Saturday, June 23, 2012

Symphony of the Soil

Symphony of the Soil is a very informative documentary by Deborah Koons Garcia (producer and director of The Future of Food).  It features breathtaking cinematography and lots of information.  The film teaches us about soil.  It tells us of the dire state of farms across our nation and the world as well as the history of how they got into this mess.  The documentary then informs us of ways to restore the soil.  What I really like is the uplifting message of how easy it is to reverse the trends.  By using compost to build the soil and other cost effective methods it is possible to create sustainable agriculture relatively quickly in both community gardens and large scale farms.  There are numerous cases featured in the doc.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Benefits of Dry Farming a Vineyard Organically

I recently watched Portrait of a Winemaker featuring John Williams of Frog's Leap Winery in Napa Valley. This is part of Sonatas of the Soil Volume One which is directed by Deborah Koons Garcia. Deborah directed the widely acclaimed The Future of Food which focuses on genetically modified foods. Her latest documentary, Symphony of the Soil, premiered last weekend.  I'll have a much shorter post about it in a couple of days since it isn't directly related to beer, wine, and/or spirits.

Having talked to many winemakers and vineyard managers while working in the industry, having family in the industry, being a wine writer, and going wine tasting, I can safely tell you that every winemaker/grape grower can talk about their product well and why their method is better than the rest. With that being said I think John Williams is a straight shooter and they have put forth a solid segment with strong historical, viticultural, and visual reasoning.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Apparently June is Wine Tasting Month in Marin

This month there are four amazing wine tasting events in Marin County.  It's too bad they didn't space them out over the summer.  I'm highly jealous of anyone who can make it to all of these great events.  There are two this weekend and another pair two weeks later.  So it is possible to make it to all of them.

Good Earth California Pale Ale

After years of IPAs and powerhouse stouts, I'm finding myself branching out into more and more styles of beer.  As IPAs get hoppier and harsher I find myself reverting towards smoother beers.  In the winter I mostly imbibed porters, softer stouts, and brown ales.  Now that it is getting warmer I'm trying out the pale ales.

Yesterday I went for a ride on my new Globe Daily 02  over the golden hills and through redwood groves with a meandering creek and vibrant green ferns.  On the way back I stopped at Good Earth (yes this is my new favorite store) for some groceries.  Since nothing goes with biking quite like a good beer, I picked up a 22oz bottle of their California Pale Ale ($4).  The beer is made across the street at Iron Springs Pub and Brewery.  For my non-local readers, I highly doubt this is sold anywhere else.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Climbing Higher with Clif Family Winery's Sauv. Blanc

A little while back I went to Good Earth in Fairfax, CA and found out that they have a small, but pretty amazing collection of wine.  The amazing part was that in discussing with their wine dude, who was right on the scene to help with any questions customers have, I found out that all of their wines are either, organic, biodynamic, or at a minimum sustainable.

I picked up a bottle of  the 2010 "The Climber" Sauvignon Blanc from Clif Family Winery ($14).  This is a blend of 80% Sauv. Blanc, 12% Riesling, 7% Viognier, and 1% Muscat Blanc.  Before you ask, yes this is from the company that created delicious Clif bars (which I love when I'm biking or for a snack.)  According to their website they contracted the grapes from mostly sustainable and organic vineyards.  Which in my mind extends this wine from a fair to a good qpr.