Ian Brand had already made a name for himself in the wine business, but his popularity skyrocketed when he won the San Francisco Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year award in 2018. With three labels under his belt, including Le P’tit Paysan, La Marea and his namesake, I.Brand & Family, he’s a busy guy.
We headed to Deer Park Wine & Spirits for one of their early afternoon tastings featuring Ian Brand’s wines. I was immediately impressed with I.Brand & Family’s 2017 Grenache—Besson Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley ($42).
“This old-vine Grenache is bursting with red ripe fruit and baking spices,” the folks at I.Brand say. Juicy cranberries and raspberries with some eucalyptus and herbs linger on the palate. With its natural light color and earthy-rich flavors, this medium-bodied red wine is often a favorite over more robust wines like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. And with Thanksgiving coming up, it’s a good time to start thinking about wine as well as turkey!
I.Brand & Family, 19 East Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley Village, 831-298-7227. ibrandwinery.com.
Shake Up Your Date
My husband and I love to stay in Palm Desert, and we always have our favorite places lined up to get a date shake—a tasty blend of vanilla ice cream and dates from local desert orchards. Our first stop is Hadley’s in Cabazon—just before you get to Palm Springs. Chock-full of tiny date pieces, Hadley’s makes one of the best date shakes around. Another place we visit is Shields Date Garden in Indio. Their date shakes are enormous, so we always share one. There’s also Oasis Date Garden in Thermal, which is worth the drive out there for one of their terrific shakes. All these places sell dates, of course, and it’s an opportunity to bring home date varieties that are not easy to find elsewhere. Most people have heard of Medjool and Deglet Noor dates, but have you ever tried Khadrawi, Halawi, Zahidi, Abbada or Thoory dates? If not, I strongly recommend you do!