Stanley TucciStanley Tucci is an American actor, writer, film producer and film director. He was nominated for several notable film awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in The Lovely Bones (2009). Tucci's other recent celebrated roles have been in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia. He has been nominated three times for Golden Globes, and won twice — for his title role in Winchell, and for his supporting role as Adolph Eichmann in Conspiracy, both from HBO films. He also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Winchell. He was nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for his role as Johnny in the 2002 revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.
Stephanie CarawayStephanie, a Certified Sommelier, began her career in New York working at a number of notable establishments such as Balthazar and the Cub Room. Moving on to Arizona, Ms. Caraway studied in the cellar of Peter Kasperski, while managing the Wine Spectator Award winning wine programs of Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz, and Sea Saw. Subsequently, while with of Fox Restaurant Concepts, she was the steward of a quarter million dollar wine program and was responsible for the education of the staff of not only one restaurant, but several different restaurant concepts. Stephanie was honored by Food and Wine Magazine which named her one of the Top Sommeliers of 2010. She currently holds a position with Southern Wine & Spirits.
Ray IsleRay Isle is Executive Wine Editor of FOOD & WINE, the modern, stylish, trend-spotting, talent-seeking epicurean brand. In addition to overseeing F&W’s wine department, Isle writes the monthly column, Tasting Room, for the magazine, directs the title’s spirits coverage, and is the author of foodandwine.com’s wine blog, Tasting Room. Isle was promoted from wine editor in 2010, and has also served as deputy wine editor and senior editor. Prior to joining FOOD & WINE in 2005, Isle was managing editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine. He regularly conducts wine tasting seminars at epicurean events and appears as a wine and spirits expert on national television, including NBC’s Today and CBS’s The Early Show.
John LithgowAs a theatre actor, John Lithgow has appeared on Broadway more than 19 times, beginning with The Changing Room, for which he won a Tony. When he moved to film, he was soon nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years for The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment. He has appeared in over 30 films and will be in the upcoming Caesar: Rise of the Apes. He has won 5 Emmys—3 of them for his role as the alien High Commander Dick Solomon on the hit NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun. His latest Emmy was for his acclaimed work as a serial killer on Showtime's Dexter.
Jonathan WaxmanA successful chef, restaurateur and author, Jonathan Waxman has graced such prestigious kitchens as Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael’s in LA. He went on to open his own restaurant in NYC, Jams, described by the NY Times as "a culinary comet," as well as the famed Washington Park. Today, he is the chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan's West Village. Twice a participant on Top Chef Masters on Bravo, he is also the author of 2 books: A Great American Cook and Italian My Way. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and 3 children.
Nora EphronNora Ephron is a journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director. Her credits include Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and Julie & Julia. She has received 3 Oscar nods for screenwriting. Her books include Crazy Salad; Scribble, Scribble; Heartburn and I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. Her play Love, Loss and What I Wore, written with her sister Delia Ephron, is currently running Off-Broadway at the Westside Theater. Nora’s latest book, I Remember Nothing, is in stores now.
S. Epatha MerkersonAn Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and NAACP Award winner, S. Epatha Merkerson has won critical acclaim for her work in theatre, film and TV. She portrayed Lt. Anita Van Buren for 16 years on the hit NBC series, Law & Order, longer than any other cast member during the run of the series. In addition to her work in film and TV, Merkerson was last seen on Broadway in Come Back Little Sheba at the Biltmore Theatre, for which she received a Tony nomination.
ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY
TURNBULL WINE CELLARS
The Napa Valley and Oakville
Napa Valley is one of those rare places where it would seem as though the land was perfectly adapted to growing wine. Napa Valley enjoys a unique geography; the valley floor is bounded by the Mayacamas Mountains to the west and the Vaca Mountains to the east. As one travels through the valley from south to north, the elevation increases along the way. This geography suits itself almost perfectly to various grapes at different points along the valley and contributes to another of Napa’s most distinguishing characteristics – its propensity for diversity.
As one travels north through the valley, the temperature increases as the elevation does, too – a fact that is especially important to understanding who grows what and where. Generally, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are grown in the southern end of the valley where they get cooled off by morning and evening fog while hot-blooded grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate the upper valley.
Within the Napa Valley Appellation or AVA there are 16 smaller and distinct AVA’s, each with a unique microclimate and soil profile that lends itself best to a particular grape and style. Oakville AVA is a great place to start when considering one of Napa’s leading grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly because of its location smack-dab in the middle of the valley.
The Cabernet Sauvignon produced in Oakville has a tendency towards rich black fruit, full body, and a particular earthy and slightly herby quality that sets it apart from those produced elsewhere in the valley.
Another aspect of Oakville that sets the AVA apart is a famed strip of land on the valley floor called the Oakville Bench – a thin parcel of land that has long been known to produce some of the best wine in the valley. Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bench is plump, rich, full-bodied, and only better with age. Robert Mondavi’s To Kalon vineyard, famous for a long history (it was planted first in 1868) of producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon resides on this Oakville Bench.
- For more information on wines from the Napa Valley, be sure to check out the Napa Vintners Association website at www.napavintners.org, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/napavintners
- Perhaps the most famous Napa Valley wine event is the annual “Auction Napa Valley,” a four-day charity event that raises funds to support health, youth and affordable housing non-profit programs in the Napa community. Some of the most famous and sought-after wines of the region, travel packages and exclusive experiences are auctioned during the event. For more information, visit http://www.napavintners.com/anv/index.aspx.
- The “Judgment of Paris” – Napa Valley wines burst onto the world scene as the result of a blind wine tasting in Paris 1976 that pitted California wines against French wines. All nine judges were French wine experts. To the shock of all, Napa’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Napa’s 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon won top honors in the white and red categories, respectively.
- To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris tasting, the Smithsonian Institute added bottles of the winning wines to their permanent collection and displayed them at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. for several weeks. The tasting was also discussed as part of a symposium on Wine in American History and Culture.
- The 2008 movie Bottle Shock, is based on the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” competition. Alan Rickman starred as Steven Spurrier, the organizer of the event. The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
- There have been vineyards in Napa Valley for more than 150 years. George Yount planted the first Napa Valley vineyards in 1838. Charles Krug established Napa’s first commercial winery in 1861, and by 1889 there were more than 140 wineries in operation, including Schramsberg (founded in 1862), Beringer (1876) and Inglenook (1879).
- The Land Trust of Napa County is a local non-profit organization formed in 1976 charged with maintaining the rural character of Napa County by protecting the area’s most important open space and agricultural lands for present and future generations. The trust has worked with private landowners and public conservation agencies to permanently protect over 33,000 acres in Napa County.
- Chef Jonathan Waxman, a pioneer of California Cuisine, and one of the guests on this episode, grew up near Napa (in Berkley) and went to camp in Napa when he was a kid!