Posts Tagged ‘Anderson Valley’

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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Highlights and Top Picks of the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

May 20-22nd was the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. It was a busy wine weekend, with overlapping events including Taste Alexander Valley. I had missed the last few years Anderson Valley Pinot Festival due to similar conflicts, and decided to prioritize the event this year. I headed first to Scharffenberger Cellars , who hosted a media tasting, then over to Goldeneye for the walk around tasting. The day prior was a series of technical seminars and tastings, I unfortunately missed, a mistake I will not repeat in 2012.

I will gush in more detail about both, but this is not to be missed event for Pinot-philes.

My Picks from the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Tasting

Kudos to Kristy Charles, President of the Anderson Valley Wine Growers Association – the morning Media tasting one was one of the best organized I have attended. I had expected a walk-around tasting, but instead it was a self pour tasting of 30 current releases.

It was very well organized – at the door I received a clipboard with a 3 page spreadsheet that listed the winery, vintage, vineyards, retail price, release date, and case production. This made note taking so much easier and efficient.  Each bottle was on the table with detailed vinification notes in front.  (And on the clipboard to take home for reference.) While I enjoy winemaker interaction and questions I really like this format. It's very productive, allows focus and your own pace.

Overall, I was highly  impressed with the tasting. Of the 30 only two were given a low score, poor impression. I am vocal that my palate and personal philosophy is focused on wines that are balanced, with good acidity and restraint. You get no points for a Pinot the color of a Bordeaux varietal, with tannins to match. If anything, I am more drawn to a wine that was left to it's own, to express that years vintage.

Pinot Noir is one of the most expressive wine varieties of terroir and vintage, and should be different each year. Anderson Valley vintners show well in this regard, and I almost feel guilty picking out favorites. (I will confess I got to the tasting late, and had to accelerate a bit through the last 1/3, so notes not as lengthy as normal. )

Some of these will be pouring at tomorrow's Taste of Mendocino event – look for them.

My Personal Top Recommendations

  • Baxter Winery 2009 Run Dog Vineyard Native yeast. 18 months neutral French oak. 10% whole cluster. 100% Pommard 5 clone. Unfined/unfiltered. Lighter red color. Earthy nose, bright red fruit, cranberry, excellent acidity, finish. 14.3% alcohol.  110 cases. $45
  • Breggo Cellars 2009 Anderson Valley Ten months in 44% new French oak. Blend of many clones. Nose of earth, spice, red fruit, Bolder and plush on the palate. 14.8% alcohol.  2183 cases. $38
  • Couloir Wines 2009 Monument Tree 30% whole cluster. Native yeast. 30% new French oak. Unfined/unfiltered. Bright nose of red fruit and spice. Strawberry, red fruit and pomegranate. Great acidity, long finish. 14.1% alcohol, 143 cases. $38
  • Elke Vineyards 2009 Donnelly Creek Vineyard 100% de-stemmed. Burgundy yeast, nati

    ve ML. Blend of five clones. Unfiltered. Burgundian nose of earth, forest floor, mushroom. Strawberry, raspberry, silky finish. 14.3% alcohol.  840 cases. $34

  • Foursight Wines 2007 All-In, Charles Vineyard Native yeast. 20% whole cluster. Blend of 777, 114, 115, Pommard 05 clones. Unfined/unfiltered. No racking, 44% neutral barrels. Gorgeous Medium red color, gorgeous nose, cherry and pomegranate, excellent acidity. 407 cases, $46
  • Harrington Wines 2009 Wiley Vineyard Partial native yeast, 10 months French oak 25% new. Blend of 90% Pommard, 10% 777 clones. Light red color, modest nose, bright cherry, great acidity. 14.1% alcohol, 261 cases, $40
  • Londer Vineyards 2009 Paraboll (Ferrington & Valley Foothills vineyards) 40% new French oak. Blend of Pommard and Roederer 23 clones. Bright red, berry and spice on the nose, red and dark fruit, good structure and acidity, pleasing finish. 14.8% alcohol, 379 cases
  • Macphail 2009 Toulouse Vineyard Partial native yeast. Native ML. 3 months lees stirring. 11 months 60% new French oak. Unfined/unfiltered. Blend of 115, 667, 777 and Wadenswil 2A clones. Light, delicate, earthy, sensuous. Lingering finish. 14.3% alcohol. 267 cases. $49

Onto The Walk Around Tasting

The day was gorgeous – sunny and modest temperature. The reception upon arrival and general disposition of the staff and attendees mirrored that – the friendly attitude was warm and genuine – a phenomenon repeated every time I visit Mendocino County it seems.

Inside was yet more Pinot Noir. Seeking a bit of a palate break, I sought out bubbles and rose' – only a few were to be had….surprising, especially for the Rose'.

A band played, people lingered and relaxed in the grass, or sat on benches nibbling on treasures from the various food stations. I was solo – no friends or partners in crime could attend, and I was due back for a BBQ by five, or else I may

have lingered all day myself. I did finally meet my Twitter friend Chenoa, who works for Zina Hyde Cunningham Winery. It's always a pleasure to finally meet virtual wine friends in person, and Chenoa was as fun and bubbly in person as she is on Twitter.

After a few hours of tasting, chatting, a few bids on the silent auction, I reluctantly tore myself away to head back to North Sonoma, vowing next year to book a place to stay early (although with my growing cadre of Mendocino friends and wineries, perhaps not needed) and stay all 3 days. On Sundays, the wineries have open houses, but alas I had a 12 hour day of vineyard prep work ahead of me, so there was no wine playtime ahead for Simple Hedonisms.

Until next year….

My affinity for this wine region continues to grow. In 2 weeks I have the honor to attend a small writers work shop with icon Paul Dolan, and then in August, have been invited to be one of the judges in the Mendocino Count wine competition. Between trips there, and coming home to my loved Sonoma county and new farm/vineyard in Russian River Valley – my life seems full, and blessed indeed.

Thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms – cheers!

Related Articles:

Monday June 13 – Another Evolution in Wine Events – The Taste of Mendocino.

Mendocino Wine Region – My Growing Love Affair & Weekend Tour; Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format


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Alsace Anyone? Visit the Anderson Valley International Alsace Varietals Festival

post by Deborah Kravitz

Alsace Anyone?

If you thought that the Anderson Valley was solely about Pinot Noir, you are in for a surprise.  Next weekend marks the Anderson Valley’s 6th Annual International Alsace Varietals Festival.  The Festival takes place on February 12, 2011 at the Mendocino Fairgrounds in Booneville, CA, the gateway to Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley AVA.  There are a number of very cool things about this event:

1.  It’s in the Anderson Valley.  Let’s just get this out of the way up front.  I love Anderson Valley.  It is a gorgeous drive up there, no matter from which direction you come (although I typically approach from the East, through the picturesque Yorkville Highlands). I especially like to drive through early in the morning.  There is just something special – ethereal really – about the morning light filtered through wisps of lingering fog.  If you haven’t found an excuse to trek out there, let this festival be the reason.

2.  The Festival showcases some of the “other” lovely varietals that the Anderson Valley is known for, beyond the ubiquitous (and delicious) Pinot Noir.  Give your Pinot-palate a break and get to know the Rieslings and Gewürztraminers that do so well in the valley.  Like Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Riesling grapes love a cool climate. With a heavy cool, coastal influence, look for Anderson Valley Gewürztraminers to exhibit spicy notes with juicy acidity. As for the Rieslings, you’ll find they run the gamut from dry, fresh, floral wines to sweet late-harvest dessert wines.

3.  The Festival is international in scope, so you may experience a wide array of traditional Alsace varietals from different parts of the world.  You will be able to taste not only Riesling and Gewürztraminer, but also Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc (a personal fave), and Muscat.  Wineries from Alsace (France), the Finger Lakes region of NY, New Zealand, and a number of other Northern California AVAs will all be represented at the grand tasting.

The Festival kicks off early on Saturday morning with a Technical Conference that will focus on New World vs. Old World producing techniques, featuring experts from around the world. Then the real fun begins with the Grand Tasting from 1-4 p.m.  which includes some food pairings.  Get your tickets now!  See you there and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog – cheers!

Wine Review: 2007 Boonville, Jim Ball Vineyards – Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir – oh how I love thee, let me count the ways. I keep waiting for palette fatigue to diminish my love affair with Pinot Noir as it has other varietals, but it never seems to abate…silky, seductive, finicky, and when its right, a sensory experience that makes you fall in love, for the 500th time…..

I have quested for an every day Pinot ~$20 that wouldn’t disappoint me for quite some time…on occasion I find it, but its generally been when K&L Wines, the Bay area’s premier wine merchant, does one of their great deals, as they often do. K&L is hard to beat, they literally travel the planet for wine, and allow you to purchase wine on their excellent website, and they will hold it Will Call it for 90 days, in the San Francisco SOMA or Redwood City location. Somehow every time I pick up I have 2-3 cases….dunno how that happens! I generally use them for imports, especially as I dabble more and more in French wines….however this gem I am reviewing caught my eye in an email.

I have to confess when I get an email from them about a Pinot saying:

” was $45 elswhere, 92 points from Wine Enthusiast! And, according to Wine Spectator: “Spicy cherry, wild berry and raspberry are ripe and full-bodied, fresh and lively, with firm tannins. Ends with a pretty burst of dark berry frutiness. Drink now through 2013. 650 cases made.” (Web only, 2009) Virtually any 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot at $19.99 is a steal. This is a complete and balanced wine with great acidity, beautiful cherry fruit with just a hint of cola, spice and earthy flavors. Don’t be afraid to buy a case, this wine will drink beautifully for the next year or two.This is probably my favorite of the two ’07 Jim Ball wines I tasted this year.

You had me at Pinot, Anderson Valley, 650 cases, Jim Ball Vineyards. I’ll gamble, 9 bottles ordered, 6 for me, 3 for Deb, my once blog editor, whom I hope will return soon after the CA Bar exam. (Thats law, not bar tending.)

This Pinot Noir doesn’t disappoint, the $20 sale price is just a plus. (The website still shows the originally price at $50.)

Color: Bright, brickish, lively color

Nose: Abundant mushroom and earth on nose at initial opening.  later to expose more of the cherry and red fruit.

In the Mouth: Well balanced acidity and tannins; the earthiness carries onto the palette, combined with cherry, berry a hint of spice.  The finish is pleasant, seductive and lingering.

If you are looking for a big, extracted, dark purply Pinot, this isn’t it. It’s not delicate or Burgundian, but it’s no wimp, and exhibits the many layers of complexity that make me love a good Pinot.

Glad I bought a few bottles at this price – the blind gamble paid off!

Pinot Lover? Don’t forget the Pinot Summit is almost here, and a few tickets left. Simple Hedonisms readers get a special discount, thanks to the generosity of Event creator, Barbara. Hope to see you there!

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