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A trip to Canyon County’s wine country

All Corked Up is a refreshing oasis in a land of great wine establishments

Posted: December 11, 2008 9:10 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2008 4:55 a.m.

A Valencia couple enjoys a recent Argentinian wine-tasting event at All Corked Up in Canyon Country.

 
In an effort it keep up with the ever-changing wine landscape, it's my duty to attend as many wine events as possible. And we Santa Claritans are practically swimming these days with choices. This week I want to take you with me to Canyon Country.

Victor Herstein, All Corked Up's (ACU) wine buyer, slips in and around bar stools and tall tables holding a favorite bottle by its neck. Jennifer Russell manages "the store" in a quiet, effortless seeming ease.

Philippe Halleux, wine specialist, frequents the bar on Wednesdays and Friday, for local vinophiles to rub elbows with.

There are many employees at ACU, but they aren't seen that way by their patrons. They are friends, compadres in wine discovery.

I had scanned ACU's Web site looking for events that would coordinate with my schedule.

To my surprise it appeared as if they had planned for everyone's schedule as Wednesday through Sunday there is always something going on (visit www.allcorkedup.com).

In attending two events I learned more about the Syrah wine variety and, at the next, Italian wines.

"Que Syrah, Syrah" was aptly named as we tasted eight different wines from Australia, Sierra Foothills, Central Coast and France. . Victor made sure I knew their bottle prices were less than restaurant prices, reduced for their wine club members and on a special sale for event attendants.

The handy event flier had plenty of room for notes. The wines I was particularly enchanted with were the 2005 Red Belly Black Shiraz, 2005 Barrel 27 Syrah, 2004 Taltarni Shiraz , 2004 Smith Wooten Syrah and 2004 Farella-Park Syrah.

John Kelley, representative from Raven Oaks Vineyards in California 's Sierra Foothills, also poured a Syrah to an appreciative crowd.

There were 50 or so people in the front room that evening and not all at the tasting. Some of the guests were ordering meals off of the menu and enjoying either a glass or bottle of wine.

On my next visit, the Italian tasting had no less than seven wines on the menu, with Victor passing the guests with additions.

As the weather had turned oppressively hot, it was nice that Victor had thought his guests might need to "cool" off their palates between tastes with a sparkling this and Rosé of that.

(At other times, on the rare occasion Victor isn't pouring he can be seen playing with TBA, the band at ACU, doing what the customers like: soft versions of Beatles, Stones, Eric Clapton, Buddy Holly, and other 1960s type stuff - even though Buddy Holly died in 1959.)

Again, as with the previous tasting, prices were lowered for guests and even further for members.

The 2005 Terzzi & Puthod Terre di Tufi from Toscano, Italy was a successful blend of four different grapes.
Another favorite was the 2001 il Futuro also from Italy .

My advice? Either stop in any time you want, get the calendar on line or in print at the store. Victor is ready.

Events
Salt Creek Grille has weekly wine specials. On Monday's all wines priced under $100 are half price. "Wine down Wednesdays" have all wines by the glass discounted. And at happy hour Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., all house wines by the glass are $4.

McKenna & Greene, a gift shop covering all things adorable to fancy on Seco Cyn. Rd, has wine and martini themed shopping nights. I went to one recently and can attest there is nothing in this world more pleasurable than shopping one-handed while the other holds a filled wine glass.

Does anyone remember Jan Heidt's bookstore on Lyons in Newhall? I do.

I miss the little bookstores. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Mimi Hiller, owner of Cookbooks Plus, on 8th and Main in downtown Newhall. I went in to see her wine and spirits books and got a little carried away with my holiday shopping as well.

Bushman is a resident of Newhall. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. If you have a wine event, comments, or a cellar you would like to see highlighted in this column, you may contact Eve at ebushman@earthlink.net or at her blog, http://evewine101.blogspot.com.

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