Posts Tagged ‘cabernet’
Celebrate Sept 1st #Cabernet Day: complimentary Vertical tasting with Topel Winery & Simple Hedonisms in Downtown Healdsburg 1-7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept, 1 is International Cabernet day. People and wineries all over the world will be sharing and celebrating this noble grape, the number one sold red varietal in
the US. (Expanded hours – now from 1 to 7 p.m.!)
Special 3 Year Vertical Tasting
The tasting will take place in separate room adjacent to their tasting room, where you will enjoy a food pairing, and be able to taste this great vertical while chatting with the owners and winemakers, and other Cabernet aficionados.
These delightful cabernets are from the Topel’s estate in Hopland, and showcase why Mendocino County continues to grow in stature as a wine region. If you love Cabernet, you owe it to yourself to experience the quality and valley of mountain fruit.
After your tasting, feel free to head to the regular tasting and try other wines. Topel was one of the highest overall medaled wineries in the recent Mendocino Wine Competition, come see why!
Register to attend here: http://topelcabernet.eventbrite.com/
Special Cabernet Day Offer
As a special celebration, and thank you for attending, Topel is offering the 2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet, this day only, at a special purchase price.
Participants also receive 20% discount on the 2006 & 2007 Estate Cabernet.
Topel is also dog friendly, bring along your friend, we’ll have treats!
Come be our guests, experience great wine and great hospitality – cheers!
Mark & Donnis Topel – Topel Winery
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.)
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.
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.
I am supposed to be writing about Rhone varietals this week, (in honor of Hospice du Rhone) so of course, tonight’s review is about a Dry Creek Valley Sonoma Cabernet, from Amista Vineyards. ( I am being facetious since Cabernet is a Bordeaux varietal.)
Apologies to Simple Hedonism’s readers for being ‘away’ for a week; the amount of writing for 3 weekends of Barrel Tasting in two areas, and one of my infamous business road trips, 4 cities in 2 countries in 4 days…sometimes drinking wine takes precedence over writing about it.
I have to admit, I am a fan of Amista’s as much for their culture and hospitality, as their wines. But then, I have written repeatedly, living in an area with 160 wineries in a 30 mile radius; making good wine is table stakes to survive; you have to do more than just that to distinguish yourself.
Wine is more than a beverage, its an entity, a culture, an experience; and it starts when you enter the winery. I will write a proper review of Amista itself later, but suffice to say they have embraced their name: Amista translates as “it makes friends” – and Vicky, Mike, Ross, and the tasting room staff excel at that, and are growing a strong following of visitors and locals. Hospitality and making people feel welcome is Amista’s forte.
Wine Review Time
Another admirable quality about Amista, as a ‘newer’ winery is that they don’t release wines young, often a temptation. Current release Syrah is 2005, their ‘new’ release Zin is 2006, this cabernet reviewed is 2005. In case you don’t understand wine economics; holding back wine comes at a cost to a winery for storage and inventory costs, and cash flow. So when a more mature release is available at price parity to other wineries newer releases, there is an intrinsic value in that for you, the consumer.
2005 Amista Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Francesca’s Terrace
If you are tired of over the top Cabernet releases and long for style of years past; less tannins, good structure, easier to drink, you will appreciate this Cabernet release. Layers of complexity, but approachable and highly drinkable.
Color: A vivid, dark purple hue
On the Nose: hints of blackberry, blackcurrant, plum
On the Palate: Currant, red fruit, clove, berry. Pleasing mouth feel, excellent balance, and a pleasant lingering finish. Very drinkable now, could also be laid down a few more years.
425 cases made, suggested retail $42, a great price for a cabernet of this quality, and age.
I don’t give scores or stars or animal crackers in my wine reviews; but it should be self evident since I don’t publish ‘bad’ reviews, that a wine I am reviewing, from a winery I enjoy, is a ‘buy’ recommendation, at least for my own palette! Stop by and try some before this vintage is gone, and tell em Hi from William. Cheers!
Northern California Wine Country has many events, and its been a passion and pleasure of mine to attend many. While there are many good ones, there are a few that are GREAT. One of my favorites is this weekend’s Wine Road’s Wine & Food Affair. I feel some events are becoming a bit pricey for what they deliver; the Wine and Food Affair is one of the best values, and experiences Sonoma that Wine Country has to offer.
This special “Tasting Along the Wine Road” is November 7 & 8, Saturday & Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm. A Wine & Food Affair is the “premier event for the Wine Road, featuring a weekend of wine and food pairing in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.”
So what is this about? 80 wineries along the Wine Road (aptly named ‘Heaven Condensed’ ) offer food pairings to go along with their wines being poured. This is a ‘passport’ event – meaning you pay one fee, and can visit as many participating wineries as you wish. At just $60 for the entire weekend,or $40 for Sunday, this is an amazing value. People who pre-registered also get a great cookbook of the recipes.
So 5 hours a day for 2 days, and 80 wineries. How do you pick? I have a (longish) list of Wine Road favorites, but rather than rattle those off here (email me), I am going to try and stay neutral, and offer other suggestions to enjoy this event. And this is about food pairings, not just wine.
The Golden Rule: PLAN! Plan, plan, plan, plan. Did I say plan? Do you close your eyes at Safeway and throw random articles into your cart? No. So, don’t just drive down Dry Creek, or Westside Road and stop anywhere. There are great resources on the Wine Road website I am going to suggest – follow and use them.
So where do you start?
First are you going for one day or both? If only one, then its really important to map out a hit list, and start early.
1. What varietals (wine types) do you prefer?
You can partially match areas to this. Of course some wineries produce from all over, but generally if you prefer say, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, you should spend time in the area around Forestville – Sebastopol and visit places like Lynmar, Moshin, Balleto etc. These geographic lines do get a bit blurry though, as great Pinot houses like C. Donatiello, Thomas George, etc. are further North. Dry Creek Valley is known as Zin country, but many wineries produce a host of other varietals, especially Syrah, and sometimes Cab, Petite Syrah, and others, as does Alexander Valley. You may want to consider focusing on lighter varietals, like Pinot, in the morning, and then try more full-bodied wines in the afternoon.
(2) Use The Wine Road web site to assist you.
It has many great maps and sorting tools. My favorite page allows you to click and sort by varietals (wine types), region, and amenities. This latter one is very useful for identifying wineries that are open ‘By Appointment’ only. There are a number of wineries participating such as Acorn, John Tyler, Windsor Oaks, etc that normally are open to the public only by appointment, so this event is a great way to just pop in and experience those wineries without having to plan ahead a make an appointment.
You can also use the amenities sort feature to identify the wineries with picnic facilities, If you are really organized in planning your route, you can land at a good picnic spot right around lunch time.
(3) Consult the Participating Winery List.
Eighty wineries are participating – but the Wine Road has over 150 wineries, so don’t assume, double check. Especially for the wineries that are open by appointment only -some of these aren’t participating. It also doesn’t hurt to check with your favorite wineries if they don’t show up as participating. Mounts Family Winery in Dry Creek for example, isn’t on the official list, but will have free tastings for ticket holders, and is offering a food pairing.
(4) Bring a Spit Cup.
If you are serious about tasting wine, and hitting as many wineries as you can, I strongly urge you to bring your own spit cup. Spitting into a dump bucket in a crowded tasting room isn’t something I recommend, and many people find it unpleasant which is one reason why more people don’t. That’s why at industry events and wine classes, red plastic spit cups are usually available. They’re easier to use, unobtrusive, and allow for discreet spitting for those who are shy about spitting in public. I can’t underscore this enough – if you taste 4-5 wines at each location, you may not realize that you are easily consuming 1-2 glasses of wine per locale. However, as little as 5-6 ounces of wine is a enough to start to impact your palette and judgment. Yes the food will help a bit, but not enough, if you are making many stops. At a bare minimum, dump varietals you don’t care for. But that is only going to help a bit. Give spitting a try — for the morning at least. You will be glad you did!
(5) Bring a cooler. And your wallet.
If you like a winery, or they treat you extra special, buy something (or a few somethings!). They are artisans, but this isn’t charity. Weathermen are calling for mild weather this weekend according to the current forecast. It is supposed to be cloudy and 69 on Saturday, and 70 and sunny on Sunday. But these forecasters are the same guys that predicted that the harvest rain would only last one day. Heat is the enemy of wine…even a few hours of heat and sun will negatively impact a bottle. Bring a cooler just in case, and you can stock it with water, red bulls, and nibbles.
6. Start Early, hit off the path wineries later.
The well-known wineries, closer in, can get quite mobbed, especially by mid afternoon. Try and be there when the bell dings, and get an early start. When you map out your route, perhaps do the less familiar wineries, or those off the beaten path, later in the day.
7. In the event you DON’T Pre-Plan (tsk tsk) at LEAST print out the event page which lists the food pairing, and the participating wineries, AND the modified Wine Road map that shows ONLY the participating Wineries.
8. Be Courteous, Please
Some wineries are going to get busy. Try and be respectful of sharing the tasting space (do not stand 4 together at the bar, talking about your shoe purchase). Bond with your significant other and share the space one behind the other, thus doubling the space. Wearing perfume, talking at 120 decibels on your cell, chewing gum, trying to steal wine (true story), or being inebriated and harassing a tired pourer are all faux pax.
(Note to Winery owners and staff – I know it’s a trying, long weekend; but I have witnessed some appalling treatment at ‘bracelet events. In a down economy, and a push to sell Direct to Consumer (DTC), a little pre-event pep talk to your team may be in order. In years past, events like this were where I discovered some of my favorite wineries and – as a result of positive experiences –joined the wine club. )
Let’s all have fun – we are blessed to be surrounded by good people, good food, good wine; and this weekend is a culmination, and celebration of all three.