Posts Tagged ‘Napa’

Tuesday August 27, The Rhone Rangers Ride into Napa for Art and Wine

The members of the North Coast Chapter of the Rhone Rangers are joining together to offer wine aficionados a chance to taste Rhone wines from 15 wineries.

The event is from 3-7 p.m. at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville.

Taste Through Rhone wines, Red, White, & Rosé

This is your chance to taste over 45 wines from a 15 Rhone producers, from veteran icons to new and emerging wineries that make very small productions and 100 case lots.Rhone Rangers

Wineries include: Anaba, Maclaren, Cornerstone, Two Shepherds, Meyer Family Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Kale, Kieran Robinson, Wesley Ashely, Carica, Euclid, Truchard Vineyards, Petrichor, Donelan Family Wines and Campovida.

Taste multiple wines from 15 producers for less than the price of most Napa tasting rooms, $20 in advance. ($25 at the door.) Less than the cost of a single tasting in most Napa tasting rooms!

Tickets here:

Please note: If you are a qualified member of the Trade (wine buyer for restaurant, retail) or Media (actively publishing writer or blog.) there is a separate tasting available, please email

Enjoy Art, Cheese, Wine & More

Enjoy art on display from the Napa Valley Museum, sample cheese from Oxbow.  New! Truffles to taste and on sale from Bert's Desserts, very popular at other events!

Have a Date With The Devil

The tasting will be held in the Museum’s main gallery where visitors will be surrounded by Date with the Devil, a juried exhibition NV Museum - 2C Logoof new work by 19 regional artists based on the legend of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for riches, power, youth and wisdom.

Date with the Devil reminds us that who we are is ultimately defined by the choices we make. Also on display are 26 devil-inspired prints by late Calistoga artist Earl Thollander. The History Gallery on the first floor will also be open free of charge. All galleries are free of charge.

Have Fun, Compare, & Vote For Your Favorite

Similar to their smash hit Grenache Day and Rosé tastings – attendees get a clipboard of information with detailed notes on each wine, and walk around to interact with each winery.

Attendees will have a chance to vote for their favorite wines. Help pick the top wine of the day!

Participating Wineries Include:

  • MaclarenWesley Ashley
  • Cornerstone
  • Two Shepherds
  • Meyer Family Vineyards
  • Ridge Vineyards
  • Kale Wines
  • Kieran Robinson
  • Wesley AshelyRidge_Vineyards_logo
  • Carica Wines
  • Euclid
  • Truchard Vineyards
  • Petrichor
  • CampovidaKale
  • Anaba
  • Donelan Family Wines



prednisone pain relief

Simple Hedonisms goes ‘Zinful’ and judges Napa vs Sonoma Zin Sibling Rivalry

Last month I had the honor to participate as a judge in the first of the series of a Napa vs Sonoma tastings, also known as ‘Sibling Rivalry.‘ The event is sponsored by wine entrepreneur Becky Tyner of Small Lots, Big Wines.  Becky showcases small boutique producers in Napa. I have a soft spot for the little guy scrapping it out, so I am a big fan.

Becky and I have been connected via Social Media for awhile, but met for the first time (geek term IRL – In Real Life). (I have been resolving with my well attended Facebook Wine Meetups.)

The Sibling Rivalry Series donates a portion of its proceeds to The Rutherford Grange, a historic building, and great venue.

I have to admit, despite a lot of classes in wine evaluation, sensory analysis,  at UC Davis and SRJC and lots of tastings and reviews, was a little nervous judging against Sommeliers, Master Sommeliers, and Wine Makers, especially when Becky announced in addition to the blind tasting, there would be a separate contest  for fun; where judges attempted to barrel program, County, AVA, price point, blend. On top of this, while I do like Zin, and have a decent amount in my cellar, it’s not a red varietal I drink a lot of.

Blind Tastings and Sensory Thresholds

Stories abound on blind tastings, and just how hard it is to determine many of these factors, or even just guess the varietal. Judges have ranked sub $10 wines higher than $100 ones, only to be embarrassed later.  Studies in sensory analysis at UC Davis and other institutions, have learned a lot about the sensory thresholds of the palette, and what people can and can’t taste.

You can actually measure at what level a person can detect tannins, or a certain aroma characteristic, esther, or other wine components, and it varies widely by person. Recognizing that one wine judge versus another can have a big impact on scoring. If one can detect tannins very easily, and the next requires a much higher tannin level to detect, the two judges may have very different experiences of the same wine. Numerous articles exist to support this, including this one. (Warning – wine geek document.) A less geeky article is also here.

Some wine  contests (few so far it seems) are starting to divide judges in categories of non tasters, taster, super tasters, based on these thresholds and taste bud density.

I decided to just focus on what I know about wine, my fairly broad experience, and evaluate each wine for its own individual attributes, as objectively as I could. The fact that Zin isn’t my most favored red varietal may have in fact helped, as I think I was able to somewhat divorce personal preferences, and focus on the quality of the wine. Whether it was skill, luck, or some combination, it seemed to work, as I actually had the best overall score.

The Results:

Judges Choice

  • The overall Valley winner in the Judge’s competition was…..Napa, by a narrow margin of one point, which was the 07 Fontanella/Napa Valley/ Mt. Veeder and Oakville.
  • The highest scoring Sonoma Zin was 07 Tin Barn Russian River/Sonoma County/Russian River-Glisson Vineyard.

Public Choice

There was also a public competition, with 13 tables of a Napa vs Sonoma. The public leaned towards Sonoma.  The top three favorites were all Sonoma wines with Mayo and Viansa both coming in at number one.   Chase Cellars was the favorite Napa Wine. In 13 head to head competitions, Sonoma wines won 8 times.  Even when broken down between male and females..Sonoma still wins.   Some tables were very close, separated by only a point or two.  Others were landslides. (Detailed results in Becky’s blog post.)

Next Up – Napa vs Sonoma Cabernet

This Sunday, Feb. 20th, is Round Two: Cabernet. This time Becky did 3 rounds of pre-tastings to narrow down some of the wines, I participated at one of these, kindly hosted by Cellars of Sonoma. Tickets for the public are only $10, and dinner (Please RSVP and pre-order) is only $8. The event runs from 4-8 p.m. but the judging stops at 6, so that there is time to announce the results.

I enjoy Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals, in fact that’s almost all I drank the first ten years of my wine drinking. Since then I have become much more of a fan of Burgundian varietals (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay) and Rhone (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier, etc.) Cabernet is generally more complex and winemakers sometimes take a more active role in its style, so this event will be interesting. I am guessing my fellow judges, which include some big Cab enthusiasts, will edge me out this time, and I will do better next month when we do Syrah – but it’s a blind judging, so we’ll see!

Come out and support your favorite valley. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010
4:00pm – 8:00pm
Rutherford Grange
8576 St. Helena HWY
Rutherford, CA

Wine Country Events Dec 4-6 – Sonoma and Napa Counties

Its a busy weekend again, despite no big ‘passport’ events for Sonoma County this weekend (although there is a mini one in Russian River for those ‘on the list’ .) There is never a dull moment though in Sonoma County, here are some of the many options to enjoy that caught Simple Hedonisms attention:There is never a dull moment though in Sonoma County, here are some of the many options to enjoy that caught Simple Hedonisms attention:

There are TWO passport events though in Napa, in Rutherford and Calistoga, see below.

Friday Dec 4

Vine Tastings – Meet The Winemaker 7 p.m.vinetastings

My favorite new place to eat in Windsor, with a great new chef,  is hosting meet Jennifer Wall the winemaker for J Lynne Wines.

They will have new chef William Oliver create scrumptious appetizers to pair with her wines.  Please RSVP in advance as there is limited seating.

Vine Tasting’s. 9058 Windsor Rd, Windsor, Ca 95492.  (707)620-0833

Sat Dec 5th

Pellegrini – Holiday Open House and Winter Pick-Up Event

Celebrate the Season with a Day of Wine Tasting, Holiday Shopping and Good Cheer in the Russian River Valley. Please join in ringing in the holidays at Pellegrini Family Vineyards! The Winery will be decked out for the holidays, and the Tasting Room will be filled with festive gifts and special holiday fare. A special visit from Santa will take place at 2:30 p.m. Reservations are required For any additional questions, please contact Barbara Pellegrini Rodriguez at 800-891-0244 ext. 2, or This is a fun facility, normally open by appointment only.

Hauck Cellars – Jeff Mall, Josh Silvers, Down Home: Downtown signing

Stop by Hauck Cellars on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 1-4pm. Zin Restaurant’s Jeff Mall will be there signing his cookbook, Down Home: Downtown, co-written with Josh Silvers of Syrah Bistro.

Siduri Wines – Open House

I wrote an article about Siduri Wines a few months ago. Siduri (all Pinot) and Novy (other varietals) is having their annual open house this Saturday. This is a special treat both because of the wide variety of wines they will pour, and because Siduri is normally open by appointment only. Don’t miss it!

Windsor Oaks Vineyard & Winery – Open House.

Windsor Oaks will be open to the public for wine tasting this Saturday and Sunday – normally only open 18 days a year. Come sample their handcrafted very small production wines. A $10 tasting fee applies and there is no charge for our Club members.
(Tasting fee is refundable with 2+ bottle purchase. All tastings in Riedel glasses.

Michel Schlumberger Holiday Market Bazaar

Michel Schlumberger Wine Estate, 4155 Wine Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 11-5pm

Why not go Holiday gift shopping AND drink great wine?  This Saturday, December 5th, Michel Schlumberger features nearly a dozen local artists and craftsmen and women with great holiday gifts in our courtyard.  And what a coincidence, it is their last Wine Bench Pick Up Party with food by local chef Dan Lucia. Pouring the newly released 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Syrah.

Heidi Barrett – Winemaker Tasting 300-53o pmheidi barrett

The Wine Shop – Healdsburg, 331 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, CA

Join them this Saturday from 3:00-5:30 and meet one of the most celebrated winemakers in the world. Just back from her trip to China, Heidi will be pouring the current releases from her La Sirena label. If you ask nicely, she may even sign a bottle for you.

Sunday Dec 6th

Summit School – Stonestreet Tasting Room 1-3 pm 7111 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA

Riedel Glassware Tasting Seminar

Discover how difverpack_sommeliersferent wine glasses enhance the flavors and aromas in wine. Friends from Riedel are joining  this class where you will have the chance to experience first hand the difference the right wine glass can make.

The tuition for this class also includes a set of four Riedel glasses.

Simple Hedonisms note: Stemware RULES!!! if you are new to wine, or don’t think stemware makes a difference, go try this class!!

Wine Club 8 at the Gate Day – 8 Russian River Wineries 11-4 pm

To help celebrate and get into the holiday spirit, 8 Russian River Wineries are mutually extended Wine Club member benefits to each other.  If you are a member of Lynmar, Dutton-Goldfield, Dutton Estate, Hanna, Iron Horse, Marimar, or Taft Street Winery,you are invited to visit each with wine club member perks for a very special day of wine, food and exclusive perks in the Russian River Valley on Sunday, December 6, from 11 am to 4 pm.

For this special day, you can visit all, enjoy some wonderful wine and food, and receive all the privileges of being a member of all 8 wine clubs for the day. Our wineries are within 3 miles of each other at the gateway to the Russian River Valley, so it’s a perfect fit for a day. (For those members too far away to join in person, each winery will offer its discount via web or phone orders on December 6th only. When ordering use the code “8 at the Gate” to receive your discount.)

There’s no charge for this fabulous event and no reservation necessary-it’s our way of sharing some holiday spirit and saying Thank You to  loyal wine club members. And, it’s a great way for you to taste and purchase wines at very good discounts, just in time for your holiday shopping. Please view the map to see the participating wineries, locations and websites

Mutt Lynch Winery – Open Sundays in December

This is a treat, as Mutt Lynch isn’t normally open, save for events.patch07_harvest_250x167

To help welcome in the holiday season, Mutt Lynch will be opening their winery doors each Sunday of this month – December 6th, 13th and 20th – from Noon to 4pm. Come canines, come humans, come all!  If you’re anywhere in the neighborhood, please made certain to swing by and enjoy a taste (or two… or three… or four!) of our wine.  We’ll have some holiday nibbles for both human and canine to make it worth your while.

And More

There are tons of other family related wine country and other events on December event page.

Napa Events

Calistoga – Winter in the Wineries, Passport Weekend

Just saw this Thursday by luck on a Twitter tweet – wish I had known earlier.

The Event: Weekend Passports, at $40 each, entitle the holder to tours at numerous wineries, wine tasting, and meeting winemakers, and exclusive special discounts by restaurants and lodging venues.

To Purchase Passports: To purchase your Winter in Wineries Passports online, please click here.


Rutherford Passport Weekend

Gah, another I just saw now. The appellation has a newsletter mailing, signed up so won’t miss again.

The Rutherford Passport Weekend is the premier consumer event sponsored by wineries residing in this historical appellation.  Experience the wineries of the Rutherford Appellation as never before. Passport Weekend allows Passport holders exclusivity to special pourings, barrel and tank tastings, paired food and wines, and conversations with the winemakers – all of which will make for a memorable time in beautiful Napa Valley.  Read about the participating wineries.

Get Simple Hedonisms via Email

Your email is always secure and never distributed. (You will need to click an activation link via email to complete your subscription.)

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Wine on Instagram
Reaching over 8,000 Readers A Month!
Unique Monthly Readers (not hits), as reported by Bluehost Awstats
North Coast Tasting Rooms
Like Rhone Wines? Check out these North Coast Rhone Rangers locations. Click here to download the printable four page map.
Subscribe Via Google Reader/RSS
Follow Me on Pinterest
August 2017
« Dec    
Past Articles and Reviews
Cellar Tracker Tasting Notes - Last 50