grapes while they were still hanging on the vines. It’s almost like buying the fish while it’s still swimming in the ocean. So in that sense, they owed me versus I was at the mercy of a lot of the growers to sell me grapes.  They already had the money, they already got paid.

So they had to work with me in a sense and again, being honest, not being late on payments and having good relationships with the growers goes a very long way.

Can you share your Napa Dream with us that you put on your bottles and let us know what that means to your family? 

 

Yeah, so I’m sipping right now batch number 100, the Napa Dream. So we make our wines in batches. Every single wine, and I made a little bit over 130 wines to date. Every single wine has a number.

It started with number one, which was a Chardonnay 2013 vintage. And when I first started The Vice, I had this long term vision, but I didn’t envision myself to be here today with batch number 100. So batch number 100 is an homage to batch number 1. 

I named it The Vice and not my last name.  As you see, most of the wine industry, it’s someone’s name on the label. I didn’t want to do that. The Vice to me is what wine is: a Vice. Napa is my vice. So it’s very personal.

But at the same time, the craft beer industry really had a boom in 2008 – 2020. What made it really successful were the names. Craft beer has some really wild names. You look at the name and packaging, and it’s what probably draws you to open the can, you buy it and try it.

At the time in 2013, there weren’t many un-conservative names in the wine business. It was still very conservative names and people’s last names. There was 19 crimes and there was The Prisoner.

I thought The Vice would be a very good name, One, because it meant something to me and Two, it’s very edgy and it’s borderline bad. 

It’s not bad. It’s not bad unless you do too much of it. That’s what vices are. If you overdo it, then they become bad. They become addictions, a lot of things, and it’s an easy name to remember.

 

 

I’m going to assume almost every wine lover knows Napa Valley. Touch a little bit on the region of Napa, the soil your vineyards are using, and how that influences your aromas and your tastes as we actually get into the bottles themselves.

 

When people talk about Napa Valley, most of the time we talk about how this perfect Mediterranean climate that we have here, its location about 35 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, the Bay, San Pablo Bay, which is an extension of San Francisco Bay, the microclimate. 

We talk a lot about the microclimate, but one thing that I think makes Napa the best wine region in the world, in my opinion, is that Napa has half of the world’s recognized soil.

It’s a paradise for someone who is really into soil because there’s so much diversity here.  More than anywhere else when it comes to soil diversity, we make wine from 14 out of 16 sub regions of Napa, but within the same AVA.  Within the same sub region, we have different soils.

So a lot of the wines that we make are single vineyard wine You do get to taste the purity of the terroir from a specific soil type.  It’s something honestly that we can talk about for days and it’s fun for most people.

 

 

Going a little deeper in that for a moment.

We picture you in Manhattan, probably very well-dressed at that old job.  Now you’re working a farm.  What was it like the first time you stepped onto that vineyard. 

What that experience was like for you?

 

For me, honestly, I always felt that my calling was to be in the countryside. Although while Napa is the countryside, it’s like the Hamptons of the West. It’s still probably the most expensive agricultural land in the world.

It’s very beautiful. But being in touch with nature and being a little isolated from the hustle and bustle of civilization, which is usually in the cities. I find a balance when I’m here in Napa because I do travel a lot.  I’m on the road and I’m back to the cities trying to sell wine across the U S and also across the world.

Vineyard life, farm life, it’s my balance. It’s my happy place being in the vineyard. I’m sure you can’t picture me, but I do wear a lot now. I never thought I would ever be wearing cowboy hats a lot. But I do wear them because it covers my head pretty well from the sun.

 

Walk us through your favorite wines.  Let’s talk about aromas and flavors and color and what you love about them so much.

 

First thing, I don’t have favorites.  All my batches are equal to me. Every single batch has a story; is a labor of love. But the wine of the moment right now is my orange wine. 

So I started making orange wines in 2020. Orange wine is the oldest winemaking style in the world. Five, six thousand years ago, when they started fermenting grapes to my knowledge, they were white wine grapes.

Today, all white wine, we take the varietals, we press or break the skin of the grape and capture the juice immediately, discard the skin. Orange wine is basically pretending to make red wine with white wine grapes. So there’s skin contact.

So we basically ferment the juice out of the grapes with their own skins and what you get in return, you get some type of orange hue in the wine. The wine I’m opening right now is my Orange of Gewurztraminer and it’s called Brooklynites because that’s where I got the inspiration out of Brooklyn. And we’re doing really well with it.  It’s just been very successful for us. It’s up and coming. 

This wine, Orange Wine, reminds me of Rosé of 15 years ago when Rosé just started to make a comeback or just started to grow in sales and popularity. 

I also feel like with orange wine, I feel like it’s a generational thing.

If you look at Sauvignon Blanc, for example one of the top white wine varieties right now, 20 years ago, no one was really drinking Sauvignon Blanc, but it was really the Gen X that made it popular.

Same thing with Rosé I feel like Orange is just at its infancy stages right now, and it’s having it’s moment. Driven by millennials and Gen Z’s also Gen X and boomers when they see it on a wine list and they see it in the store, they get curious, maybe a little embarrassed that they haven’t had an orange wine.

They’ve been drinking wine for decades already. So there is a little sense of curiosity when it comes to orange. So it’s doing really well for us. It’s 3,000 case production right now. Our total production of The Vice is 27,000. 

And Gewurztraminer, the varietal means spicy. I won’t call it spicy. I’ll call it flamboyant. Because it just pops out of the glass with so much roses, lychee, peach, apricot. 

It’s a really pretty varietal and this orange wine of Gewürztraminer is certainly a treat. Very well said.

The 2020 Chardonnay. The mouthfeel, the balance, when you were creating it, how did you decide what it was going to be like?

It is an homage to batch number one, Chardonnay.

So I really wanted to create something almost like there’s a legacy and a celebration for reaching that milestone of making a hundred wines. I wanted to go back to very traditional winemaking. The birthplace perhaps of Chardonnay is Burgundy. And in Burgundy, a hundred years ago, they were not bottling every single year.

They bottled when they needed to. They had good vintages, bad vintages. So it wasn’t this cycle. 

 

Now, the majority of the industry doesn’t age Chardonnay for more than 12 months in oak. Most people have a misunderstanding of oak and malolactic fermentation in wine.

I hear it all the time, people saying, I hate oaky chardonnays because they’re too buttery, too oaky. There’s two different things. Oaky and buttery are two different things. So the malolactic fermentation, the conversion of malic acid into lactic acid, is what gives you that creaminess in Chardonnay.

And predominantly, all red wines go through it. But in white wines, Chardonnay is the only one that goes through malo. And it is a style that’s fading.  It’s boomers who love the buttery Chardonnays. 

But when it comes to oak you really don’t find anybody aging Chardonnay for 30 months.

It’s a little bit crazy to do, but this was my vision as a celebration. And the funny thing is that I just came back from Miami and the joke, everybody that tasted it. They’re like, wow, what a delicious wine and how did you get the idea? And I was like the joke here in the cellar in Napa was when I was making this wine, everybody here was like, who’s going to drink this wine?

And the joke was Florida will drink it because they love big oaky Chardonnay. But the reality now in the valley and other markets too. The younger consumer is actually loving this wine because it doesn’t have much malolactic fermentation. Only 25% of the wine went through malo. So there is a little kiss of butter.

Almost like buttered popcorn, but without being too buttery, without having greasy hands. And then the oak flavor here is just amazing. Because it just pops with butterscotch and vanilla and full spices and it’s a super long finish. You take a sip and five minutes later, it’s still sitting in your palate which is quite unique for a Chardonnay.

 

You had a vision before you produced the bottle. How close to reality did it become, and what were the challenges to get it there?

 

To explain that I have to give you the background. Everything I do is not out of just because I decide to.

Everything I do is it backed by the marketplace. Most winemakers, they have an idea, they go apply it. I have so many ideas. All my ideas actually are based on creating demand that’s already in the marketplace or about to be. So a lot of what I do is research and development.

I’m not going to wait to get a market watch article last year to tell me that this varietal or this segment is trendy. I’m seeing it live in the marketplace. I’m seeing it live with the consumer. I am doing tastings in stores. I’m doing tastings at restaurants, hosting dinners, and seeing what the consumer wants.

So I’m seeing it before the rest of the industry. Everything I do is based on where the trend is going before it even becomes a trend. And it is a gamble because not everything comes to fruition. But that’s the basis of what I do is based on the wine enthusiasts, people that drink wine, their interests and what they want to have in the, what they wanna see.

Let’s talk about your Pinot Noir.

 

This is my house Pinot Noir. We call it the house because this is what I envision to be the house Pinot, basically a Pinot Noir that you open and whether you drink a glass or finish the bottle.  If you drink a glass, you can put the cork back on it and it will be good for at least four or five days.

All our wines are made in a traditional style and they’re exposed early on to oxygen. So they’re oxygen resistant compared to conventional wines. When you open the wine; conventional wine by the second or third day, they already flatten out and turn into vinegar cooking wine. The Pinot Noir here is for the everyday occasion and it doesn’t require any food, although this pairs well with everything.

This is the only red I’ll probably pair with any type of fish. It really is a very good wine on its own. Doesn’t really require food. I make a lot of big Cabernets and big heavy varietals like Petite Syrah and certain Malbecs. Very good. You drink a glass and you start begging for food because some wines really require that.

The House Pinot is my go to wine for that everyday, anytime occasion. It is from Carneros, so it’s Southern Napa, and it’s made in a traditional Burgundian style. 

What makes this wine actually unique is that a huge amount of of Pinot Noirs now in California are laced with something else to be a varietal on the label, like Pinot Noir or Cabernet. All you have to be is 75% to 85% based on the county. So there is a lot of blending and we’ve seen a lot during the past few years.

The emergence of jammy Pinot’s. It’s all cut with something big and heavy. Pinot is supposed to be lean.  A beautiful aromatic varietal with high acidity. It’s supposed to age really well. So we’re going back to that traditional burgundy style. 

The wine next to it is a red wine blend.

 

We make 14 different cabs, so many different red wine varietals. All these wines I make are 100% single varietal. I don’t like to blend. I just love to showcase the true expression of the varietal from the terroir that it comes from of Napa Valley.

I made this wine and I called it Millennial. This is batch number 96 Millennial. And this wine is a blend of different varietals. It’s like a world blend almost. It’s 63% Petite Syrah, 22% Malbec. 8% Tempranillo, Spanish varietal, 7% Primitivo, an Italian varietal, and 1% Charbonneau which is a very rare varietal that we have here in Napa.  So multiple varietals, I called it the Millennial because, I found that the millennial consumer is looking more for a style when it comes to a red wine, something that’s medium body, fruit forward, softer tannins. And they’re not really much into what vintage is it, what’s the region, what’s the AVA, they are still very price conscious.

 

So the retail price for is $29. It’s our least expensive red wine that we make. And it’s a really mouthful of a wine. It’s very juicy. It’s like lava cake in a glass. Although it’s dry, it’s got no residual sugar. It’s still so fruit forward. And there are so many flavors from lava cake to blueberry compote to raspberry jam.

We did not put anything. No vintage, no AVA, no nothing. We just wanted to focus on the blend itself and, that’s a red wine, it tells you exactly who it’s made for. 

 

I’m not sure if you see yourself as a foodie. Any food pairings that you recommend with your wines?

 

Yeah, I certainly consider myself a foodie. Half of my time alive is spent going from one restaurant to another. Granted, I don’t eat at each one of them all the time, but I do try to eat a small dish everywhere I go and try different things, different cuisines, and I love, as someone that was born in Morocco, I love flavor.

Maybe part of my success in winemaking has to do with my palate. And my taste for my open mind, the taste for food also, and being willing to try different flavors. 

When you say Napa, people think Cabernet right away. No one would ever think of orange wine first. Maybe not anytime soon, hopefully one day, but as of now, everybody thinks Cabernet. And. Cabernet to me or some red, big red varietals I think the best friend for our big wines.

My favorite pairing right now is this orange wine. I find myself drinking a lot of Orange lately. And this orange gewurztraminer, favorite companion to Southeast Asian cuisines like Thai, Vietnamese does really well with it. I’ll say Indian cuisine with curries and or even Middle Eastern cuisines.  The orange gewurztraminer does really well with them.

I really like to keep it simple.  I love to cook with a lot of herbs and spices.

You don’t want to overwhelm it.  You don’t want to ruin the taste. You want to enjoy it by keeping actually the food that goes with it simple. Just 1, 2, 3, 4 herbs or spices just to enhance the dish. and bring out the flavors of the wine.

Talking about the Vice team, you have a world class CMO and you have a genuine superhero. Can you talk a little bit about your team?

 

We met in 2008. We actually worked together and we’ve been together now since 2008. We’ve been married 10 years. Tori is my partner, but life partner and business partner, of course.

Her background is fashion. So she was a creative director at her last job. And she went to Parsons in New York for fashion. Her entire life she knew she wanted to be in fashion. 

I wouldn’t be here today, The Vice would not exist if it wasn’t for Tori. She was crucial, especially for the creation of The Vice, the label, the marketing aspects of it. And today she’s 100% on board with The Vice. She has no other job.  She’s the CMO of The Vice. 

My assistant winemaker; he’s the joy of every day life. His name is Bruce Wayne and he’s an eight year old Tibetan Terrier. He’s got a better nose than any of us.  He loves to be in the cellar because of the cool temperature. And as I said probably in the beginning, intertwining personal and the professional. Having him around most of the day when I’m here in the Valley, or just having him come with me, he’s a very good boy. It certainly adds a lot of happiness to what we do and it, it helps with the craft of The Vice.

 

You mentioned that Tori has a fashion background. What was the transition from fashion to to wine like?

 

Her transition was similar to mine. It was more of a hobby, part time fashion project and part time helping The Vice. And then last year, we had a baby, our first baby. After she went back to work after her maternity leave, she realized that she wanted to focus on the baby a little bit and also full time on The Vice.

 

 

Where do you see The Vice in 5 years? What can we look forward to?

 

Thank you for asking. The vision since day one was to be an international brand. Today we are in four international markets and 14 states in the U. S. But this secret fantasy that I’ve had since day one about creating The Vice was for the French to drink The Vice.

The French don’t drink American wine. In fact, if you are from Burgundy, you probably don’t even drink Bordeaux, or you don’t drink Sancerre, or you don’t drink Provence. They’re into their own wine regions.

Globally where we will be 5, 10, 20 years, I don’t like to really put deadlines and time limits because the passage of time does things that, it’s very subjective.

The last three years were great for our business. If anything, it spurred us to grow more than we expected. Our long term goal with The Vice is to leave a legacy in the valley and for the brand to inspire the next generation of people to be the voice for a fresh voice in Napa. 

From a sales perspective, we are at 27,000 cases. We want to be at 100,000 cases. We want to be in a million cases. But most importantly, we want to maintain the quality and the integrity of the wine that we make. 

Younger audiences are booking for healthier wines

 

There is a lot of formula wine. Wine that has probably 30 ingredients you and I can’t pronounce because it’s not FDA regulated and you know they make it taste consistent year after year and there’s a lot of chemistry that goes into it.

Our wines are very simple. There are two ingredients, grapes and a little bit of CO2 to maintain stability. So long term for us is to continue to be a true craft wine, real wine that’s good for you if you drink it in moderation.

How can we shop your wines? How can we find you?

 

Thank you for asking how you can help. I see myself as an ambassador of Napa Valley, so I encourage you to please discover Napa and keep it as the leading wine region in the world. We are a one stop shop for Napa Valley. We have the most diverse portfolio of Napa Valley wines at a great price point.

Please check us out, www.TheVice.com. Please follow us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Fun fact is that our corks have my phone number on them. You can text me, call me, DM me, FaceTime me. If I’m not in an awkward situation, I’ll pick up. But I’m very accessible. I’d love to I’d love to hear from you.

I’d love to answer your questions. I’d love to help you discover the wine industry, but specifically Napa. I’d love to help you not only discover it and enjoy it as well.

That is incredible. So thank you. I really appreciate your time.

 

LearnAboutWine returns with ‘The 100 Point Dinner’ at JAR Restaurant Thursday, October 5th

LearnAboutWine returns with ‘The 100 Point Dinner’ at JAR Restaurant Thursday, October 5th

LearnAboutWine returns to this fantastic restaurant for another extraordinary effort – a blind tasting of 100 point wines with a 5-course dinner.

The 100 Point Dinner features 21 wines between 100 and 98 points and will be paired with a 5 course dinner.

All wines will be tasted blind, 3 at a time and revealed after guests vote for their favorites!

The question is – which 100 point wine did they prefer?  Where is it from and can you guess which wine it is?  Take advantage of this rare opportunity to taste “perfect” wines side by side with a delicious dinner prepared by the iconic Jar Chef/Owner Suzanne Tracht.

This event is limited so get tickets here before they sell out!

LearnAboutWine takes a $100 deposit and then post the final payment when the dinner has enough support.

 

___________________* Example Dinner Menu & Wine List  *___________________

This is the menu from LearnAboutWine’s last engagement – the menu changes with seasonal nuances and will be very different.

They can accommodate any dietary restrictions with 72 hour notice.

First Course with a flight of Whites 

Roasted Breast of Duck

Potato pancake

Kumquat shallot confit

First Course Whites:

Grosset, Riesling, Polish Hill, South Australia, 2022 | $74 – 98 Points

Hyde de Villaine HdV, Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, California, 2018 | $80 – 98 Points

Leeuwin Estate, “Art Series” Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia, 2019 | $110 – 98 Points

Second Course – Red Flights  (1 and 2) 

Rack of Lamb

favas, tendrils

cabernet reduction

Third Course – Red Flights (3 and 4)

Roasted Prime New York Strip

long cooked greens beans

 au jus, creamy horseradish

Plus Jar French Fries

Fourth Course Red Flight (5 and 6)

Individual Cheese Plates

Dessert Course:

Mini Chocolate Brownie

Coffee and Tea

RED WINES

 (Tasted Blind – Three At A Time):

Bodegas Muga, Torre Muga, Rioja, Spain, 2019 | $150 – 98 Points

Catena Zapata, Argentino Vineyard, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2020 | $140 – 98 Points

Chateau Figeac, Grand Cru St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France, 2015 | $370 – 100 Points

Château Leoville-Las Cases, ‘Grand Vin de Leoville’, St. Julien, Bordeaux, France, 2009 | $600 – 99 Points

Colgin Cellars, Tychson Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2019 | $1,000 – 100 Points

Domaine Jamet, Côte-Rôtie, Rhône, France, 2019 | $245 – 98 Points

Epoch Estate Wines, Authenticity, Paso Robles, California, 2017 | $98 – 98 Points

Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage Rouge, Rhône Valley, France, 2018 | $400 – 100 Points

Ledge, Bien Nacido Vineyard ‘Block 11’ Syrah, Santa Maria Valley, California, 2020 | $90 – 98 Points

Patria, Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Ranch, Napa Valley, 2019 | $110 – 98 Points

Penfolds, Grange Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2018 | $900 – 100 Points

Pulido Walker, Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Estate, Napa Valley, 2019 | $300 – 99 Points

Scarecrow, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2012 | $1,300 – 98 Points

Sine Qua Non, Eleven Confessions Vineyard Syrah, Central Coast, California, 2017 | $600 – 100 Points

Siro Pacenti, “PS” Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy, 2015 | $250 – 100 Points

Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy, 2019 | $325 – 100 Points

Viña Cobos, Chanares Estate Cabernet Franc, Uco Valley, Argentina, 2019 $125 – 98 Points

Dessert Course:

Taylor Fladgate, Very Old Single Harvest Port, Oporto, Portugal, 1968 | $300 – 98 Points

Oregon Wine’s Le Cadeau Vineyard Offers Complex Pinot Noir and Dazzling Sparkles – Wine Review 

For nearly 30 years Oregon’s Le Cadeau Vineyard has been producing amazing wines, cultivating a loyal audience and earning worldwide attention for their grapes and wine rosters.

Founders Deb and Tom Mortimer

Founders Deb and Tom Mortimer

The founders, Deb and Tom Mortimer, will tell you the secret to great wine isn’t a secret at all.  It’s actually quite obvious and staring everyone in the face.  It’s the grapes.  Respecting the grapes and carefully protecting and supporting their process; it’s the difference between mediocre wine and the excellent wine that they strive to produce year after year.

They grew from six acres to sixteen, and planted Pommard, Dijon clones 667, 777, 113, and 115, Mariafeld (a Swiss Pinot Noir clone) starting on the south slope of Parrett Mountain, in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. 

From the beginning, Le Cadeau’s location produced noticeable magic. Vibrant aromatics. Intense fruit forward flavors with glimmers of spice and earthiness usually not often found in young Pinot Noir wines.

Le Cadeau Vineyard

Find Le Cadeau Vineyard on the southern tip of Parrett Mountain near Newberg, Oregon, in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. 

The 16-acre vineyard benefits from high-elevation (610’ – 725’) developed and planted with one focus – growing distinct and complex Pinot Noir.

The vineyard delivers based on a combination of soils: Jory, Nekia,  and Witzel soil (a very shallow, broken basalt). On the East side, a cross between Jory and Willakenzie.

One of the wines tasted today, Merci Pinot Noir – comes from an assortment of new plantings of heirloom clones, including Mt. Eden, Calera, Swan and Jackson.

Le Cadeau Wines

2018 Merci Reserve Pinot Noir

2018 Merci Reserve Pinot Noir

From Winemaker Jim Sanders, it’s a blessing in the bottle, or as they’ve said a ‘Merci’ thank you.  After a taste, with a grin on your face you might say the same as you pour your second sip.

Ruby in the glass.  Red currant, red plum, blue berry, peach, orange peel on the nose.  White pepper, vanilla, boysenberry.  Nice, velvety medium body with medium tannin and a very pleasant finish.  Perfectly paired with lamb, turkey, roasted chicken.

Blanc de Noir 2017

Winemaker Steve Ryan and his team produced a classic representation of Blanc de Noir, minimizing skin contact, fermenting in both Stainless steel and French oak. 

The result is a very drinkable potion. Subtle apricot with pronounced pear on the nose.  Green apple, lemon zest, pasty and flirty touch of cherry on the finish.  Pair it with garden salad, light appetizers, even a light chicken dish.

Le Cadeau Wine Club

Wine club membership has three level: Platinum, Gold, Silver with tiers that include discounts per shipment, access to limited releases, invites to events and parties, and complimentary tastings at the Dundee location. 

Learn more about the Le Cadeau Wine club membership here

Visit Le Cadeau

Located on Highway 99W in Dundee, just 45 minutes from Portland and 30 minutes away from their vineyard, off-site tasting room is inside The Dundee hotel. 

1326 N Hwy 99W, Suite 101

Dundee, OR 97115

 

Oregon Wine: Newberg Oregon’s Vino Vasai Pours World-Class Pinot Noir, Super Tuscan with Unique Tasting Experience – Wine Review

Newberg Oregon’s Vino Vasai Pours World-Class Pinot Noir, Super Tuscan with Unique Tasting Experience – Wine Review

Potter’s Vineyard and Vino Vasai Wines offers a small lot collection of high quality wines and a memorable visit.

When you go wine tasting, what kind of experience do you want?  Rushed?  Crowded?  In, out and onto the next place?

In some of the most popular wine regions in California and in Oregon, a visit can feel more like you’re walking through a theme park than being invited to enjoy a living, breathing winery.

Vino Vasai is a little (or a lot) different in many ways.  For one, they really want you to have a calm, romantic, delicious experience.

They go out of their way to make it happen.  How?  They stagger their appointments, deliberately plan out the timing, they want conversations.  They foster an environment that encourages visitors to ask questions, lots of questions.  Really sharing about their world, their team and their wine.

As a result, you end up with a memorable,  world-class wine experience.  And we haven’t even gotten to talking about the actual wine yet. 

The winery intentionally limits production, producing less than 1,000 cases annually. Varietals include estate Pinot Noir, and sourced Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Syrah from single vineyard estates in Washington. 

The winery goal is “to offer the very best tasting experience in Oregon”. 

We’ll Always Remember Italy

 

Bill and Sandy Sanchez are the winemakers and owners.   Bill is an example of the mix of art and science –  leveraging 30 years as a PhD Nutritionist and 15 years as a professional Potter. – a common combination seen behind successful wineries.

Owners and winemakers Bill and Sandy Sanchez

Owners and winemakers Bill and Sandy Sanchez

Sandy brings her Italian heritage and a lifetime of passion for Italian cuisine.

Back in 2011, they were on a visit to Italy, falling deep in love with art, Michelangelo’s work and Italian cuisine. 

With Italy on their mind, just a year later they met Vineyard Proprietor Laura Volkman and struck up a dynamic partnership.  Bill wanted to learn everything there was to know about Pinot Noir – from farm to bottle.   Laura was happy to mentor him and ended up selling her estate to him a year later.

The rest is bottled history.

Vino Vasai Family

 

Potters Vineyard, translated in Italian to Vinao Vasai, is a family (some biological, some not) passionate for good food, good wine, good art and who want to make an intimate product that actually makes a personal impact.    

 

Assistant Winemaker Consultant Art Roberts joined the team exactly for that reason, to be part of a family-run winery that makes incredible, affordable small-lot wines.

Keeping with the family vibe, Sandy (tasting room and wine club manager), and Gretchen (customer service specialist). Daughter Melinda and son Eric help with harvest, tasting room, and digital support. 

 

The family does tractor work, vineyard management, and grape sampling along with help from several friends. The family and wine club pick fruit for their Rose’ each year. Potter’s Vineyard is truly a “Grower-Producer”. 

 

The Vino Vasai Region

 

The Sanchez’s purchased their 3.5-acre estate vineyard in 2012 from Laura Volkman. Laura planted the vineyard in 2001. She sold and partnered with Bill and Sandy on the 1,000 steps of growing and making premium Oregon Pinot Noir

They were attracted to the artisan feel of the tasting room Laura created and have since transformed it into a Clay Art Gallery. Customers visit and taste wine in a fine art gallery and vineyard setting. 

The wine is made in a cooperative studio of several winemakers. Bill & Sandy make all the wine themselves, sort fruit by hand, do all the punch downs and make all decisions from primary fermentation through barrel aging in French Oak. Wines are kept separated to create Reserve, Barrel Select and House labels and are bottled one to two years after harvest.

The vineyard is certified LIVE, Salmon Safe, and Bee Safe Farming with a focus on immune health. 

 

Vino Vasai 2019 Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Vino Vasai 2019 Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Vino Vasai 2019 Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Curious to taste a well-loved Pinot Noir?  

This is a special bottle.  Let’s start with the grapes. Pommard and Dijon 777 planted at 700 feet elevation in the newly established Laurelwood District, a sub-AVA of the Chehalem Mountains and Willamette Valley AVA’s.  What does this tell us?  Lots of cool, wet weather creating that well-known Willamette Valley elegance.

The grapes were picked at peak ripeness during a small window of perfect timing in an otherwise very fickle harvest season. As a result: lower alcohol, great acidity, complex flavors.

They chose lees aging in new French Oak to create a very classic Oregon Pinot Noir.

Deep ruby in the glass.  Pronounced black cherry on the nose.  Black plum, white pepper. Medium body, medium tannin, with a long finish.

With only 98 cases produced, good luck getting your hands on this bottle.  But if you can, do it. 

 

Vino Vasai Super Tuscan 2020 Columbia

Vino Vasai Super Tuscan 2020 Columbia

Vino Vasai Super Tuscan 2020 Columbia

When a trip to Italy inspires a bottle, everyone wants to have a taste.  Their goal was to share “a taste of Italy.” 

The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Sangiovese and 12% Merlot 

This Super Tuscan is grown in high elevation vineyard sites in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA of Washington State.

Warm days, cool nights help the grapes ripen with complex flavors and great acidity. Aged in neutral barrels for 18 months. 

Deep ruby in the glass.  Fresh red cherry and red currant on the nose.  Medium body, velvety tannins, black cherry and blueberry notes.  Silky mouthfeel and a medium finish that holds on just long enough, playfully inviting you for the next sip.

Pairs well with any traditional Italian dishes – think lasagna, sausage, spicy meats, meat pizza.  Very Tuscan, indeed

Vino Vasai Wine Club

 

The Wine Club has 2 tiers:  B Club and M Club

Both offer discounts, specials, members only access,  invitations and more.

Find the Vino Vasai wine club details here. 

 

Visit the Vino Vasai Tasting Room

 

Visitors are encouraged to stroll through the vines and enjoy the hilltop view of Parrett Mountain to the East, The Oregon Coast Range to the West, and Dundee Hills to the South. 

The wines are available direct from the tasting room, online at www.pottersvineyard.com or in a few local wine shops near the vineyard. 

Tastings are By Appointment Only at 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a Destination Dining Redefining Global Gastronomy

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Redefines Global Gastronomy as a Destination Dining

In recent years, Vietnam has become recognized as one of the must visit, premiere dining destinations on the planet. 

From bustling street food markets, where the aroma of sizzling meats, zesty herbs and fragrant spices fills the air, to the abundance of premiere fine dining restaurants showcasing local Vietnamese flavors infused into classic European recipes, Vietnam promises its international visitors an unparalleled East meets West culinary adventure. 

In 2016, Anthony Bourdain taught former President Barack Obama the art of the noodle slurp, while throwing back some local Vietnamese beers, and feasting on piping hot bowls of Bún Chả at a local Hanoian restaurant.

In a recent interview, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey named Vietnam his top food destination in the world.  The Michelin Guide recently awarded three of Vietnam’s leading restaurants their coveted stars for the 2023 season. 

To say the country is achieving sensational, and well earned, praise on the global culinary stage is an understatement, and with post-Covid international tourism sharply on the rise, we thought we’d to share our top 5 picks for some of the best dining destinations within Vietnam’s bustling southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.

 

SUBLIME SUSHI

Noriboi

Noriboi has reimagined traditional Japanese cuisine with their artistic, and highly inspired, modernist approach to their fine dining menus. 

Evoking a one-of-a-kind, and simply astonishing, multi-sensory gastronomic experience, their expert team of Japanese trained Master Sushi Chefs, each a Vietnamese native, apply molecular gastronomy to craft and underscore each dish, producing sublime artistic presentations, unsurpassed by even the best restaurants in Tokyo. 

Utilizing only the very finest seafood, Wagyu Beef and even rice, imported daily from Japan, and paired with regional Vietnamese and specialty ingredients, each plate is an utter triumph of taste, texture and artistic presentation. 

In addition to their daily Omakase and a la carte menu offerings, Noriboi is also known for their exclusive dining events, which upon announcement on their social media outlets becomes the hottest reservation in town, sold-out within hours of their postings. 

10-course Summer Truffle Omakase

They recently presented a 10-course Summer Truffle Omakase, where each dish was highlighted by the earthy and distinctive flavor of freshly shaved imported European truffles, and a Kegani Omakase, with the highly coveted Kegani Hairy Crabs, a seasonal Japanese delicacy, as the focus ingredient. 

If you wish to experience truly outstanding Japanese food during your trip to Saigon, Noriboi cannot be missed.

35 Ngo Quang Huy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

 

All-Day Dining Divine

LUCA

LUCA – Eatery & Bar Lounge is a fantastic all-day dining eatery, offering its guests a bountiful array of local Vietnamese and Western dishes to choose from, satisfying even the most discerning and astute culinary palate. 

It’s a favorite restaurant destination for neighborhood locals and visiting tourists alike, craving an inventive and sophisticated array of dishes, served at any time of the day.  With menus designed by their talented Executive Chef An, for breakfast or Brunch, the fluffy Soufflé Pancakes, decadent Luxe Lobster Benedict and their Phở Bò Luca, an elevated spin on the Vietnamese classic, are spectacular. And for the coffee lover, try their Vietnamese Salted Egg Coffee, a staple beverage from Hanoi- rich, creamy, salty and sweet. 

For lunch, the Summer Peaches and Kale Salad is crisp, refreshing, and the perfect choice for a hot Saigon summer’s day, as is the Scallop Carpaccio with raw sweet Hokkaido Scallops, gently kissed with a drizzle of Yuzu sauce for a touch of acid.  

For Happy Hour, indulge in a platter of the freshest Miyagi Oysters, perfect to pair with a late afternoon glass or two of Rosé.  And for dinner, a hardy Australian Rib Eye Steak should do the trick, served with Chef’s signature Steak Sauce.  At any time of the day when visiting Saigon, Luca is a great choice to experience a chic dining atmosphere and truly wonderful food.

49 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

 

American Comfort Food Infused with Vietnamese Flavors

OKRA Foodbar

Chicago, Illinois born Chef-Owner Jamie Celaya developed his menu to showcase the incredible bounty of regional produce, products, and seasonings available in Vietnam. 

Described as

“International Izakaya, third culture cuisine”

which to the laymen doesn’t make sense until you experience it, Okra offers “Subtle” small plates of vegetable forward comfort food, meant for sharing, and a selection of larger portioned “Sufficient” mains for a healthy appetite. 

Located in Thao Dien, in District two, this intimate and contemporary eatery with a laid back and unpretentious vibe serves up simply delicious food and craft cocktails, with warm and friendly service. 

Must try dishes at Okra include their spin on Street Corn, with Cilantro, Parmesan, Chili, Brown Bourbon Butter and Pork Floss, Grilled Broccolini with Truffle Crème Fraiche & Sa Tế Chili Oil, Land & Sea-Viche, a Sea Bass Crudo with Braised Pigs Ear, Chili, Lime and Bánh Tráng, and their signature Charred Okra with Preserved Lemon-Tomato Jam, Curry Yogurt, Burnt Pomelo and Sarsaparilla-za Atar. 

And to wash it all down, a chilled glass of Mùa Craft Sake on draft, also proudly brewed in Vietnam.

10 Thao Dien Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City  

 

Contemporary Vietnamese Cuisine & Cocktails 

The Triệu Institute

 

The concept of pairing craft cocktails with food is a gastronomic trend which has gained tremendous popularity in recent years in Vietnam, and no dining destination has perfected this principle better than The Triệu Institute.

They serve inventive contemporary Vietnamese dishes containing all the aromatics found within the gins of their namesake craft gin brand Lady Triệu, and their food and bespoke beverages blend in perfect harmony, allowing each patron to eat and drink simultaneously the bold, and singular flavors which Vietnam has become so famous for.  

A popular pairing include the Cured Kingfish, pickled with a housemade Hibiscus Vinegar which takes eight to ten weeks to complete, infusing sweet, sour, and floral notes deep within the fish, and a Flower General cocktail, containing Dalat Flowerbomb Gin, Wasabi, Jasmine Syrup and Seaweed Foam;  it’s a perfected combination.

10 Mac Thi Buoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

 

Vietnamese Cuisine Portraying a Story

Nén Light Restaurant

Deeply committed to producing preeminent modern Vietnamese cuisine which pays homage to their country’s rich and vibrant heritage, Nén Light’s team of outstanding culinary artists developed their restaurant’s concept of Conscious Vietnamese Cuisine (Ẩm Thực Nhìn) to showcase their knowledge, appreciation and deep respect for their native roots and beloved culture. 

Serving wildly creative, 6-9 course storytelling tasting menus, they showcase hyper-local Vietnamese ingredients discovered on foraging trips throughout Central Vietnam, and guide each guest though a unique and unparalleled culinary journey which engages all five senses. 

Along with a Sake pairing, expertly curated by their in-house Sake Sommelier, and a “Conversation Pairing”, allowing servers to share the story behind the evolution of each plate,  a visit to Nén Light Restaurant will guarantee a singular and unrivaled immersive Vietnamese dining experience.

122/2 Tran Dinh Xu, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City

 

Incredible Flavors in LA

Los Angeles: With Moby Pod, Multi-Award-Winning Rocker Moby Joins Podcasting World

Moby Pod celebrates the artist’s unique perspective on the world of music, activism, and so much more.

There are some people who master one skill, and then there are some whose creative versatility seems to know no bounds. That’s multi-hyphenate artist MOBY.

Moby, the award-winning punk rocker-turned-electronica artist, who has sold 20+ million records across the globe, has joined the podcast age and launched Moby Pod (available on all podcast platforms).

The new show is distributed in partnership with the Human Content podcast network.

Still as active as ever, this year has been full of releases, records, and real conversations with people all from Moby’s circle.

With Moby Pod, Multi-Award-Winning Rocker Moby Joins Podcasting World

With Moby Pod, Multi-Award-Winning Rocker Moby Joins Podcasting World

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to tour with David Bowie, cure your panic attacks with your own musical creation, or own the world’s dirtiest teacups, Moby Pod is a must-listen.

The podcast, which stars the renowned musician himself and his co-host and producer, Lindsay Hicks, offers Moby’s personal and professional insights in addition to sharing unique perspectives on the world of music, animal activism, and beyond.

Moby Pod, which releases new episodes every other week, features Moby’s occasional sit-downs with surprising guests to discuss their careers, creative processes, and more.

Listeners who are fans of Moby’s music and those simply interested in hearing candid conversations with fascinating people alike, you will find something engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining each week.

Early guests have included Derrick Green, renowned vocalist of the groundbreaking metal band Sepultura (2/10); American actress and painter Lisa Edelstein(3/10); and actor and sustainability advocate Ed Begley Jr. (7/28).

I went where everyone went, the world of podcasting!

Moby jokes

I love talking, and I love having fascinating conversations with fascinating people, so this podcast has been a long time coming.

In addition to his podcast debut, Moby made his directorial debut with the worldwide premiere of his new film, Punk Rock Vegan Movie, at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January. “Punk Rock Vegan Movie,which has now won “Best Documentary” at multiple film festivals, explores the ongoing relationship between punk rock and animal rights.

A longtime vegan and animal rights activist himself, Moby is offering his film for free to spread the importance and urgency of his message: going vegan to protect the world’s animals.

And there’s more!

On May 12, Moby released his new album “Resound NYC” via Deutsche Grammophon / Universal.  The album features reimagined versions of some of his best-known tracks with new vocalists, including Gregory Porter, Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs), Margo Timmons, and Amythyst Kiah.

New Moby Pod episodes release every other week on all podcast platforms. 

Napa Wine: Malek Amrani’s The Vice Wine Invites a new Generation of Wine Lovers to Open a Bottle

Napa Wine: Malek Amrani’s The Vice Wine Invites a new Generation of Wine Lovers to Open a Bottle.

Winemaker Malek Amrani’s The Vice Wine is about as personal of a brand as it gets.  Each batch is crafted from single grape varietals sourced from hand selected Napa Valley vineyards that best express the grape varietal and the region.

Passionate labor, sustainable farming, a long expertise of the wine industry and a current understanding of the consumer’s wine trend.

The Vice Wine's Winemaker Malek Amrani

The Vice Wine’s Winemaker Malek Amrani

Today I sat down with The Vice Wine’s Malek Amrani for a conversation about luxury sales, Napa Valley’s legendary grapes, following your passion and inspirations and the future of wine for the next generation.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  The full conversation can be found on our YouTube channel.

 

 

 

I just want people to understand how busy you are sharing your wines with the world. Can you share a little bit about your average calendar week?

 

Sure, thank you. First of all, thank you so much for having me today. I just literally just walked in three minutes ago I was in Miami. So I landed in San Francisco a couple hours ago and just got in here So speaking about travel, a lot of what we do is travel because you can make the best wine in the world, but it’s really the ability to go out and sell it that makes us successful or not.

It all comes down to sales. On average, for me, for the last eight years, I average about five, six nights a month at home. A lot of my time has been spent on the road. Although this year I’m trying to shift gears a little bit and spend more time here in Napa Valley and less time on the road.

Got it. So what inspired you to get into the world of wine? Any memorable celebrations?

What inspired me to get into wine was my love for it. I was fortunate enough to start tasting wine at an early age with my father. And I graduated high school at 16 in Casablanca, Morocco.

Went to Senegal, West Africa for med school. I did a year there and realized that it wasn’t for me. And speaking of celebration, I really wanted to do something that was quite celebratory on a daily basis and fun. I moved to New York and the first six months in New York I really just tried to survive and bounced around and did all types of jobs.

Winemaker Malek Amrani tasting Vice Wine barrel samples

Winemaker Malek Amrani tasting Vice Wine barrel samples

But then I quickly realized that I needed to get my hands on wine and not have to pay for it and then meet people as well, because I was new to New York and I had no friends, no family. So I wanted to meet people. I realized that working in the wine industry, wine bars, and restaurants would be ideal to fulfill the two needs that I had at the time.

I dove into the wine industry early on at the age of 18. And between 18 and 21, I worked in the restaurant world a lot. I was working 2-3 jobs consistently. I was fortunate that when I was 21, I got a job in distribution representing Diageo and Moet Hennessy Brands in Manhattan to on-premise accounts, basically restaurants, bars, hotels, and whatnot.

And during that time, I also got inspired to start importing small batch boutique wines to New York and selling them too, selling them to people I knew and make a name for myself in the industry through imports as well, beyond the territory that I had at my first job.

Then in my mid twenties, I was doing it. I realized I had done it all in the wine business, except to make wine. The wine region that I’ve always been a big fan of was Napa Valley. So I looked for a brand that kind of was a solution to what I was looking for one, a Napa Valley winery that made wine for that everyday occasion that I can afford accessibly and to a winery that made more than the classic three or four varietals: Cabernet, Sauvignon Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and there aren’t many really.

And lastly a winery that kind of broke down Napa Valley to the sub regions that there are because Napa has such a very diverse terroir and sub regions, 16 in total today. Wow. So I couldn’t find one. So I decided to make one, start one, create one. 

 

 

You worked at the biggest wine company in the world.  How did you go about getting that job?

And then what kind of lessons did you learn while being there?

 

It was out of luck. I was a buyer for a restaurant on Park Avenue in Manhattan. And I was talking to my sales rep. I asked him if he liked his job and I really didn’t think about applying or anything.  He thought that I was interested in a similar position and out of luck, they had open positions and he spoke to my first manager at the company and she called me and she asked me to meet with her.

I honestly didn’t know what she wanted to meet about. I thought she wanted to meet about the restaurant where I was working; and work on some program or something. And in less than 48 hours, I had a job. So I was quite lucky. 

But how intense and how it is working at Moet Hennessy or LVMH is a big umbrella.

It’s the number one luxury company in the world. They certainly do a lot of things, they are number one for a reason. And at the same time, I was with the sister company that also owns part of the Moet Hennessy Diageo. Diageo is the biggest liquor supplier in the world and at the time they had wine as well.

 

So in a way it is easier to walk in anywhere and say I have Johnny Walker or Veuve in my portfolio. But at the same time, from a sales perspective, it was very not aggressive, but very goal-driven. And I found myself that out of 116 months of employment, I was a top quarter performer for 112.

So it was extremely competitive and I wanted to be the best at what I did. All the time. A lot of it really has to do with building relationships and working harder than the competition and doing a lot of things right and never promising something and not delivering.

 

 

Is there a major lesson that you learned while working at that global luxury company that has helped the Vice wines?

 

Yes, I think, many things. My first, probably my most important lesson was to intertwine your personal life and your professional life in this industry. You can’t really separate them and be successful at it. I think it’s just making it work. It is a fun industry, we do go out a lot and get to enjoy a glass of wine during the day or two or three.

At the same time it is work and finding the balance between the personal and the professional and making one feed the other in a sense. It’s one of the biggest advantages that one can do to succeed in this industry.

I think you fulfilled two fantasies that a whole lot of wine people dream about doing. One being rockstar salesman at these amazing companies.  The other becoming a winemaker. 

Any advice for someone who wants to be who you were a few years ago?

Advice? Yeah, absolutely. One, it takes time.  You have to be patient; and persistent and consistent.

To build relationships and establish and build a territory and build certain sales revenue. It doesn’t happen overnight. You first gotta establish relationships and relationships come down to trust. The second thing is it really comes down to being patient and consistent.

Outlasting the competition because there’s such a huge turnover in the industry. So if you trust the process that if you stick around long enough and do certain things right for a long time, people will turn over in the industry and there will be opportunities that will pop up left and right and they will be yours for you to capture.

Personally, one of the things that really made me successful, and a lot of people may not do it, is that for 10 years in Manhattan, I commuted on a motorcycle 12 months a year. The subway was fast, but I never wanted to miss a phone call.

When the average salesperson is probably seeing 5, 6, 7 accounts a day, I was seeing consistently 15 to 20. So I was able to have a bigger territory and see my clients on the regular without appointments. I was on a motorcycle.  I was the guy just going to show up and just say hello and I was in and out, just checking on you, see if you need anything versus I have to make an appointment, find parking, all that kind of stuff.

 

 

The work ethic definitely, 15 in a day is a very deliberate choice with time and energy.

Your wines are called “Vice”.   Was there a “Vice moment” where you knew it was time to move on and become a winemaker? 

 

That moment probably lasted a couple of years. There was a lot of self questioning and self doubt on the daily because I had, at one point, two very successful businesses.

One, I worked my job on a W-2 and the other one, my own business, my imports business. And I was doing pretty well at the time in my mid twenties and, within three, four years, I may have paid a little bit over a million dollars in taxes. How do you let all this go and jump into the vice and, basically not have a revenue?

Especially in the beginning stages, it took me a couple of years to really decide what to do but The Vice, the idea started in 2013.

Winemaker Malek Amrani

Winemaker Malek Amrani

We really became a business in 2016. And I let everything go for The Vice in 2018. It took some time. At one point I was having three businesses happening all at once, and it was very stressful.

So that “Vice Moment, it wasn’t like sudden. It wasn’t quick. It was a long vice moment. 

 

 

Tell us about the regions that The Vice grapes are sourced in and equally important,  how the heck did you get grape sourced from these in-demand areas? 

So I chose Napa Valley because Napa, one, is their vice to me, hence the name of the Vice Wine, name of the brand. My vice is wine, but their vice is Napa. And I’ve always been a huge fan of Napa.

And Napa is the apex of the American wine industry is what set the tone for us, what opened, it’s what really led this American wine revolution in a sense. It all started really with Napa back in, in the 60s and 70s. So I wanted to shoot for the top because of that aspect.

And also, it’s just part of the American dream.  As an immigrant, there is nowhere on the planet, I can’t imagine myself going to France, Italy, or Spain, and walking right into their top wine region and say, I’m going to do what I do today.  I have no doubt I wouldn’t be welcomed.

Napa did just the opposite and welcomed me and gave me an opportunity, not just as a wine region, but as a community. 

The second thing, how I got into having access to these grapes, a lot of it is street work.  Putting in the time, coming a lot to Napa and hanging out at a lot of places where winemakers hang out for lunch or dinner and talking to the bartenders and doing my due diligence and investigating on my own and really networking and knocking on doors.  Not being afraid to knock on doors and introduce myself to people and tell them about what my plans are and see if they’re willing to sell me some grapes.

In this industry, when you buy, when you contract to somebody, you pay a little bit of what the grapes are worth when you first pick the grapes and then the rest within time in the new year or so.

A lot of what I’ve done in the beginning was pre paying. So I pre paid for the grapes while they were still hanging on the vines. It’s almost like buying the fish while it’s still swimming in the ocean. So in that sense, they owed me versus I was at the mercy of a lot of the growers to sell me grapes.  They already had the money, they already got paid.

So they had to work with me in a sense and again, being honest, not being late on payments and having good relationships with the growers goes a very long way.

Can you share your Napa Dream with us that you put on your bottles and let us know what that means to your family? 

 

Yeah, so I’m sipping right now batch number 100, the Napa Dream. So we make our wines in batches. Every single wine, and I made a little bit over 130 wines to date. Every single wine has a number.

It started with number one, which was a Chardonnay 2013 vintage. And when I first started The Vice, I had this long term vision, but I didn’t envision myself to be here today with batch number 100. So batch number 100 is an homage to batch number 1. 

I named it The Vice and not my last name.  As you see, most of the wine industry, it’s someone’s name on the label. I didn’t want to do that. The Vice to me is what wine is: a Vice. Napa is my vice. So it’s very personal.

But at the same time, the craft beer industry really had a boom in 2008 – 2020. What made it really successful were the names. Craft beer has some really wild names. You look at the name and packaging, and it’s what probably draws you to open the can, you buy it and try it.

At the time in 2013, there weren’t many un-conservative names in the wine business. It was still very conservative names and people’s last names. There was 19 crimes and there was The Prisoner.

I thought The Vice would be a very good name, One, because it meant something to me and Two, it’s very edgy and it’s borderline bad. 

It’s not bad. It’s not bad unless you do too much of it. That’s what vices are. If you overdo it, then they become bad. They become addictions, a lot of things, and it’s an easy name to remember.

 

 

I’m going to assume almost every wine lover knows Napa Valley. Touch a little bit on the region of Napa, the soil your vineyards are using, and how that influences your aromas and your tastes as we actually get into the bottles themselves.

 

When people talk about Napa Valley, most of the time we talk about how this perfect Mediterranean climate that we have here, its location about 35 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, the Bay, San Pablo Bay, which is an extension of San Francisco Bay, the microclimate. 

We talk a lot about the microclimate, but one thing that I think makes Napa the best wine region in the world, in my opinion, is that Napa has half of the world’s recognized soil.

It’s a paradise for someone who is really into soil because there’s so much diversity here.  More than anywhere else when it comes to soil diversity, we make wine from 14 out of 16 sub regions of Napa, but within the same AVA.  Within the same sub region, we have different soils.

So a lot of the wines that we make are single vineyard wine You do get to taste the purity of the terroir from a specific soil type.  It’s something honestly that we can talk about for days and it’s fun for most people.

 

 

Going a little deeper in that for a moment.

We picture you in Manhattan, probably very well-dressed at that old job.  Now you’re working a farm.  What was it like the first time you stepped onto that vineyard. 

What that experience was like for you?

 

For me, honestly, I always felt that my calling was to be in the countryside. Although while Napa is the countryside, it’s like the Hamptons of the West. It’s still probably the most expensive agricultural land in the world.

It’s very beautiful. But being in touch with nature and being a little isolated from the hustle and bustle of civilization, which is usually in the cities. I find a balance when I’m here in Napa because I do travel a lot.  I’m on the road and I’m back to the cities trying to sell wine across the U S and also across the world.

Vineyard life, farm life, it’s my balance. It’s my happy place being in the vineyard. I’m sure you can’t picture me, but I do wear a lot now. I never thought I would ever be wearing cowboy hats a lot. But I do wear them because it covers my head pretty well from the sun.

 

Walk us through your favorite wines.  Let’s talk about aromas and flavors and color and what you love about them so much.

 

First thing, I don’t have favorites.  All my batches are equal to me. Every single batch has a story; is a labor of love. But the wine of the moment right now is my orange wine. 

So I started making orange wines in 2020. Orange wine is the oldest winemaking style in the world. Five, six thousand years ago, when they started fermenting grapes to my knowledge, they were white wine grapes.

Today, all white wine, we take the varietals, we press or break the skin of the grape and capture the juice immediately, discard the skin. Orange wine is basically pretending to make red wine with white wine grapes. So there’s skin contact.

So we basically ferment the juice out of the grapes with their own skins and what you get in return, you get some type of orange hue in the wine. The wine I’m opening right now is my Orange of Gewurztraminer and it’s called Brooklynites because that’s where I got the inspiration out of Brooklyn. And we’re doing really well with it.  It’s just been very successful for us. It’s up and coming. 

This wine, Orange Wine, reminds me of Rosé of 15 years ago when Rosé just started to make a comeback or just started to grow in sales and popularity. 

I also feel like with orange wine, I feel like it’s a generational thing.

If you look at Sauvignon Blanc, for example one of the top white wine varieties right now, 20 years ago, no one was really drinking Sauvignon Blanc, but it was really the Gen X that made it popular.

Same thing with Rosé I feel like Orange is just at its infancy stages right now, and it’s having it’s moment. Driven by millennials and Gen Z’s also Gen X and boomers when they see it on a wine list and they see it in the store, they get curious, maybe a little embarrassed that they haven’t had an orange wine.

They’ve been drinking wine for decades already. So there is a little sense of curiosity when it comes to orange. So it’s doing really well for us. It’s 3,000 case production right now. Our total production of The Vice is 27,000. 

And Gewurztraminer, the varietal means spicy. I won’t call it spicy. I’ll call it flamboyant. Because it just pops out of the glass with so much roses, lychee, peach, apricot. 

It’s a really pretty varietal and this orange wine of Gewürztraminer is certainly a treat. Very well said.

The 2020 Chardonnay. The mouthfeel, the balance, when you were creating it, how did you decide what it was going to be like?

It is an homage to batch number one, Chardonnay.

So I really wanted to create something almost like there’s a legacy and a celebration for reaching that milestone of making a hundred wines. I wanted to go back to very traditional winemaking. The birthplace perhaps of Chardonnay is Burgundy. And in Burgundy, a hundred years ago, they were not bottling every single year.

They bottled when they needed to. They had good vintages, bad vintages. So it wasn’t this cycle. 

 

Now, the majority of the industry doesn’t age Chardonnay for more than 12 months in oak. Most people have a misunderstanding of oak and malolactic fermentation in wine.

I hear it all the time, people saying, I hate oaky chardonnays because they’re too buttery, too oaky. There’s two different things. Oaky and buttery are two different things. So the malolactic fermentation, the conversion of malic acid into lactic acid, is what gives you that creaminess in Chardonnay.

And predominantly, all red wines go through it. But in white wines, Chardonnay is the only one that goes through malo. And it is a style that’s fading.  It’s boomers who love the buttery Chardonnays. 

But when it comes to oak you really don’t find anybody aging Chardonnay for 30 months.

It’s a little bit crazy to do, but this was my vision as a celebration. And the funny thing is that I just came back from Miami and the joke, everybody that tasted it. They’re like, wow, what a delicious wine and how did you get the idea? And I was like the joke here in the cellar in Napa was when I was making this wine, everybody here was like, who’s going to drink this wine?

And the joke was Florida will drink it because they love big oaky Chardonnay. But the reality now in the valley and other markets too. The younger consumer is actually loving this wine because it doesn’t have much malolactic fermentation. Only 25% of the wine went through malo. So there is a little kiss of butter.

Almost like buttered popcorn, but without being too buttery, without having greasy hands. And then the oak flavor here is just amazing. Because it just pops with butterscotch and vanilla and full spices and it’s a super long finish. You take a sip and five minutes later, it’s still sitting in your palate which is quite unique for a Chardonnay.

 

You had a vision before you produced the bottle. How close to reality did it become, and what were the challenges to get it there?

 

To explain that I have to give you the background. Everything I do is not out of just because I decide to.

Everything I do is it backed by the marketplace. Most winemakers, they have an idea, they go apply it. I have so many ideas. All my ideas actually are based on creating demand that’s already in the marketplace or about to be. So a lot of what I do is research and development.

I’m not going to wait to get a market watch article last year to tell me that this varietal or this segment is trendy. I’m seeing it live in the marketplace. I’m seeing it live with the consumer. I am doing tastings in stores. I’m doing tastings at restaurants, hosting dinners, and seeing what the consumer wants.

So I’m seeing it before the rest of the industry. Everything I do is based on where the trend is going before it even becomes a trend. And it is a gamble because not everything comes to fruition. But that’s the basis of what I do is based on the wine enthusiasts, people that drink wine, their interests and what they want to have in the, what they wanna see.

Let’s talk about your Pinot Noir.

 

This is my house Pinot Noir. We call it the house because this is what I envision to be the house Pinot, basically a Pinot Noir that you open and whether you drink a glass or finish the bottle.  If you drink a glass, you can put the cork back on it and it will be good for at least four or five days.

All our wines are made in a traditional style and they’re exposed early on to oxygen. So they’re oxygen resistant compared to conventional wines. When you open the wine; conventional wine by the second or third day, they already flatten out and turn into vinegar cooking wine. The Pinot Noir here is for the everyday occasion and it doesn’t require any food, although this pairs well with everything.

This is the only red I’ll probably pair with any type of fish. It really is a very good wine on its own. Doesn’t really require food. I make a lot of big Cabernets and big heavy varietals like Petite Syrah and certain Malbecs. Very good. You drink a glass and you start begging for food because some wines really require that.

The House Pinot is my go to wine for that everyday, anytime occasion. It is from Carneros, so it’s Southern Napa, and it’s made in a traditional Burgundian style. 

What makes this wine actually unique is that a huge amount of of Pinot Noirs now in California are laced with something else to be a varietal on the label, like Pinot Noir or Cabernet. All you have to be is 75% to 85% based on the county. So there is a lot of blending and we’ve seen a lot during the past few years.

The emergence of jammy Pinot’s. It’s all cut with something big and heavy. Pinot is supposed to be lean.  A beautiful aromatic varietal with high acidity. It’s supposed to age really well. So we’re going back to that traditional burgundy style. 

The wine next to it is a red wine blend.

 

We make 14 different cabs, so many different red wine varietals. All these wines I make are 100% single varietal. I don’t like to blend. I just love to showcase the true expression of the varietal from the terroir that it comes from of Napa Valley.

I made this wine and I called it Millennial. This is batch number 96 Millennial. And this wine is a blend of different varietals. It’s like a world blend almost. It’s 63% Petite Syrah, 22% Malbec. 8% Tempranillo, Spanish varietal, 7% Primitivo, an Italian varietal, and 1% Charbonneau which is a very rare varietal that we have here in Napa.  So multiple varietals, I called it the Millennial because, I found that the millennial consumer is looking more for a style when it comes to a red wine, something that’s medium body, fruit forward, softer tannins. And they’re not really much into what vintage is it, what’s the region, what’s the AVA, they are still very price conscious.

 

So the retail price for is $29. It’s our least expensive red wine that we make. And it’s a really mouthful of a wine. It’s very juicy. It’s like lava cake in a glass. Although it’s dry, it’s got no residual sugar. It’s still so fruit forward. And there are so many flavors from lava cake to blueberry compote to raspberry jam.

We did not put anything. No vintage, no AVA, no nothing. We just wanted to focus on the blend itself and, that’s a red wine, it tells you exactly who it’s made for. 

 

I’m not sure if you see yourself as a foodie. Any food pairings that you recommend with your wines?

 

Yeah, I certainly consider myself a foodie. Half of my time alive is spent going from one restaurant to another. Granted, I don’t eat at each one of them all the time, but I do try to eat a small dish everywhere I go and try different things, different cuisines, and I love, as someone that was born in Morocco, I love flavor.

Maybe part of my success in winemaking has to do with my palate. And my taste for my open mind, the taste for food also, and being willing to try different flavors. 

When you say Napa, people think Cabernet right away. No one would ever think of orange wine first. Maybe not anytime soon, hopefully one day, but as of now, everybody thinks Cabernet. And. Cabernet to me or some red, big red varietals I think the best friend for our big wines.

My favorite pairing right now is this orange wine. I find myself drinking a lot of Orange lately. And this orange gewurztraminer, favorite companion to Southeast Asian cuisines like Thai, Vietnamese does really well with it. I’ll say Indian cuisine with curries and or even Middle Eastern cuisines.  The orange gewurztraminer does really well with them.

I really like to keep it simple.  I love to cook with a lot of herbs and spices.

You don’t want to overwhelm it.  You don’t want to ruin the taste. You want to enjoy it by keeping actually the food that goes with it simple. Just 1, 2, 3, 4 herbs or spices just to enhance the dish. and bring out the flavors of the wine.

Talking about the Vice team, you have a world class CMO and you have a genuine superhero. Can you talk a little bit about your team?

 

We met in 2008. We actually worked together and we’ve been together now since 2008. We’ve been married 10 years. Tori is my partner, but life partner and business partner, of course.

Her background is fashion. So she was a creative director at her last job. And she went to Parsons in New York for fashion. Her entire life she knew she wanted to be in fashion. 

I wouldn’t be here today, The Vice would not exist if it wasn’t for Tori. She was crucial, especially for the creation of The Vice, the label, the marketing aspects of it. And today she’s 100% on board with The Vice. She has no other job.  She’s the CMO of The Vice. 

My assistant winemaker; he’s the joy of every day life. His name is Bruce Wayne and he’s an eight year old Tibetan Terrier. He’s got a better nose than any of us.  He loves to be in the cellar because of the cool temperature. And as I said probably in the beginning, intertwining personal and the professional. Having him around most of the day when I’m here in the Valley, or just having him come with me, he’s a very good boy. It certainly adds a lot of happiness to what we do and it, it helps with the craft of The Vice.

 

You mentioned that Tori has a fashion background. What was the transition from fashion to to wine like?

 

Her transition was similar to mine. It was more of a hobby, part time fashion project and part time helping The Vice. And then last year, we had a baby, our first baby. After she went back to work after her maternity leave, she realized that she wanted to focus on the baby a little bit and also full time on The Vice.

 

 

Where do you see The Vice in 5 years? What can we look forward to?

 

Thank you for asking. The vision since day one was to be an international brand. Today we are in four international markets and 14 states in the U. S. But this secret fantasy that I’ve had since day one about creating The Vice was for the French to drink The Vice.

The French don’t drink American wine. In fact, if you are from Burgundy, you probably don’t even drink Bordeaux, or you don’t drink Sancerre, or you don’t drink Provence. They’re into their own wine regions.

Globally where we will be 5, 10, 20 years, I don’t like to really put deadlines and time limits because the passage of time does things that, it’s very subjective.

The last three years were great for our business. If anything, it spurred us to grow more than we expected. Our long term goal with The Vice is to leave a legacy in the valley and for the brand to inspire the next generation of people to be the voice for a fresh voice in Napa. 

From a sales perspective, we are at 27,000 cases. We want to be at 100,000 cases. We want to be in a million cases. But most importantly, we want to maintain the quality and the integrity of the wine that we make. 

Younger audiences are booking for healthier wines

 

There is a lot of formula wine. Wine that has probably 30 ingredients you and I can’t pronounce because it’s not FDA regulated and you know they make it taste consistent year after year and there’s a lot of chemistry that goes into it.

Our wines are very simple. There are two ingredients, grapes and a little bit of CO2 to maintain stability. So long term for us is to continue to be a true craft wine, real wine that’s good for you if you drink it in moderation.

How can we shop your wines? How can we find you?

 

Thank you for asking how you can help. I see myself as an ambassador of Napa Valley, so I encourage you to please discover Napa and keep it as the leading wine region in the world. We are a one stop shop for Napa Valley. We have the most diverse portfolio of Napa Valley wines at a great price point.

Please check us out, www.TheVice.com. Please follow us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Fun fact is that our corks have my phone number on them. You can text me, call me, DM me, FaceTime me. If I’m not in an awkward situation, I’ll pick up. But I’m very accessible. I’d love to I’d love to hear from you.

I’d love to answer your questions. I’d love to help you discover the wine industry, but specifically Napa. I’d love to help you not only discover it and enjoy it as well.

That is incredible. So thank you. I really appreciate your time.

 

LearnAboutWine returns with ‘The 100 Point Dinner’ at JAR Restaurant Thursday, October 5th

LearnAboutWine returns with ‘The 100 Point Dinner’ at JAR Restaurant Thursday, October 5th

LearnAboutWine returns to this fantastic restaurant for another extraordinary effort – a blind tasting of 100 point wines with a 5-course dinner.

The 100 Point Dinner features 21 wines between 100 and 98 points and will be paired with a 5 course dinner.

All wines will be tasted blind, 3 at a time and revealed after guests vote for their favorites!

The question is – which 100 point wine did they prefer?  Where is it from and can you guess which wine it is?  Take advantage of this rare opportunity to taste “perfect” wines side by side with a delicious dinner prepared by the iconic Jar Chef/Owner Suzanne Tracht.

This event is limited so get tickets here before they sell out!

LearnAboutWine takes a $100 deposit and then post the final payment when the dinner has enough support.

 

___________________* Example Dinner Menu & Wine List  *___________________

This is the menu from LearnAboutWine’s last engagement – the menu changes with seasonal nuances and will be very different.

They can accommodate any dietary restrictions with 72 hour notice.

First Course with a flight of Whites 

Roasted Breast of Duck

Potato pancake

Kumquat shallot confit

First Course Whites:

Grosset, Riesling, Polish Hill, South Australia, 2022 | $74 – 98 Points

Hyde de Villaine HdV, Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, California, 2018 | $80 – 98 Points

Leeuwin Estate, “Art Series” Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia, 2019 | $110 – 98 Points

Second Course – Red Flights  (1 and 2) 

Rack of Lamb

favas, tendrils

cabernet reduction

Third Course – Red Flights (3 and 4)

Roasted Prime New York Strip

long cooked greens beans

 au jus, creamy horseradish

Plus Jar French Fries

Fourth Course Red Flight (5 and 6)

Individual Cheese Plates

Dessert Course:

Mini Chocolate Brownie

Coffee and Tea

RED WINES

 (Tasted Blind – Three At A Time):

Bodegas Muga, Torre Muga, Rioja, Spain, 2019 | $150 – 98 Points

Catena Zapata, Argentino Vineyard, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2020 | $140 – 98 Points

Chateau Figeac, Grand Cru St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France, 2015 | $370 – 100 Points

Château Leoville-Las Cases, ‘Grand Vin de Leoville’, St. Julien, Bordeaux, France, 2009 | $600 – 99 Points

Colgin Cellars, Tychson Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2019 | $1,000 – 100 Points

Domaine Jamet, Côte-Rôtie, Rhône, France, 2019 | $245 – 98 Points

Epoch Estate Wines, Authenticity, Paso Robles, California, 2017 | $98 – 98 Points

Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage Rouge, Rhône Valley, France, 2018 | $400 – 100 Points

Ledge, Bien Nacido Vineyard ‘Block 11’ Syrah, Santa Maria Valley, California, 2020 | $90 – 98 Points

Patria, Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Ranch, Napa Valley, 2019 | $110 – 98 Points

Penfolds, Grange Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2018 | $900 – 100 Points

Pulido Walker, Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Estate, Napa Valley, 2019 | $300 – 99 Points

Scarecrow, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 2012 | $1,300 – 98 Points

Sine Qua Non, Eleven Confessions Vineyard Syrah, Central Coast, California, 2017 | $600 – 100 Points

Siro Pacenti, “PS” Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy, 2015 | $250 – 100 Points

Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy, 2019 | $325 – 100 Points

Viña Cobos, Chanares Estate Cabernet Franc, Uco Valley, Argentina, 2019 $125 – 98 Points

Dessert Course:

Taylor Fladgate, Very Old Single Harvest Port, Oporto, Portugal, 1968 | $300 – 98 Points

Oregon Wine’s Le Cadeau Vineyard Offers Complex Pinot Noir and Dazzling Sparkles – Wine Review 

For nearly 30 years Oregon’s Le Cadeau Vineyard has been producing amazing wines, cultivating a loyal audience and earning worldwide attention for their grapes and wine rosters.

Founders Deb and Tom Mortimer

Founders Deb and Tom Mortimer

The founders, Deb and Tom Mortimer, will tell you the secret to great wine isn’t a secret at all.  It’s actually quite obvious and staring everyone in the face.  It’s the grapes.  Respecting the grapes and carefully protecting and supporting their process; it’s the difference between mediocre wine and the excellent wine that they strive to produce year after year.

They grew from six acres to sixteen, and planted Pommard, Dijon clones 667, 777, 113, and 115, Mariafeld (a Swiss Pinot Noir clone) starting on the south slope of Parrett Mountain, in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. 

From the beginning, Le Cadeau’s location produced noticeable magic. Vibrant aromatics. Intense fruit forward flavors with glimmers of spice and earthiness usually not often found in young Pinot Noir wines.

Le Cadeau Vineyard

Find Le Cadeau Vineyard on the southern tip of Parrett Mountain near Newberg, Oregon, in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. 

The 16-acre vineyard benefits from high-elevation (610’ – 725’) developed and planted with one focus – growing distinct and complex Pinot Noir.

The vineyard delivers based on a combination of soils: Jory, Nekia,  and Witzel soil (a very shallow, broken basalt). On the East side, a cross between Jory and Willakenzie.

One of the wines tasted today, Merci Pinot Noir – comes from an assortment of new plantings of heirloom clones, including Mt. Eden, Calera, Swan and Jackson.

Le Cadeau Wines

2018 Merci Reserve Pinot Noir

2018 Merci Reserve Pinot Noir

From Winemaker Jim Sanders, it’s a blessing in the bottle, or as they’ve said a ‘Merci’ thank you.  After a taste, with a grin on your face you might say the same as you pour your second sip.

Ruby in the glass.  Red currant, red plum, blue berry, peach, orange peel on the nose.  White pepper, vanilla, boysenberry.  Nice, velvety medium body with medium tannin and a very pleasant finish.  Perfectly paired with lamb, turkey, roasted chicken.

Blanc de Noir 2017

Winemaker Steve Ryan and his team produced a classic representation of Blanc de Noir, minimizing skin contact, fermenting in both Stainless steel and French oak. 

The result is a very drinkable potion. Subtle apricot with pronounced pear on the nose.  Green apple, lemon zest, pasty and flirty touch of cherry on the finish.  Pair it with garden salad, light appetizers, even a light chicken dish.

Le Cadeau Wine Club

Wine club membership has three level: Platinum, Gold, Silver with tiers that include discounts per shipment, access to limited releases, invites to events and parties, and complimentary tastings at the Dundee location. 

Learn more about the Le Cadeau Wine club membership here

Visit Le Cadeau

Located on Highway 99W in Dundee, just 45 minutes from Portland and 30 minutes away from their vineyard, off-site tasting room is inside The Dundee hotel. 

1326 N Hwy 99W, Suite 101

Dundee, OR 97115

 

Oregon Wine: Newberg Oregon’s Vino Vasai Pours World-Class Pinot Noir, Super Tuscan with Unique Tasting Experience – Wine Review

Newberg Oregon’s Vino Vasai Pours World-Class Pinot Noir, Super Tuscan with Unique Tasting Experience – Wine Review

Potter’s Vineyard and Vino Vasai Wines offers a small lot collection of high quality wines and a memorable visit.

When you go wine tasting, what kind of experience do you want?  Rushed?  Crowded?  In, out and onto the next place?

In some of the most popular wine regions in California and in Oregon, a visit can feel more like you’re walking through a theme park than being invited to enjoy a living, breathing winery.

Vino Vasai is a little (or a lot) different in many ways.  For one, they really want you to have a calm, romantic, delicious experience.

They go out of their way to make it happen.  How?  They stagger their appointments, deliberately plan out the timing, they want conversations.  They foster an environment that encourages visitors to ask questions, lots of questions.  Really sharing about their world, their team and their wine.

As a result, you end up with a memorable,  world-class wine experience.  And we haven’t even gotten to talking about the actual wine yet. 

The winery intentionally limits production, producing less than 1,000 cases annually. Varietals include estate Pinot Noir, and sourced Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Syrah from single vineyard estates in Washington. 

The winery goal is “to offer the very best tasting experience in Oregon”. 

We’ll Always Remember Italy

 

Bill and Sandy Sanchez are the winemakers and owners.   Bill is an example of the mix of art and science –  leveraging 30 years as a PhD Nutritionist and 15 years as a professional Potter. – a common combination seen behind successful wineries.

Owners and winemakers Bill and Sandy Sanchez

Owners and winemakers Bill and Sandy Sanchez

Sandy brings her Italian heritage and a lifetime of passion for Italian cuisine.

Back in 2011, they were on a visit to Italy, falling deep in love with art, Michelangelo’s work and Italian cuisine. 

With Italy on their mind, just a year later they met Vineyard Proprietor Laura Volkman and struck up a dynamic partnership.  Bill wanted to learn everything there was to know about Pinot Noir – from farm to bottle.   Laura was happy to mentor him and ended up selling her estate to him a year later.

The rest is bottled history.

Vino Vasai Family

 

Potters Vineyard, translated in Italian to Vinao Vasai, is a family (some biological, some not) passionate for good food, good wine, good art and who want to make an intimate product that actually makes a personal impact.    

 

Assistant Winemaker Consultant Art Roberts joined the team exactly for that reason, to be part of a family-run winery that makes incredible, affordable small-lot wines.

Keeping with the family vibe, Sandy (tasting room and wine club manager), and Gretchen (customer service specialist). Daughter Melinda and son Eric help with harvest, tasting room, and digital support. 

 

The family does tractor work, vineyard management, and grape sampling along with help from several friends. The family and wine club pick fruit for their Rose’ each year. Potter’s Vineyard is truly a “Grower-Producer”. 

 

The Vino Vasai Region

 

The Sanchez’s purchased their 3.5-acre estate vineyard in 2012 from Laura Volkman. Laura planted the vineyard in 2001. She sold and partnered with Bill and Sandy on the 1,000 steps of growing and making premium Oregon Pinot Noir

They were attracted to the artisan feel of the tasting room Laura created and have since transformed it into a Clay Art Gallery. Customers visit and taste wine in a fine art gallery and vineyard setting. 

The wine is made in a cooperative studio of several winemakers. Bill & Sandy make all the wine themselves, sort fruit by hand, do all the punch downs and make all decisions from primary fermentation through barrel aging in French Oak. Wines are kept separated to create Reserve, Barrel Select and House labels and are bottled one to two years after harvest.

The vineyard is certified LIVE, Salmon Safe, and Bee Safe Farming with a focus on immune health. 

 

Vino Vasai 2019 Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Vino Vasai 2019 Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Vino Vasai 2019 Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Curious to taste a well-loved Pinot Noir?  

This is a special bottle.  Let’s start with the grapes. Pommard and Dijon 777 planted at 700 feet elevation in the newly established Laurelwood District, a sub-AVA of the Chehalem Mountains and Willamette Valley AVA’s.  What does this tell us?  Lots of cool, wet weather creating that well-known Willamette Valley elegance.

The grapes were picked at peak ripeness during a small window of perfect timing in an otherwise very fickle harvest season. As a result: lower alcohol, great acidity, complex flavors.

They chose lees aging in new French Oak to create a very classic Oregon Pinot Noir.

Deep ruby in the glass.  Pronounced black cherry on the nose.  Black plum, white pepper. Medium body, medium tannin, with a long finish.

With only 98 cases produced, good luck getting your hands on this bottle.  But if you can, do it. 

 

Vino Vasai Super Tuscan 2020 Columbia

Vino Vasai Super Tuscan 2020 Columbia

Vino Vasai Super Tuscan 2020 Columbia

When a trip to Italy inspires a bottle, everyone wants to have a taste.  Their goal was to share “a taste of Italy.” 

The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Sangiovese and 12% Merlot 

This Super Tuscan is grown in high elevation vineyard sites in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA of Washington State.

Warm days, cool nights help the grapes ripen with complex flavors and great acidity. Aged in neutral barrels for 18 months. 

Deep ruby in the glass.  Fresh red cherry and red currant on the nose.  Medium body, velvety tannins, black cherry and blueberry notes.  Silky mouthfeel and a medium finish that holds on just long enough, playfully inviting you for the next sip.

Pairs well with any traditional Italian dishes – think lasagna, sausage, spicy meats, meat pizza.  Very Tuscan, indeed

Vino Vasai Wine Club

 

The Wine Club has 2 tiers:  B Club and M Club

Both offer discounts, specials, members only access,  invitations and more.

Find the Vino Vasai wine club details here. 

 

Visit the Vino Vasai Tasting Room

 

Visitors are encouraged to stroll through the vines and enjoy the hilltop view of Parrett Mountain to the East, The Oregon Coast Range to the West, and Dundee Hills to the South. 

The wines are available direct from the tasting room, online at www.pottersvineyard.com or in a few local wine shops near the vineyard. 

Tastings are By Appointment Only at 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a Destination Dining Redefining Global Gastronomy

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Redefines Global Gastronomy as a Destination Dining

In recent years, Vietnam has become recognized as one of the must visit, premiere dining destinations on the planet. 

From bustling street food markets, where the aroma of sizzling meats, zesty herbs and fragrant spices fills the air, to the abundance of premiere fine dining restaurants showcasing local Vietnamese flavors infused into classic European recipes, Vietnam promises its international visitors an unparalleled East meets West culinary adventure. 

In 2016, Anthony Bourdain taught former President Barack Obama the art of the noodle slurp, while throwing back some local Vietnamese beers, and feasting on piping hot bowls of Bún Chả at a local Hanoian restaurant.

In a recent interview, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey named Vietnam his top food destination in the world.  The Michelin Guide recently awarded three of Vietnam’s leading restaurants their coveted stars for the 2023 season. 

To say the country is achieving sensational, and well earned, praise on the global culinary stage is an understatement, and with post-Covid international tourism sharply on the rise, we thought we’d to share our top 5 picks for some of the best dining destinations within Vietnam’s bustling southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.

 

SUBLIME SUSHI

Noriboi

Noriboi has reimagined traditional Japanese cuisine with their artistic, and highly inspired, modernist approach to their fine dining menus. 

Evoking a one-of-a-kind, and simply astonishing, multi-sensory gastronomic experience, their expert team of Japanese trained Master Sushi Chefs, each a Vietnamese native, apply molecular gastronomy to craft and underscore each dish, producing sublime artistic presentations, unsurpassed by even the best restaurants in Tokyo. 

Utilizing only the very finest seafood, Wagyu Beef and even rice, imported daily from Japan, and paired with regional Vietnamese and specialty ingredients, each plate is an utter triumph of taste, texture and artistic presentation. 

In addition to their daily Omakase and a la carte menu offerings, Noriboi is also known for their exclusive dining events, which upon announcement on their social media outlets becomes the hottest reservation in town, sold-out within hours of their postings. 

10-course Summer Truffle Omakase

They recently presented a 10-course Summer Truffle Omakase, where each dish was highlighted by the earthy and distinctive flavor of freshly shaved imported European truffles, and a Kegani Omakase, with the highly coveted Kegani Hairy Crabs, a seasonal Japanese delicacy, as the focus ingredient. 

If you wish to experience truly outstanding Japanese food during your trip to Saigon, Noriboi cannot be missed.

35 Ngo Quang Huy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

 

All-Day Dining Divine

LUCA

LUCA – Eatery & Bar Lounge is a fantastic all-day dining eatery, offering its guests a bountiful array of local Vietnamese and Western dishes to choose from, satisfying even the most discerning and astute culinary palate. 

It’s a favorite restaurant destination for neighborhood locals and visiting tourists alike, craving an inventive and sophisticated array of dishes, served at any time of the day.  With menus designed by their talented Executive Chef An, for breakfast or Brunch, the fluffy Soufflé Pancakes, decadent Luxe Lobster Benedict and their Phở Bò Luca, an elevated spin on the Vietnamese classic, are spectacular. And for the coffee lover, try their Vietnamese Salted Egg Coffee, a staple beverage from Hanoi- rich, creamy, salty and sweet. 

For lunch, the Summer Peaches and Kale Salad is crisp, refreshing, and the perfect choice for a hot Saigon summer’s day, as is the Scallop Carpaccio with raw sweet Hokkaido Scallops, gently kissed with a drizzle of Yuzu sauce for a touch of acid.  

For Happy Hour, indulge in a platter of the freshest Miyagi Oysters, perfect to pair with a late afternoon glass or two of Rosé.  And for dinner, a hardy Australian Rib Eye Steak should do the trick, served with Chef’s signature Steak Sauce.  At any time of the day when visiting Saigon, Luca is a great choice to experience a chic dining atmosphere and truly wonderful food.

49 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

 

American Comfort Food Infused with Vietnamese Flavors

OKRA Foodbar

Chicago, Illinois born Chef-Owner Jamie Celaya developed his menu to showcase the incredible bounty of regional produce, products, and seasonings available in Vietnam. 

Described as

“International Izakaya, third culture cuisine”

which to the laymen doesn’t make sense until you experience it, Okra offers “Subtle” small plates of vegetable forward comfort food, meant for sharing, and a selection of larger portioned “Sufficient” mains for a healthy appetite. 

Located in Thao Dien, in District two, this intimate and contemporary eatery with a laid back and unpretentious vibe serves up simply delicious food and craft cocktails, with warm and friendly service. 

Must try dishes at Okra include their spin on Street Corn, with Cilantro, Parmesan, Chili, Brown Bourbon Butter and Pork Floss, Grilled Broccolini with Truffle Crème Fraiche & Sa Tế Chili Oil, Land & Sea-Viche, a Sea Bass Crudo with Braised Pigs Ear, Chili, Lime and Bánh Tráng, and their signature Charred Okra with Preserved Lemon-Tomato Jam, Curry Yogurt, Burnt Pomelo and Sarsaparilla-za Atar. 

And to wash it all down, a chilled glass of Mùa Craft Sake on draft, also proudly brewed in Vietnam.

10 Thao Dien Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City  

 

Contemporary Vietnamese Cuisine & Cocktails 

The Triệu Institute

 

The concept of pairing craft cocktails with food is a gastronomic trend which has gained tremendous popularity in recent years in Vietnam, and no dining destination has perfected this principle better than The Triệu Institute.

They serve inventive contemporary Vietnamese dishes containing all the aromatics found within the gins of their namesake craft gin brand Lady Triệu, and their food and bespoke beverages blend in perfect harmony, allowing each patron to eat and drink simultaneously the bold, and singular flavors which Vietnam has become so famous for.  

A popular pairing include the Cured Kingfish, pickled with a housemade Hibiscus Vinegar which takes eight to ten weeks to complete, infusing sweet, sour, and floral notes deep within the fish, and a Flower General cocktail, containing Dalat Flowerbomb Gin, Wasabi, Jasmine Syrup and Seaweed Foam;  it’s a perfected combination.

10 Mac Thi Buoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

 

Vietnamese Cuisine Portraying a Story

Nén Light Restaurant

Deeply committed to producing preeminent modern Vietnamese cuisine which pays homage to their country’s rich and vibrant heritage, Nén Light’s team of outstanding culinary artists developed their restaurant’s concept of Conscious Vietnamese Cuisine (Ẩm Thực Nhìn) to showcase their knowledge, appreciation and deep respect for their native roots and beloved culture. 

Serving wildly creative, 6-9 course storytelling tasting menus, they showcase hyper-local Vietnamese ingredients discovered on foraging trips throughout Central Vietnam, and guide each guest though a unique and unparalleled culinary journey which engages all five senses. 

Along with a Sake pairing, expertly curated by their in-house Sake Sommelier, and a “Conversation Pairing”, allowing servers to share the story behind the evolution of each plate,  a visit to Nén Light Restaurant will guarantee a singular and unrivaled immersive Vietnamese dining experience.

122/2 Tran Dinh Xu, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City

 

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