Archive for March, 2012

Wine of The Week: 2009 Petrichor Les Trois Syrah (or Wow!)

Syrah is an interesting varietal that I believe is emerging from

its dark period. Darwinistically most of the “weak” or buying real viagra without prescription the trend chasers who followed the inane idea that Syrah was the next craze have gone on to do other things, and serious growers a

nd producers are now left.

So much Syrah has been replanted or budded over, I expect over the next few years we will see a shortage, and Syrah prices regain lost price footing. This is not an industry to chase trends, especially for red wines, I wonder how many learned their lesson?

At the end of April is the unparalleled Rhone immersion, in Paso Robles: Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines.” Syrah of this caliber and profile will be one of the wine styles I will be seeking out and reporting back on.

Cool Climate vs Warm Syrah

As I have written before, one of Syrah’s “problems” with consumer identity is that it produces two very different wines, when grown in warm climates like Dry Creek Valley, versus cool climates like Russian River or Sonoma Coast.

Warm climate Syrah has more lush fruit, berry flavors, is usually higher in alcohol and tends to be popular with the average wine consumer. Cool climate Syrah is leaner, lower in alcohol, with notes of white pepper, olive, minerality – and is generally more appreciated by the more serious aficionados. Many wine consumers and even wine makers will observe their palate change and evolve over years, often to the leaner cool climate style. There is nothing wrong with either of course, but consumers buying Syrah should pay close attention to where its from.

Certainly in France, the focus for the most lauded Syrah comes from Northern Rhone, cooler Côte-Rôtie region, where most Syrah is under 14% alcohol and balanced. I was quite amazed and pleased to hear from several vintners in Châteauneuf-du-Pape during my recent trip there, that they don’t like a lot of Syrah in their blends as they don’t like what it does

in the Southern Rhone, and were slowly supplanting Mourvedre, which does very well in the heat there and ripens more slowly.


Petrichor Vineyards

Thank heavens for the big Rhone Rangers tasting last Sunday (and Social Media). It’s ironic that Petrichor is quite nearby, and that Margaret Foley and I are Facebook friends, but had never met. She was kind enough to give me a bottle.

Courtesy of Petrichor Vineyards Website

When I went to the website and learned their winemaker was Duncan Meyers of cult producer Arnot Roberts, I knew I was in trouble.

Arnot Roberts produces wines of amazing balance and restraint, that I wish I could afford to consume daily.


Wine Review: 2009 Petrichor Les Trois Syrah, Sonoma County

2009 Petrichor Estate Les Trois

I will cut to the chase and say this is simply a stunning Syrah, one of my new favorites. There wasn’t a lot of vinifcation information on the website, but I could glean that only a 140 cases of this gem produced, a blend of 86% syrah, 14% Grenache.

I feel confident much if not all of the fruit is cool climate, but since it says “Sonoma County” that means its been sourced from a variety of places that don’t have enough percentage to name an AVA, like Russian River Valley, or Sonoma Coast. Or perhaps they just preferred not too. They do have their own vineyard of 8,000 Syrah and Grenache vines, but its unclear when it was planted or what percent is in the wine. Any use of oak in this beyond neutral, seems minimal, and certainly complimentary.

To The Eye: The color is a deep purple, impenetrable to light, without tech sheets, I feel comfortable guessing unfined and unfiltered knowing the heritage of the winemaker .

One The Nose: A wonderful blend of earth, smokey meat, olive brine, red fruit and raspberry, hint of ocean salinity.

In the Mouth: Incredible. The aroma profile carries with saline and mineral notes that dance intermingled with white pepper, red & black fruit. Great supple structure that is elegant and soft, not over bearing, jammy, or puckering. Acidity that lingers and lifts up the wine. I’ll trade acid for tannins any day.

This wine proves again the benefits of cool climate, acidity, minimal-no new oak, in making wines that express themselves naturally.

Recommendation: I don’t lightly recommend a wine that approaches $50 but this is the real McCoy. Break open the piggy bank.

If you want to impress a true wine aficionado (and I don’t mean some Parker/Spectator score chaser who thinks Oak is the bomb) – buy this for a gift or bring to a dinner.

94 points. $48 – online.


Related Articles

Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards

March 24-25th in SF: “A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes” or “Palate Enlightenment”

Wine of the Week: Baxter Winery 2006 Carignan – And the Rhone Countdown Begins

Tasting Notes: Wesley Ashley Wines 2009 Intelligent Design Cuvée – And Why Rhone Blends Rock

Wine of The Week: David Girard 2009 Mourvèdre – A Pinot Lovers Mourvèdre

Tuesday Mar 20th – Join The Rhone Rangers and “SonomaWilliam’ for a Live Rhone Twitter Tasting 530-700 pm

A Call For Rosé – May Panel Review (Drink Pink!)

Last week I waxed poetically (well at least passionately) about Rosé and some of the myths in Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards.

Domestic Rosé continues to grow in production, mostly from small producers, as the US population of more savvy drinkers buy domestic offers that have gotten substantially better, and newer wine drinkers discover this is not their Parent’s sugary Sutter Home White Zin.

Its also noteworthy that Rosé imports are booming. Wines of Provence in recent press release noted a 62% increase in imports.

In the spirit of my popular December sparklers panel australia healthcare online viagra , I will do a panel tasting of Rosé wines and publish a series of articles of what I think are the best finds.

I will break the reviews into categories, Domestic vs Imports, State, region, or even varietal categories. Pinot vs Rhone vs Bordeaux etc. if there are sufficient wines to merit comparison. There will also be an overall top picks across all categories.


If you are interested in sending a sample please email – feel free to ask any questions about the panel, reader stats (8-10k unique readers a month), etc.

Samples from all regions are welcome, including importers. Duplicate samples are always appreciated, in the event of tainted bottles, but in today’s world of high expense & reduced cork TCA, screwtops, not required. If you wish to include some other new/recent release, since already shipping, feel free.

All wines tasted, whether published or not, will be added to my lengthy and well followed Cellartracker notes.

Samples should be received by May 5th. If you are on the cusp of a release, email me – perhaps I can delay a category slightly. Wines that are available tasting room or DTC only are fine, and will be noted with purchase links.


Cheers and until then, drink pink!


Related Articles

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Simple Hedonisms – Simple Suggestions For Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Tasting Notes: 2009 Sainte Leocadie Minervois Rosé

Wine of the Week – Foppiano Vineyards 2010 Estate Rosé

Tasting Notes: Ortman 02 Series Grenache Rosé – Paso Robles

Wine of the Week – Carol Shelton 2010 Rendezvous Rosé (Mendocino Carignane)

Wine of the Week – Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris De Cigare, Rosé

Anderson Valley Winegrowers to Host 15th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

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, where to buy viagra 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


Tickets for the 15th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival can be purchased at


For additional information about the event, please visit the AVWA Web site at or contact us at (707) 895-WINE or


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



Kristy Charles,President, AVWA, (707) 321-4024


Janis MacDonald, AVWA, (707) 895-9463,


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Tasting Notes – 2009 Freestone Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, Estate

Wine Review – Von Holt 2009 Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley (and a special reader gift)

Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards

Tick Tock – the Countdown to Two Amazing Rhone tasting events continues. This next weekend , March 24-25 is the Rhone Rangers “Weekend Celebration of

American Rhones.” Over 100 domestic Producers from California, Washington, Oregon, and even Virginia assemble in Ft Mason, San Francisco for two days of seminars, winemakers dinner, auctions, and tastings.

Just one month later, April 26-28th Rhone lovers head to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines.” This event is a stunning immersion of seminars, lunches, dinners, & tastings.

Each week Simple Hedonisms is celebrating with at least one Rhône wine review.


Rosé Wines – Man Up – Drink Pink. This Isn’t Your 1990’s White Zin, It’s a French Classic Wine

Photo Credit: Pink Ribbons Project

My friend Lisa Ortman of Ortman Family Cellars used to say “Man up, Drink Pink.” The myths surrounding Rosé wines are still a bit perplexing to me. Lets smash a few of them, shall we.

1. Most quality Rosé wines are dry aka not sweet.

No, not that corporate mass produced sugary garbage at the bottom of the supermarket shelf, the real stuff from your local artisan winery or imported from France.

2. Rosé is for women.

For the record men – Rosé is made from RED WINE GRAPES. The only reason its pink is because it doesn’t spend much time on the skins during fermentation, which is the ONLY reason that red wine is even red! This concept is as assanine as the thought that “real wine drinkers don’t drink white.” (Which I’d contend its the opposite if anything.)

3. Rosé is a summer wine only.

This myth is perpetrated both by consumers and by wineries, who are deathly afraid of being caught with any Rosé left by October. It’s true, a good Rosé is a great summer sipper and aperitif. But its hardly limited to that. I was amazed at my trip to France and the Rhone this January – most restaurants had more Rosé by the glass than whites, and swarthy French men bundled up in wool had no issue ordering a bottle of Pink. The higher acidity in Rosé pairs it nicely with food, and its one of my top recommendations for the winter Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as well.

4. Rosé can’t age.

Generally the spirit of Rosé is a wine meant to be drunk young, fresh, and consumed in the first year or so of release. But many Rosé wines can actually age quite well, particularly if they are a ‘true’ Rosé – that is to say grapes picked early in the season to be higher in acidity, lower in alcohol. The acidity preserves the wine, and softens with age. Indeed a few Rosé wines I have bought and specifically but aside awhile to let the brightness subdue a bit. The freshness will tamper down a bit, and the wine will change. Generally one wouldn’t hang on to a Rosé more than a few years, but for every rule, there is an exception, especially with wine geeks.


Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards

I recently compared three Rhône Rosé wines in an impromptu panel. I am debating putting out a “call for Rosé” as I did in December for sparkling, for a more thorough review – stay tuned. If interested, email me.

Rhône wines in my opinion, especially Syrah and Grenache, make exceptional Rosé wines. These three do not disappoint.

(1) Mounts 2010 “Pink” Syrah Rosé

I frequently wax poetic about the Mounts, and I hope to write an in depth article soon.

Watching their evolution over the last 4 years has been a rewarding experience as this four generation Grower family continues to innovate and has become a Dry Creek Valley Rhone producer to follow.

This 2010 is a wonderful Rosé of Syrah. Kudos to Dave Mounts for picking, making a true rose’, not a Syrah juice bleed off.
Bright salmon pink color. Essence of strawberry, watermelon, tomato vine, on the nose. Crisp, bright in the mouth, cherry, jolly rancher, watermelon, in mouth.

Lingering mouth watering finish. Drinkable all year round, and a few years bottle time thanks to the nice acidity. At 13% viagra for less in the usa alcohol, can drink a few of these.

Sadly the Mounts are down to about a dozen cases, and there is no 2011 Rosé. I only hope they make it again for 2012. Pretty please? At least hold 6 more 2010 bottles for me.


(2) Skinner Vineyards 2010 Grenache Rosé

A winery in the Sierra Foothills I have my eyeballs on. This Rosé is mostly Grenache with a touch of Mourvedre.
Color – clear, salmon-strawberry color. On the nose -cherry, red fruit, hint of watermelon,

tomato vine, red hard candy
Palate – Enjoyable, food friendly, excellent acidity. Cherry, hard candy vibrant front palate , pleasant mid palate, and a lingering finish with notes of spice & hazelnut.

Would pair well with many foods and cheeses.

(3) 2011 Quivira Rosé

Quivira is another of my favorite Dry Creek Rhone producers and new winemaker Hugh Chappelle continues to do great things as Quivira lets him be the creative artisan he wishes to be.

Quivira’s newly released low production rose’ – never lasts long. New in screw top this year.

Like last year, heavily Mourvedre based, unlike Grenache based Rosé of years prior.
Light, bright, pink in color. Nose of watermelon jolly rancher and strawberry. Wonderful in the mouth, watermelon, white peach, red fruits. Mouth watering acidity that lingers on finish.
13% alc. Fresh. Bright. Fun.


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Wine of the Week – Foppiano Vineyards 2010 Estate Rosé

Tasting Notes: Ortman 02 Series Grenache Rosé – Paso Robles

Wine of the Week – Carol Shelton 2010 Rendezvous Rosé (Mendocino Carignane)

Wine of the Week – Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris De Cigare, Rosé

Wine of the Week: Baxter Winery 2006 Carignan – And the Rhone Countdown Begins



Tuesday Mar 20th – Join The Rhone Rangers and "SonomaWilliam' for a Live Rhone Twitter Tasting 530-700 pm

Rhone Rhone Rhone! As I wrote Saturday in

March 24-25th in SF: “A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes” or “Palate Enlightenment”. Read, Learn, Share and Win Grand Tasting Tickets this weekend its all about Rhone wines.

To celebrate and get the Twitter Hashtag for the event, #RRSF warmed up, the Rhone Rangers canada pharmacy viagra (@RhoneRangers and I (@SonomaWilliam ) will be doing a live Rhone wine tasting and ask all of you to join us.

What’s a Live Twitter tasting?

Just grab a bottle of Rhone wine (Domestic please in this case) preferably from one of the 140 Rhone Ranger members, crack it open, and share your

thoughts with the other bloggers, consumers, winemakers that will join us.

We have already lined up many of the Bay Are bloggers to join us, it should be a lively event! The more the merrier.



  • Every time you Tweet during the tasting, use the hashtag #RRSF . This is the hashtag for this Weekend’s event – lets get it warmed up.
  • The tasting is from 530-7:00 pm Tuesday March 20th, Pacific time.

  • For maximum benefit, set up a search column for #RRSF in a aggregation tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite – that way all the Tweets for the event are together. Worst case you can also do a search via a web browser simply click here.

Grab a bottle or glass, your smartphone or laptop, and

join the Rhone celebration – Rhone on with #RRSF !

March 24-25th in SF: A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes or 'Palate Enlightenment'. Read, Learn, Share and Win Grand Tasting Tickets

Unless you have been asleep for the last month, or not reading my blog posts (how dare you!) you should be aware I have been counting down to two upcoming amazing Rhone weekends. (Ok last weekend my new day job had me buried, and no weekly review.)

March is the Rhone Rangers weekend in San Francisco and April is the international Hospice du Rhône .

Read on, and enter to win tickets to next Sunday’s March 25th Grand Tasting. (Ends Monday!)


Why Rhones? Palate Enlightenment

I am asked frequently why I am so passionate about the Rhône wine category. For many, I think Rhone wines were the ‘epiphany’ wine – the one that made you go “AHA” – THIS is what wine is about.

I am not alone, if you attend Rhône focused tastings & events I find attendees to be more passionate than any other category.

Many of us got here in a traditional path – we drank big New World Cabernet and Bordeaux varieties to start. Maybe we stumbled or were lead into white wines. With luck many of us found Pinot Noir, before over ripening, doctoring became rampant (and now thankfully is quickly retreating.) At some point we discovered a well made Grenache, Roussanne, Mourvedre, cool climate Syrah, or a great blend, that sung in harmony.

Rhône wines offer something for every palate, and have a wide range of diversity.

  • For the newer wine drinker, perhaps seeking to branch out from Cabernet, a warmer climate Syrah can be a pleasant change, shares some characteristics, but offers a different flavor profile.
  • A Pinot Noir drinker, eager to find more wines that express themselves and aren’t buried in new oak may find a modest Grenache or Mourvedre, and fall in love.
  • For those who love whites, or who seek something interesting in a white, or even just want to learn to like whites: Rhone white wines can offer incredible density, complexity, acidity.

    Much to love. Indeed I have converted many a “I don’t drink white wine” naysayers with Rhone white wines.

Many Rhône producers, like legend and trailblazer Tablas Creek, follow the European philosophy that Rhone wines shine most as a blend. Rhone wines have more diversity across the varietals and give winemakers a huge flavor portfolio to work with, and thus consumers a myriad of combinations and flavor profiles. In Rhone wines, often the Sum of the Whole, is greater than the sum of the parts.

No matter how we got here, everyone has a story they love to share, and the journey of palate evolution never ends. Many, including winemakers will find the style of one variety, say Syrah, that they drank 5 years ago, is very different than what they prefer now. We have a wealth of winemaking styles, climates, terroir, and even grape clonal (genetic) differences that makes Rhone tasting a never ending exploration.

I Drank ALL the Kool-Aid!

One of these days I might write an article on my full story, but lets just say I am “all in.”Profile Picture

  • Eighteen months ago I joined the Rhone Rangers marketing committee as Media, and Social Media Marketing lead
  • Last Summer I was voted onto the Board of Directors, as Media representative
  • Last fall my partner & I launched a new Rhône label & micro-winery Two Shepherds. We don’t talk about our brand here, but its done very well thanks to supporters, and great accounts like the the girl & the fig, Spoonbar, K&L, Bottle Barn, Toast Wine bar, who have just about cleaned out our 2010 white releases, and now tapping into our newly released 2010 reds. I make wines in an old world, nuanced style, as I have been writing about, and put my money (literally all of it) where my mouth was. Sometimes I wish we sold less so I could drink it!
  • Over Winter I assumed the role of the President & Leader of the newly reformed North Coast Chapter. I am determined, with our members, to brand our area as a great place to Rhône . Look at our 4 page map and see how many producers we have.
  • Did I mention I have a full time demanding day job to pay for all this? :)

My only regret this year is that instead of roaming around as media (which I still do at many events, Simple Hedonisms is at an all time high of readers) I will be pouring our wine at the Saturday seminar #1, and the Sunday tasting. Not that I don’t love to share and pour our wine, but the Rhoneophile in me will be chomping at the bit to taste. Last year I could have used two days, not 4 hours.

Come see us, we will be easy to find, next to our beloved restaurant partner the girl & the fig. Our 2011 Whites are doing well, especially our flagship Grenache Blanc, and will be released soon. Mention this article for a sneak preview of a 2011 sample.


March 24-25th: A Weekend Celebration of American Rhones

The Rhone Rangers is America’s leading non-profit, educational organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. Nothing at all wrong with imported Rhones, I certainly by and drink my share, and a part of my heart will never leave the Rhone Valley – but the 140 members of the Rhone Rangers produce a wide array of great, diverse wines.

To pour a wine at a Rhone Ranger event, it must consist of at least 75% of one or more of the 22 Rhone varieties, designated here. How many can you name? (In fairness, we don’t even yet grow all 22 here in the US. )

This weekend event is a wealth of tastings and Rhone immersion.

1. Seminars

Saturday has two great seminars:

  • Rare Wines; Taste the Unusual. 12pm, Firehouse. From Picpoul to Counoise and beyond, come and meet the rarest Rhones and find out what makes them so unusual.
  • Wine & Swine, A pairing of American Rhones with how to buy viagra in canada Bacon. 2pm, Firehouse. Some say everything tastes better with bacon, we say how about bacon with your wine! This seminar will demonstrate the bacon-friendly aspects of your favorite Rhone varieties.

Sunday has one:

  • A Celebration of Syrah from Diverse Regions. 11am, Golden Gate Room. Rhone Rangers producers are pushing the envelope on syrah in a variety of ways. Come and taste the most widely grown Rhone variety from points north and south and east and west.

Rhone Rangers seminars are a value, at $45-$65 compared to many events. The seminars are moderated by Rhone enthusiasts and popular wine writers Jon Bonne’ of the SF Chronicle and Patrick Comiskey of Wine & Spirits. These esteemed gentleman will lead you through the tasting with input and comments from each of the wine makers. An inexpensive, unparallelled tasting & educational opportunity, for only 40 people per session Saturday, and 70 total on Sunday. These will sell out, don’t wait. To see who is in each seminar, and buy tickets, see here:

2. Saturday Night Winemakers Tasting, Dinner, Auction

Saturday night, at the newly opened Ft Mason General’s Residence, 17 winemakers will pour for you at a walk around tasting, then pour, sip and eat with you at dinner. Your meal is prepared by none other than the renowned girl & the fig.

This event also sells out every year, don’t wait.

3. Sunday Afternoon Grand Tasting

The most popular event & culmination of the weekend: 110+ wineries from all over the US, many whom are small, hard to find will pour for you. Food purveyors and food trucks will also be on hand. Grab the program, make a plan, and taste your way through your favorite varietals, or learn & taste about some new ones.

NEW – Buy Wine and Take it Home! For the very first time, attendees can buy wine right at the table, pay for it and take it home. Since many of these wineries are small, and may not have local distribution, this is a perfect time to grab that gem you liked and take it home. Over 60 wineries will be selling wine, and will be specially marked in the program, as well as the flag at their table. To make it even easier, you may check your purchases at one of two holding points, so that you can continue to taste unencumbered. For those of you who attended Taste of Mendocino, this was a great experience.


Share & Enter To Win a Pair of Tickets – Ends Monday


win, simply post below in comments one of the following:

(1) Tell us what Red or White Rhone variety (grape) you are most interested in learning about, and why, in a brief sentence or two.


(2) Tell Us Your Favorite Producer or Wine, from the List of those Participating

Correct answers will be pooled and drawn by random number generator Monday night! If you don’t win, grab a ticket, at $45


Follow On Twitter

You can follow the event’s fun live on Twitter, simply follow or search for hashtag #RRSF – cheers!


Related Articles

Tuesday Mar 20th – Join The Rhone Rangers and “SonomaWilliam’ for a Live Rhone Twitter Tasting 530-700 pm

Wine of the Week: Baxter Winery 2006 Carignan – And the Rhone Countdown Begins

Tasting Notes: Wesley Ashley Wines 2009 Intelligent Design Cuvée – And Why Rhone Blends Rock

Wine of The Week: David Girard 2009 Mourvèdre – A Pinot Lovers Mourvèdre

Why Rhone Wines & Wine Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee – #WBW71




Barrel Tasting Weekend Feature Winery Sales on Bottled Wine

Yes, Barrel Tasting is all about futures, but many wineries are offering sales on finished wines as well. Take this list with you and stock up!


Russian River Valley

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  • 20% off mixed cases. 30% for wine club.

Desmond buy generic viagra Wines

  • Wine: Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 3 pack Vertical, 2007, 2008, 2009 (2007 Library)
  • Retail Price: $121.00
  • Special Pricing: $89.00


Not “participating” the second weekend but will be pouring barrel samples in our tasting room.

  • Wine: Foppiano Vineyards 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley
  • Retail Price: $18
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: 30% off during Barrel Tasting Weekends: $12.60 per bottle or $151.20 per case

Kendall-Jackson Wine Center

  • Wine: 2007 Jackson Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley and 2006 Highland Estates Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley
  • Retail Price: $40 and $70
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: Single bottle 20% off (25% Wine Club) Case Sales 30% off, 35% wine club

Sheldon Winery

  • 15% Off any purchase of 4 bottles or more. (An additional 5% off for Sippy Wine Club Members)
  • 25% Off a 4-pack of the 2003 Sheldon Tawny Port (Still in barrel, we will bottle/label/wax dip for you to take with you). One time offer, only two barrels made. The Future is now!!

Windsor Oaks Vineyards & Winery

Futures made easy! Mix & match any of our 6 futures – 6+ bottles. 25% off. Plus, buy any futures and get 25% off any current release wines.

  • Wine: Reserve Chardonnay 3 vintage 2007-2009 Vertical Box Set with Lobster Bisque Recipe.
  • Retail: $125
  • Special: $89 Only 60 sets available. This wine & food pairing is featured in our Reserve room all weekend.
  • 2009 “Vin Gris” Rose of Pinot Noir
  • Retail price $19
  • Case Special $175 (25% discount), Half Case $99 (15% discount)

Hop Kiln

  • Proprietary blend Big Red for $150 a case. White wine blend Thousand Flowers for $120. per case. 40% savings on both!


Alexander Valley

J. Rickards

  • Wine: 2008 Zinfandel, Ancestor Selections
  • Retail Price: $22
  • Discount: 30% off (40% off for our Wine Club), no minimum
  • Wine: 2010 Kizmet, White Bordeaux Blend
  • Retail Price: $18
  • Discount: 30% off (40% off for our Wine Club), no minimum

Sausal Winery

  • Wine: 2008 Private Reserve Zinfandel, 100% Estate Zinfandel from 95 year-old vines
  • Retail Price: $24.00/$288.00
  • Promotion: viagra buy 25% OFF full case purchases only


  • Bottle Discounts on all wines: 2-5 bottles are 10% OFF, 6-11 bottles are 15% OFF
  • Case Discounts: Full or mixed 20% OFF

White Oak

  • Wine: 2006 Napa Valley Merlot and 2006 Napa Valley Syrah (91 points Wine Enthusiast) – OK to mix & match!
  • Retail Price: $26/bottle or $312/case
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount:
    • 1 bottle – $16.00 (your savings – $8.00!)
    • 6 botttles – $60.00 (your savings – $84.00!)
    • 1 case – $99.00 (your savings – ($189!)
    • Wine Club Pricing– Join for FREE @
      • 1 bottle – $10 ( your savings – $16.00!)
      • 6 bottles – $48.00 (your savings – $108!)
      • 12 bottles = $72.00 (your savings – $240!)

Dry Creek Valley

Amista Vineyards

  • Wine: 2005 Estate Syrah, Morningsong Vineyards
  • Retail Price: $30.00
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: Single bottle $5 off, Case Sales 30% off, 50% cases for Wine Club members


  • Wine: 2010 PoiZin
  • Retail Price: $300/case
  • Case promotion: $198/case



Hawkes Winery

  • Wine: 2010 Red Winery Vineyard Cabernet, 2010 Stone Vineyard Cabernet, & 2010 Pyramid Vineyard Cabernet
  • Retail Price: $70
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: 20% discount for non-wine club members (50% discount for wine club members) with 4-bottle minimum purchase, 12-bottle maximum purchase

Manzanita Creek Winery

  • Wine: 2010 Foothill Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Retail Price: $22.00
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: Single bottle 25% off (30% Wine Club)
  • Wine: 2007 Alfonso Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
  • Retail Price: $28.00
  • Promotion: Single bottle 50% off (55% Wine Club)
  • Wine: 2008 Melange, Red Table Blend (Merlot, Zinfandel & Syrah)
  • Retail Price: $33.00
  • Promotion: Single bottle 50% off (55% Wine Club)


Have a GREAT Weekend. Be safe, spit or dump, support your local producer with purchases, and if on Twitter, use Hashtag #WRBT when you Tweet & Check in on Foursquare.



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Guest post: Two More Routes for the Barrel Tasting, plus North Coast Events for March 9 – 15

Thoughts from Wine Road Barrel Tasting Weekend One. Share Your Thoughts & Win Tickets to Weekend Two.

Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)

Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting. Tell us yours and win tickets.

Observations of Wine Road Barrel Tasting Week One; Suggestions & Ticket Contest for Week Two


Two More Routes for the Barrel Tasting, plus North Coast Events for March 9 – 15

We’ve got another big barrel tasting weekend ahead of us. I’ll be able to participate this time and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you haven’t decided which wineries you’ll go to yet, here are a couple of theme-based itineraries.

The So

noma Advocate Tour

Antonio Galloni recently published his Sonoma Report for Wine Advocate. He focused heavily on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from producers that don’t happen to be part of the Wine Road Barrel Tasting, such as Paul Hobbs, Kistler and Hirsch. However, six wineries awarded 90+ points are pouring.

Of course, Galloni rated bottled wine. Get a leg up on him by evaluating barrel samples from these wineries yourself. (And don’t forget to give their neighbors a little love buy viagra online cheap us too.)

  • Freestone in Occidental
  • Siduri in Santa Rosa
  • Red Car in Sebastopol
  • La Crema in Windsor
  • Kendall-Jackson in downtown Healdsburg (that’s where they are pouring high-end Cabernet)
  • Stonestreet in Alexander Valley
There was a bit of a fuss about people piling out of limos and partying too hard last weekend. I suspect the issue was blown a bit out of proportion. However, if you want to avoid any risk of running into big bands of revelers, here are a few of the many fine wineries that don’t allow groups,

limos or buses. (Every winery not

allowing groups is identified on the Wine Road’s list of participating wineries.)

  • Bella Vineyards in Healdsburg
  • Claypool Cellars in Sebastopol
  • Freestone in Occidental
  • Fritz in Cloverdale
  • Joseph Swan in Forestville
  • La Crema in Windsor
  • Red Car in Sebastopol
  • Sausal in Alexander Valley
  • Stonestreet in Alexander Valley
  • Vinoteca (6 wineries in one location) in Santa Rosa
Enjoy your barrel tasting. I hope to meet up with you out there.


Lake County

Gregory Graham Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: Saturday, March 10, 6:30pm – 11:00pm
Owner and Winemaker Greg Graham and Marianne Graham will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.

Mendocino County

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: Saturday March 10, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy 100% organically grown grape wines paired with a delicious food treat.

Napa Valley

Calistoga Spring Jazz Festival — downtown Calistoga: Saturday, March 10, noon – 6:00pm
Live jazz music, wine and food right downtown in Calistoga.

Merryvale Pinot & Pizza Barrel Tasting — St. Helena: Saturday, March 10, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
An afternoon of wine, food and entertainment featuring current releases, library wines and Tra Vigne pizza.


Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: Friday, March 9, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Bill Vestal plays Americana music.

A Taste of West Sonoma County at Dutton-Goldfield Winery — Sebastopol: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 – 11, 10:am – 4:30pm
A rare tasting of their single-vineyard wines from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation.

34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting — Northern Sonoma: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 – 11, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Your chance to sample wines from the barrel, talk to winemakers and explore the beautiful Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.

Clash of the Sommeliers at Farmhouse Restaurant — Forestville: Monday, March 12, 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Three sommeliers pairing wines side-by-side for a four course, seasonal menu.

Songwriters In Sonoma at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: Thursday, March 15, 7:00pm – 9:15pm
Dustin Heald, Rich Little and Fred McCarty


This article is by Fred Swan of for Copyright 2012 Fred Swan.

Thoughts from Wine Road Barrel Tasting Weekend One. Share Your Thoughts & Win Tickets to Weekend Two.

Last Friday-Sunday was the first of two weekends of Wine Road Barrel tasting, the 34th anniversary of this event. Last week’s article “The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide

and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)” href=”../archives/7023″ rel=”bookmark” target=”_blank”>Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)” was a huge hit, propelling the blog to it’s highest readership ever, just shy of 10,000 unique readers and 300,000 hits for the month. The first two days it garnered 38,000 hits. (Spoiler – we’ll be giving away 4 more pairs of tickets, so make sure you read to the end! )

I took a slightly more controversial approach than I normally do with the “stop the whining” and instead of garnering negative complaints as I was fearful of, we had dozens of exuberant responses.

The local Press overall did a positive job as well with several good articles:

The one true Wine Writer the PD has, Virginie Boone, did a nice article with “Barrel Tasting weekends are here” and there was a nice follow on piece “Learning about wine, one barrel at a time” by Mary Callahan.

Unfortunately that didn’t stop the PD Blog from writing in the same vein as last year with its “Frat Party” post with this weeks “Peculiar wine glasses at barrel tasting?(EDIT and a second article in the same vein on Tuesday “Revelers add sour taste to Wine Barrel weekend.”)

I will leave my comments at the post – but this is sensationalism writing looking for views, not investigative journalism, and its time to step up, or drop the topic. Looks like at least one other blog agreed. Millennials: The Next Generation.


Come Back Thursday For A Special Article

Of course all wineries offer special discounts for barrel futures, but many also have finished wine sales as well. Come back Friday for a list sorted by Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley. (Wineries, read your Monday memo. Still have some spots.)

My Experiences

Unfortunately with my new job, and a side ‘project’ I could only attend one day this year, unlike all 6 last year. I had my friend Andrew Healy, the Wine Marketing and Social Media of Guru of Napa in tow, so I stuck mostly to wineries I knew, unlike my normal mix of experimentation. There were so many more wineries I wish I could have visited!

First stop was neighbor Robert Rue, who produces Russian River Sauvigon Blanc and Zin. Oddly, there were almost no barrel or tank samples of whites, something I’d recommend wineries

consider more, especially since whites are so close to being bottled, if they haven’t already. Robert Rue was the only winery we visited that did. I am generally not a Zin guy, but like cool climate Russian River Zin. Their new 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was stunning – a great change from the overdone New Zealand, grassy, cat-pee style. The secret in part is the “Musque” clone of Sauv Blanc, which is catching on as consumers get fatigued with the overwhelming amount of traditional Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is bright, with great fruit and minerality, more French Sancerre style. I will be buying this weekly I can see. Watch for a review soon, and grab some futures this weekend!

Next we headed north to Dry Creek – I wanted to get in and out before Saturday afternoon traffic went crazy. I am a regular at Quivira, and was seeking there futures of Mourvedre, which I buy every year if offered. Wine club members get 40% off, better than industry, its

a great deal on what I think is the best Mourvedre in Sonoma County. Granted, sadly choices are also few, but as someone who tastes/buys Rhones from all over, its one of my favorites. Quivira also released their new 2011 Rose’, which generally doesn’t last long.

We headed across the street to one of my long time favorites the Mounts. I hope to do a full story on them soon – watching them progress over the years has been a delight. Mounts continues to expand their Rhone portfolio, and lean towards more minimal winemaking techniques. They had 4 red wine barrel samples, all native yeast fermented, my favorite being the Grenache, and to my surprise the Malbec. I say to my surprise mostly because I have fallen out of love with most Malbecs as they are generally now made New World – big, extracted and oaky. This barrel sample was all about the grape itself.

Traffic was starting to pick up, so we headed back to Russian River, as was the plan.

Two quick stops: Joseph Swan (loved the 2011 Carignane( Cotes du Something) and Woodenhead, then onto Benovia. Benovia only featured one barrel sample, but had the widest pouring of finished wines, of which I am becoming quite a fan. We tasted through 2 Chardonnay’s, 4 Pinots, of which the Anderson Valley was my favorite, a Grenache, and my favorite of the day a Rose’ of Pinot Noir. At $18 a bottle, another recommended buy.

We squeaked into Krutz & Sheldon right in time. Patrick Krutz was tasting his new Ceja Chardonnay and his usual (incredible) Napa Stagecoach syrah. Sheldon was pouring their new Ceja grenache. All excellent wines from two great vintners, who were also pouring their current releases.

I didn’t take the SLR out that day, but here are a handful of pictures & recommendations you can see here.

Overall Summary

Most Wineries I spoke to (some on Sunday) reported Friday as the best day for serious buyers and tasting. Most reported a good Saturday, although almost every Russian River winery I spoke to reported the same, it got slow around generic viagra usa 130 Saturday afternoon. Not sure if people were headed North, but for those wishing to avoid crowds, I stick to my recommendation of go to less trafficked places Saturday afternoon if you want a better tasting experience.

This event attracts 18-20,000 people from 47 states, many on wine buying missions. I witnessed no drunkenness, bad behavior, or any of the sensationalism frat party attitude the aforementioned article was digging for. I am sure out of 120+ wineries and 18k people, a few examples exist. The law of large numbers will give you that, especially if you target feedback from a busy winery like Armida that is known for its younger crowd drawing. I witness far worse at any bar on a Saturday night. Lets focus on the 99.95% positive – shall we?

Wishes for 2012

I thought winery hospitality was outstanding. I’d like to see two things: more white wine samples. And more food trucks like the Rossa Pizza oven at Carol Shelton.

Barrel Tasting isn’t about food, and the wineries shouldn’t provide food, BUT I’d love to see more of them partner up with a food truck and offer food for sale. I’d happily pay to eat, not have to lose an hour in a restaurant. If I was an food truck entrepreneur, I’d park one right at the entry to Dry Creek, if allowed. Wineries – if you do offer a food truck next year, and are allowed, put it in your writeup, you increase the chances I’ll be by! (On that note, wineries who put in the program that they were tasting ‘futures’ with no specifics, you were skipped. Please tell us what you are offering, there are many choices besides you.)

Lastly, I applaud the increase in ticket prices. At the door, the most expensive option, a 3 day ticket is still only $40. This is a wine buying event, and I feel this helps weed out the partiers. Any slight decrease in attendance is made up by the higher price – and most wineries will tell you – there is a saturation point ratio of bodies to sales – sometimes smaller groups


OK – Time to Win!

Winning is very easy – simply in comments below tell us:

(1) Did you attend Barrel Tasting weekend one? What was your favorite and/or what did you buy.


(2) If you didn’t go Weekend one – what winery would you most like to visit and why?

We draw 4 pairs of tickets Thursday night – good luck!


Related Articles

Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)

Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting. Tell us yours and win tickets.

Observations of Wine Road Barrel Tasting Week One; Suggestions & Ticket Contest for Week Two

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