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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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