Abacela Vineyards: Umpqua Terroir/Spanish Varieties make oustanding wines

    As with many wineries, it started with an idea which turned into a passion, then morphed into a dream which was turned into reality. Of course, all this took many years of hard work and sacrifice, but that’s what happens when you make your dreams come alive. Earl Jones got an early…um, jones…for Spanish wines, especially the succulent red wines from Rioja and Ribera.

    1 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Irish Coffee at the Raven & Rose

    I’ve posted something on this elsewhere, but it bears sharing here as well. When something is done so well that it represents a serious improvement on a classic, attention must be paid. We stopped by the Raven & Rose restaurant in Portland for lunch not long ago. Neon Dave Shenaut, formerly peripatetic bartender who has settled in perfectly for a long gig at R&R and The ...

    1 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Radar Redux and the change of seasons

    Radar Redux Our second visit, and long overdue, since we loved it so much the first time. But life sometimes gets in the way of your life. Radar is just as lovely the second time around, from our smiling hostess to the busy guys behind the kitchen bar to the mixed crowd that quickly fills up all the seats and tables.

    3 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Duende in Oakland: Pure Spanish Delight

    Duende also has a great cocktail programWalk into Duende and you can feel the vibe immediately. It's a big sprawling place with a colorful, vibrant restaurant on one side and a bodega/wine bar/wine cellar on the other. It is lively, chatty, noisy but not irritatingly so, and the service is prompt, friendly and well-informed.

    4 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    A Perfect Day Trip through the heart of Armagnac

    The Four Musketeers at Cathedral St. Pierre, Condom If you’re planning on traveling in France---and if not, why in the world aren’t you?---it is possible you might be overwhelmed by tourists with the same idea. But it’s not necessary if you plan wisely and well. And one of the wisest decisions you’ll make is to go to Armagnac.

    4 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Giacosa and Antinori, Barbaresco and Brunello at Bistro Don Giovanni

    Had a brief flirtation with Napa again (slightly pre-earthquake) on a quickie zip from the Bay to see some friends, and went to one of our favorite restaurants, Bistro Don Giovanni, partly because it’s one of our favorite restaurants, partly because we’ve had so many good meals there, and partly to give requisite honors to the passing of Donna Scala who founded and presided over the place.

    By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Shakewell in Oakland, with three libations...no, four...no, five

    On a lightning trip to Berkeley (close friends), San Francisco (doing a cognac seminar), and Oakland (for the food), we dined at a brand new place that is already packed and by all standards should remain thus in future, only more so as word continues to get out. When you’re in a culinary oasis like the Bay Area, a wonderful catalyst effect happens, with excellent restaurants em ...

    By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    The Martini: Eight +1

    The Martini remains one of the most fascinating cocktails around. This became evident with the response to both my earlier post (shared on the Wine Lovers Discussion Group---they also do spirits) and the subsequent tasting seminar at the Society of Wine Educators Annual Conference in Seattlelast week.

    2 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Elixir Vitae

    So I’m looking for an interesting topic for a tasting seminar and I see someone order a Martini. I do love it when I get struck by inspiration at a bar. (And, yes, it does happen often. Both bars and inspirations.) Fortunately, shortly after inspiration struck, I called up a friend, the talented and personable Nathan Gerdes, who knows just a little about Martinis, and Gin, and c ...

    3 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Elixir Vitae

    If you peek over to the right of the blog page, you'll see a new addition to the links: Taste & Compare Academy.com. It will take you to one of my other beverage-driven ventures, the Taste & Compare Academy of Wine, Spirits and Food, a nifty and nimble little company composed of partner Chef/Sommelier Maxine Borcherding of the Oregon Culinary Institute and myself.

    1 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

    Cognac Glacé at Camus

    Cognac Glacé Here’s a radical thought: unstopper a sleek crystal decanter of your finest cognac, pour a modest amount of the precious nectar into a glass…and serve it up at eighteen degrees below zero! Sound a bit strange? That’s exactly what happened on a bright, sunny summer day at the Chateau du Plessis in Cognac.

    8 readers - By Hoke Harden/ Elixir Vitae

Elixir Vitae

Personal and idiosyncratic comments on some of the vital elixirs of life, primarily wine and spirits, but including whatever else I deem important or necessary, as the mood strikes me.

Author: Hoke Harden
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