CVIndependent

Wed03292017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Wine

28 Mar 2017
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Selling wine is not for the faint of heart. The travel schedule is grueling; the competition is fierce; and the customer base varies wildly—from masters of wine to … well, the uninformed. However, Christina Hammond makes it looks easy. She shows up energetically to dozens of appointments and tastings and trade events each week, always touting her Red Car Wine. Good wine needs good people fighting the good fight—and Hammond is one of the good ones. She’s not a wine snob, but she knows her stuff. She cut her teeth working for a big wine distributor (where, in her words, she learned to “show up” to her accounts each week), then transitioned to a finer wine distributor, Henry Wine Group. Red Car is distributed by Henry, and after four years at Henry, she began to work for Red Car directly. Now she travels the country, extolling the virtues of the…
24 Feb 2017
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When you think of good wine, what comes to mind? A sit-down restaurant? A white tablecloth? A fancy bottle pulled from a cellar for a special occasion? This is an outdated way of thinking: More and more, good wine isn’t limited to just high-end places or special occasions. For example, someone may not expect fine wine from a place well known for its coffee—but at Joey Palm Springs, you’ll get just that. Vince Calcagno and Joe Lucero are partners in life and in business at Joey, which opened a little more than a year ago on Palm Canyon Drive. Calcagno spent more than 20 years as the owner/operator of Zuni Café in San Francisco, so he knows a thing or two about running a restaurant. At Joey, he does whatever needs to be done, including, on occasion, washing the dishes. One of his other responsibilities is curating the wine list.…
23 Jan 2017
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After customers, the people I interact with most, wine-wise, are reps—the people who sell wine for a living. I’m not afraid to play favorites, so meet my fave, Kristin Ryall. Tasting with her is like getting together with an old friend—it’s easy, comfortable and fun. She’s incredibly knowledgeable, but you’ll get no snobbery or condescension. Ryall is originally from New Hampshire, and has worked with wine all over the place—including her native state, plus Chicago and now the desert. She started out working at a well-known New Hampshire wine bar, Michael Timothy’s, where she cut her teeth. She’s worked in restaurants and retail, and has sold for brokers, importers and distributors. These days, she’s an account manager for The Estates Group, the fine-wine division of distribution behemoth Young’s Market Company. She has access to a world of wine—a book as thick as a wrist. Yes, Ryall knows her stuff. Beyond…
04 Jan 2017
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I first chose to drink a wine from France’s Rhône valley because pronouncing it fell within my radius of linguistic confidence. I was sitting in a bistro in Paris on Rue Mouffetard, a street whose movements feed the Paris of the imagination so slavishly that the cast—garrulous fishmongers dangling cigarettes and old men nursing espresso at Frisbee-sized cafe tables—could be actors who pick up weekly checks at l’Office du Tourisme. I remember rehearsing my order of a glass of Côtes du Rhône as the bartender approached, then letting it tumble out. The wine itself, I don’t remember so much. A few years later in Los Angeles, I had a girlfriend whose head-turning beauty and hunger for fame made me feel like my only two choices were to hold on to her more tightly than I should, or risk her disappearing forever. In the wee hours one Saturday, we helped ourselves…
02 Dec 2016
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It’s hard to tell what Misty Carlson is more passionate about: hiking, food or wine? For the sake of this column, I’m going to go with wine, but in any case, it seems like Carlson has the joys of life figured out: working with wine, living in Palm Springs, hiking a lot, and cooking almost every night with her partner. Like many of us, Carlson got into wine without knowing ahead of time she was, in fact, getting into wine. It started with an interest in pastries, which took her to Paris to pastry schools on her vacations. She went into advertising before embarking on a second career as a cheese monger. She’s always loved food, from the time she was little—so when she got her current job at Whole Foods, it meant that she got to enjoy many of her passions at work every day. She now runs the…
18 Oct 2016
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Evan Enderle and Marissa Ross call themselves “Partners in Wine”—a playful turn of phrase. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what the two of them bring to wine: playfulness. That’s not to say they don’t know their stuff. During day two of a recent Wine Not? event—their regular weekend wine parties at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club—Evan was waxing poetic about the vibrant acidity of one of his favorite California rieslings while shirtless, in swim trunks. That is the beauty Wine Not?—it’s fun, but you learn. You’re drinking obscure varietals made by serious winemakers, but there is a DJ. Take note: The next and final Wine Not? of the year takes place Nov. 5 and 6 from 1 to 7 p.m. and will feature all female winemakers! When they’re not sipping wine and swimming at the Ace, Evan and Marissa keep busy with other wine-related activities. Evan, formerly the bar manager…
20 Sep 2016
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Joane Garcia-Colson is a recovering attorney—her words—turned chef who owns the much-loved Dish Creative Cuisine in Palm Springs. She’s always had a passion for food and service, and says she played “restaurant” with her cousin when she was a kid. Local foodies know Garcia-Colson opened Dish several years ago in a humble Cathedral City strip mall (of course, humble strip malls are where the best food can often be found!) before upgrading to bigger digs early last year in the Uptown Design District. Not all chefs understand the dance between food and wine—which is why far too many restaurants offer wine lists with little more than grocery-store favorites. Garcia-Colson, however, takes her wine seriously: She loves wine and has tasted every wine she serves in her restaurant. We chatted in the lovely, intimate Chef’s Room—which boasts Dish’s cellar and a view of the kitchen—while we enjoyed sips of the new…
22 Aug 2016
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Bruce Davis has a reputation around the valley for knowing his stuff when it comes to wine. After one conversation with him, I understand why the wine specialist at Palm Desert’s Bristol Farms has this sterling reputation. Davis, like a lot of great wine people, loves to tell stories. He casually connects wine history with the present without being didactic. He considers himself an educator—although he says his customers cry mercy when he gets too detailed about, for example, soil types. To him wine, is a grocery. “It’s supposed to be fun,” he says. Davis grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has worked off and on in the grocery business since he was a teenager. He got a taste for wine thanks to the roadside tasting booths in Napa, which he passed en route to his inlaws’ cabin in Clear Lake. He’s been drinking and selling wine…

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