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Chamisal Vineyard's 2012 Estate Piont Noir and Therabee Honey's Bliss Balls 


Chamisal Vineyard’s 2012 Estate Piont Noir

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If you want to get a winemaker to talk, ask him about the weather and his vines. Perched atop Granada’s posh rooftop dining area a few weeks ago, Chamisal Vineyards Winemaker Fintan Du Fresne, enlightened my table with more information on the Edna Valley soil, sun, and sea air than I could possibly process. Still, it was music to my ears, hearing just how a particular change in the atmosphere can produce a very different, and delicious, wine. Maybe I’m a little New Age-y, but there is something so soothing about talking to someone connected, heart and soul, to the rhythms of the earth. OK, I am listening to a Sounds of Nature CD while I type this. You got me. The winemaker’s 2012 Estate Pinot Noir—brimming with joyful notes of cherry pie and vanilla bean—is well-rounded and bright, with an energetic zing of signature Chamisal spice. Perhaps it was the early spring rains the vines received, or the long, consistent summer, or the fact that the grapes were harvested in 28 separate picks with meticulous hand sorting—I could go on and on. The point is, there are a thousand reasons why the wine you fancy tastes so damn good, so be sure to ask your local winemaker what he’s doing (and not doing), if you ever have the chance to catch him for lunch. And, as thought provoking as the informational tidbits can be, it all means nothing if you don’t first take Fresne’s sage advice: “Always trust your own palate.”

• $40 per bottle at Chamisal Vineyards, 7525 Orcutt Road; or taste a range of five wines for $15 (fee waved with a $50 purchase).

Therabee Honey’s Bliss Balls

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Say what? OK, let’s add up this sticky equation: All natural, raw, Atascadero-produced Therabee Honey … plus fresh, aromatic loose leaf tea … all wrapped in an easily steepable ball! I really should get into the infomercial business. Although this idea sounds like an “As Seen on TV” product, let me assure you, these blissful balls are 100 percent artisan-approved (each one is painstakingly wrapped by hand), and you can choose between caffeinated, calming, or healing variations. I recommend the black tea, my current obsession. And if you are anything like me—sloth-like to rise in the morning—you will appreciate the ease of use and clean application. It goes like this: Wake up. Remove snuggling dogs from body. Zombie walk to kitchen. Heat tea pot. Plop ball. Steep. Yum! Not a bad way to start the day.

• $16 for an adorable tin of 15 Therabee Bliss Balls; purchase online at

Hayley is eating way too much homemade chipotle-tomatillo salsa (counts as a veggie, right?) at


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