Julia has been swirling, sipping and swilling wines throughout California and beyond for more than two decades. Her passion is discovering big wines in small places. So, come with her and fill your glass.

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World Peas Brand, Peatos, is on a mission to make snacks that are better than junk food.

And they succeed with a tasty selections including Classic Cheese, Fiery Hot, Chili Cheese and Indian spiced Masala. With each bite, distinctive flavors embrace the palate and yearn for another handful.

But wait, Peatos have been known to cause “Snack Hysteria.” Please snack with Caution (Or reckless abandon- but don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Here’s the scoop: Peatos is World Peas Brand’s first snack. The intriguing munchie replaces the traditional base of corn and potatoes used in conventional salty snacks with peas and lentils to provide better ingredients, better nutrition and better flavor. Peatos is an innovative, crunchy puffed snack that satisfies better than junk food and has twice the protein and three times the fiber of the leading orange-colored snack.

A member of the tasting panel had a delicious experience.

“They were surprisingly good,” he said. “With a bold taste and crunch.”

Pour a glass of non-oaky Chardonnay to heighten your enjoyment.

Peatos are available in Safeway, Vons, Albertson’s, and Ralph’s in California as well as Kroger nationwide.

 

 

 

Oscar time is here and your invitation to the event hasn’t arrived. But, lighten up and get in the party zone with Flora Springs Wines from the Napa Valley.

As you probably know, this is the high point of the year for Hollywood’s A-Listers and you can sip like one of the elite even if you live in another Zip code.

Here’s now:

It’s doesn’t take much to capture the magic of Oscar Night. Formality is the dress code so choose accordingly. Choosing three selections –Trilogy, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot– will set the stage for a dazzling taste extravaganza.

(After the balloting all three are winners.)

The Trilogy selection is an elegant and sophisticated blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

The curtain opens with dense flavors of black cherry and crème de cassis layered with dark chocolate, espresso bean, hints of licorice with enticing aromas of vanilla, black currant and brown sugar followed by blackberry and cherry flavors and an enticing smooth finish.

The classically structured Cabernet Sauvignon varietal makes an entrance with fruit forward aromas and cheers for black currant, dark fruit and espresso flavors. Its decadently smooth finish will leave you breathless with anticipation.

Floral Springs Merlot scores high on the applause meter. This contender shows showy black cherry and blueberry flavors with notes of dark chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers. Hints of lavender and leather add complexity, along with a brown spice character from the French oak barrels.

Next, roll out that red rug and put a few spotlights on the house for effect. (The neighbors will probably wonder what you are up to.)

By the time the opening music begins and the house lights dim, the glasses will be filled with anticipation as you await “The Envelope.”

 

Forget the lateral and the screen passes. Super Bowl fans will be passing the guacamole in big numbers when the New England Patriots clash with the Los Angeles Rams Feb. 3.

   From coast to coast, fans are expected to devour a record 135,114,619 pounds of avocados during this year’s game in Atlanta. That would require a pretty hefty chip to scoop the green delicacy. Hass avocado growers are gearing up for the peak period that will outscore Cinco de Mayo and other holidays

(Scott Ostler, sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, says the Rams’ defense will be the deciding factor their 31-24 win.)

In addition to the taste, avocados are cholesterol-free, sodium-free and low in saturated fat. They’re a nutrient dense food that offers potassium, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, riboflavin and vitamins C, E and B6.

It wasn’t easy selling the nation on the benefits of the exotic fruit. The first carload California avocadoes was shipped to New York in January of 1927 and a sales report stated, “The Eastern market doesn’t want black fruit.”

But, avocado growers persisted and today there are about 6,000 acres of avocado groves between San Luis Obispo and the San Diego border.

California is the only state in the nation that produces Hass avocados. Other producers that import the fruit include Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic.

California avocados are not just for eating they are a natural for facials. They are packed full of C, E and B6 vitamins, which have proven to reduce wrinkles, moisturize, cleanse, exfoliate and enrich the skin.

What if you want to whip up a batch of guacamole and the fruit is not ripe?

No problem states the Hass Avocado Board. Simply place avocados in a paper bag with an apple for two to three days at room temperature.  When they darken and yield to gentle pressure, they are ready.

With Super Sunday approaching faster than a wide open receiver in the end zone, you need a great wine.

“For the wine, it would undoubtedly be the Flora Springs’ 2016 Napa Valley Merlot,” said proprietor John Komes. “It is smooth, rich and satisfying, it goes with everything from spicy chicken wings to mini-quiches to your favorite dip with chips.”

He also predicted the Patriots’ smooth win over the Rams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flora Springs has created three 2016 red wines: Trilogy, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that celebrate winemaking skills and define elegance.

Your time swirling and sipping these incredible selections is long past due.

Trilogy ($85) is Flora Springs’ flagship wine, one that dates back to 1984 when the family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. This iconic wine brings together Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec grown in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. A spectacular vintage is a deep, full-bodied red with dense flavors of black cherry and crème de cassis layered with dark chocolate, espresso bean, hints of licorice and wild chaparral. It works nicely with rosemary-sprinkled lamb chops or creamy polenta with a dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Opaque and densely purple, this rich, beautifully extracted Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) offers an opulent nose of black cherry syrup, blackberry preserves, vanilla, brown butter and a whisper of anise. It’s warm, cozy flavors entice the palate with cedar. Supple tannins frame the full-bodied mouthfeel of this classic Napa Cab. that leaves a lasting impression of the St. Helena, Oakville and Rutherford terroir. Pour this brooding varietal with any grilled meats.Napa Valley Merlot ($35) is an approachable, people-pleasing wine, one of Flora Komes’ favorites as she loved its beautiful fruit flavors and supple, and easy-going texture.

Our 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) combines fruit from Flora Springs’ sustainably-farmed estate vineyards in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. This is a rich and satisfying Cabernet with warm flavors of blackberry compote, cassis, vanilla crème and mocha. A hint of wild chaparral is noticeable after several sips along with notes of sweet oak and espresso. The warm tones and juicy tannins give an overall impression of softness. This Cabernet would make a wonderful companion for rare-cooked meats, classic cheese fondue, or beef carpaccio with wild arugula.

Indulge your hedonistic side and uncork this trio tonight.

There could be over $2 Billion in Christmas candy sales this year*. Christmas candy is more popular than ever. Just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s all good. Candy Store.com surveyed over 13,000 customers who were all too happy to rank the worst Christmas candies ever. Their comments and rankings are below:

Number #1 Christmas Tree Nougat : Wretched is a word that comes to mind. The stick-to-your-teeth factor is suborbital.

Number #2: Reindeer Corn: The answer for worst candy is always candy corn. Seasons don’t matter.

Number #3: Peeps: The texture alone gives me the heeby geebies. Is anyone really under the delusion that these are actually marshmallows? It’s like swallowing rubbery styrofoam.

Number #4: Peppermint Bark: It’s got no crunch, only a limp kind of give and then soft separation.

Number 5: Chocolate-covered cherry cordials: It’s just weird, and gooey.

Number #6: Lifesavers Story Books: And it is an egregious violation. Do not try package a bunch of lame Life Savers in a booklet Christmas story book.

Number #7: White Peppermint M&Ms: The minty flavor is just off, and its artificial sweetness and texture is sickening. It’s like the Las Vegas architecture of Christmas Candy.

Number #8: Candy Canes-Non Peppermint: The rainbow fruit candy canes could almost pass for simply bad.

Number #9: Ribbon Candy: It’s supposed to be candy but if you actually eat it, it is horrid beyond. It’s the candy equivalent of: “but he or she has a really great personality.”

Number #10: Old-Fashioned Hard Candy Mix: It’s like a bowl of marbles that have been around since your grandmother’s parents played with them in the 1920s.

Try a good red or white wine with the contenders.

Here’s a suggestion to make your Halloween haunt a deliciously screaming night to remember.

Sure, you hired the zombie bartender, whipped up the eye ball canapes and fried bat wings but what about some salacious wine?

The limited edition Skull Ring Red Wine from Jon Nathaniel Wines in Napa Valley ($60) is waiting to be invited. It’s easy to spot at midnight with its creepy skull label and heavy black glass bottle.

This dark blood-red brew is a fruit forward blend of Syrah (for screaming spice) and Petit Verdot (for un-dead blackberry).

This devilishly, naughty blend brings forth whispers of dark chocolate, red fruit and plum with an eerily smooth finish.

Be sure to open several bottles during the witching hours, if not the goblins could stick around all year.

That dark, bewitching night is fast approaching so it’s time to plan parties and pairings – with Halloween candy, of course.

Moscato – a wicked blend of orange muscat and muscat canelli – has apricot and peach notes with well-behaved little bubbles. In addition to traditional pairing like Thai and cheese dishes,

“Starburst” and “Nerds” are the perfect match. Each are fruity and will match the wine’s sweetness.

Riesling is a fragrant white wine brimming with explosive ripe stone fruit aromas and juicy nectarine. The seductive selection is fruity, bold and aromatic so pick the “Skittles” and “Sour Patch Kids” candy treats out of the Trick or Treat bags and pour a glass.

Looking to have a glass of wine to compliment the perennial favorite “Candy Corn” Look no further than Benziger Chardonnay This varietal combines a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with crisp apple, ripe pineapple and a whisper of citrus on the finish. This fruit-forward wine has beautifully integrated oak and creamy notes that Chardonnay lovers love. The candy’s buttery vanilla flavor will be perfect for your nocturnal haunting.

Do you hear a knock on that creaking door?

Exitus Wines boast it is the answer to the monotony of boring forgettable wines.

This blend is unforgettable and crafted for the adventurous drinker looking for a novel experience.

Winemakers solicited the smoky notes of classic Kentucky Bourbon barrels to turn up the heat on the big-Zinfandel-based wine (25.99). The wine is fermented in American stainless steel and then aged for 3 months in these barrels.

This muscular blend of Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon displays a deep ruby red color with alluring aromas of blackberry, leather and intense dark chocolate. The Bourbon barrel aging puts forth scents of fire-toasted oak, baking spice, caramel and tobacco.

Pour this with grilled steak, Portabella mushrooms and after dinner with Cheddar and bitter chocolate.

 

Don and Sons have a great way to celebrate life: Drink to the “Simple Life.”

Their two selections – 2016 Pinot Noir and 2017 Rose – both around $13 are perfect choices for a “fall fest”.

Displaying fresh fruit and floral aromas, the Pinot Noir is festive, cranberry red hue in the glass. Raspberry, strawberry and rosewater greet with a soft and supple texture. The combination of juicy fruit and nuanced oak make for a balanced easy-drinking wine.

Pair this with roast turkey, grilled wild salmon and bitter chocolate after dinner.

The elegant, dry Rose boasts a glimmering rose-gold color in the glass is crafted in an understated style. Soft tannins lets acidity and minerality shine through. Bright aromas and flavors of wild strawberry, rose petal, pear blossom and jasmine notes are inviting.

Pour this slightly chilled with Chinese cuisine, strong cheeses or to sip on its own.

Flrora Springs and the white wine Emojj

White wine lovers who text, post and share their current sipping sipping status are incomplete. While there is a rainbow of cocktail emojis and even  2 beer options, there is only the red wine emoji.

Help Flora Springs advocate for the white wine emoji by wearing your button and spreading the word!

Hashtag

#Flora Springs#White wineEmoji @Flora Springs on all your social media posts and let us see your love of white wine.

For a limited time when you purchase the #WHITEWINE EMOJI 3-pack or complete a tasting of our current white wine releases. You get an exclusive #WhiteWineEmoji button.

Flrora Springs and the white wine Emojj

White wine lovers who text, post and share their current sipping sipping status are incomplete. While there is a rainbow of cocktail emojis and even  2 beer options, there is only the red wine emoji.

Help Flora Springs advocate for the white wine emoji by wearing your button and spreading the word!

Hashtag

#Flora Springs#White wineEmoji @Flora Springs on all your social media posts and let us see your love of white wine.

For a limited time when you purchase the #WHITEWINE EMOJI 3-pack or complete a tasting of our current white wine releases. You get an exclusive #WhiteWineEmoji button.