Posts Tagged ‘alexander valley’

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.

Events for This Weekend and Two Routes for the Wine Road Barrel Tasting

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=”″ 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.



Lake County

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!


Napa Valley

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.


Sonoma County

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 levitra viagra online 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

Enjoy your weekend!


This Weekend is Taste Alexander Valley – Details and 48 hours only ticket contest, 3 pairs!

Last week I wrote about the Taste Alexander Valley event and special reader ticket discount code. In a nutshell 30 wineries will roll out the red carpet, for a great weekend full of food, music, and wine. The atmosphere is always fun, lively, and down to earth. Each of the wineries  will offer gourmet foods, paired with their own wines and many will incorporate a party theme featuring musical entertainment. Special wine discounts will also be available at most venues. Download the 3 page program here and plan your route!

Enter to Win Tickets – Two Different Ways:

Read carefully – TWO ways to win and you can enter both!

(1) Post in comments:

Tell us your favorite winery of the participating 30 wineries (list here) and why.


If you have never visited any, which would be your top choice to visit, and wine(s) to try.

(2) Become an email subscriber (existing ones win too!)

Subscribe to Simple Hedonisms email updates so you never miss an article. Email is secure and never spammed. Important: You MUST complete the registration process to be eligible, which requires you click on a verificati

on link sent to your email. This is usually almost immediate, so if you don’t see it, check your spam.

Winners will be drawn this Wednesday at 5pm – only 48 hours, get on it! And don’t forget to take advantage of specials to stock up, buy local, and support your local small artisans!

If you don't win, you still have until Thursday night to save money by purchasing advance  tickets – just  click here, and enter code SIMPLE at checkout for $10 off. People, that’s $55 for two days of world class entertainment, best value date in town!

Follow the Fun

Follow Alexander Valley on Facebook and Twitter for news, updates and fun. Twitter followers (or anyone with a web browser) can follow the Hashtag #TAV11 by clicking here.


To purchase tickets click here, and enter code SIMPLE at checkout for $10 off. People, that’s $55 for two days of world class entertainment, best value date in town!  Expires Wed. May 18th.

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Don't Miss May 21-22 Fourteenth Annual Taste Alexander Valley (shhh Special Reader Discount Inside)

Alexander Valley is home to 40 wineries and stunning vineyards. Each year they roll out the red carpet, throw open the doors (and bottles) for a great weekend full of food, music, and wine. The atmosphere is always fun, lively, and down to earth.

Guests  will enjoy world class wines, international foods and a variety of outdoor entertainment while enjoying breathtaking views of northern Sonoma County’s inspiring mountainside vineyards.

Each of the more than 30 wineries will offer gourmet foods, paired with their own wines and many will incorporate a party theme featuring musical entertainment. Special wine discounts will also be available at most venues.

A few examples of the fun:

  • Latin jazz, samba and rock fusion performed by Bautista, will hold court at Alexander Valley Vineyards along with their smoky syrahs, spicy zinfandels and braised short ribs courtesy of Healdsburg’s Zin Restaurant.
  • deLorimier Winery“Hollywood in Wine Country” –   deLorimier will be featuring their entire collection of beautiful wines, grilled rib-eye steaks and 3 barrels to taste the future of deLorimier Winery. Live music both days provided by the Open Hearts band.
  • Robert Young 'Area 27' – Local residents of Alexander Valley have reported seeing unusually  bright lights in the evening sky. After extensive investigation by high-level government
    officials, the remarkable phenomenon at the Robert Young Vineyards known as Area 27 is still a mystery. Soon after the sightings, reliable sources observed curious activity at the Robert Young Estate Winery. Wine aficionados often attribute terrestrial elements (Terroir) for the winery’s distinguished  and elegant wines, but perhaps, the contributing elements are extraterrestrial. Whatever is cooking at Robert Young, it must be Out of This World!

Download the 3 page program here and plan your route!

Other weekend hosts featuring live music

include Clos de Bois Wi

nes, Delorimier Winery and Hanna Winery & Vineyards — playing off of Mardi Gras, Hollywood in Wine Country and Major League Baseball themes. Lots of summertime BBQ favorites, summer salsas and chutneys, specialty pizzas, gourmet sliders and pulled pork sandwiches, artisan cheeses and luscious desserts will be featured alongside Alexander Valley’s world class varietals and blends over the fun-filled weekend.

Ticket Information AND Special $10 off for Simple Hedonisms Readers

Weekend passes (valid for both days – 11am to 4pm) are $65 per person in advance and $75 per person the day of the event. Tickets for the Opening Gala dinner event on Friday, May 20 from 5:00 to 8:30pm are nolvadex pils $90/person.

To purchase tickets click here, and enter code SIMPLE at checkout for $10 off. People, that's $55 for two days of world class entertainment, best value date in town!  Expires Wed. May 18th.

Participating Wineries

Winery participants are Alexander Valley Vineyards, Blue Rock Vineyard, Clos du Bois, deLorimier Winery, Field Stone Winery & Vineyard, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Garden Creek Winery, Hanna Winery & Vineyards, Hart’s Desire Wines, Hawkes Wine, Icaria Winery, J. Rickards Winery, Kelley & Young, Medlock Ames, Mercury Wine, Palmeri Wines, Pech Merle Winery, Pendleton Estate, Quaking Hills Winery, Robert Young Estate Winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sapphire Hill Winery, Sausal Winery, Silver Oak Cellars, Simi Winery, Soda Rock Winery, Souverain, Starlite Vineyards, Stonestreet Winery, Stryker Sonoma, Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Trione Vineyards & Winery, Vintners Signatures and White Oak Vineyards & Winery.

You can also follow Alexander Valley on Facebook and Twitter for news, updates and fun.

Enjoy the discount code (share the love!) and the great weekend – cheers!


What a difference a glass makes: Take your wine-tasting to the next level

You’ve seen the classy black and red Riedel cartons at kitchenware retail. They have an elite aura and great appeal as gifts. But do you know the story behind them? The Riedel name and family has been synonymous with glassware for over 250 years and 11 generations.  But it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the company began to focus in earnest on fine wine glasses.  A handmade Sommeliers series was launched in 1973, introducing for the first time a revolutionary concept: that glass size and shape directly affects the wine inside.

The current generation, Georg Riedel, took the idea further by developing “varietal-specific” glasses to enhance individual wine varietals. Today, Riedels’ Vinum glasses are machine-made, making varietal-specific tasting more affordable and accessible to wine lovers everywhere.

Riedel Tasting @Trione Vineyards & Winery

I participated in a Riedel seminar recently at Trione Winery in Geyserville, CA.  Trione produces fine wines from the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley of northern Sonoma county. The Trione portfolio is perfect for the Riedel tasting experience. Each of vintner Scot Covingtons’ wines is true to it’s varietal character while showing consistent quality and structure. Scot makes a Trione Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet, matching the 4-glass Vinum set.

Tasting Presentation

Each place at the tasting table was set with 4 wine glasses, a water glass and a plastic “Joker” glass.  The 4 glasses comprise Riedel’s Vinum set:

  • Bordeaux/Cabernet
  • Burgundy/Pinot Noir
  • Sauvignon Blanc/Dessert Wine
  • Montrachet/Chardonnay

Through a series of tasting wines matched and mis-matched to their glasses, and in plastic (ick), the group of tasters became converts to the science of varietal glassware.

Wine Delivery System

Riedel speaks of a glass as a complete wine delivery system. The Chardonnay glass delivered the pure fruit, refreshing acidity, light oak, and warm finish of the Trione Russian River Valley Chardonnay.  The wide rim and deep bowl harmonizes these four strong characteristics into a balanced whole, with no one overpowering the others.  As a test, we poured some Chardonnay from its glass into a narrow Sauvignon Blanc glass.  The oak had no room to breathe, and the taste was completely off. Same wine, completely different taste experience. And of course, when we poured Chardonnay into the Joker glass, there was virtually no aroma, and no sense of oak in the mouth.

We went through a similar ritual with the Trione Sauvignon Blanc. The Riedel glass delivered crisp fruit and yeast directly to the taste receptors from a narrow rim, narrower bowl, tall-stemmed glass (keeping the heat of the hand away from the wine).  In contrast, the Pinot Noir glass has a wide bowl with a narrower rim, bringing the fruit quickly to the top, as in “fruit forward”.  Pinot Noir in the Sauvignon Blanc glass was a real disaster. The narrow delivery system passed the wine straight through to the back of the palette where the bitter receptors are. Hard to believe it was the same wine.

We also had a lesson in decanting and cleaning of wine glasses.  Riedel recommends using no soap, rinsing wine glasses in very hot water and drying with a non-linty towel (microfiber works well). Towels can be boiled in hot water or washed without detergent to keep fragrances away from contact with the porous glass.

Find yourself a Riedel Seminar

Varietal glassware completely changed my tasting experience and awareness. I highly recommend the Riedel Seminar, and it’s also a great way to start your collection of varietal glasses. Each Riedel tasting includes the 4-glass Vinum set. To find a Riedel seminar near you, do a google search.

Better yet, come to Barrel Tasting Weekend on Sonoma’s Wine Road. Trione Winery and over 100 other wineries open their cellars and barrels for 2 weekends in March. The March 5th Barrel Tasting weekend pass is available with a Riedel seminar (and glasses). Tickets here.

Riedel URL


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Wine Review: Reynoso Family Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

If you have tasted with me before, you likely know I am not a fan of many ‘New World’ style cabernets. ‘In your face with a bat’ oak and tannins, is not a replacement for complexity, and I wish we’d stop confusing the average consumer’s palate thus.

I was pleasantly surprised by this sample of Reynoso’s newly released 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, especially for the $24 price point. I was also unaware  that the vineyard fruit that produces this cabernet is also sold to well known, high end label Silver Oak for its own release. (The Reynoso’s only keep a small amount of their estate fruit.)

I reviewed the wine both after immediately opening, as well as letting it get some air contact. It improved as expected, but the approachability was present at opening.

Wine Review

To the Eye: Deep violet,  inky purple color

On the Nose: Black fruit,  vanilla, currant, and a hint of bell pepper, leather

In The Mouth: Plush, rich, full, approachable. Plum, black fruit, cocoa/chocolate.)  Tannins present but balanced and elegant. I was pleased the alcohol was a moderate  14%, and moderate use of oak, 35% new French oak.

Pairing: A variety of meats as one expects with Cabernet. I envision a fillet. I generally think of cabernet as a food only wine, but could see myself sipping on this solo on the couch with a fire and a book at the end of the day.

Where to Buy: Online and a variety of distributors, listed on their Facebook Page. $24 (media sample.)

I also spotted on their Facebook page a post saying shipping was included with a case purchase, if you used code “facebook fan.” Not sure when expires, but give it a try.

Recommendation: If you are a Cabernet fan, this is an excellent value for the quality, in a world of California $50-$100+ for cabernet. I found myself pouring a second glass after the review.

Wine Review: Long Gamma Cellars – 2007 Red Blend

Earlier this year, Simple Hedonisms reviewed the tasty Long Gamma white blend, so I was quite pleased when I got my hands on a bottle of the Long Gamma red to taste.

Long Gamma is the brain child of the Chicago expats who founded Reynoso Vineyards of Alexander Valley over 9 years ago, and created the brand to create a high quality, value priced wine, from their own great vineyards, estate fruit, not bulk wine. Unusual for wine of this price point.

As described on the bottle label, the blend  is a “an ever changing fusion that showcases the best of Sonoma County.”

Blends generally do change in percentages year over year, that’s the beauty of them, they allow the winemaker to adapt to the quality and characteristics of that years finished vintage.


Region/AVA: Sonoma County (although fruit is from Alexander Valley)

Color: Deep Purple

Aroma: Ripe red fruit, blackberry, black cherry, hint of spice

In The Mouth: Pleasant melding of lush fruit that is expressive, but not an oppressive fruit bomb. Good balance and taste of fruit through front, mid palate and finish. Enough acidity and structure to let it pair well with many foods; it made me want bbq or a ribeye, drinkable alone as well though, with good ‘quaffability’ factor. Finish slightly off dry, not hot nor tannic. 14.3% alcohol: I appreciate the moderate alcohol level  a red wine, especially zinfandel based under 15% is nice to find these days.

Price: (Media Sample) ~$12/bottle. Available online by the case or  via retail at places like Draegers, Big John’s, Molsberry,  as well as local hangouts like Healdsburg Bar & Grill.

Wine Geek Info:

  • The 2007 release is a blend of 75% Zinfandel, 20% Syrah, and 5% Petite Sirah.
  • The Zinfandel and Petite Syrah were fermented, aged in stainless steel;  The Syrah barrel aged 20 months in new and neutral French oak.
  • 750 cases produced

The Red Gamma Red would be a good buy at a higher price, it’s steal at under $15.

A Myriad of Events in Sonoma Wine Country June 5-6th

Ever have one of those weeks you wanted to clone yourself to get more done? As a lover of Wine Country Events, its a weekend like that, starting tomorrow. Just North Sonoma alone is a hotbed of activity.  Featured below are some of the highlights.

Taste Alexander Valley – Saturday & Sunday 11-4

The folks in Alexander Valley, a wine region in North Sonoma, have outdone themselves with a stunning array of food and  wine pairings, and entertainment to boot at many. 35 wineries, some open only for this event, are pouring great wines, pairing savory wine country food.  Check out previous articles for details. Tickets are no longer available online here, are $75 at door. That’s a bargain for ten hours of Sonoma entertainment.

The event kicked off last night with the Opening Night Gala at Rodney Strong’s rarely open Crown Vineyard. It’s sold out, sorry, I did say to buy early!

Plan your day using  Tips & Suggestions for June 5&6 Taste Alexander Valley.

Russian River Single Night (Single Wines, not people) – Saturday 630-10pm

C. Donatiello Winery
4035 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA  95448

The Russian River Wine Growers are hosting a new event, this Saturday night, Singles Night. No,  its not a meat market, its for everyone, the ‘Single’ being single varietal (grape ) wines. This fun filled, unique is at C. Donietello Winery. Get there on time for the special tasting in the cellar room that starts at  630. Bring friends to bid on the very cool auction lots, specially designed to win/share with friends. Details here and here. The list of Single Night participating Wineries is pretty spetacular. As of now, some tickets are still available, but have been selling briskly.

8 at the Gate – Sunday, June 6th  11am to 4pm.

8 at The Gate is a special treat if you are a club member of one of these 8 wineries: Balletto Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Dutton Estate Winery, Hanna Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Marimar Estate and Taft Street Winery. I am a little miffed about short notice for this event, (I am a member) and overlap to the Taste Alexander Valley event. I know overlap is sometimes inevitable, but it would be nice to see the North Sonoma Wine Road appellations try and co-ordinate; I’d have liked to attend, and spend money at both events.

The event is a traveling farmer’s market with each winery pouring their best wines, offering irresistible wine club discounts and showcasing a local food purveyor and fresh produce from their own winery gardens. For this one special day, you can visit the 8 neighboring wineries, and receive all the privileges of being a member for the day. The wineries are within three miles of each other at the gateway to the Russian River Valley, so it’s a perfect fit for a one-day excursion. Each membership 4 accompanying guests to share in the fun.

Windsor Oaks: Chillin by the Pinot Pond – Saturday & Sunday  11 to 4

Windsor Oaks Vineyards, 10810 Hillview Road, Windsor, CA

Another great venue, only open 18 days a year. Chill Out by the Pinot Pond at Windsor Oaks Vineyards and Winery on Friday June 4th, Saturday June 5th and Sunday June 6th from 11 to 4!  If you have a passion for Pinot, you will love tasting and comparing several their artisan Pinot Noir’s.  Other award winning wines will also be poured.  Order a gourmet box lunch to enjoy pond-side or bring goodies from home.  $10 tasting fee waived with purchase.

Kendall Jackson Farm Stand – Saturday 10-2

The Kendall Jackson Wine Center culinary gardens are home to hundreds of fruit, vegetable and herb varietals from around the globe. It’s the source of fresh produce for our own culinary team and many exclusive restaurants in the Bay Area, and now  sharing their bounty  at the Kendall-Jackson Farm Stand!

  • Purchase Heirloom Vegetables from the Gardens
  • Chef’s Cooking Demonstrations
  • Garden Seminars with Master Gardeners
  • Wine Tasting and Education

The first Saturday of each month May through October, starting on Saturday, May 1.

Kickoff of 20th Annual Summer Concert Series at Rodney Strong Vineyards  – Kenny Loggins, Saturday 4 pm

This year’s Rodney Strong Concert Series includes returning greats and winery first-timers that make a stellar lineup for the winery’s 20th annual concert series.

The season will kick off on June 5th with Kenny Loggins. As a solo artist Kenny went on to stardom with such top hits as “Whenever I Call You Friend”, “I’m Alright”, “Footloose” and “Danger Zone.” I ran into the head of PR last night at the TAV Gala Event, and was told a few tickets ere still left.

Season passes and individual concert tickets are available here or by calling (707) 869-1595 ext. 4.  Tickets can be purchased in person at the Rodney Strong Vineyards Tasting Room. Doors: 4 p.m./Show: 5 p.m. Tickets VIP: $110/GA: $75. For more information click here.

For additional events, check out the Wine Road and Inside Sonoma websites.

Have a GREAT Weekend enjoying the Simple Hedonisms of Wine Country, cheers!

Taste Alexander Valley – Winery Sales Promotions – June 4 & 5

Unless you have been in a cave, or not reading my blog, (tsk tsk) as a wine lover you know this weekend is the Taste of Alexander Valley, a spectacular wine and food event, where for only $55 (with promo code) you can visit 35 wineries pouring world class wines, paired with gourmet food bites.

Wineries survive on wine sales, and look forward to these events for the opportunity to meet people face to face, try their wines, and if they like them, take some home. During the Taste Alexander Valley, many wineries offer exceptional incentives make that decision a little bit easier.

Winery Sales Promotions this weekend include:

  • deLorimier Winery: Is offering  50% off Case only special (mix & match ok)
    • 2004 deLorimier “Mosaic” Meritage ($40 retail)
    • 2005 Preston Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Alexander Valley ($36 retail)
    • 2005 Preston Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – Alexander Valley ($52 retail)
    • 2005 Dry Creek Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($24 retail)

    Plus Free Shipping on Orders of 3 or more cases. Limited quantities of above, so don’t wait!

  • HANNA: Is offering 15% off any 6 bottle purchases (30% to wine club members).
  • Joseph Family Vineyards: Will be offering its Alexander Valley Cabernets at a 10% discount off the regular retail 750 ml bottle price of $40. The wines that will be offered and available for tasting are the 2005 ( 92 pts. Wine Entusiast): $36 [Limited Availability]  and the 2006 ( Double Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competion; 90 pts. Steven Tanzer): $36
  • Rodney Strong (Sunday only): Is offering 20% discount on purchases of six bottles or more
  • Simi Winery: Will be offering 25% off of any mixed 6 bottle combo except older/library vintages and large format. Also, the famed Sonoma County Chardonnay at $10 a bottle by the case only normally $18 a bottle.
  • Sausal Winery: Is offering 15% off any 6-pack and 20% off any case purchase.
  • Terroirs Artisan Wines: Is offering 25% discount on the  Palmeri 2005 Syrah Van Ness Vineyard. Regular price is $37.
  • Trione Vineyards and Winery: Is offering:
    • 2007 Sauvignon Blanc; regularly $23, during TAV it will be $16 per bottle.
    • “Russian River Blow Out!” Buy a mixed case (4 each) of our 2006 Pinot, 2006 Chardonnay and 2007 Sauvignon Blanc for $269, regularly $384!
    • All guests receive 20% on our 2005 single vineyard Reserve Cabernet and our pre-release 2006 Red Wine (usually ONLY discounted to wine club!) Club members receive 30% off!
    • Social Media and 4Square Gurus – Tweet with #Trione, #TAV10 –  check in, tweet us, post a  pic on Twitter or Facebook and show it to receive the wine club discount on featured wines!
    • VIP Tour and Tastings for 6 to everyone 100th guest (follow on Twitter w/#Trione and @TrioneWinery)
  • White Oak Winery: Will be offering a discount on their 2007 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc. Normally $16.00 a bottle: $11.95 for one bottle, $9.95 per bottle if you purchase a 1/2 case, $8.00 per bottle if you purchase a case. Also, all White Oak non-wine merchandise will be $10 off! Items less than $10 are “Buy one, get 1 50% off”.

This is a great opportunity to stock up, Buy Local, and have memories later to remember the event; if you enjoy the wine and the hospitality, grab a few bottles. Per yesterday’s article, don’t forget to pack a cooler, or two!

Have a GREAT wine and food filled weekend – You can follow my adventures, tasting notes, and pics on Twitter (hash tag #TAV10) and Facebook.

Twitter posts are also displayed right here on the blog on the Tweetedia widget on the right column of the blog.


Tips & Suggestions for June 5&6 Taste Alexander Valley

We are just a few days away from the Taste of Alexander Valley, a fun filled weekend, I am very much looking forward. Thirty-five Wineries, many without tasting rooms, or open to public are pairing their wines, with gourmet food, and in many cases entertainment. Reviewing the list last night, planning my route, was making my mouth water – the wineries have really outdone themselves.

Planning Your Stops

If you have read my articles before on events, you will recall a consistent theme of making a plan. Taste Alexander Valley has a little more leisurely pace than some of the Sonoma events where you have to choose from 100+ wineries in a few days, but I have always found the event more enjoyable if I take a few minutes with a map, the list of offers by winery and make an ‘A’ list of those I don’t want to miss. You have unique opportunities, such as “Outlaw 7” seven very small wineries,  you may not come across otherwise.

I find it fun to also have a bit of a theme for the weekend; is my main focus this time exploring wineries I have never been too? Maybe its on a hunt for a certain type of varietal (wine type). Maybe mostly visit favorites. Maybe the music and/or food offers are the theme. I often do one theme one day, and one the other.

My two personal quests for this event: (1) visit as many new wineries as I can, as I have tended to focus on my faves like Stryker Sonoma, Trione and a few others repeatedly, more from habit and friendship.  (2) My love affair with Rhone wines (22 wonderful varietals from the Rhone region of France) after attending Hospice du Rhone remains at an all time high, so I will be seeking these out. I have already marked producers of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier; I am hoping to find some other Rhone varietals and blends. (Petite Sirah doesn’t count sorry.) Shout out to me if you have one, or know of one!

Print out the two page overview, look at the map make some notes, give it some thought, I promise you’ll find the investment worthwhile instead of randomly driving and stopping.

The Alexander Valley website also has a great sorting tool where you can search by wines produced, amenities and more.

What to bring

As a near professional eventer, I have a standard list of things I load up to have on hand:

  • Clothing: Yes, wear clothes. Plan on layers, the day starts cool and warms as it goes. Most events seem focused on outside, but if you spend anytime in a barrel room or cellar, the temperature will be 58 degrees, you’ll want a layer to put on. Weather info here.
  • Credit Card: This is a great time to buy wine; some of these wineries don’t have tasting rooms, or limited distribution. If you find something you like, buy a bottle or 3. Many wineries will be offering sales on releases and cases, which I will feature in a article tomorrow.  Many of these wineries are (very) small business and family owned, and they aren’t non profits, they stay in business via wine sales. These events don’t generate profit, they actually cost the winery money unless sales are good. Please support small local business and artisans.
  • Cooler. I actually bring two. One small one with soft drinks, water, caffeine sources, fruit, and a second larger one for wine. There is no better way to ruin wine then to leave it in a 75+ degree car for the afternoon.
  • Spit Cup: Most consumers are not going to do this, but I am relentless on sharing how this changed my tasting experience. If you become a hard core wine taster, you eventually have no choice to learn this; taste 50+ wines in an hour and you learn why the big red plastic cups are prevalent at industry events. It takes as little as 6-8 oz of wine to impact your sensory analysis and judgement, and move from wine tasting, to drinking.  Nothing wrong with the latter, if being responsible, but it depends on your goal. Tasting room staff should generally recognize a more serious wine taster and buyer, and you usually also get more interesting pours. At a minimum, especially in the first few hours as you warm up, make use of the dump bucket – its not an insult to take a taste, and dump out the rest.
  • Sunny Disposition: You are in gorgeous wine country, having fun. Smile, relax, breathe the great air and be one with the vineyard. If it gets busy, go easy on that staff (often volunteers) helping out. Saturday afternoon is generally the busiest time, so I plan accordingly and seek out the less beaten paths.

For participating wineries, the article I wrote a few months ago  may be of interest:

Still haven’t bought a ticket yet? Don’t wait, the Friday night opening Gala has already sold out. You can save $20 buy buying online in advance, AND use promo code FBOOK.

I hope that is helpful, don’t hesitate to post questions, suggestions, or comments – I want to hear from you!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow (or sign up for email updates) for a special article on Sales Promotions by participating wineries.

Cheers, and hope to see you there! You can also follow my adventures, tasting notes, and pics on Twitter (hash tag #TAV10) and Facebook.

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