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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Expanding your wine-aisle horizons


Photo By: Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Christine Moore/Special To The Town Crier Escape your wine comfort zone with advice on comparable bottles.

For years, I bought from basically the same two shelves in the wine aisle at my grocery store. I did this in part because I knew what I liked, but primarily because I was too intimidated to try other wines. I imagined a perfectly good summer’s evening ruined by having spent my wine dollars on a poor choice.

Then I started learning more about wine and trying new things. Wow – a revelation. I reflect on the one-trick wine buyer I once was and can’t help but feel some regret. Sure, my standard Chardonnay was great with the Thai coconut shrimp, but what if I had known to try Viognier?

When it comes to the vast world of wine, ignorance most certainly is not bliss. Following is a foolproof plan for expanding your wine-aisle horizons.

Our neck of the woods is extraordinary in terms of wine choice, accessibility and information. I was reminded of this fact on a recent trip to Draeger’s Market in Los Altos. It’s not in every part of the world that you can pick out a head of organic lettuce and get lost among nearly 2,000 bottles of wine in one convenient stop.

The grocery stores in Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto have incredible wine selections ready for you to explore. Plus, the folks working in said sections are interested, approachable and knowledgeable. They want to help their patrons make great choices, so ask away. Stacy Ahrweiler, wine department manager at Draeger’s Los Altos store, said spending time talking about wine is a pleasure.

“The thing is, everyone working in our wine department loves wine,” she said. “How can we not be happy sharing that passion with our customers?”

Of course, there are the moments when you just need to fly in and out of a store and stopping to ask for guidance is not a possibility. Or, perhaps when you ask for a recommendation, the associate responds with, “What are you looking for?” Ummm …

Whether you’re in a rush or confronted with a question about your tastes, preparation will get you through. Take the time to think about what you do and do not like. Are you a big-bold-red-with-heaps-of-tannin kind of person? Or do you prefer something soft and subtle? Make note of what it is about the wines you are buying that appeal to you.

Finally, and somewhat paradoxically, if you want to have the confidence to try different wines, you need to try different wines. I’ve developed a cheat sheet of sorts that does just that. It’s an “if/then” approach to wine that will help you choose wines based on what you already appreciate.

 

If you love Sauvignon Blanc, then try:

• Albarino: Creamy white with peach, lime and honeysuckle

• Pinot Gris: Kiwi and honeydew abound

• Semillon: Grassy with stone fruit characteristics

Note that sometimes California producers call their Sauvignon Blanc “Fume Blanc.”

 

If you love California Chardonnay, then try:

• Viognier: Aromatic and peachy

• Pinot Blanc: Apple and citrus notes

• Chenin Blanc: Hints of pear and peach

Also, look specifically for an un-oaked California Chardonnay – there’s a big and delicious difference between the oaked and un-oaked versions.

 

If you love Pinot Noir, then try:

• Gamay: Juicy red wine with cherry and red fruits

• Grenache (or other Rhone blend): Raspberries and a bit of spice

• Pinotage: Earth driven with abundant berries

If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, then try:

• Bordeaux: 2009 and 2010 vintages are stellar; black currants with dried flowers

• Zinfandel: Jammy fruit like blackberry

• Tempranillo: Plum and oak with tart berries

 

Explore the wine aisles of your local grocery store and let me know what you discover.

My column will return next month with more of my thoughts on wine.

Mountain View resident Christine Moore is learning more about wine every day. To read her blog, visit sheepishsommelier.blogspot.com.

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