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Vineyard 511

From Hollywood to Vine with Vineyard {511}

Adventures in Wine, Food, Film and Travel

Irene Ojdana
 
August 23, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

Bordeaux Wine Cruise

The City of Bordeaux was the perfect place to start our Bordeaux wine cruise on the Dordonne and Garrone rivers throughout the region of Bordeaux. But the port City of Bordeaux is not just about the "Bordeaux blend." It's not just about what happens inside that French oak. It's about the old, the history which reflects the legendary land of monumental architecture of the chateaux, and the new; not just the Bordeaux that was a dingy city to pass through with coal-blackenned facades on the way to somewhere else, but now a vibrant and beautiful city in its own right. It was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007 after its crumbling city walls had been taken down and the light let in.

We stayed at the Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel, built where the Roman forum once stood, and where we dined at its celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay restaurant. From our hotel window we saw a sparkling street dominated by the opera house with its grand pillars.

                                             

Of course, Bordeaux is about wine too, reflected in its wine museum, La Cite du Vin, designed by Anouk Legendre and Nicalas Desmazieres. Its shimmering gold aluminum facade resembles the swishing around a wine glass.                        

                                            

We toured the old city ("Vielle Ville"), in the rain. Apparently, it rains a lot in Bordeaux, just as it does in Paris. In fact, Bordeaux reminded me of a little Paris.

                                                                                       

 But the main reason Ed and I were in Bordeaux was to particapate in a "wine lover's cruise" aboard the AMADolce,    

                                           

hosted by friends Peter and Katie Mondavi of Napa Valley's historic Charles Krug Winery to explore the greater Bordeaux region.

Aboard ship, Peter gave several tastings and interesting discussions on board about Bordeaux and Charles Krug wines.

                                           

We even had a blind tasting, comparing Krug and Bordeaux. I preferred the Krug. I guess I'm partial to Napa wines.

Our shore exursions were very interesting. One of the first was to Saint-Emilion AOC (appellation d'original controllee, a government controlled designation of origin, which signifies where grapes are grown, similar to our AVA or American Viticulture Area). We drove through some very lush vineyards with views of stately chateaux,

                                          

and vistited the historic Chateau Soutard for a Grand Cru Classe wine tasting

                                          

in modern vat and barrel rooms replete with sparkling chandeliers.

                                          

On the way to the Sauternes wine region, we visited the historic Roquetaillarde Castle in Mazeres, a fortress initially built in the 10th century by Charlemagne.

                                          

It has been in the same family for 300 years. In fact, the current owner led a tour of the castle and demonstrated how his ancestors could pull up the drawbridge in case of an invasion.

                                         

In Bommes, located in the Sauternes wine appelation, we toured Chateau Guiraud to see how its lovely, sweet Sauternes wine was fermented in underground steel tanks.

                                         

On our last day in Bordeaux, Katie and Peter Mondavi graciously hosted a private winery tour, delicious luncheon and tasting at Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal in the Pauillac appelation. The wine produced there was classified as one of eighteen Cinquiemes Crus in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. It is owned by the Lurton family, involved in Bordeaux wine production since 1820.

                                         

We increased our knowledge of Bordeaux wine and made some new friends on this river cruise; we hope we will meet up with them again soon.

                                         

 

 

                                         

                                         

                                         

 

 

 

 

                                          

                                          

                                          

 

 

 

                                        
 

 

 

                                           

 

 

                                            

 

                                                     

                                               

 

Time Posted: Aug 23, 2019 at 1:52 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
September 23, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

Diana Krall Plays the Hollywood Bowl

Diana Krall at the Hollywood BowlEd and I were lucky enough to see my most favorite jazz singer--Diana Krall--at the Hollywood Bowl, where she gave a sensational concert. We had seen her in concert at least three times before, but each time she has been more amazing than before. She played the piano while singing hits from the Great American Songbook and captivated the audience. It is amazing that she started out just as a jazz pianist, not as a vocalist, but was overheard singing by her manager, who encouraged her to sing as part of her repertoire. I went home a happy camper after having seen her that night.

Time Posted: Sep 23, 2015 at 2:36 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
August 19, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

17th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration

Ed and I just attended the 17th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration at Nickel and Nickel in Oakville. The gala dinner concluded the three-day fundraising event with a bang--an event which raised a record $10.6 million for cancer research.

The V Foundation was started by legendary North Carolina State Coach Jimmy Valvano and ESPN in 1993. Valvano was in his last days of life, dying from cancer, when he challenged the world to find a cure for cancer by starting the Foundation; his challenge was "Don't Give Up...Dont Ever Give Up." One of the co-founders of the Foundation is our winemaker's father Robert Lloyd, Valvano's roommate and teammate at Rutgers University and current V Foundation Board Chair Emeritus.

The evening began with delicious appetizers at a silent auction in the Nickel and Nickel barrel cave. We were lucky to score a Valentine's Day in Yountville, which included a tasting dinner for two at The French Laundry. Can't wait!

Welcoming us to dinner was host and head coach of men's basketball at Duke University Mike Kreyzewski. Then we had a delicious dinner featuring Maine lobster medallions, grilled filet of beef with morels, chocolate-hazelnut dacquoise raspberry smear and Nickel and Nickel wines. The dinner was followed by a live auction and a fabulous private concert by Huey Lewis and the News. The place rocked.

Time Posted: Aug 19, 2015 at 11:52 AM
Irene Ojdana
 
April 10, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

NVFF Screens "Woman in Gold"

Ed and I recently attended a Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) sneak preview of a terrific film: Woman in Gold, at the Cameo theater--the oldest single-screen theater in the US--in St. Helena, California. The film starred the immensely talented Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds and was directed by Simon Curtis (My Life with Marilyn). Mirren stars as the Jewish exile Maria Altmann, who escaped from Austria and likely death in the camps; she sought the restitution of the luminous Gustav Klimt painting--in shimmering gold and oil on canvas--of her aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject of the painting, and four other Klimt paintings, all looted by the Nazi's in World War II Austria from her family.

At the time of the 8-year effort to regain the paintings, the one named "Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer 1" (1907) was considered by many to be Austria's Mona Lisa. Reynolds played her only-32-year-old attorney, E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg, grandson of Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg, who himself fled Austria in 1933, and son of Altmann's close friend. Together Altmann and Schoenberg took the claim against the Austrian government all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found in favor of Altmann. The Austrian federal art museum, the Belvedere, where the paintings had been exhibited, returned the paintings to their rightful owner--Altmann.

David Glasser, President, Weinstein CompanyFollowing the screening, David Glasser, President and COO of The Weinstein Company, which generously provided the film, participated in a Q&A with Festival founder Marc Lhormer. (See photo.)

The film was especially poignant for Ed and me as we had attended a showing of the painting "Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer 1" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) shortly after it was returned to Maria Altmann in 2006. We met both Altmann and Schoenberg there. Although LACMA had so much wanted to acquire the painting, it was purchased by Jewish philanthropist and cosmetics heir Ron Lauder (son of Estee Lauder), for $135 million and hangs in his Neue Galerie in New York City. The other four Klimt paintings were sold at auction for $192.7 million. The combined proceeds for the five paintings were bequethed to her heirs. Altmann passed away in 2011 just after her 95th birthday. What a woman!

Prior to the screening, we were treated to some great Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, and afterwards we walked over to Caldwell Snyder for a VIP after-party catered by Meadowood Estate Events. In addition to the 2010 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon we donated, patrons were treated to Alpha Omega, Sullivan, and Paratus wines. An after-after party at Raymond Vineyards was enjoyed by many of the late night revelers.

The wonderful evening was a fundraiser to support the NVFF's year-round film education and outreach programs and exemplified what the Festival offers as part of its Patron Circle and year-round programming programs.

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: Apr 10, 2015 at 11:47 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
February 11, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

Sundance 2015

Kristen WiigEd and I attended the Sundance Film Festival again this year, which ran from January 22 to February 1. We attended many films, and the favorite for both of us was the documentary The Best of Enemies about the explosive series of 10 televised debates between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William Buckley. Both of these men were brilliant and witty, and delivered a no-holds-barred dialog about poliltics, religion and sex. Apart from this film and of the films that we saw at Sundance, we concluded that the Napa Valley Film Festival screened more uplifting and entertaining films.

An extremely interesting panel I attended called Power of Story: Serious Ladies at 2015 Sundance Film Festival, consisted of Lena Dunham (Girls), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project, The Office), Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black, Weeds), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Saturday Night Live) and New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum. It was quite hilarious to hear them explore the stereotypes of women in film and television. Kristin Wiig (picture) was especially funny. I had actually sat in back of her during the screening of Diary of a Teenage Girl, in which she played the immature mother of the teenage girl, earlier that same day at Sundance.

Time Posted: Feb 11, 2015 at 1:12 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
January 24, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

Wine Tasting in Mendoza, Argentina

Ed and I celebrated part of the year-end holidays in Mendoza, in the heart of Argentina's wine-producing region, doing some serious wine tasting when we weren't hiking in the Andes. We stayed at the beautiful Cavas Wine Lodge, overlooknig 35 acres of vines at the foot of the magnificent, snow-capped Andes. At Cavas we had a wonderful Christmas eve dinner with the gracious owners of Cavas, Cecilia Diaz Chuit and Martin Rigal.

Catena Zapata Winery, Mendoza, ArgentinaOur favorite wineries we visited were Vino Cabos, of which Sonoma winemaker Paul Hobbs is part owner, and Catena Zapata, which is housed in an amazing replica of a Mayan pyramid (picture). Our favorite wine at Catena was the 2012 Catena Alta Chardonnay.

Hiking the Andes was surely an experience with our guide Francisco. We had a picnic lunch in the middle of a clearing with horses looking on.

 

Time Posted: Jan 24, 2015 at 11:03 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
November 22, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Napa Valley Film Festival Tribute Night

On Friday night, Access Hollywood's Billy Bush hosted the Napa Valley Celebrity Tributes to recognize the outstanding achievements of established actors and filmmakers, as well as rising stars. The BVisionary award was presented to screen-icon Kevin Costner (who was introduced by his buddy Bill Paxton), and the Domaine Chandon Rising Star award honored Jeremy Jordon. An additional tribute was presented to Michele Monagan. Before each star came on stage, film clips from many of the actors' films were shown. The number of fabulous films that Kevin produced, directed and always acted in was incredible!

We had actually seen his most recent wonderful film, Black or White, which he both produced and in which he starred, the night before. He played a successful attorney, who has to fight for custody of his African-American granddaughter after his wife is killed in a car crash. He and his late wife had taken care of the little girl since birth after their daughter dies in childbirth.

After the Celebrity Tributes, Ed and I headed over to the etoile restaurant at the winery Domaine Chandon, in Yountville, where patrons of the Festival toasted the honorees at a private dinner. Ed and I were so lucky to be seated next to Kevin Costner and his beautiful wife Christine Baumgartner. Kevin was charming and extremely articulate about subjects diverse as hunting, vegetarianism, drugs, football, family, and film.

The dinner of Maine Lobster Bisque, paired with etoile Rose; Braised Short Rib, paired with Domaine Chandon Cabernet Sauvigon, Mt. Veeder 2010; and Honey Olive Cake, paired with Chandon Delice; was terrific too.

Truly a night to remember!

Time Posted: Nov 22, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
November 8, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Pouring Vineyard {511} at Breeders' Cup Taste of the World

We recently poured our Vineyard {511} 2010 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon at the Breeders' Cup "Taste of the World," a food and wine/beer/cocktail extravaganza held in a hugh tent at the Huntington Library, in tony San Marino. The event followed the first day of the Breeders' Cup, horse racing's glamourous international event. Two days of championship races and over $26 million in prize money attract the best horses from the U.S. and around the world including Europe, South America, and Asia.

The Huntington Library includes legendary gardens, which are populated with everything from massive succulents to lovingly-pruned roses, and Japanese and Chinese pavillions. Inside the Library, we were able to enjoy a massive art collection. The current exhibition includes thirty rarely-seen masterworks from its vast collection of American drawings and watercolors.

Each winery was paired with one of Los Angeles's best restaurants. We were lucky to be next to Austrian BierBeisl (formerly of Berverly Hills and soon to re-open on the Westside and Downtown L.A.), where talented young chef Bernhard Mairinger served up the best meatballs I've ever tasted.

 

Time Posted: Nov 8, 2014 at 8:16 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
September 25, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

David Gelb, the director of the super successful documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi (for which Ed was an Executive Producer), just sold a docu-series about other famous chefs to Netflix. Jiro, about an 85-year-old sushi chef, whose three-Michelin-starred restaurant in a Tokyo subway, was 30-year-old Gelb's first feature. The terrific film was about Jiro's striving for perfection and about his 50-year-old sushi chef son wondering when his father would retire so he could take over the restaurant. (The younger son, knowing he would never take over, opens his own sushi restaurant in another part of Tokyo.) It was also the restaurant to which Prime Minister Abe of Japan took President Obama right off of Airforce One upon Obama's arrival in Japan.

Ed and I are looking forward to seeing Gelb's other documentaries about talented chefs and their stories creating mouth-watering food in exotic locations. Bon appetit!

Time Posted: Sep 25, 2014 at 11:52 PM
Irene Ojdana
 
August 29, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

50th Anniversary of Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl

As a tribute to the Beatles and in honor of their first performance at the Hollywood Bowl August 23, 1964 (back when tickets for seats were $3-$7), the Hollywood Bowl put on 3 concerts of the same songs the Beatles sang that night 50 years ago. Luckily, Ed and I have season tickets to the Bowl, and I was able to see one of these new performances on August 22, 2014.

Bob Eubanks, host of the TV show "The Newlywed Game," was a popular DJ in L.A. back in 1964, at the time of the Beatles sold-out tour of the U.S., explained to the audience how he had put up his house to get $25,000 to book and produce the original performance at the Bowl. He read a telegram from Sir Paul McCartney, who was sorry not to be with them on stage. Then Dave Stewart, co-founder of the Eurythmics and his band, led the rest of the show, with songs performed by son Sam Stewart on the guitar, and son Django Stewart and daughter Kaya Stewart, who sang with their father.

Bill Ray Cyrus at Hollywood Bowl

Guest stars Bill Ray Cyrus performed "It's A Hard Day's Night" and "Hey Jude," while the audience waved illuminated cellphones, and Australian Vanessa Amorosi rocked "Rollover Beethoven," "Get Back," and "Let It Be."

 

The night ended with "All You Need Is Love," with everyone swaying, dancing and singing along.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Time Posted: Aug 29, 2014 at 11:28 PM