Posts Tagged ‘pinot noir’

Wine Events in the North Coast for February 15 – 24

Wine lovers and romantics are still coming down from the chocolate-induced sugar high last weekend’s pre-Valentine’s Day festivities caused. Fortunately, events for the coming days put the emphasis back on wine.

Start off your weekend with a jaunt

to the town of Sonoma this Friday evening. The Lodge at Sonoma is hosting the VinOlivo Grand Tasting. Nearly 60 different Sonoma wineries will be pouring and 25 restaurants and caterers serving.

If you’re a fan of Alsace varietals, or just like to laugh at people trying to say “Gewurtztraminer,” then I highly recommend you head up to Boonville this Saturday for the 7th annual Int’l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting. There you’ll find more Pinot Gris under one roof than imagine. And, if you get white wined out, you can amble down the road a bit and enjoy some lovely Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.

If you have an interest in California wine history — and would like to meet it — you’ve got to go the 6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. The food and wine are always excellent and you’ll never have a better opportunity to meet the legends of the California wine industry. Here are this year’s inductees.

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 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. For events in other regions, also check the calendar or my weekly NorCal event articles.

Lake County

Saturday, February 18

Ceago Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Owner Jim Fetzer, winemaker Barney Fetzer and family members will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.

Mendocino County

Saturday, February 18

Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference — Boonville: 9:00am – 11:30am
Winemakers from around the globe discuss winemaking and grape growing specifically for Alsace varietals.

7th annual Int’l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting — Boonville: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Meet the winemakers and taste Alsace-style white wines from around the world, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat.

Alsace Festival Winemakers Dinner at Shaffenberger Cellars — Philo: 6:30pm
Enjoy a sumptuous dinner with the winemakers and learn more about their wines in the elegant private dining room at Sharffenberger Cellars.


Napa Valley

Ongoing Events

Saturday February 11 – Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa:
10:00am – 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.

Friday, February 17

Cornerstone Cellars Winemaker Dinner at Bardessono — Yountville: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy a special 5-course tasting menu drawn from Lucy’s Garden by Chef Victor Scargle, inspired by the wines of Jeff Keene.

Saturday, February 18

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.

Winemaker’s Dinner & Bob James Concert at Miner Family Winery — Oakville: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
An intimate concert in the caves followed by a a four-course dinner prepared by La Saison chefs Natalie & Jonathan Niksa paired with new release 2009 Miner Cabernets.

Sunday, February 19

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.

Monday, buy online prescription viagra February 20

6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at CIA Greystone — St. Helena: 4:00pm – 8:00pm
A rare opportunity to mingle with noted winemakers, famous chefs, and wine-loving celebrities.


Sonoma County

Friday, February 17

VinOlivo Grand Tasting at The Lodge at Sonoma — Sonoma: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Sip Sonoma Valley’s best wines as you get to know the personalities behind the

wine. Sample food from more than 25 of Sonoma’s purveyors.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Guitar ballads with Brian Ward

Saturday, February 18

Mardi Gras Celebration at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: noon – 4:00pm
The St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band, down home Louisiana cookin’, a Second Line-Parade, award winning wines and of course BEADS!

Sunday, February 19

Amphora’s Zinvitational: Zinfandel and Cioppino at Amphora — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Current, library and barrel-sample Zinfandel plus Cioppino, sourdough and green salad.

President’s Day Celebration at Old Roma Station — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Limited production wines from Bluenose, Hart’s Desire, J. Keverson, Kelley & Young, Sadler-Wells, Sapphire Hill, Skewis, Shippey and Willowbrook.

Sundays on the “Terraza” at Santa Rosa Vintners Square — Santa Rosa: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Bring a picnic. They’ll will provide the wine, bocce ball court and live music.

Thursday, February 23

J Vineyards & Winery Winemaker Dinner at John Ash & Co. — Santa Rosa: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Join J Vineyards & Winery Assistant Winemaker, Scott Anderson, for an excellent dinner paired with five J wines.


Event organizers and publicists get your events published here. Post your events in the calendar at 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 with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Disclaimer: 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. Event details are subject to change without notice.

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. All rights reserved.

Valentine's Day Weekend Wine Events Update

Everybody wants to be your Valentine! Wineries, wine bars and restaurants are pulling out all the stops. And all the chocolate! Even if you don’t have a romance to kindle, you can cuddle up with a glass of wine and y

our sweet tooth this weekend.

My previous post included a whole box of chocolate and wine events. And even some without cacao. But then I got a Kiss-o-Gram with even more events for this weekend!

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 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. For events in other regions, also check the calendar or my weekly NorCal event articles.

Mendocino County

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Sampling at Milano Family Winery — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Bring your Valentine and tickle your taste buds with heavenly creations by the ladies of Milano Family Winery.

Parducci’s Valentines Day ‘Death by Chocolate’ Event — Ukiah: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Parducci Wine Cellars presents a romantic day of music, sensuous wines, and exquisite chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Napa Valley

On-Going Events

Saturday February 11 – Tuesday, February 14
Chocolate and Wine at Cornerstone Cellars — Yountville:
10:00am – 6:00pm
Bring your sweetie to Cornerstone Cellars and indulge them in a wine flight paired with 3 chocolates hand crafted by Brent and Anette at Anette’s Chocolates, Napa Valley.

Saturday February 11 – Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa
10:00am – 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.
Daily Events

Sunday, February 12

Cooking up Sweet Passion: Amy Reiley, Author of Romancing the Stove at Peju — Rutherford: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Learn to make hand rolled chocolate truffles from Amy Reiley’s new cookbook Romancing the Stove while sipping Peju wines.

Sonoma County

Friday, February 10

An Evening with Merry Edwards at Paradise Ridge Winery — Santa Rosa: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Come spend a great evening celebrating Merry Edwards stellar career at a benefit for the Sonoma County Wine Library.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7pm
Music by Michael Hantman plus belly dancing by Kimberly Andora.

Saturday, February 11

Special Valentines Day Vertical Tasting at John Tyler Wines — Healdsburg: 11:ooam – 5:00pm
2004-2006 Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines in a mini vertical tasting paired with Brix Chocolates.

Wine & Chocolate at Amista Vineyards — Healdsburg: noon – 3pm
Join canadian healthcare viagra sales us at Amista Vineyards for award-winning wines paired with specialty chocolates from Sebastopol chocolatier Peters Chocolates.

5th Annual Amphoradisiac Winemaker’s Dinner at Amphora — Healdsburg: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
A multi-course gourmet dinner with fabulous wine pairings, white tablecloths, candlelight and roses.


Event organizers and publicists get your events published here. Post your events in the calendar at 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 with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Disclaimer: 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. Event details are subject to change without notice.

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. All rights reserved.

Winery of The Month, Wine of the Week: Inman Family Wines 2009 Brut Rose Nature "Endless Crush"

It’s time to bring it back home to Russian River Valley, and feature one of our unsung heroines, Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Wines.

Welcome to our third selection of winery of the month. In keeping with the theme of previous selections, this title is awarded too wineries whose wines  have been epiphany experiences generic viagra online uk (and often still are) and for outstanding contributions to the wine industry, community, and environment.Inman Family Wines, nearby in Russian River Valley, is overdue for this recognition.

Uncompromising Wine Making PhilosophyAbout Us

Kathleen, on her 10th vintage, has come into her own as a world class wine maker, making Pinot Noir (and a few other treats) in styles she believes in. She isn’t into scores or trend chasing, and never relents in her pursuit of wine making the has an expression of place and vintage, with minimal intervention, making the very best wine that she can.

Kathleen has been rewarded by solid steady growth – while many small wineries have decreased production, Inman continues to steadily expand each year, reaching 3400 cases in 2011.

A Trailblazer in Eco-Friendly Practices in The Vineyard & Winery (Eco-Ethics)

Secondly, Kathleen has been repeatedly recognized for her many industry leading accomplishments in sustainability and green practices, both in the vineyard and the winery. Not because they are sexy marketing buzz words, but principles she has believed in, and practiced, long before they became in vogue.

Rather thaOurStoryn re-write them all here, they are captured in several documents on the Inman website, drill down a bit, starting here. I challenge you to find a local winery that has invested more per capita in water reclamation, recycled materials, and sustainability. (And an electric car charging staton to boot!)

I should point out as well that while I say Kathleen, who beyond any doubt is the workhorse of this labor of love – there is a family behind the story, as it seems almost necessary to make it as a small winery. Kathleen’s husband Simon, has stood by, supported and thrown in many hand of assistance, on

top of his legal pursuits. Kathleen and Simon have two wonderful daughters they dote on, whom can be found helping out around the tasting room during college semester breaks. One can only hope at least one will eventually get the bug and become second generation. Sadly, I am close to Kathleen’s age, or I’d ask for adoption.

A Foodie At HeartPerfect Pairing

Kathleen is all about food, and pairing it with wine. Unfortunately ‘food friendly’ has become an overused word in the industry, but Kathleen lives, breathes, and …eats it. Even in the early stages of wine making of a vintage, when doing barrel samples, she is thinking ahead of foods and sauces that will pair well. Her recipes have been published as well as recorded professionally.

You can check out many of her recipes here:


Endless Crush

This close family and their support of Kathleen’s pursuit is an excellent start for the story behind the wine of the week, the ‘Endless Crush.’ No its not a horror story about the 2011 Harvest that seemed it would never end, but the love story of Kathleen & Simon.

For their 20th wedding Anniversary Kathleen wanted to make a special romantic wine for Simon, and started making a special rose’ every other year. Kathleen being Kathleen, this was of course a true rose’, not a saignee or juice bleed off. That means that grapes that could go into a $50 Pinot Noir, were instead being used for a Rose’ wine, which no matter how wonderful, can’t sell for that price, thus profit is given up for love.  Endless Crush rose’ is done every other year, is a wonderful wine that quickly sells out.

For their 25th anniversary, Kathleen wanted to start a new tradition that was extra special. She had been studying closely the various methods of making sparkling wine (we are no longer allowed to call it champagne,) and decided to release a special sparkling brut Rose’, from Pinot Noir.


Wine Review: Inman Family Wines 2009 Brut Rose’ Nature “Endless Crush”

There are many remarkable things about this sparkling wine. One is that is unusual for California wine is that no  sugar in the final ‘dosage’ is added. A dosage is added right before final corking, and has a varying degrees of sugar (thus sweetness) depending on the style. The dosage sweetness can come from a variety of things, including the current vintage sweet juice itself.

In this case Kathleen added 2% of barrel aged 2009 OGV Estate Pinot Noir for added complexity and to tint the wine ever so slightly.

This makes the sparkling wine in line with other Kathleen’s other wines, higher in acidity, making them truly food friendly.

To The Eye: Just the slightest tinge of pink.

One the Nose: Lots of strawberry, citrus and a hint of  bread yeast

In The Mouth:  I am not a bubbles snob, but my appreciation has definitely grown the last few years, and this is a gem, not a surprise given how much I like Kathleen’s other wines. Bright in the mouth, great acidity combined with rich texture and mouthfeel, lingering finish and some minerality, this is a unique work of art.

Recommendation: An amazing bottle of sparkling, made by a champion of the earth, with a romantic story behind it. Can there be any greater gift?

93 points. Highly recommended, buy two, one to drink, one to lay down. $56 online or at the winery. For a limited time there is a holiday two pack for $99. 

Food Pairing: Kathleen recommends “The recipe for crab and scallop cakes are a natural with the bubbles”


Happy Holidays & Cheers!


Related Articles:

Part 1 of “The 12 Days of Wine Christmas” – Why not Wine? Some Gift Pack Suggestions

Tasting Notes – 2008 Inman Family Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge Ranch

This Rhonehound is on a online cheap viagra Pinot kick, and pleased to share amazing Pinot Noir from Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Wines, one of my favorite Russian River Valley winemakers.

Kathleen is a ten year veteran Pinot maker, and truly one of  Russian River Valley  finest

vintners of elegant Pinot Noir.

(Jon Bonne’ – you really need to put Inman on your radar – this is your kind of winemaker.)

Review: 2008 Inman Family Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge Ranch

To The Eye: Ruby red, clear

On The Nose: Black cherry and spice

In The Mouth: Blackberry, cherry with a velvety mouth feel that makes you go ‘ahhhh’ and reach for more. The Pinot delivers great red and black fruit, without sacrificing acidity, achieving what so many California pinot producers seem unable to in balance. Soft, long, elegant finish.

Recommendation:  93 points. Buy. If you don’t like this Pinot….you have no idea what Pinot Noir is supposed to be. Take the oak chip out of your mouth, tear up your Robert Parker

photo, and start to train your palate. It’s not inexpensive at $56, but this isn’t Velveeta, its Cowgirl Creamery (or better.) Small lot, high quality Pinot Noir simply costs more.


Wine Review – Von Holt 2009 Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley (and a special reader gift)

It’s always a pleasure to discover hidden small gems of producers in the wine industry, and even more so to share them with readers. Thanks to the advent of custom crush, virtual and urban wineries, there are many, small passionate artisans springing up. Sonoma County has become a buy female viagra online without prescription wealth of these, but you must keep your ear and eye to the ground.

Thanks to networking and social media, I was to meet Peter Alig, who works now with Von Holt.  When he asked if I’d like sample to review, I agreed, always eager to try a new, small producer.

About Von Holt Wines

This is a micro-winery:  a 600-case producer of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Syrah from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River. Founder, San Francisco native Chris Von Holt, is a retired U.S. Secret Service agent. After traveling the world on the protective detail of the Vice President, and sampling local food and wine along the way, he decided to found his own wine brand upon his retirement. His story is quite fascinating, read more here.

You can watch a short video of Chris’ below. He had me at ‘low alcohol, good minerality & acidity.’

The stories of partner/wife Pamela Miller, the administrative master of Von Holt Wines, and John Fones, Winemaker, are also interesting, classic Sonoma wine siren stories, and ones I can relate to all too well.

A Focus on Cool Climate

They had me at the get go with their focus cool climate Pinot Noir and Syrah. Pinot Noir of course naturally prefers cooler climate, and I am most fond of wines from cooler vineyards in Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Willamette Valley.  Russian River can fit this profile as well, depending on the microclimate and the wine grower.

The 2010 and 2011 vintages have certainly helped this aspect.  Working with vineyards in cooler climates takes some guts, patience, and stamina, I have deep respect for those growers and vintners that focus here.

Syrah does well in both cool and warm climates, and produces great wines in both, but very distinctive. My personal preference, especially for Syrah unblended with other Rhone varietals, is for the higher acidity, leaner wines that cool climates produce.

This review will be focus the Pinot Noir, look for Syrah in a Tasting Note also this week. Sneak Preview: The 2008 Hoppe-Kelley Syrah from RRV is amazing, and a steal at $20. I have tasted both Syrah’s and Pinots and am very impressed, and plan to put some in my cellar.

Special Reader Incentive – Free Shipping, One Week Only

Von Holt has been nice enough, no strings attached, or kickbacks extended, to offer readers to have shipping included with their order of any of their 4 wines. Use code


at checkout. Expires one week from today, December 5th.

Wine Review – Von Holt 2009 Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley

A blend of Pinot Noir from two vineyards, Suacci and Ketcham.

 To The Eye: Ruby, brick red

color. Translucent.

On The Nose: Red fruit leaps out of the glass. Cranberry, cherry, and a hint of earth, and green, like tomato vine.

In The Mouth: Bright and lively. The cranberry carries over, and is joined by pomegranate. Excellent acidity that begs for some food,  combined with pleasant mouth feel mid palate, and a lingering  mouth watering finish. A wonderful Pinot Noir, and proof the Russian River Valley can produce elegant  Pinot Noir that isn’t an over ripe fruit bomb, and compete with the likes of Anderson Valley, Willamette, and Sonoma Coast.

Recommendation:  92 points. Highly Recommend. Buy. If you can, purchase one to enjoy now, and 1-2 more to give an extra year to see how it develops in the bottle. With the acidity this wine should age nicely. $32 online.  Media Sample (although I intend to re-order.)

Wine Geek Info:

  • Harvest DateSeptember 9, 2009; Bottling Date: August 24, 2010
  • TA 6.3
  • PH 3.6
  • Clones are Pommard, 828, 115 and 777
  • 11 months in French Oak Barrels (25% new)
  • Fermentation: Native primary and maloactic fermentation
  • Alcohol %13.7
  • 225 cases made

Tasting Notes – 2009 Freestone Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, Estate

Freestone – another of my unsung favorite producers. I fell in love with their tasting room and wines 3 years ago when I first visited. Everything about a Freestone experience is casual and relaxed, but viagra for sale in the uk first class.  I am hoping to get out sometime again for a photo shoot and visit  soon, but until then, take my word for it, and enjoy the relaxed drive to this  gem.

I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release Media sample of this Pinot Noir. Its not been released to the public just yet, so this is a a teaser, but should be soon.

The 2009 Freestone is from the Estate Pastorale and Quarter Moon vineyards.

2009 Freestone Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, Estate

To The Eye: Opulent brick red color

On The Nose: A bouquet of red fruit and cranberry with lingering aroma of spice.

In The

Mouth: A cornucopia of pleasant experiences for your palate. A bit young and tight when first opened, after a few minutes in the glass this beauty quickly becomes endearing. Give her a swirl.  This Pinot Noir dances in the mouth with cherry, bright cranberry, hints of other red fruits, spice, and earth.

This wonderful Pinot Noir delivers in the front and mid palate, and doesn’t disappoint in the finish, as it lingers and teases, making you yearn for another taste.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended. 92 points. Buy.  Drink. Ideally hold and cellar and extra bottle if you can –  this Pinot Noir has acidity and structure to age and gain complexity, although I am not sure if i could leave it alone if in my cellar. $55.  Media Sample.

Vinification Notes:  15 months in French oak barrels, 55% new, 45% two-three year old. Alcohol 13.5%.


Pinot-Philes – Sunday October 23 Healdsburg Pinot on the River is a Must Not Miss Event. (New Venue!)

Pinot Noir…I may be 'married' to Rhones these days it seems, but Pinot was always my first girl and love. 

The “Full Immersion” Pinot Noir Event! 8th Annual Pinot On The River Festival Takes Over Healdsburg Plaza

This Sunday,  more than 100 small-production artisanal Pinot Noir producers will join hundreds of serious Pinot Noir fanatics at the 2011 Pinot on the River Festival, held October 23, 2011 on the Healdsburg Plaza in downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. The eighth edition of this popular annual event focuses upon highly allocated, limited-production Pinot Noirs from up and down the West Coast.

This is a true “full-immersion” in Pinot Noir, featuring a full day of tastings from some of the West Coast’s best Pinot producers as well offerings from local artisan cheese makers and other sumptuous food.

VIP Plaza Lounge Option

Pinot on the River is again partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma which is hosting a one of a kind VIP Plaza Lounge. VIP guests will join winemakers and other special guests in this Plaza Lounge for the only on-site seating, premium tasting seminars from 6 premier wineries, fine Sonoma County fare provided by Vintage Valley Catering without long lines, and, of course, plenty of Pinot Noir! There are a limited number of VIP tickets available to ensure maximum comfort, atmosphere, and value. To purchase these VIP tickets, visit From a special VIP seminar on Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains all the way through Sunday's “Artisanal Pinot Noir Tasting,” it’s an event created for people who love Pinot Noir.

“We’ve brought in more than 100 of the absolute best Pinot producers on the West Coast,” said co-founder/organizer Eric Hall. “These are incredible wines, that

in many cases you simply can’t find in the marketplace. We are in a “golden age” of American Pinot Noir—it will be an extraordinary weekend for Pinot lovers.”

Seminar and Grand Tasting

Pinot On The River 2011 begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 23, with a special seminar exploring Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains. This seminar, moderated by Gregory S. Walter, editor and publisher of the PinotReport newsletter, will feature 10 producers from this often undiscovered region and is available to VIP ticket holders only.

Following the seminar, VIP ticket holders can enter the Grand Tasting ahead of the general public, and enjoy the VIP longue presented by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, our partners in the event. Noon marks the beginning of the “Grand Artisanal Pinot Noir Tasting” at the north end of the Healdsburg Plaza. The event is open to public and individual tickets are available.

Event Sponsors, who support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, include M.A. Silva Corks, Collotype Labels, Enartis-Vinquiry, Trilogy Glass, Encore Event Rentals, Dickenson Peatman, & Fogarty Attorneys at Law, Alexander Valley Cellars, C & E Capsules, North Bay Corporation, Bank of Marin, Andras & Gomez Attorneys at Law, Pack-N-Ship Direct, Sonoma County Vintner’s Co-op, and Vintage Valley Catering.

Tickets are on sale now for the event. For more information  Follow them on Facebook.

You can follow my tasting notes and comments on Twitter by following me here, and you can follow ALL related Pinot on The River 'tweets' by following hashtag #POTR or click here.

This is a great product, I like that it comes in a blister pack and does not need refrigeration. Canadian cialis. Our drugstore is committed to providing an affordable alternative to the high cost of drugs.

#PinotSmackdown Greenhouse Tasting Winners – Baxter Winery! (Grenache up next!)

Thursday August 18th was #PinotSmackdown day, organized by Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite. As I did for Rick Bakas #Chardonnay day, I hosted a walk around tasting. Click here for Ed's overall summary and the impressions.

Unfortunately most of my 80 attendees didn't vote for #CA as most would have. (I didn't receive any OR, NZ, or French submissions.) Had they, California would have 'won' the Smackdown.

Tasting Pinot in The Greenhouse

Feedback and buzz from the #chardonnay tasting was three times the targeted table capacity so a pre-tasting was held by a panel of judges to narrow it down. I have been evangelizing walk around tastings need to evolve, so by design, this one was kept small and focused.

A few weeks prior a panel of 5 judges consisting of myself, 2 winemakers, and a wine enthusiast tasted through 30 wines bagged, labeled, and divided into regions so that we’d have representation from multiple regions. This sounds like fun, but its actually work, and time consuming way to spend a weekend evening, so many thanks for the help. It helped assure we had a great lineup of Pinot’s for the evening.

Event Logistics

The event was also a fundraiser for the YWCA, who assisted with my ABC license. Wineries paid a small table fee of wine or donation to pour. They were required to pour the wine that won, and were allowed to pour a second Pinot if desired, as long as it was currently for sale, no library wines or barrel samples.  The event is held in my greenhouse, adjacent to my new vineyard. Tables are setup – the atmosphere is cozy, and enthusiastic.

As an experiment, we had a food truck, Goodeatz, offer food. Unfortunately we fell a few hundred dollars short of goal they needed to be onsite, but those who stayed and ate (self included) raved about the food. They are not available for my planned Sept 23 #Grenache tasting, but I am looking into others.

The 80 attendees were given a 2 page spreadsheet with details on each wine, as well as a final voting sheet to pick their Top 3 choices of the evening. Armed with clipboard, glass, and spitcup, they went in to sample the 19 pinots being poured.

The night seemed an even bigger success than chardonnay day. While we didn’t have quite as many epiphany moments as we did the chardonnay bashers who came away with new perspective – attendees gushed about the quality of the vintners, not a single bad wine, and every winery member I spoke to was very pleased with the energy and enthusiasm.  Sounds like we got tight on parking later in the evening, something I will work on, as well as encourage car pooling.

Watch for #Grenache Day – Sept 23, Calling Producers

September 23rd is Grenache day, as declared by the Grenache Symposium in France. This isn’t a great date for me as I am locked down for 4 days wine judging the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. But its Grenache, my fave varietal, what I am planting, and as a Rhone Ranger board member, it’s a moral imperative.  Last year I held a smaller tasting and a HUGE party afterwards complete with fire dancers. Not in this years budget, but sitting out just doesn’t seem an option. Contact me if you have a Grenache and/or Grenache based blend, and are interested.

The Results

As the spreadsheet shows, votes were tallied and added up. A #1 got 3 points, #2 2 points, and #3 1 point. Unfortunately a few people

didn’t specify WHICH of the two wines a winery poured, so in those cases I had to

give half credit to each wine.

A bit surprisin

g. I am a personal fan of Phil Baxter’s wines, but for Baxter, to clearly win both 1st and 2nd place. Freestone Vineyard was right behind with third. 4th place was a dogfight, with Sojourn, Deux Punx

, Joseph Swan, Bjornstaad, and Londer all within 1.5 points. Literally one vote could have changed these. This reflects the high quality of the evening, and difficulty the crowd had in choosing.

Congrats to all producers. There was a much higher spread of votes across all, and with Pinots ranging from $22-to $60+. Remember this was narrowed down from 30.

The full score sheet is here on Google Documents.

Overall & Regional Winners

Top Winners Over All
#1 Baxter Winery 2007 Toulouse
#2 Baxter Winery 2007 Oppenlander
#3 Freestone Vineyards 2007 Sonoma Coast
#4 Sojourn Cellars 2009 Gaps Crown
By Region Anderson Valley
#1 Baxter Winery 2007 Toulouse
#2 Londer Vineyards 2009 Corby
#3 Krutz 2007 Anderson Valley
Sonoma Coast
#1 Freestone Vineyards 2007 Sonoma Coast
#2 Sojourn Cellars 2009 Gap's Crown
#3 Bjornstad 2008 Hellenthal Vineyard
Russian River Valley
#1 Joseph Swan 2007 Saralee's Vineyard
#2 Foppiano Vineyards 2009 Estate
#3 Inman Family 2007 Olivet Grange
#1 Baxter Winery 2007 Oppenlander – Mendocino
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Simple Hedonisms is Off Again! This Week it's the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in Oregon

The flurry of July wine travel continues!  The dust of Spain media tour barely behind me, 5 days in Virginia for the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference and the company of wine writer giants like Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov. A few days at home, I hosted my monthly wine networking mixer for 100+ Sonoma Wine-O's and now I'm off to Portland and the Willamette Valley in Oregon, for the world renowned International Pinot Noir Celebration, also known as IPNC. After a  few post IPNC days recovery athome, and off to Mendocino to judge and attend their 2011 Wine Competition and Farm to Table Dinner, Grand Tasting.

All Things Pinot

IPNC is an amazing 3 day event, and involves a healthy mix of passionate consumers from all over the country, as well as wine makers, writers, and Pinot-philes of all shapes and sizes.

Tastings, seminars, vineyard tours, dinners – it's a fun, heady, educational immersion in the world's sexiest varietal.

Thursday Pre-Events – 1975-2007 Vertical Tasting

Pre-IPNC events are occurring all over Portland and Willamette. So many in fact, that for the first time in many years I am skipping the Thursday Oregon Brewers Fest, hands down one of my favorite microbrew events in the country.

That Thursday afternoon Eyrie Vineyards is hosting an off the charts  1975-2007 South Block vertical tasting.

After that, I am headed to the Anne Amie 2nd annual Counter Culture event. This event is sold out again – not surprising after last years display of local food artisans, and great wines (not just Pinot) from all over the world.

If time permits, I'd love to drop in on Drink Northwest event at Red Ridge Farms, sponsored by NorthWest Wines to You.

Press & Speakers

The three day passes to IPNC sold out months ago. The media team was kept to a team of twelve. I am honored to attend with:


  • William Allen, Simple Hedonisms
  • Alyssa Rapp, Bottlenotes
  • Tim Atkin, MS (UK)
  • Talia Baiocchi,
  • Antoinette Bruno,
  • Mary Burnham, Food & Wine (2012 Wine Guide)
  • Katherine Cole, The Oregonian & MIX Magazine
  • Christian DeBenedetti, Food & Wine
  • Allison Jones, Portland Monthly
  • Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast & Seattle Times
  • Mike Thelin, Cooking Channel
  • Alder Yarrow, Vinography

The list of speakers is incredible, with heavy hitters like Eric Asimov  of the New York Times, and Allen Meadows.

  • Joshua Wesson, J Wesson Wine & Food – Keynote Speaker, Wine & Cheese Seminar Moderator
    Eric Asimov, The New York Times – Grand Seminar Moderator
    Cole Danehower, Northwest Palate – Chef Panel Moderator
    Jordan Mackay, San Francisco Magazine – Sommelier Panel Moderator
    Allen Meadows, Burghound – Wine Ageing Seminar Moderator
    Laura Werlin, Cheese Educator & Author – Wine & Cheese Seminar Moderator

Friday – IPNC, Bright & Early

8:30 to 9:15 am – Opening Ceremonies IPNC Keynote Speaker Joshua Wesson welcomes you to the Celebration and the Featured Winemakers are introduced.

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9:15 am to 3 pm – Vineyard Tour and Winery Lunch (more info)
Travel through the vine-covered countryside to a nearby Willamette Valley winery where attendees will enjoy a guided stroll through the vineyard, learning about the distinct characteristics of the host site. Afterward, we put our sensory skills to the test in Name That Pinot, a team-oriented, blind tasting game where we join featured winemakers, top sommeliers, media guests and fellow attendees in identifying a selection of handpicked mystery Pinots. Following the blind tasting, enjoy an array of wines paired with a multi-course meal created by guest chefs.


9:30 am to 11:30 am – On-Campus Grand Seminar (more info)
Enjoy a tasting and comparison of ten Pinots with moderator Eric Asimov, wine critic for The New York Times, and five pioneer winemakers from three continents.

3:30 to 4:15 pm – Afternoon Chef Panel: Evolution of NW Farm-to-Table Cuisine
Join chef panelists and moderator Cole Danehower, Editor-in-Chief of Northwest Palate Magazine, for a two-part sessions dedicated to the past, present and future of the Northwest farm-to-table movement. Following a panel discussion, retire to the lawn where each chef will share special dishes from their kitchens

4:30 to 5:30 pm – Afternoon Sommelier Panel: Uncovering the Secrets of Sommeliers
Moderator Jordan Mackay and Sommelier Rajat Parr, co-authors of James Beard Award nominated Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals, will be joined onstage by iconic sommeliers Daniel Johnnes, Larry Stone and Kevin Zraly for an engaging discussion on the secrets of their trade and the role Pinot noir has played in their careers in wine.

3:30 to 5:30 pm

– Afternoon Activities (more info) At 3:30 pm, all guests will be reunited on campus to enjoy a selection of activities.

5:30 to 7:30 pm – Alfresco Tasting (more info) The first of two grand tastings in which 35 winemakers pour their Featured Pinots.

7:30 to 11 pm – The Grand Dinner (more info) Guests experience the result of years of collaboration and tradition as four chef duos team-up to create a Burgundian-inspired meal using NW ingredients. Celebrate 25 years of the IPNC under a star-lit sky with magnums of Pinot noir.

Saturday & Sunday

The agenda continues Saturday & Sunday, with similar events on Saturday.

Sunday is the Sparkling Finale (more info) – Raise your glass in a festive toast as you bid farewell to the 25th Anniversary IPNC and look forward to the next 25 years! Savor our sumptuous buffet brunch prepared by guest chefs and paired with fine Champagne and sparkling wine, and the Passport to Pinot.

Unfortunately, being home so little in July, and more on the horizon, I have to miss the latter two days. (Including some off site media sake and Riesling tasting invites. )

A Pocket Version  of the Three Day Weekend – The Sunday Passport to Pinot

IPNC welcomes guests to a grand outdoor tasting of international Pinot noir from 70  Featured Wineries. To maximize personal interaction with each winemaker, the event is split into two sessions. Approximately 30 Featured Winemakers will pour for each session and break in the middle for winemaker introductions. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet some of the world's finest Pinot noir winemakers at Oregon's largest outdoor pinot tasting. Top-notch Northwest chefs will prepare divine dishes to accompany an unparalleled array of international Pinot noir.

The ticket price of $150 includes a tasting of 70 wines poured for you by the winemakers, food prepared by our guest chefs and a commemorative tasting glass.

Last I inquired, a handful of these were still available for sale. Double check here, before they are sold out!

The ticket price of $150 includes a tasting of 70 wines poured for you by the winemakers, food prepared by  guest chefs and a commemorative tasting glass.

Follow the Journey Live over Facebook & Twitter

Battery life and AT&T 3G permitting, I will broadcast tasting notes and picture on my Facebook Page  and Twitter.  You can also follow the Twitter hash tag summary #IPNC2011 of tweets by clicking here.


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Calling For Elegant Pinot Producers for August 18th Pinot Day #PinotSmackdown

On August 18th,  I am a co-host for Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite for the 2nd Annual #PinotSmackdown. Pinot’s from various regions will be compared and people will vote for their favorite region during this live tasting.

I will be replicating the very successful tasting I did for #Chardonnay day, last month, in my Greenhouse. What will this event be about, and like? You can read the details and summary here in:

Seeing California Chardonnay in a New Light: #Chardonnay Day Greenhouse Tasting, Attendees Top Picks.

Looking for A Certain Style of Pinot Noir

There are a variety of styles of Pinot Noir. Bold and Big; Burgundian. Lighter and more nuanced. I purchase, drink and review them all.

As I did with for Chardonnay, I will be seeking a certain profile of Pinot. There has been moderate wine press recently by Jon Bonne’, Jancis Robinson and others, discussing Pinot Noir starting to return to its more elegant form. Over the years Pinot has crept up in color and alcohol, over ripened and over extracted, chasing the New World Palate, and trying to lure less knowledgeable drinkers weened on Cabernet, who think there is something wrong with red wine that is light in color.

Requirements & Profile

I am looking for Pinot that is more reflective of the vintage, terroir, and is balanced, with good acidity, modest alcohol. If you are a Pinot producer that fits this, and would like to pour, or have sopayday cash loan

ght size-medium wp-image-5480″ title=”Greenhouse tasting” src=”×224.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”224″ />meone represent you and pour, please contact me. If I am not familiar with your current vintage, likely I will be requesting a sample prior to accepting.

Samples should be shipped/dropped of July 18-20th so that I can sample as a panel for final selection. If your wine is not selected, this is by no means a slight – I am trying as best I can to find Pinot's of similar style. I am also going to try and hold it to to 8-10 tables again.

Right now I am more  focused on OR and CA, but I would love Pinot from any region and importer that fits the targeted intent, and if you have a representative willing to pour.

Based on the previous event, you should plan to pour 6-8 bottles of wine. Your 'table' fee is also a bottle of wine, so that I may review it later.

I will be teaming with a non profit for an ABC license, and hope to also legally allow wine sales (orders, likely no distribution) via permit.

You can contact me at simplehedonisms @


PS  September First is Tempranillo Day

The TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society) has declared September 1st #Tempranillo day.

I intend to do another tasting. perhaps not on this scale, but am also looking for Tempranillo producers to send bottles & literature  for a self pour station, or come pour. More to follow.

Related Articles:

2nd Annual Pinot Noir Smackdown – August 18th, 2011

May 26th is International #Chardonnay Day. Here’s how to follow, participate, celebrate

Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve


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