Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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