After prize for Best Series Design, small Paso Robles winery runs away with top honors
Yountville, Calif.—The Fableist Wine Co., a 3,000-case winery from Paso Robles, Calif., won the Best in Show prize Wednesday at the third annual Packaging Design Awards. TV personality Leslie Sbrocco announced the winners of five juried categories plus the People’s Choice award at the close of the Wine Packaging Conference organized by Wines & Vines magazine. Encore Glass of Fairfield, Calif., submitted six bottles of The Fableist for the Best Series Package Design category, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo. Each of the bottles is named after a different fable. The Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, is titled “The Ant or the Cicada,” and both creatures appear in detailed illustrations on the label, with copper foil used to highlight a pattern on the cicada’s wings and make the winery name pop. The back label cites Aesop’s Fable No. 373 and includes an interpretation of the fable as it relates to the bottle of wine created for the end consumer: “Now accept the gift of The Fableist, which has been toiled and moiled over in an attempt to give both weary ants and shiftless cicadas piece of mind, and a belly full of warmth.” Five judges representing the confluence of the wine retail, wine media and design fields selected Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists in the categories of Best Alternative Format, Best Classic Format, Best Luxury Package, Best Redesign and Best Series. The judges awarded the Best in Show distinction to their favorite Gold medalist. In summarizing The Fableist, winery partner Curt Schalchlin said, “My partner Andrew Jones and I have spent the majority of our adult lives in the wine business. We like to tell people that pretty much every fable or life lesson is something we can both relate to the world of wine.” The panel of judges appreciated the detailed drawings on each label and the correlation between the fables that inspired each wine in the series.
Read more at: https://www.winesandvines.com/news/article/188535/The-Fableist-Wins-Best-in-Show
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From food trucks to wine, the brand’s most famous character is everywhere by Zan Romanoff Feb 28, 2018
Pork Skin with Rye, Fermented Carrots, and Whipped Honey
Ricotta–Miso Madeleines with Cultured Butter
Black Walnut–Black Garlic Biscuits with Preserved Chicken-of-the-Woods Mushrooms
Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with Whipped Ossabaw Lardo, Sub Rosa Bakery Rye Bread, and Thousand Island Dressing
Crispy Sweet Potato Flowers with Fermented Maitake Mushrooms and Hazelnuts
Chris James’s Signature Punch
Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo Nigori
Sparkling Sake NV
At Royal Izakaya in Queen Village, a torch passes
But something is definitely going on behind the innocuous blue door of Royal Izakaya. Something very special. The land of the "shiny fish." A sake lover's dream. A gastropub pioneer's vision for a tavern where Tokyo meets Philly over chashu pork wrapped in pillowy buns, grilled skewers, and karaage chicken wings that crackle with serrano heat in tangy vinegar and soy. Royal Izakaya also features the legacy of a Japanese master chef passing the spotlight and torch to his talented son. Literally.
Boosh! A jet of blue flame blasts from a canister in Jesse Ito's fist as he flashes the skin along a slice of raw "kinki," a rarely seen scorpion fish imported from Japan for the rarefied omakase tastings he serves in the new sushi room. Heat brings the oils to the surface of the skin, which puckers with smoky char and snaps beneath a pinch of chives against the dense white flesh.
We're tucked behind a curtain in a small room at the back of the izakaya, where eight lucky souls have secured a reservations-only seat around the gorgeous mahogany sushi counter. There's chatty fish talk between Jesse and his guests as he works away, plating fish with a finishing brush of soy before handing each piece over individually. But, mostly, this room is serene, punctuated by exclamations of pleasure as people wrap their lips around sweet ivory discs of truffle-dabbed live scallops or the luxury of Turkish bluefin tuna belly so marbled with fat it dissolves into an Omega 3 hum at the warm embrace of a bite.
The deep orange plumes of plump Hokkaido uni? They're firm for a moment then melt into a briny-sweet cream that triggers a giddy shudder, then a silent nod between me and my guest.
The energetic pulse of '70s glam rock and a boisterous barroom filters in as the curtain to the front room is pulled back, and I'm reminded Royal Izakaya is really a multifaceted project. In fact, it's two restaurants in one: the recently opened sushi room, a reservations-only haven where the prix-fixe menus go for $125 (18 pieces) and $65 (10 pieces); and the much larger, far more casual no-reservations izakaya pub up front with a massive menu of cooked small plates that comes with a more limited selection of sushi. It's also one of the most interesting new places to drink in town, with a deep roster of premium Japanese whiskies, myriad sakes, shochus, and craft beers, both Japanese and Japan-inspired locals, like the house lager from Tired Hands made with Royal Izakaya's sushi rice and yuzu.
by Craig LaBan, Restaurant Critic Critic@CraigLaban firstname.lastname@example.org
If my bon vivant pal is paying, we'll splurge big on a pricey tumbler of Yamazaki, Nikka, or Hakushu malt whisky (then segue into the list of shojus, by which time we should be gnawing on skate wing jerky).
If I'm eating salty bar snacks and want a refreshing quaff of Japanese beer, I'd drink any Hitichino Nest, various rice ales, or Stillwater's sake-style saison.
For raw fish, though, nothing works better than sake, which is available here in every style, from cloudy sweet nigoris to fun ginjos served in their own cups (Kitaro!)
My favorite, though, was a luxurious junmai daiginjo called Dassai 50 "Otter Fest," which was full-bodied and round, even with flavors of licorice and mint, that was the perfect chaser to a thick, pink slice of fat-marbled o-toro tuna.
Dassai 50 "Otter Fest," $22 a 5-ounce glass, $92 a 720 ml bottle, Royal Izakaya, 780 S. Second St
A major destination for all kinds of Japanese drinkables - top-notch (and pricey) whiskeys, a large collection of 33 sakes and a dozen shochu spirits, plus 30-plus craft beers, including Japanese rarities from Iwate
(sansho pepper ale; oyster stout), Koshihikari rice lager, and several Japanese-inspired American brews, including Tired Hands Royal Lager, a shandy-ish brew made with the restaurant's sushi rice and yuzu. Among the sakes, try the Bushido on draft over ice, the approachable Rita Pure Green, or the elegant richness of a Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo.