Wine Situation Final Five (Now With Drunk Dialing!)

The Wine Situation hosts everyone from winemakers to writers to find out what a person’s situation is…with wine. It’s the solo season with host Ellen Clifford, but listen in with a glass, and nobody is drinking alone! In lieu of guests, at the end of every action-packed episode Ellen is phoning a friend with her Final Five questions. This week Ellen talks to Katja S. Newman, of La Cienega Vineyard. Check out the full episode here QUESTION ONE Ellen: Question number one, whatcha drinking these days? Katja: I am a pretty straightforward wine drinker. I just love bold reds. I love Bordeaux varietals; any Cabernet or Bordeaux blend is usually on my dinner table. As far as whites, I admit I’m a sucker for Chardonnay . I love how California has really adapted their Chardonnay production lately, so it’s more crisp, a little less oak and butter. And of course, my favorites right now are what I call “taste the neighbors”. I like to drink the wines from our neighbors—see what they’re producing—it’s nice to support the people in the community and see what’s out there. QUESTION TWO Ellen: Question number two is do you have a favorite pairing or unusual pairing that you’ve had? Katja: We were lucky enough to go to Saint Lucia’s a couple years ago, and they make amazing chocolate there, just beautiful gourmet, organic, hand-crafted chocolate, and we went to a chocolate and wine pairing. They paired a couple white wines with their dark chocolate…it was really stunning how you could pick up some flavors of the chocolates through the wines. QUESTION THREE Ellen: Question number three—you’ve traveled and lived a lot of interesting places in your life—I was wondering, is there a place you’ve been where you could see yourself making wine? Katja: I used to live in Quito, Ecuador, and I’ve also lived in Vienna, Austria, and then I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I would say one of my favorite places that I’ve visited was Columbia. It’s such an amazing location—you have the Caribbean on one side, the Pacific on the other, you’ve got the highlands and the Andes…and I just thought it was such a gorgeous country, but their wine selection was terrible. I thought “why can’t they grow wine here”, and I’m sure they can; there are a few wineries. There are so many cool microclimates and beautiful scenery, so I could see myself dreaming of making wine there. QUESTION FOUR Ellen: Next question is, what do you like to drink when you’re not drinking wine? Katja: Well, I drink tons and tons of seltzer water, my soda stream is always busy. I do love gin—I love a gin and tonic, once in a while I like a nice gin martini. We were just in London and I found pomelo flavored gin—it was absolutely gorgeous. I love Negronis and I’ve also discovered white Negronis, which can be so lovely. QUESTION FIVE Ellen: The last question is just what is bringing you joy these days? Katja: I think one of the greatest things, and obviously this is widespread, is just getting back together with people and walking into the shop and seeing people’s faces and smiles. I love giving people hugs and not being scared about it. We launched our wine in the fall of 2020, so we had to do everything online and had a drive-by pickup for our inaugural cases. So for me, the great joy now is to be able to sit down in the dining room and taste the wine and hear people’s feedback. *** You can find Katja’s wines here as well as in a few southern California wine shops and restaurants, and follow @lacienegavineyard on social media. Check out the previous Wine Situation podcast with Robert Camuto here .

Château Pédesclaux

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2019

2019 vintage. Might be even better than the excellent 2018. A very elegant wine with a lovely nose of ripe black fruit, lead pencil, dark chocolate and flowers. In the mouth it is juicy and energetic with real depth, haute couture tannins and a long mineral finish. Amazing to see what the Lorenzetti family has achieved with this estate in 10 years time. Very impressive and terrific value. Abv. 14%. — a year ago

Ruud, Peter and 9 others liked this

Walter Hansel Winery

The North Slope Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

One of the best California Chardonnays I’ve ever encountered, and the first time I’ve had a Hansel white wine. There’s a lot going on here, and everything is so just delicately balanced. Salty lemon, blood orange, marmalade, pear, fresh herbs, vanilla bean, crushed rocks, mint, etc. The oak treatment here is uniquely impressive, and the wine just keeps giving. Would love to revisit in a few years, because it will improve. — a year ago

Severn, Neil and 8 others liked this


Small Batch Handcrafted Gin

Great gin, even though I am not a fan of cucumber. So, it is certainly great for gin and tonic, but I wont sip it. — 4 years ago

Carla liked this
Eileen Monahan

Eileen Monahan

I really like this gin with tonic and a squeeze of lime

Priorat Natur

Vermut (Vermouth)

When making Negronis...... — 8 years ago

Juan Beltran
with Juan