Archive for the ‘Pinot Noir’ Category
This Sunday, October 21st is the annual Pinot on the River. This wonderful, Pinot Noir filled day, returns again to the Square on Downtown Healdsburg. The weather is forecasted for a balmy 72 degrees and sunny, promising to be a great day.
Sunday’s Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, with over 100 wineries plus guest Artisan Food Vendors all on the downtown Healdsburg Plaza Square, is a Sonoma County wine weekend, and Pinot Noir experience, you won’t want to miss.
For the Pinot-phile seeking the ultimate day of
Pinot Noir immersion, with a VIP Ticket. VIP Guests have the opportunity to attend the special Pre-Tasting Seminar exploring Pinot Noirs from Littorai, presented by Ted Lemon.
This seminar, beginning at 9 AM and moderated by Gregory S. Walter, editor and publisher of the PinotReport newsletter, is available to VIP ticket holders only.
Following the seminar, VIP ticket holders can enter the Grand Tasting ahead of the general public, and enjoy the VIP lounge.
Tickets for the VIP Experience are $150, regular attendee ticket is $75. Factor in the price of high quality Pinot Noir, the costs of tasting fees, the close proximity of 100 Pinot producers, and the food experience that accompanies, and $75 is a a value any wine lover will quickly realize.
If Pinot Noir is one of your favorite varietal wines, this is simply a can not skip event. VIP & Seminar spots are very limited, if you are interested, I’d suggest you buy them ASAP. Tickets: http://www.pinotfestival.com/registration.html
Simple Hedonisms will be onsite tasting & tweeting live at #POTR !
This will be my third year attending the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville Oregon, as media. Each July, I await this event as eagerly as I do my Rhone nirvana,
While its true Rhone wines are deep in my blood, Pinot was my first girl and will always be dear to me, in the never ending journey of exploring this complex, elusive, high maintenance, highly rewarding varietal.
Pick Your Experience: Full Weekend or Afternoon Walkabout
Option A: The Full Monty of Pinot Noir
You have several choices of participating in IPNC. There is no doubt the ultimate Pinot Noir experience is the full weekend package. Two days and nights of seminars, tours, classes, tastings, food and more.
If Friday and Saturday aren’t enough Pinot Noir for you, you can even start Thursday night. The Anne Amie Counter Culture event is fabulous, and highly recommended, have been twice. I look forward with great anticipation this year to kicking off IPNC by dining with the Momtazi family for an extraordinary night at Maysara Winery.
It’s a minor miracle full passes are still available, two weeks out. For a Pinot lover, of any experience level, the $975 pass is a worthy investment.
The 2012 IPNC Full Weekend Ticket includes:
• 2 Grand Outdoor Tastings
• Numerous Weekend Seminars
• Friday Night Grand Dinner and Saturday Night Salmon Bake
• A Vineyard Tour & Winery Lunch
• An afternoon University of Pinot Course
• An Array of Wine Related Activities and Small Format Tastings
• Friday and Saturday Breakfast on the Patio
• Sunday Sparkling Brunch Finale
• Opportunity to Celebrate with over 70 International Pinot Noir Winemakers and 50 Northwest Chefs
If the seems pricey, consider this: if you were going to take a wine focused vacation, or even just factored in costs of this wealth of Pinot Noir tastings, many of which you couldn’t find, especially those from France, all the food, seminars and more (the Saturday night salmon bake, which sold out a la carte, was $150 alone. ), suddenly $975 is a reasonable food and wine vacation.
You’ll also meet winemakers from France, and taste wines, that would cost you many more thousands of dollars to fly over and visit, IF you could get an appointment to taste. Hotels, rental cars, braving the French highway, language barriers. Or you can experience all of this in the tranquil, hospitable, Willamette Valley.
There are also many priceless factors, like the camaraderie and new friends you make, and rubbing elbows with winemakers of world renown.
Option B: The Perfect Sunday Afternoon
Still, if the $975 price tag, or the two day Friday and Saturday commitment is too much for you, consider the Sunday afternoon Walkabout Tasting.
The next best thing, and by no means a huge compromise if you just can’t swing the full commitment, is the Sunday afternoon walk around tasting. You’ll still meet the winemakers, try wines you’ll never be able to try, all gathered together in a captive, gorgeous environment.
Held in the beautiful Oak Grove at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, this annual outdoor tasting showcases Pinot noirs from over 70 wineries worldwide. Guests are provided a Riedel Oregon Pinot noir glass at the start of the afternoon and are set free to sip and sample throughout the Oak Grove.
To maximize interaction with winemakers, the tasting is split into two sessions. Approximately 35 Featured Winemakers will pour for
each session with a break in the middle for winemaker introductions. In addition to extraordinary winemakers, top-notch Northwest chefs will prepare divine dishes to accompany an unparalleled array of international Pinot noir.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet some of the world’s finest Pinot noir winemakers at Oregon’s largest outdoor wine tasting.
I have attended hundreds of wine events, and I have organized and hosted wine tastings, its not a walk in the park to execute flawlessly on. With 26 years to practice, the IPNC team
has this down to an art form, that no event can match. You need only show up and enjoy, the logistics are flawless, the setting perfect, the people friendly, and the wines and service impeccable.
If you love wine, especially Pinot Noir, this is a ‘bucket list’ event. I’d suggest you move it high up in priority on that list.
Cheers, hope to see you there. Follow the fun on Twitter with hashtag #IPNC !
While its safe to say I yet to visit
a wine region I haven’t liked, few have captured my heart and changed my life as much as Russian River Valley. Yes, I am all about the Rhones, but as I have said many times, Pinot Noir was ‘my first girl.’ My path
to moving to wine country, that changed my life, started in Russian River Valley, where I now reside with my own small vineyard. (Sorry, not Pinot Noir, Grenache.)
This Saturday and Sunday you have a chance to experience what put RRV on the global wine map – Pinot Noir.
The Russian River Winegrowers, of which I am a proud associate member, is holding “Passport to Pinot,” a don’t miss weekend Pinot experience.
What Is Passport to Pinot?
As one might guess Pinot is the center star of the show, but its more than that. Each winery will pull out the stops to showcase it with things like:
• Barrel tastings – get a
glimpse of the 2011 vintage of Pinot Noir before it’s bottled
• Futures purchases – secure your supply of the wines you love in barrel
• Library wines – discover the beauty of Pinot as it ages
• Vertical tastings – compare the past, present and futurye of a specific vineyard
• Amazing food pairings – with all the delicious local foods here in Russian River Valley, wine and food are a match made in heaven
• Artist demonstrations – from painters to potters to jewelers and beyond
• Vineyard tours – get out in the vines and learn why we say great wine starts with the grapes
• Entertainment – relax with a glass of wine while checking out fantastic local musicians
• And more!
For a list of participating RRV wineries, and their special offer, click here.
Tickets are $65 for both days, or $40 for Sunday, and are available here. https://ssl.sonic.net/rrvw/web/passport2pinot_order_2012_cc.shtml
If you read the food, entertainment, and special purchase discount offers, $40-$65 is a steal!
Quick, Enter and Win a Pair of Weekend Passes – Expires in 48 hours!
One lucky couple will get a full weekend pass. In comments below simply tell us.
If you one participating winery (or pick several) do you want to visit, and why.
A winner will be randomly drawn and announced.
I will be wandering around wineries on Sunday, say hi if you see me – cheers!
Anderson Valley Winegrowers to Host 15th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
March 26, 2012, Philo, Calif. – Tickets are now on sale for the 15th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, to be held May 18-20, 2012.
event, which is put on by The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association (AVWA), will feature a grand tasting that highlights 40 producers pouring just one single variety from one appellation (Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir rosés).
The Pinot Noir Festival weekend kicks off on Friday, May 18 with a day-long technical conference aimed at members of the trade and avid Pinot consumers. Conference topics include wastewater management, a Boonville vs. “deep end” Pinot tasting moderated by Michael Mina Group Wine Director Rajat Parr, a Cerise Vineyard focus tasting, and more.
The technical conference will be followed by a casual, outdoor barbecue at Husch Vineyards, with pulled pork sandwiches and other BBQ delicacies, a live band, and plenty of Pinot Noir.
After a press tasting on Saturday morning, the grand tasting at Goldeneye Winery in Philo will showcase Anderson Valley Pinot with a latin beat. Pinots will be paired with classic Mexican dishes like fig mole chicken and a group of local women will be making fresh salsas and homemade tortillas during the event. There will also be live music and a silent auction to benefit the Anderson Valley Health Center and Hendy Woods State Park.
Participating wineries at the grand tasting include: Balo Vineyards, Baxter Winery, Black Kite Cellars, Breggo Cellars, Brutocao Cellars, Champ de Reves, Claudia Springs Winery, Copain Wines, Couloir Wines, Drew Family Wines, Elke Vineyards, Esterlina
Vineyards, Expression Wine, Foursight Wines, Frati Horn, Fulcrum Wines, Goldeneye Winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Harmonique Wines, Husch Vineyards, Knez Winery, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Littorai, Londer Vineyards, LuLa Cellars, MacPhail Family Wines, Maggy Hawk Vineyard, Navarro Vineyards, Phillips Hill Estates, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Roessler Cellars, Scharffenberger Cellars, Standish Wine Co., Toulouse Vineyards, Twomey Cellars, Waits-Mast and Zina Hyde Cunningham.
On Saturday evening, May 19, local wineries will host four winemaker dinners in Anderson Valley and on the Mendocino Coast. This year’s dinners include: Roederer, Goldeneye and Fulcrum at Roederer Estate; Baxter and Navarro Vineyards at The Philo Apple Farm; Scharffenberger Cellars, Phillips Hill Estate and Waits-Mast at Scharffenberger; and Esterlina, Greenwood Ridge and Champ de Reves at the MacCallum House in Mendocino.
The weekend will conclude on Sunday, May 20 with open houses at Anderson Valley wineries, featuring special tastings, educational talks, music and food (a list of winery open houses can be found at www.avwines.com).
Tickets for the 15th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival can be purchased at www.avwines.com.
About the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association:
The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association operates with the goal of supporting the region’s grape growers and wineries, as well as promoting the region’s wines. In addition to acting as a resource for its members, the association aims to better its community by donating funds every year to local nonprofit organizations. To-date, more than $220,000 – raised at the association’s events – has been given to local charities. For more information about the association, or for a list of association members, please visit http://www.avwines.com/.
Kristy Charles,President, AVWA, (707) 321-4024 firstname.lastname@example.org
Janis MacDonald, AVWA, (707) 895-9463, email@example.com
Guest Post by Fred Swan
This weekend’s events look a little sparse on the surface. But one little line item portends barrels of adventure. Hundreds of barrels. Full of wine. canadian viagra
tle=”The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma” href=”http://www.wineroad.com/events/barrel_tasting/3#tabs-5″ target=”_blank”>The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma.
There have already been excellent articles on this site about the barrel tasting. I don’t want to repeat what has been said. But, the list of more than 120+ wineries makes it hard to know where to start. So, I’ll offer a couple of itineraries for you to consider:
(Editorial note by William, for those of you who listened to me on KRSO tonight and are looking for the Tips & Ticket Contest, see Monday’s Post Here: Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!) )
Route 1: Get it While You Can — Wineries Open This Weekend Only
Saturday, focus on wineries west of Hwy 101. I might start at Moshin. Their Sauvignon Blanc will ease you into tasting. Follow it up with vineyard-designate Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Next, head up Westside Road to De La Montanya. They have five different wines for you to sample, starting with Pinot Noir and closing with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The dessert wine will lead nicely into lunch. You did pack a lunch, right?
Head north on Westside Drive as it turns into West Dry Creek. Pull in at Quivira. Eat your lunch near their biodynamic gardens. Then enjoy their Mourvedre and Petite Sirah.
From Quivra continue on to A. Rafanelli Winery which will be pouring 2010 Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their wines are always very good. And they age well.
On the second day do an eastern route. Rodney Strong will have a tasty assortment. Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Zinfandel.
From there, go to Stryker Sonoma. See how the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate differs from the Dry Creek wines you tried on Saturday. The’ll also pour Merlot.
Stay on the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon path by going to Trentadue. They’ll let you try their reserve, the La Storia Cabernet Sauvignon. The La Storia Zinfandel and La Storia Cuvee 32 blend will also be available.
For a taste of a completely different Cabernet Sauvignon AVA, head back across Hwy 101 to Ridge Vineyards. They’ve got a barrel of 2011 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Ridge is open the 2nd weekend too, but why wait?)
Route 2: Que Syrah — There’s more to Sonoma than Chard, Zin, Pinot and Cab
Formulate an itinerary from among these excellent Syrah producers:
Joseph Swan (Forestville) will be pouring not one but three vineyard-designate Syrah. Give them a try and see how the terroir of the different vineyards shows through in the wines. The winery will also have Zin, Tannat and more.
Vintoteca in Santa Rosa will be featuring six different wineries. Among the wines will be Olson Ogden’s Dry Creek Syrah. Before you dive into that though, try the Pinot Noirs from Bjornstadt and Baker Lane.
Krutz Family Cellars (Santa Rosa) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stagecoach Vineyards of Napa Valley was one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines for 2011. They’re opening a barrel of Syrah from that same vineyard, which excels with that variety.
Lauterbach Cellars (Windsor) has acclaimed Syrah fruit, but makes wine in tiny quantities. This is your chance to try some. They’ll have the 2009 Syrah, but will start you off with Pinot Noir and their Syrah Rosé.
Red Car (Sebastopol) is un-bunging their Estate Syrah. But first, enjoy Heaven & Earth and their estate Pinot Noir.
Dutton Estate Winery will be pouring My Father’s Syrah. …I didn’t even know my dad had Syrah! I’m sure it will be good though. They’ve also got Pinot and Chardonnay on tap wine thief.
Six Sigma Ranch Pro & Amateur Pruning Competition —Lower Lake: March 3, 10:00am – noon
Learn pruning from the pros and try your hand at it, too!
Cab Release Weekend at Velo Vino — St. Helena: March 3 – 4, 11:00am – 6:00pm
A special Vertical tasting of our 2006, 2007 and 2008 kit’s killer cab.
Charles Krug Winery Celebrates Charles Krug’s 187th Birthday — St. Helena: March 3, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Imagine the light the birthday candles will put out! There’ll be appetizers and three-course wine dinner.
34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting – Northern Sonoma: March 2 – 4, 11:00am – 4:00pm
144 wineries open their doors this weekend, many will be offering futures. Advance ticket sales are over, but you can buy tickets at the door.
Inspiration Vineyards Winemaker Dinner — Santa Rosa: March 2, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
There are still a few seats available for this dinner and the menu looks great!
Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: March 2, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Unwind after work, or barrel tasting, to rock and reggae played by Oscar Caleron.
Hanzell Vineyards Winemaker Dinner at Santé — Sonoma: March 8, 6:30pm
Join Hanzell winemaker Michael McNeill for a delicious four-course dinner paired with past and current vintages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
A Quick Plug:
The Wine Advocate will soon be releasing Antonio Galloni’s report on Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You can learn more about him and what he looks for wines by reading my in-depth interview with him. It’s being published in daily doses this week at NorCalWine.com.
Enjoy your weekend!
Wine lovers and romantics are still coming down from the chocolate-induced sugar high last weekend’s pre-Valentine’s Day festivities caused. Fortunately, events for the coming days put the emphasis back on wine.
Start off your weekend with a jaunt
to the town of Sonoma this Friday evening. The Lodge at Sonoma is hosting the VinOlivo Grand Tasting. Nearly 60 different Sonoma wineries will be pouring and 25 restaurants and caterers serving.
If you’re a fan of Alsace varietals, or just like to laugh at people trying to say “Gewurtztraminer,” then I highly recommend you head up to Boonville this Saturday for the 7th annual Int’l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting. There you’ll find more Pinot Gris under one roof than imagine. And, if you get white wined out, you can amble down the road a bit and enjoy some lovely Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.
If you have an interest in California wine history — and would like to meet it — you’ve got to go the 6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. The food and wine are always excellent and you’ll never have a better opportunity to meet the legends of the California wine industry. Here are this year’s inductees.
All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at NorCalWine.com where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep. For events in other regions, also check the calendar or my weekly NorCal event articles.
Saturday, February 18
Ceago Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Owner Jim Fetzer, winemaker Barney Fetzer and family members will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.
Saturday, February 18
Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference — Boonville: 9:00am – 11:30am
Winemakers from around the globe discuss winemaking and grape growing specifically for Alsace varietals.
7th annual Int’l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting — Boonville: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Meet the winemakers and taste Alsace-style white wines from around the world, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat.
Alsace Festival Winemakers Dinner at Shaffenberger Cellars — Philo: 6:30pm
Enjoy a sumptuous dinner with the winemakers and learn more about their wines in the elegant private dining room at Sharffenberger Cellars.
Saturday February 11 – Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa: 10:00am – 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.
Friday, February 17
Cornerstone Cellars Winemaker Dinner at Bardessono — Yountville: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy a special 5-course tasting menu drawn from Lucy’s Garden by Chef Victor Scargle, inspired by the wines of Jeff Keene.
Saturday, February 18
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.
Winemaker’s Dinner & Bob James Concert at Miner Family Winery — Oakville: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
An intimate concert in the caves followed by a a four-course dinner prepared by La Saison chefs Natalie & Jonathan Niksa paired with new release 2009 Miner Cabernets.
Sunday, February 19
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.
Monday, February 20
6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at CIA Greystone — St. Helena: 4:00pm – 8:00pm
A rare opportunity to mingle with noted winemakers, famous chefs, and wine-loving celebrities.
Friday, February 17
VinOlivo Grand Tasting at The Lodge at Sonoma — Sonoma: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Sip Sonoma Valley’s best wines as you get to know the personalities behind the
wine. Sample food from more than 25 of Sonoma’s purveyors.
Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Guitar ballads with Brian Ward
Saturday, February 18
Mardi Gras Celebration at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: noon – 4:00pm
The St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band, down home Louisiana cookin’, a Second Line-Parade, award winning wines and of course BEADS!
Sunday, February 19
Amphora’s Zinvitational: Zinfandel and Cioppino at Amphora — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Current, library and barrel-sample Zinfandel plus Cioppino, sourdough and green salad.
President’s Day Celebration at Old Roma Station — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Limited production wines from Bluenose, Hart’s Desire, J. Keverson, Kelley & Young, Sadler-Wells, Sapphire Hill, Skewis, Shippey and Willowbrook.
Sundays on the “Terraza” at Santa Rosa Vintners Square — Santa Rosa: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Bring a picnic. They’ll will provide the wine, bocce ball court and live music.
Thursday, February 23
J Vineyards & Winery Winemaker Dinner at John Ash & Co. — Santa Rosa: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Join J Vineyards & Winery Assistant Winemaker, Scott Anderson, for an excellent dinner paired with five J wines.
Event organizers and publicists get your events published here. Post your events in the calendar at NorCalWine.com. Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at NorCalWine.com with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.
Disclaimer: The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Event details are subject to change without notice.
This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. All rights reserved.
It’s time to bring it back home to Russian River Valley, and feature one of our unsung heroines, Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Wines.
Welcome to our third selection of winery of the month. In keeping with the theme of previous selections, this title is awarded too wineries whose wines have been epiphany experiences (and often still are) and for outstanding contributions to the wine industry, community, and environment.Inman Family Wines, nearby in Russian River Valley, is overdue for this recognition.
Uncompromising Wine Making Philosophy
Kathleen, on her 10th vintage, has come into her own as a world class wine maker, making Pinot Noir (and a few other treats) in styles she believes in. She isn’t into scores or trend chasing, and never relents in her pursuit of wine making the has an expression of place and vintage, with minimal intervention, making the very best wine that she can.
Kathleen has been rewarded by solid steady growth – while many small wineries have decreased production, Inman continues to steadily expand each year, reaching 3400 cases in 2011.
A Trailblazer in Eco-Friendly Practices in The Vineyard & Winery (Eco-Ethics)
Secondly, Kathleen has been repeatedly recognized for her many industry leading accomplishments in sustainability and green practices, both in the vineyard and the winery. Not because they are sexy marketing buzz words, but principles she has believed in, and practiced, long before they became in vogue.
Rather than re-write them all here, they are captured in several documents on the Inman website, drill down a bit, starting here. I challenge you to find a local winery that has invested more per capita in water reclamation, recycled materials, and sustainability. (And an electric car charging staton to boot!)
I should point out as well that while I say Kathleen, who beyond any doubt is the workhorse of this labor of love – there is a family behind the story, as it seems almost necessary to make it as a small winery. Kathleen’s husband Simon, has stood by, supported and thrown in many hand of assistance, on top of his legal pursuits. Kathleen and Simon have two wonderful daughters they dote on, whom can be found helping out around the tasting room during college semester breaks. One can only hope at least one will eventually get the bug and become second generation. Sadly, I am close to Kathleen’s age, or I’d ask for adoption.
A Foodie At Heart
Kathleen is all about food, and pairing it with wine. Unfortunately ‘food friendly’ has become an overused word in the industry, but Kathleen lives, breathes, and …eats it. Even in the early stages of wine making of a vintage, when doing barrel samples, she is thinking ahead of foods and sauces that will pair well. Her recipes have been published as well as recorded professionally.
You can check out many of her recipes here: http://www.inmanfamilywines.com/Recipes?
This close family and their support of Kathleen’s pursuit is an excellent start for the story behind the wine of the week, the ‘Endless Crush.’ No its not a horror story about the 2011 Harvest that seemed it would never end, but the love story of Kathleen & Simon.
For their 20th wedding Anniversary Kathleen wanted to make a special romantic wine for Simon, and started making a special rose’ every other year. Kathleen being Kathleen, this was of course a true rose’, not a saignee or juice bleed off. That means that grapes that could go into a $50 Pinot Noir, were instead being used for a Rose’ wine, which no matter how wonderful, can’t sell for that price, thus profit is given up for love. Endless Crush rose’ is done every other year, is a wonderful wine that quickly sells out.
For their 25th anniversary, Kathleen wanted to start a new tradition that was extra special. She had been studying closely the various methods of making sparkling wine (we are no longer allowed to call it champagne,) and decided to release a special sparkling brut Rose’, from Pinot Noir.
There are many remarkable things about this sparkling wine. One is that is unusual for California wine is that no sugar in the final ‘dosage’ is added. A dosage is added right before final corking, and has a varying degrees of sugar (thus sweetness) depending on the style. The dosage sweetness can come from a variety of things, including the current vintage sweet juice itself.
In this case Kathleen added 2% of barrel aged 2009 OGV Estate Pinot Noir for added complexity and to tint the wine ever so slightly.
This makes the sparkling wine in line with other Kathleen’s other wines, higher in acidity, making them truly food friendly.
To The Eye: Just the slightest tinge of pink.
One the Nose: Lots of strawberry, citrus and a hint of bread yeast
In The Mouth: I am not a bubbles snob, but my appreciation has definitely grown the last few years, and this is a gem, not a surprise given how much I like Kathleen’s other wines. Bright in the mouth, great acidity combined with rich texture and mouthfeel, lingering finish and some minerality, this is a unique work of art.
Recommendation: An amazing bottle of sparkling, made by a champion of the earth, with a romantic story behind it. Can there be any greater gift?
Food Pairing: Kathleen recommends “The recipe for crab and scallop cakes are a natural with the bubbles”
Happy Holidays & Cheers!
This Rhonehound is on a Pinot kick, and pleased to share amazing Pinot Noir from Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Wines, one of my favorite Russian River Valley winemakers.
Kathleen is a ten year veteran Pinot maker, and truly one of Russian River Valley finest vintners of elegant Pinot Noir.
(Jon Bonne’ – you really need to put Inman on your radar – this is your kind of winemaker.)
Review: 2008 Inman Family Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge Ranch
To The Eye: Ruby red, clear
On The Nose: Black cherry and spice
In The Mouth: Blackberry, cherry with a velvety mouth feel that makes you go ‘ahhhh’ and reach for more. The Pinot delivers great red and black fruit, without sacrificing acidity, achieving what so many California pinot producers seem unable to in balance. Soft, long, elegant finish.
Recommendation: 93 points. Buy. If you don’t like this Pinot….you have no idea what Pinot Noir is supposed to be. Take the oak chip out of your mouth, tear up your Robert Parker
photo, and start to train your palate. It’s not inexpensive at $56, but this isn’t Velveeta, its Cowgirl Creamery (or better.) Small lot, high quality Pinot Noir simply costs more.
It’s always a pleasure to discover hidden small gems of producers in the wine industry, and even more so to share them with readers. Thanks to the advent of custom crush, virtual and urban wineries, there are many, small passionate artisans springing up. Sonoma County has become a wealth of these, but you must keep your ear and eye to the ground.
Thanks to networking and social media, I was to meet Peter Alig, who works now with Von Holt. When he asked if I’d like sample to review, I agreed, always eager to try a new, small producer.
About Von Holt Wines
This is a micro-winery: a 600-case producer of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Syrah from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River. Founder, San Francisco native Chris Von Holt, is a retired U.S. Secret Service agent. After traveling the world on the protective detail of the Vice President, and sampling local food and wine along the way, he decided to found his own wine brand upon his retirement. His story is quite fascinating, read more here. http://www.vonholtwines.com/The-Von-Holts.
You can watch a short video of Chris’ below. He had me at ‘low alcohol, good minerality & acidity.’
The stories of partner/wife Pamela Miller, the administrative master of Von Holt Wines, and John Fones, Winemaker, are also interesting, classic Sonoma wine siren stories, and ones I can relate to all too well.
A Focus on Cool Climate
They had me at the get go with their focus cool climate Pinot Noir and Syrah. Pinot Noir of course naturally prefers cooler climate, and I am most fond of wines from cooler vineyards in Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Willamette Valley. Russian River can fit this profile as well, depending on the microclimate and the wine grower.
The 2010 and 2011 vintages have certainly helped this aspect. Working with vineyards in cooler climates takes some guts, patience, and stamina, I have deep respect for those growers and vintners that focus here.
Syrah does well in both cool and warm climates, and produces great wines in both, but very distinctive. My personal preference, especially for Syrah unblended with other Rhone varietals, is for the higher acidity, leaner wines that cool climates produce.
This review will be focus the Pinot Noir, look for Syrah in a Tasting Note also this week. Sneak Preview: The 2008 Hoppe-Kelley Syrah from RRV is amazing, and a steal at $20. I have tasted both Syrah’s and Pinots and am very impressed, and plan to put some in my cellar.
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Wine Review – Von Holt 2009 Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley
A blend of Pinot Noir from two vineyards, Suacci and Ketcham.
To The Eye: Ruby, brick red color. Translucent.
On The Nose: Red fruit leaps out of the glass. Cranberry, cherry, and a hint of earth, and green, like tomato vine.
In The Mouth: Bright and lively. The cranberry carries over, and is joined by pomegranate. Excellent acidity that begs for some food, combined with pleasant mouth feel mid palate, and a lingering mouth watering finish. A wonderful Pinot Noir, and proof the Russian River Valley can produce elegant Pinot Noir that isn’t an over ripe fruit bomb, and compete with the likes of Anderson Valley, Willamette, and Sonoma Coast.
Recommendation: 92 points. Highly Recommend. Buy. If you can, purchase one to enjoy now, and 1-2 more to give an extra year to see how it develops in the bottle. With the acidity this wine should age nicely. $32 online. Media Sample (although I intend to re-order.)
Wine Geek Info:
- Harvest DateSeptember 9, 2009; Bottling Date: August 24, 2010
- TA 6.3
- PH 3.6
- Clones are Pommard, 828, 115 and 777
- 11 months in French Oak Barrels (25% new)
- Fermentation: Native primary and maloactic fermentation
- Alcohol %13.7
- 225 cases made
Freestone – another of my unsung favorite producers. I fell in love with their tasting room and wines 3 years ago when I first visited. Everything about a Freestone experience is casual and relaxed, but first class. I am hoping to get out sometime again for a photo shoot and visit soon, but until then, take my word for it, and enjoy the relaxed drive to this gem.
I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release Media sample of this Pinot Noir. Its not been released to the public just yet, so this is a a teaser, but should be soon.
The 2009 Freestone is from the Estate Pastorale and Quarter Moon vineyards.
2009 Freestone Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, Estate
On The Nose: A bouquet of red fruit and cranberry with lingering aroma of spice.
In The Mouth: A cornucopia of pleasant experiences for your palate. A bit young and tight when first opened, after a few minutes in the glass this beauty quickly becomes endearing. Give her a swirl. This Pinot Noir dances in the mouth with cherry, bright cranberry, hints of other red fruits, spice, and earth.
This wonderful Pinot Noir delivers in the front and mid palate, and doesn’t disappoint in the finish, as it lingers and teases, making you yearn for another taste.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended. 92 points. Buy. Drink. Ideally hold and cellar and extra bottle if you can – this Pinot Noir has acidity and structure to age and gain complexity, although I am not sure if i could leave it alone if in my cellar. $55. Media Sample.
Vinification Notes: 15 months in French oak barrels, 55% new, 45% two-three year old. Alcohol 13.5%.