Virtual Wine Tastings

No annual holiday party this year? 

You can still virtually drink wine together!

Virtual wine tastings can connect you to clients, prospects, friends and family. I’m excited to partner with the Sommeliers at Buon Vino to bring you this exclusive opportunity during a holiday season like no other. 

How to book? Three simple steps:

Pick a date to secure your Sommelier, select the number of wines you want to taste, and let us know if you want add-ons. There are no maximum or minimums; just send us your guest list, and we’ll do the rest! 

Contact me for further event details.

Now What? A Post-Divorce Trip?

A friend asked me today if I could help plan a post-divorce trip. What a brilliant idea!

Whether it’s a solo, soul-searching trek to Nepal or Bali, an all girls wine trip to Italy, or a bunch of your best buddies going to Vegas for some fun, it takes planning and expertise to truly get the most out of your adventure. That’s where Platinum Meetings comes in.

You maybe able to search the web for ideas, but with so many options, where do you start? Everything is new again, and sometimes you just need to get away. With insider info, years of experience planning group travel, and a knack for customizing itineraries, Platinum Meetings will take care of the pre-planning of that first “get back out there and go find yourself again” holiday.

You deserve it. There will be good wine, good food and definitely you’ll make new friends. Get back back out there, and take a trip to the place you’ve always dreamed of visiting!

Platinum Pairings A-Z: Franc’s Cabernet Franc


This dark, thin- skinned grape varietal found in most Bordeaux blended wines adds rich accents of dark fruits, tobacco and spice. It’s a hardy grape, and outside of Bordeaux is also found in the cool inland regions of France, such as the Loire Valley, or northern Italy. Cab Franc is most often blended with other varietals, but lookout, when she stands alone she’s a beauty.

DNA reveals that the noble grape Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the “parents” of the popular Cabernet Sauvignon grape (bred to be hardy, easy to grow, and easy to drink).

Cab Franc is the perfect pairing with lamb chops. Standing alone, it probably needs to be paired with food to appreciate all it’s flavor power. If I ever encounter a 100% cab franc on a wine list, you can bet I’ll order my food to match the wine!

Platinum Pairings A-Z: Thanksgiving Wines


What wine to have with Thanksgiving Turkey is the age-old question.

Riesling, Pinot Noir or Rose would be my immediate simple answer, but this year I’ll be having a Chateau St. Michelle riesling.

Eroica Reisling by Chateau St. Michelle is my recommendation when I want something light, easy and not overpowering. There are so many flavor combinations at the dinner table on Thanksgiving that you don’t need to add any more complexity. Don’t overthink it, just sip and enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy Good Wine, Good Food!

Platinum Pairings A-Z: Doritos with Wine?


Someone asked me recently if wine and junk food can be paired. Really? But of course!

Try Doritos (salty, spicy, cheesy) with Pinot Noir or a Grenache.

Or gosh, who doesn’t love Pommes Frites with a nice dry rose?

Yes, of course, there’s a pairing for everything, and junk food is no exception.


Platinum Pairings A-Z: Champagne For No Reason


We drink champagne in times of celebration –a big birthday, a promotion, to celebrate the purchase of a new home, or to bring good luck in the new year. I suggest you pop that cork for no reason! Celebrate the wine for what it is – consistency delicious!

You probably don’t put much thought to it, because you know you can turn to the champagne label of your choice and it never disappoints. Dom Perignon or Veuve Cliquot are always consistent and there’s never any second-guessing that your big celebration will be ruined by poor vintage selection. Year over year, you can just count on good champagne – almost as a commodity or a brand.

In fact, most champagne produced is “non-vintage”, a unique wine making tradition. Champagne consistently tastes the same year after year because it really is a blend of 30-60 wines from different vintages mixed to create a final product of bubbly the vintner feels represents the label. There may be small nuances in taste but in general you always know what you are getting.

Another interesting tidbit is that authentic champagne can only come from the wine making region called Champagne in France, where they exclusively use only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunièr grapes. The flavors of real champagne are influenced by the chalky soil of the northern terroir of France.  The weather there is inconsistent -and so are the grapes from year to year – hence, the blending process mentioned above.

Champagne is produced in a somewhat complicated two fermentation wine making process, first aged in oak and then again in the bottle (which is when and where the bubbles are produced).  All other wines made in the champagne-style technically have to be referred to as “sparkling”. Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain and sparkling California wines are made in the 2 fermentation “method du Champagne” but may use other grape varieties…which definitely infuse flavors of the soil where the grapes are grown. So you may not find the same chalkiness as the French wine in your sparkling wine bottle.

Champagne goes perfectly with oysters (also something we seem to save for special occasions, I’m not sure why); it’s also wonderful with raw fish, so enjoy it with sashimi at your sushi bar. But why wait for a special day? Have champagne for no reason!

Special thanks to my friend Carl who let me use this photo. chamgpagne for no reason

His boat inspired this week’s blog.

Platinum Pairings A-Z: Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello…


When I first learned about the yummy Italian wines starting with the letter B, I was hooked. Of course I love a smooth Chianti from Tuscany (stay tuned for a blog post just on Chianti and the Super Tuscans), but those B wines… they really make me happy.

The Barbera grape is known for bright flavors of blackberry or cherry, with a silky finish. Produced mainly to the north in Piedmont, where the days are cooler and the growing season is a little longer, I would call this the simplest of the “B’s”; try it with a rustic pizza or a simple bowl of pasta. Barbera usually has a lower price point, making it affordable to try, and often found as a table wine (Vino da Tavola). Or if you see Barbera di Asti, order it. California winemakers have started to use Barbera in their blends, but I suggest you stick with the Italian versions for now to get to know its flavors.

Moving to a Barolo we step up the game. Barolo is bolder, bigger, fuller-bodied, and goes well with all those marvelous northern Italian bolognese meat dishes or maybe a lasagna. Made from the Nebbiolo grape, also from Piedmont’s cooler, higher elevation, wines are rich in tannin and may take 6-10 years to be ready for consumption. But watch out, because these full bodied garnet or ruby colored wines are beautiful when they are ready to be opened!

Lovely Barbarescos are also made from Nebbiolo, and are lighter, less masculine, and not aged quite as long as it’s cousin Barolo. You could pair either wine with my favorite pasta dish, pappardelle with wild boar (Ragu Di Cinghiale). For a great recipe to try at home, check out this great blog:

For me, it’s the Brunello di Montalcino that’s the best “B” of all. Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes that grow basking in the dry, sunny slopes of Southern Tuscany, these hearty grapes provide the body, color and tannins that pair a Brunello well with food. Because Brunello di Montalcino is aged a little longer than other wines, often seraltesino brunelloved at 8-10 years, it has developed a character that goes well with a big fat steak. My first pairing memory of this grape was a Brunello served with a veal chop at Macello Restaurant in Chicago – delicious! After that experience, I was fortunate to pick up some bottles of Brunello at Altesino, a gorgeous winery high on the hills overlooking the Tuscan countryside. I opened my 2005 Altesino and served it with steaks cooked on the grill last New Year’s Eve. Yes, Brunello di Montalcino is indeed for special occasions!

So if starts with a “B” and the next time you are in the mood for Italian food, try one of these wines. I promise you will fall head over heels for some lovely Italian gems.

Platinum Pairings A-Z: Artesa Pinot Noir with Calamari a la Plancha


artesaArtesa Winery has a lovely Pinot Noir that I served in Napa at a  corporate event  in February 2014.  The menu featured caprese salad, mushroom risotto, sea bass, and a chocolate tart for dessert. We served a 2011 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, a fantastic pairing for each course. I liked the wine so much that I ordered 6 bottles to ship home, and have been saving them for the perfect moment. The wine has bright notes (I tasted raspberries and bing cherries) and ends an graceful, smooth finish.

I was first introduced to Calamari a la Plancha in July 2014 at Miami Plage, a wonderful little beach side restaurant in Monaco. Their deliciously simple grilled calamari was served with fennel, lima beans and shaved Parmesan ribbons – and of course a fresh baguette. Yum. (Strike that, double yum.) My friends and I were in heaven. We enjoyed a lovely simple French rose wine with at that amazing lunch, savoring every bite. Served with the most beautiful bounty of vegetables, we still talk about that unforgettable lunch by the sea in Monte Carlo.

Fast forward to August 2015. My dear friend, Carolyn, also a travel gal who loves food and wine, was a guest at my home this week. I wanted to make a simple homemade dinner I knew she would appreciate, as she had been on the road for nearly six weeks. I changed up the calamari preparation- this time adding a little sun-dried tomato compote to my hot olive oil -and served the grilled calamari over romaine, again with the shaved parmesan ribbons and lima beans. I opened up one of my special bottles of pinot noir. The pairing was an A+. We loved the fruit- forward full bodied Artesa, served  with the simple seafood salad.

I was thrilled to share my favorite salad and one of my favorite wines, tastes from California and Monaco, in the comfort of my Arizona home.

Follow this blog for an A-Z pairing guide, and more! 

Welcome to My Blog: Good Wine Good Food

IMG_1628Many of my friends have asked me to keep an account of what’s hot in food trends, where to go on their next vacation, and what adult beverage I’m drinking with my favorite dishes.

Follow my epicurean travels in this journal of Good Wine, Good Food!