Posts Tagged ‘Lake County’

Upcoming Wine Events in the North Coast, February 4 – 12

William has invited me to keep you apprised of upcoming wine events for the North Coast with weekly posts here at Simple Hedonisms. Each article will cover roughly 2 weeks of events taking place in Lake, Mari

n, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties. Every now and then, there’ll be a sneak preview of something farther out in time or distance.

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at NorCalWine.com where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep.

One-time, up-front disclaimer (in future articles, this will appear at the end): The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Enjoy!

Event organizers and publicists wishing to maximize the likelihood of their events being published here should post their events in the calendar at NorCalWine.com. Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at NorCalWine.com with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Now that that’s out of the way… Wow! What a busy couple of weekends we’ve got coming up. If it weren’t for the Super Bowl this Sunday — an event against which few wineries are daring to compete — I’d still be clacking away, adding festivities. Valentine’s Day has inspired a huge bouquet of events pairing wine and chocolate, wine and oysters, wine and flowers, wine and romance. I’ll take any of those over a Hallmark card. (Gentlemen, this is not a suggestion that you forgo a card this year. Bad idea!)

Have a great weekend and I hope to see you tomorrow afternoon at the Micro-Winery Collective Open House at the Inspiration Vineyards tasting room in Santa Rosa.

Lake County

Saturday, February 11

Wine & Chocolate . . . and More! at Mt. Konocti Winery — Lakeport: 12:00 – 4:00
There will be more than 30 wineries pouring premium Lake County wines paired with gourmet chocolates and savories by Master Sommelier Candidate and Masters of Wine Candidate Sommelier Stephanie Green.

Marin County

Tuesday, February 7

Happy Hour with Tudal Family Winery at Bacchus Venus — Sausalito: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Taste through a flight of Tudal Wine’s for $10.


Mendocino County

Sunday, February 11

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy McFadden’s wines made from 100% organically-grown grapes and paired with a delicious food treat.

Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza at RWV Wineries — Redwood Valley: 11:00am – 5:00pm
One ticket gets you a glass for Wine Tasting and Chocolates at all 9 locations.

Cupid in the Caves at Saracina Vineyards, Hopland: 12:30pm – 4:00pm
Stop by the Saracina Tasting Bar for the romance-inducing foods of the gods: wine, oysters and chocolate!

Crab Feast in the Barrel Room at Jaxon Keys Winery — Hopland: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
A Valentines Weekend Crab Feast in the Jaxon Keys Barrel Room. They’ll start things off with Oysters three ways: Rockefeller, Florentine, and raw and then it’s all about the crab!

Napa Valley

Friday, February 3

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Saturday, February 4

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Oakville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Cabernet Release Event at Bennett Lane Winery — Calistoga: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Visit Bennett Lane Winery for the pre release of their 2009 Cabernet and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winter Tag-a-Long at Saddleback Cellars — Oakville: 11:00am – 5:00pm
It’s a great day to taste at Oakville wineries since most in the area celebrate the release of the 2007 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon! At Saddleback, they’ll have an enhanced tasting day with food from Rebel-Dog and live music by the Wasted Rangers.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Cosentino Winery — Yountville: 12:00pm – 04:00pm
Get a sneak peak at the Cosentino Winery Reserve Cabernet and its library varietal, paired with chocolate.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Girard Winery — Yountville: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
A sneak peak at the inaugural release of the Girard Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Friday, February 10

Cupid’s Kitchen at Girard Winery — Yountville: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Bubbles, the Oyster Girls from Tomales Bay, a sensuous chocolate fountain and exquisite cheeses.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Oyster and Wine Pairing at Black Stallion Winery — Napa: 12:00pm – 4:00pm or until the oysters run out
Oysters by the pair, six-pack or dozen. And wine!

Goosecross Valentine’s Day Party at TopFlight — Napa: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Enjoy an afternoon of wine, chocolate and romance.

San Valentino Dinner at Andretti Winery — Napa: 6:00pm – 10:30pm
Put on your best Upscale Wine Country attire and come celebrate amore and Valentine’s Day with Andretti Winery.

Sonoma County

Saturday, February 4

Crab Feed at Sbragia Family Vineyards — Geyserville: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
The Sbragia family invites you to join them for an evening of cracked crab and fabulous wine!

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Geyserville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Syrah Saturday at Amista Vineyards – Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy Amista’s signature estate wines with gourmet food pairings from 11:00-4:30 on Saturday, February 4th.

Wine & Chocolate Fantasy at Rodney Strong Vineyards — Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
The Rodney Strong barrel room is transformed into a beautiful series of halls and rooms, featuring wine and chocolate and chocolate and wine!

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration — Santa Rosa: 11:00am – 5:00pm
These wineries don’t have public tasting rooms. This is a special opportunity for you to try and buy wines from seven uniquely different wineries, each

with their own winemaker present to tell you their stories and introduce you to their wines.

Fundrasier for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue at Marimar Estate — Sebastopol: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Tapas, wine, and an education booth run by Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Tuesday, February 7

Tasting Tuesdays at Willi’s Wine Bar — Santa Rosa: 4:00pm – 05:30pm
This week’s guest is Jesse Inman of August Briggs Wines.

Friday, February 10

Roche Winemaker Dinner at Sheraton Sonoma County — Petaluma: 6:30pm – 09:00pm
This “Pre-Spring Fling” Winemaker Dinner is open to the public, however, advanced reservations and RSVP are required.

Saturday, February 11

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Sweet 116 at the Wineries of 116 — Sebastopol: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Enjoy decadent treats and delicious wines at six wineries along Highway 116 near Sebastopol.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Miette Pastries at J Vineyards — Healdsburg: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Head over to J Vineyards and Winery and enjoy tasty treats prepared by Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell from the Miette, San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop.

Tasting Room Grand Opening at Karah Estate/Windy Hill — Cotati: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Come to the grand opening of the new Karah Estate tasting room and enjoy a free tasting, plus its panoramic view of the Petaluma Gap!

A Zin Affair to Remember at DeLoach Vineyards — Santa Rosa: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Vertical Zinfandel tastings, gourmet chocolate, local artisan cheeses, live music and more!

Sunday, February 12

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Love and Meritage Blending Party at Topel Tasting Room — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Topel winemaker Marcus Topel will pair up with KRSH Radio’s Ziggy Eschliman, best known as Ziggy – The Wine Gal, to guide friends (with or without benefits) and lovers through the wine blending process.

Wine Lover’s Event at Mounts Family Winery — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Indulge yourself with a wine, cheese & chocolate Pairing and try pre-release Petite Sirah, Malbec viagra best buy and Zinfandel. RSVP required.

Looking Forward

Don’t forget the 7th Annual Int’l Alsace Festival coming up on February 18 in Boonville. There will be an Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference a Grand Tasting and a Winemakers Dinner. I’ve attended this event before and really enjoyed it.

 

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. Photograph ©Igor Prole, used under license. All rights reserved.

Great surprises from Lake County Wineries found at "Wines with Altitude" event

I recently attended Wines with Altitude, where the vintners of Lake County California brought their wines to town — literally, to a stunning San Francisco venue on Treasure Island.  Casually dressed wine-makers and staff members poured and chatted with the attendees between baguettes and hummus.  A folksy event put together by the Lake County Winery Association, the four-hour pow-wow came with a classy glass sporting the Wines with Altitude slogan, a fresh personal-size baguette, and booklet with info and space for wine-tasting notes.  I attended as press.

The event was held at The Winery SF on Treasure Island. WARNING: This is a place of jaw-dropping city views. It was easy access and there were a couple of food trucks outside with picnic tables.

Inside there was a large main floor of wine pouring. An upstairs room featured winning wines from the 2011 Lake County Wine awards. In all, over 100 different wines were pouring from 20 or so wineries. There were olives and olive oil, pizzettas and gazpacho and some nice lounging areas in the

old building.

I’ve been known to favor Lake County Sauvignon Blancs. The Altitude theme suggested Reds.  I arrived with my notebook and spit-cup, eager to commence tasting, and not really knowing what to expect.  It turned out to be a day of surprises, some professional – like tasting a Lake County Aglianico, and some personal – like running into Napa Valley winemaker Nils Venge, the first person who exposed me to garagiste winemaking. The story: About twenty years or so ago, a group of friends and I loyally appeared every season to help Nils bottle his fledgling Saddleback Cellars wines in a small concrete block building on Money Road in Rutherford, CA. The little block building is still the nucleus of Saddleback and Nils now also owns Cougar’s Leap in Lake County.

I made an effort to taste every Sauvignon Blanc (SB), and there were quite a few. The Lake County SB’s were each so different, I couldn’t identify a Lake County “style” or varietal “character.” The only label I recognized was Guenoc, a widely distributed and solid SB. This was a good sign I was discovering a number of labels for the first time. I learned that Guenoc is a Valley – and it’s own AVA — and that the premium SB is their Langtry Sauvignon Blanc (250 cases produced vs thousands of Guenoc). I liked the Langtry.  My other favorite Sauvignon Blanc’s were 2 from Six Sigma Michael’s Vineyard – the 2010 stainless with bright fresh melon on the nose and classic grapefruit on the palette – and a single vineyard, very lightly oaked version that maintains a crisp, cleansing acidity while adding dimension from the oak.  This wine recently won best-in-class in the 2011 Lake County Wine Awards Competition, directed by Ray Johnson.

 

Winemaker Nils Venge

Cougar’s Leap offered a unique Sauvignon Blanc rendition – the 2010 Black Rock White which is 70% Semillion, 30% SB and, according to vintner Nils Venge, includes a boost from a one-time barrel of Albarino. Cougar’s Leap was pouring 2 other wines and they were memorable: The 2008 Black Rock Zinfandel with lots of fruit coming through structure and tannins, and which Venge claims with a crooked grin is “17% alcohol.” Reviewers have dubbed it “Ballistic!” Definitely a wine with “Altitude.” I finished with a 2007 Petite Sirah at Cougar’s Leap.

Nils introduced me to Gregory Graham, and I spent quite a bit of time at Greg’s table. Former wine-maker at Rombauer, Graham has been at it for 30 years.  At one point he was making 4 different Zinfandels for them.  For his own label, he makes only small lots using bins for fermentation. He says this has freed him from the constraints of tank-based wine-making, giving him a lot of flexibility.  He was pouring several wines. I tasted the 2009 Gregory Graham Red Hills Bartolucci Vineyard Viognier, one of the nicest Viognier’s I’ve had … and it’s a $16, 13.5% alcohol wine.  Graham’s 2007 Grenache was my personal favorite of the day, delivering a mouth-filling intensity and lingering romance of fruit and texture on the palette.  The 2008 Cinder Cone was my red blend favorite of the day – 48% Syrah, 24% Cabernet, and 14% each Malbec and Grenache. Big, balanced, and Red. Graham’s wines are well-priced, running from $15-16 for Dry Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, to a high of $38 for a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir he wasn’t pouring, and a number of wines in the $18-24 range. Gregory Graham wines represent star-quality wine-making at excellent value pricing.

Rosa d’Oro Aglianico.  This is a red varietal grape of Southern Italian regions – Basilicata and Campania – pronounced alianico.  I’ve had the Corte Normana from Campania (imported by Salvia Bianca), and heard of one or two Aglianico’s being vinted in California. So I was pleased and surprised to find Pietro Buttitta pouring his family’s estate-grown 2008 Aglianico. It’s a lovely wine expressing the full Aglianico character, if in a smoother, less rustic style than it’s Italian brethren. Well-priced at $18.  I tasted the 2008 Barbera, which won a Silver medal in the Chronicle Wine Competition – also a fine wine at the $18 price point.

I decided the only way to cope with the bounty of Rosa d’Oro, is to visit the their Tasting Room in Kelseyville and do some serious sampling of the Primativo, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Dolcetto and maybe a Rosato. And in another year or two, they will be bringing out a NegroAmaro! (You read it here first.) Pietro is also a prolific blogger – check him out here.

SF from Treasure Island

It’s clear I have a lot to learn about Lake county as a wine region and I’m planning to make a trip. You can find various Lake County Wine events online; next up is the Lake County Wine Auction on Sept 17. The event that interests me most is the People’s Choice Wine Awards and blind tasting on November 5.

I love blind tastings … as long as I can see the view!

One last surprise: Many of Lake County Wineries have active Facebook pages, but there is definitely room for growth in the Twitter realm. The Winery SF’s most recent tweet was in July, nearly 2 months ago. One would expect better care and feeding, especially when you have a high-profile name, location, and over 2000 Twitter followers.

 

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