8th Annual West Institute Wine Reception and Dinner

On Thursday, July 17, 2014 Mike and Mav hosted the Institute team at The Hilltop Winery for another great evening of fun and fellowship after a great week at Loyola Marymount University.

We mixed it up a bit this year and decided to stay on The Hilltop for a special pizza party using the relatively new wood fired oven in the backyard.  Our friend Edgardo, a specialist when it comes to making pizzas, was making everyone smile with his creations.

And of course, since we didn't make our annual trip to Sam's by the Beach to see our friend Sam and his wonderful staff for dinner, we brought Sam to The Hilltop Winery.  He provided us with a Caesar Salad, passed appetizers and a wonderful assortment of dessert items.

Now let's get to the good stuff!

Our very own faculty member and industry wine expert Brian Baker from Chateau Montelena Winery brought three Estate Bottled Cabs from the winery that The Hilltop Winery Sommelier, Mike Wojo, matched with three bottles of Bordeaux from his cellar.  Let the comparisons begin.

But before we get to that we obviously had to start with a few white's.  So sit back, don't get jealous and enjoy the ride we took on this beautiful Thursday evening with friends and family.


  • 2005 Puligny-Montrachet, Domaine Henri Boillot
  • 2010 Julien ColloVray, Saint-Veran
  • 2011 Aubert Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
  • 2011 Staglin Chardonnay, Rutherford Estate


  • 1986 Chateau Olivier, Pessac-Leognan
  • 1989 Caymus Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
  • 1989 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
  • 2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (Magnum)
  • 2006 Chase Zinfandel, Napa Valley
  • 2009 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley
  • 2010 Pedestal Merlot, Columbia Valley

Special Cabernet Sauvignon vs Bordeaux Tasting

  • 1989 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Bottled
  • 1995 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Bottled
  • 2002 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Bottled

  • 1989 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe Bordeaux
  • 1995 Chateau Cantenac Brown, Margaux Bordeaux
  • 2002 Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien Bordeaux

As we all know, all good things must come to an end.  So as we packed up, said our goodbyes and took a couple of last minute photos, we got on the bus and returned to the hotel for our trip home in the morning.

Mike and Mav hopes that Brian, the Institute staff and volunteers had a great time at The Hilltop Winery.

A great evening wouldn't be complete unless we captured the memories to hold us over until next year.

Feel free to download any pictures from the entire evening HERE.

A Lawyer Visits The Hilltop

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014 The Hilltop Winery hosted a special tasting for one of Institute's favorite lawyers - and you know who you are, right?

We started in the early afternoon in the wine cellar!

We were allowed to compare a number of Cabernet Sauvignon's and then moved on to dinner at Sam's by the Beach to try the new pre-fixe dinner advertised in the local Pacific Palisades paper.

Before we left the cellar for Sam's, we lifted two magnums and they were the bomb!

After a perfect dinner with our friend Sam, we put the lawyer in the cab and told him to have a safe trip to the East Coast on the red-eye.

We retreated back to The Hilltop for a little clean-up, the wine of course. Tough life!

Here's the list of wines we tasted in the cellar before dinner at Sam's:

  • 1980 Silver Oak, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
  • 1986 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Estate Bottled
  • 1986 Caymus Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Cuvee
  • 1986 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
  • 2005 Meursault, Henri Boillot

Here's the two magnums we took to Sam’s by the Beach:

  • 2006 Pedestal Merlot, Washington State
  • 2011 Liquid Farms Chardonnay, Santa Barbara

For a complete slide show of the evenings events go HERE.