4 Foxes Chardonnay — A Great Wine for a Great Cause

•August 9, 2014 • 2 Comments

I have the honor of selling a delicious wine from Sonoma Coast called 4 Foxes Chardonnay. It is the first venture of Tigner Family Vineyards and 100% of the profits from this project go to TeamFox, the grassroots community fundraising program at the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Over 1,600 TeamFox members worldwide generate unique fundraising projects and have raised over $27 million for Parkinson’s research.

4 Foxes Label

The wine is 100% Chardonnay and was aged for 11 months in 30% French Oak barrels. It is beautifully balanced with lively acidity and hints of pear and apple. 4 Foxes pairs well with a wide variety of dishes but is also a delicious apéritif wine to be enjoyed with family and friends on the patio.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson’s disease. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are some treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.

“As a member of TeamFox – the grassroots community that raises money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a board member of the organization, and most importantly the spouse of someone affected by Parkinson’s – I have been committed for years to helping find a cure for this disease,” said RIck Tigner. “It has been my privilege to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation for the past four years, and my vision for 4 Foxes was to create a good wine that supported a great cause. This is a great Chardonnay in the classic Sonoma Coast style that you can enjoy every day and really feel good about.”

The next time you see 4 Foxes Chardonnay in a restaurant or retail store, reach for a bottle; you will enjoy a remarkable wine and help a terrific cause at the same time.

Click here for for more information about 4 Foxes: WebsiteFacebook


“The Private Lives of the Impressionists” — #29 on “My Favorite Books About Art”

•October 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The Private Lives CoverI enjoyed Sue Roe’s “The Private Lives of the Impressionists,” and it becomes #29 on “My Favorite Books About Art.” I have often studied the artists covered in this well-researched book and have experienced their art in museums in Europe and the United States, but I have had limited exposure to the everyday workings of their lives. Ms. Roe outlines the successes and triumphs, and also the difficult, sometimes desperate, financial, emotional and physical challenges for Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Morisot and Cassatt, among others. I was very much interested in her relatively positive characterization of the sometimes enigmatic Edgar Degas, as it was in stark contrast to “Odd Man Out” by Carol Armstrong (which is also included in “My Favorite Books About Art.”).

“Priceless” – Number 28 on “My Favorite Books About Art”

•October 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Priceless CoverI just finished “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures” by Robert K. Wittman (with John Shiffman) and it becomes number 28 on my list, “My Favorite Books About Art.” This is Wittman’s memoir outlining his creation of the FBI’s Art Crime Team and his undercover work that recovered masterpieces and historical artifacts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He did a superb job of weaving together art history, crime, suspense, and a substantial amount of personal intrigue and tragedy to create both an educational and entertaining read. The book is also illustrated with photographs of Wittman’s recovered treasures and the thieves and con men he caught. “Priceless” is now available in paperback from Broadway Paperbacks.com.

Matanzas Creek Winery’s Days of Wine & Lavender

•June 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I was fortunate to attend the annual Days of Wine & Lavender at Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma last year. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, June 29 and tickets are still available. The day includes food & wine demos, paired food stations,  estate tours, live music, and a wine & lavender marketplace. We were not only exposed to delicious food and wine, but we left with some cooking ingredients that we used to prepare the dinner highlighted below.


Waves of lavander in the fields at Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma.


Lavender Spice Rub, Himalayan Salt with Lavender, and a chilled bottled of Matanzas Creek Chardonnay.


Panchetta wrapped scallops with Lavender Spice Rub, before……


…and after!

Mixed herb greens salad with Himalayan Salt with Lavender, roasted pine nuts and grated parmesan.

Mixed herb greens salad with Himalayan Salt with Lavender, roasted pine nuts and grated parmesan.


This year, Winemaker Marcia Monahan will conduct a sensory tasting of four distinctive Sauvignon Blanc wines. Oyster Guru, Rowan Jacobsen, will lead a seminar on how to pair oysters with the different flavors of Matanzas Creek’s wines. There will also be artisan demonstrations of lavender product techniques, and the Matanzas Creek Estate Chef will create seasonal culinary pairings to highlight the affinity between wine and lavender.

For more information about the 17th Annual Days of Wine & Lavender on June 29, click through to http://www.matanzascreek.com/.  This year’s event benefits Ceres Community Project.


The Forger’s Spell

•November 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment


I just finished “The Forger’s Spell” by Edward Dolnick (HarperCollins) and it becomes number 27 on my list: “My Favorite Books About Art.” This is the true story about forger, Han van Meegeren, and his exploits in Nazi-occupied Europe. Van Meegeren, a talented painter who failed to garner acclaim for his original work, became an expert forger and fooled many top experts and collectors. If you like “The Forger’s Spell” you will also enjoy another non-fiction book called  “Provenance, How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art” by Laney Salisbury & Aly Sujo (Penguin Books). This book will also blow your mind. It is the stunning true story of an elaborate, years-long, con that shocked the art world. Hundreds of pieces were forged and sold (during the 1980s and 90s) before the scam was uncovered. This is a huge page-turner. My 26 Favorite Books About Art


Watch Out for Pesky Clichés!

•May 28, 2012 • 1 Comment

One of the most important things I have learned about communication is being aware of cliché.  It easily creeps into our speech and writing, whether it is business communication, casual conversation, or formal writing and presentation. It usually shows up because of laziness, but thankfully it is easy to identify and eliminate. When I’m writing about food or wine, I’m concentrating on the subject matter, not the mechanics of my writing. The first edit typically eliminates pesky clichés that tried to sneak into the post, but they tend to re-appear and I always have to be diligent (I almost said “have to be on the ball” instead of diligent! See what I mean?).

Communication in the world of wine is also susceptible to cliché and the most obvious one is “cheers!” I admittedly still use it too often and it would be much more effective, and thoughtful, to simply skip that word while clinking wine glasses and actually say “thank you for joining us” or “I am honored to dine with you this evening.” How about eliminating the cliché and saying something original?

Many forms of speech contribute to cliché: similes, maxims, adages, aphorisms, truisms, allegories, metaphors, epigrams, and proverbs, among others. Being aware of them is the first step in limiting them in our communication. I say “limit” because there may be appropriate uses of a simile or an aphorism or whatever you may choose to make a point. I am not a member of the cliché police and do not pretend to be cliché free. I am simply sharing one of the curious aspects of writing for me. I thought it might be fun and useful to explore a list of these forms of speech and their definitions. Let’s start with the actual meaning of cliché:

1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser,  or strong as an ox.
2. (in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation; proverb.
(a couple of old adages: “If the shoe fits, wear it,” “Out of the frying pan, into the fire”)

1. a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.
2. a symbolical narrative: the allegory of Piers Plowman.

a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton). “A promise not to change is a promise not to grow.”

a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.
(Oscar Wilde’s apothegm “The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.”)

1. a word or phrase appropriate to conversation and other informal situations.
2. the use of colloquial words and phrases.

1. any witty, ingenious, or pointed saying tersely expressed.
2. epigrammatic expression: Oscar Wilde had a genius for epigram.
3. a short, often satirical poem dealing concisely with a single subject and usually ending with a witty or ingenious turn of thought.

1. an expression of a general truth or principle, especially an aphoristic or sententious one: the maxims of La Rochefoucauld.
2. a principle or rule of conduct. (“Be fast but do not hurry.”– John Wooden)

1. a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” Compare mixed metaphor/simile.
2. something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

1. a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage; saw.
2. a wise saying or precept; a didactic sentence.
3. a person or thing that is commonly regarded as an embodiment or representation of some quality; byword.
4. Bible: a profound saying, maxim, or oracular utterance requiring interpretation.

1. a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.”
2. an instance of such a figure of speech or a use of words exemplifying it.

a self-evident, obvious truth.
(“The apple never falls far from the tree.” (Goes to genetics.))

I compiled this list over time and was always pleased to add another one. I’m sure I have missed a few; please let me know if you have some additions. I welcome your comments and contributions.

(All definitions are from Dictionary.com)

Liver and Onions!!

•December 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I had a delicious and enjoyable lunch this afternoon at Mi Piace in Pasadena. The food, ambiance and service are always very good and I highly recommend breakfast (yes, they serve an amazing breakfast!).

My friend, Peg, and I recently had a discussion about liver and onions and she was delighted to discover that one of the lunch specials was Fegato Veneziana. With a wonderful name like that, one would think it is a dish that is universally adored, admired and craved. Peg had those sentiments, but I did not share her enthusiasm, because it simply translates to liver and onions (with polenta)!! The polenta did not provide enough flavor to put the liver into the positive column for me. She was, however, thrilled with her selection and declared that it was one of the most delicious liver and onion dishes she has ever tasted! The party spilled over to the next table and the couple sitting there declared that they also loved liver and onions and they thought Peg’s dish was spectacular! I was flabbergasted and outnumbered, and was motivated to declare that “liver opinions occupy both ends of the continuum and nothing exists in between.” Translation: you either love liver or you hate it. We all looked at each other, nodded and proceeded back to our lunches. Peg talked me into tasting the “Fegato Veneziana” and I made a face that thoroughly entertained her, and a face that my dear Mother saw many times in my childhood. In the end, though, it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable lunches I have had in a long time. www.mipiace.com