Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

Rosé the Rhone Way – A Post in Pictures

A few weeks ago, William and the North Coast Rhone Rangers organized a beautiful Rosé tasting in the garden at Quivira Winery. Between the wonderful weather and the gorgeous bottles of Rosé, I ended up with a lot of really great pictures. I decided to just put them all up here and let the wine do most of the talking (with my own notes interspersed of course).

The pictures below represent just a few highlights from the tasting. The whole event was lovely and I look forward to adding some of these wonderful wines to my personal collection.

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2012 Broc Cellars Santa Ynez Rosé $20

We started the day with the Broc Cellars Rosé. The blend is 50% Counoise and 50% Cinsault. It was a great refreshing way for us to start off the tasting. With clean, fresh, watermelon flavors it felt like a perfect start of summer wine. I personally am really excited about Broc Cellars – with a tasting room located in Berkeley, I know I will be stopping by before at least one Cal Football game this year.

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2012 Campovida Rose di Grenache $34, 134 case production

The next Rosé was from Campovida. I had met the winemakers a few weeks earlier at the 7% Solution Tasting and was excited to get a chance to try their wine. Grenache Rosé is definitely something I've been enjoying a lot lately and this was no exception. To go from loving Grenache to discovering Grenache Blanc, it is only fitting that I've now progressed to Rosé and am growing quite passionate for it as well.  The Campovida was also selected by attendees as their favorite wine of the day, in a poll completed by attendees, by quite a margin, congrats!

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2012 Front Porch Rosé $25, 90 case production

My personal favorite of the day was the Front Porch Rosé being poured at the Idlewild table. As a blend of 70% Grenach and 30% Syrah, it has a lovely juicy flavor that was reminiscent of guava.

Of course, there were also some amazing Idlewild wines (which for some reason I didn't manage to get a picture of). The 2012 Vin Gris ($22, 70 case production) was an exceptionally light Syrah Rosé. With only 1.5 hours on the skins, it had delicate strawberry and crisp citrus tones.

The third wine at the table was another favorite – the Idlewild Grenache Gris ($28, 122 case production). With 3 days on skins and stems, it was darker in color than the Vin Gris. The wine had a beautiful nose and lovely cranberry flavors. I had tasted it a few weeks earlier and was happy to try it a second time and see that it was still as wonderful as I remembered.

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Mounts Family Winery 2012 Grenche generic viagra Rosé $16, 82 case production

The Mounts 100% Grenache Rosé caught my eye initially just with how light and peachy the color was (I told you the pictures did a lot of the talking here). With only 4 hours of skin contact and low sugar content, it had such a light and crisp grapefruit flavor. It was absolutely perfect on the sweltering Sonoma day.

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Quivira 2012 Rosé $19, 602 case production

It wouldn't be a complete review without mentioning the host winery's Rosé as well. This Rosé is a blend of 51% Grenache, 32% Syrah, and 17% Mourvedre. There was a lovely strawberry flavor that I very much enjoyed along with the bright pink color. The wine is also organic which I always support. In addition to the Rosé, I also picked up the Quivira 2011 Grenache. I had to contain myself from buying anymore and I'm sure next time I visit I will also be grabbing a few of their blends.

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Drink Pink, Dress Pink

It wouldn't be a day of wine tasting without me hamming it up for a few photos as well. I was very enthusiastic that my dress matched many of the wines. I would love to say this was a happy accident but I noticed that most of my dresses had some wine spots on them and I figured in this case, no one would see if I spilled wine on myself. Ironically, since I took the precaution, I managed to refrain from my usual clumsy nature and keep all of my wine in the glass.

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I can't take her anywhere…

The commentary on the event would not be complete without mentioning the beautiful sustainable garden at Quivira. It was fun to explore and see just how many different types of produce were flourishing. I can hardly keep my key lime plant alive so I was definitely impressed. My friend, Natalie, really enjoyed exploring the gardens as well. I hear the raspberries are delicious…

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A wonderful end to a beautiful day of wine tasting!

After tasting a lot of lovely Rosé, we all went back to William's house for a wine filled homemade dinner that went way past sunset. It was a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to more of these smaller Rhone Ranger tasting events. At $15/ person, the Rosé tasting was a fun and inexpensive way to explore a very specific wine topic. Quivira was a perfect location for it and intimacy of the event really let me talk to the winemakers a little bit more. Thanks William for putting together such a beautiful tasting!

Related Posts

Rosé the Rhone Way in Healdsburg June 1st with the Rhone Rangers

Millennial Writer to Join Simple Hedonisms – Introducing Nikki Lincoln

Interview: Nikki Lincoln, Simple Hedonisms New Millennial Writer

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Don't Miss! Saturday Feb 2nd is the 2nd Annual Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration Custom Crush

This Saturday (tomorrow!) is the  2nd Annual Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration Custom Crush in Santa Rosa.

Inspiration Custom Crush is located at Inspiration Vineyards & Winery, and is a second business managed by Jon Philips, where very small and/or new wineries can share facilities and knowledge to make their wine.

The Superbowl is the next day, so this is also excellent opportunity to stock up on adult beverages for your Superbowl party.

Try & Buy Wines You Normally Can't

With the exception of Inspiration Vineyards, these wineries don't have public tasting rooms. This is a special opportunity for you to TRY & BUY wines from seven uniquely different wineries, each with their own winemaker present to tell you their story and introduce you to their wines. Experience the small lot, artisanal wines from:

Food Pairings & Offers

Just in time for Valentine’s day, Sonja Schluter, buy pfizer viagra in canada owner and chocolatier of Eye Candy, sampling and selling her artisanal chocolates.  In addition,  two local cheese makers will be offering samples of their delicious artisanal cheeses.

No wine event is complete at without a food truck! David from FishOn will be here featuring the regular menu that includes his famous fish & chips, plus he’ll also have some fan favorites like his pulled pork sandwiches.

Your Ticket Includes $10 Wine Credit!

Upon check-in at the door, you'll receive $10 back in wine bucks, redeemable on the day of the event at ALL seven wineries.  Tickets are $20 at the door, or buy today and save $5  – either thats a price of $5-10 to taste from SEVEN wineries

– beat that bargain for Saturday entertainment!

Details:

  • When: Saturday, February 2nd from 11am till 5pm
  • Where: 3360 Coffey Lane – Suite E, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  • Cost: $20 at the door – SAVE $5 by registering online, using promo code: promoiv 
  • Register: please visit  http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/458091

Visit Other Wineries Without Leaving the Parking Lot!

Still 'thirsty' after tasting – the business park has other wineries including Vinoteca, a collective tasting room for multiple wineries; famed Zin maker Carol Shelton; the geeky NPA & Salinia, and high end, appointment only Donelan Wines.

Or visit other nearby wineries on the Santa Rosa Wine Trail!

Have a great wine weekend – cheers!

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Navigating Champagne … a Festive Tasting in Paris!

Bubbles!

Bubbles!

By Katherine Parker

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The weekend before New Years’ I found myself tasting Champagnes in a Paris apartment with a friendly group of wine aficionados. The tasting was put together by Camilla Macfarlane, cheap viagra canada a California expat living in Paris, with a background in the wine industry. Camilla put together a wonderful lineup of Champagnes in the holiday spirit, with generous hors d’oeuvres by Kent Keatinge to highlight the wines.

Six Champagnes – all Brut style from esteemed houses – were on the menu. Brut is a medium-dry Champagne and the most popular style sold today. You may find an Extra Dry (slightly more sugar) or an Extra Brut (slightly less) but most of what you see on the market is Brut.  Four of the six were from the region of Reims in France.

Champagne Tasting in Paris

Champagne Tasting in Paris

The first two were contrasting varietals: A Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut NV made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, and a Philipponnat Brut Grand Blanc made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. I found the Laurent Perrier the most aromatic of all wines poured, with a distinct nose of fresh wild strawberry-raspberry and an appetizing peach color.  Little cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches went well with these small bubbles. The wine comes in a plump dark bottle – the green glass indicating the “black” pinot grapes. The curvy shape and pink collar clearly brand this as a feminine wine.

Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Blanc

Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Blanc

Also, the Laurent Perrier is a Cuvée – a blend of grapes from 10 different villages, all in the Reims region known for Champagne. The wine is

aged for at least 4 years and is 12% alcohol – another thing I enjoy about Champagne.

The Philipponnat comes in a white bottle to indicate the all-white Chardonnay grapes. A small pastry appetizer topped with tiny shrimps was perfect with this creamy, smooth Blanc de Blanc-style wine.

Magnums of Champagne

Magnums of Champagne

Next Camilla brought out 2 magnums, each a Brut NV blend of all 3 grapes used in classic Champagne: Veuve Clicquot with at least 50% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier grapes, and Taittinger with 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The Taittinger captivated me with crispness and structure based on balanced acidity.  That this

wine is a blend of grapes from 35 different “crus” or villages, attests to the winemaking skill of the family-owned Taittinger house.

Drinking from a magnum offers a higher quality wine, because there is less oxygen in the bottle relative to the surface area of the wine. This is also said to favor the creation of small bubbles, which enhance the tactile experience of drinking Champagne.

About this time, we moved on to an appetizer of fish breaded into lollipops, with an apricot-mustard sauce. Whether it was the magnums or the fabulous food and conversation that made the evening so agreeable is hard to say. I think by this time we were all having a great time.

Comparison tasting

Comparison tasting

The near-final Champagne was a Ruinart Brut from the same blend of grapes as the Taittinger but made to be even more crisp, acidic and refreshing. The Ruinart undergoes full malolactic fermentation, which is not noted for the Taittinger. Our group thought this might account for the difference between the two wines.

The Grand Finalé was a vintage Dom Perignon 2003 Champagne. I enjoyed the minerality and structure of this taste. The bubbles were the most perfect of the evening – a fountain of tiny bubbles pulsing up from the center of the flute. Paired with beef chili on mini wheat tortilla squares – Mexican with Champagne goes great!

This event was a great opportunity to compare and contrast. I favored the tastes and textures of Ruinart and Taittinger.  At the end of the day between the two, it would probably be decided on price.  If price were no object, I would go with the Ruinart.

If you are living in Paris, or even if you are visiting like I was, check Camilla’s Paris Wine Meetup Group for tasting dates.

Related Articles:

Tasting Notes: Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Grand Rosé

Simple Hedonisms Sparkling Wine Highlights – Part 1: Imports

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Two More Routes for the Barrel Tasting, plus North Coast Events for March 9 – 15

We’ve got another big barrel tasting weekend ahead of us. I’ll be able to participate this time and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you haven’t decided which wineries you’ll go to yet, here are a couple of theme-based itineraries.

The So

noma Advocate Tour

Antonio Galloni recently published his Sonoma Report for Wine Advocate. He focused heavily on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from producers that don’t happen to be part of the Wine Road Barrel Tasting, such as Paul Hobbs, Kistler and Hirsch. However, six wineries awarded 90+ points are pouring.

Of course, Galloni rated bottled wine. Get a leg up on him by evaluating barrel samples from these wineries yourself. (And don’t forget to give their neighbors a little love buy viagra online cheap us too.)

  • Freestone in Occidental
  • Siduri in Santa Rosa
  • Red Car in Sebastopol
  • La Crema in Windsor
  • Kendall-Jackson in downtown Healdsburg (that’s where they are pouring high-end Cabernet)
  • Stonestreet in Alexander Valley
There was a bit of a fuss about people piling out of limos and partying too hard last weekend. I suspect the issue was blown a bit out of proportion. However, if you want to avoid any risk of running into big bands of revelers, here are a few of the many fine wineries that don’t allow groups,

limos or buses. (Every winery not

allowing groups is identified on the Wine Road’s list of participating wineries.)

  • Bella Vineyards in Healdsburg
  • Claypool Cellars in Sebastopol
  • Freestone in Occidental
  • Fritz in Cloverdale
  • Joseph Swan in Forestville
  • La Crema in Windsor
  • Red Car in Sebastopol
  • Sausal in Alexander Valley
  • Stonestreet in Alexander Valley
  • Vinoteca (6 wineries in one location) in Santa Rosa
Enjoy your barrel tasting. I hope to meet up with you out there.

Events

Lake County

Gregory Graham Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: Saturday, March 10, 6:30pm – 11:00pm
Owner and Winemaker Greg Graham and Marianne Graham will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.

Mendocino County

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: Saturday March 10, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy 100% organically grown grape wines paired with a delicious food treat.

Napa Valley

Calistoga Spring Jazz Festival — downtown Calistoga: Saturday, March 10, noon – 6:00pm
Live jazz music, wine and food right downtown in Calistoga.

Merryvale Pinot & Pizza Barrel Tasting — St. Helena: Saturday, March 10, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
An afternoon of wine, food and entertainment featuring current releases, library wines and Tra Vigne pizza.

Sonoma

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: Friday, March 9, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Bill Vestal plays Americana music.

A Taste of West Sonoma County at Dutton-Goldfield Winery — Sebastopol: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 – 11, 10:am – 4:30pm
A rare tasting of their single-vineyard wines from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation.

34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting — Northern Sonoma: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 – 11, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Your chance to sample wines from the barrel, talk to winemakers and explore the beautiful Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.

Clash of the Sommeliers at Farmhouse Restaurant — Forestville: Monday, March 12, 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Three sommeliers pairing wines side-by-side for a four course, seasonal menu.

Songwriters In Sonoma at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: Thursday, March 15, 7:00pm – 9:15pm
Dustin Heald, Rich Little and Fred McCarty

 

This article is by Fred Swan of NorCalWine.com for SimpleHedonisms.com. Copyright 2012 Fred Swan.

Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)

Barrel Tasting – an event in North Sonoma rich in history. In fact this is the 34th anniversary.

I look forward with great anticipation to the six days of Barrel Tasting

, across two weekends, as do many of the 20,000+ attendees, many of whom fly in from all over the country to taste and stock up on wine, both bottled and futures.

At the end of this article is a chance to win a pair of tickets – 4 winners – so read on!

 

Barrel Tasting Is For Serious Wine Lovers

I have written numerous articles about Barrel Tasting over the last 3 years, and will admit I am a staunch advocate.

It’s an event that can garner complaints from some locals, jaded hospitality staff, and the occasional cheap Media sensationalism title to get a reader, but the reality is it’s a serious wine tasting & buying event for many, not a party.

The few stories that are bound to happen when 20,000 people go wine tasting, shouldn’t be overshadowed by the people who drive & fly in, from all corners of the US to taste & buy wine. Lets focus on those.

 

Toss Away Your Stereotypes & Get Some Perspective

Last year, I wrote two articles with dozens of people posting their positive comments on this event, and many who wrote to me as well. Generally, other than inter-industry chatter, consumers are quiet on blogs, but in this case over 40 came out to say something.

Everyone has a bad story about this event, but sadly what’s not shared enough are the many great ones, which last years comments highlighted for me, including one reader who wrote me, asking I not stereotype ” ALL buses as bad.” She was part of a group that every year rents a bus and drives several hours North, and everyone on the bus are serious tasters, all of whom leave with cases of wine. I stood corrected, and perhaps lost a regular reader.

These letters and comments made me realize just how many people really enjoy this event, with comments like:

“I LOVE Barrel Tasting, it’s a chance to get together with friends, who have varied experience with wine”

 

“This was our third year barrel tasting and we pretty much have it down to a science with strategic routes for Friday and Saturday, while Sunday is more relaxed meandering around downtown Healdsburg.”

 

“I had an excellent experience during weekend one of Barrel Tasting. The future wines were fun to try and then comparing them to a finished product was an experience that led to the purchase of so many cases of wine that my hybrid was doing a wheelie on the drive home to Berkeley!”

 

“Barrel tasting has become an annual event for my friends and I. In fact, we collectively have several wine club memberships as a result of Wine Road events.”

 

“I haven’t missed Barrel Tasting in years. I started going when I was a student at SSU. I got so hooked on the event that I decided to invite my cousins and make a weekend out of it. We use it as a bonding weekend to try fabulous new wines and taste old favorites. I love Barrel Tasting because it brings wine lovers together for one reason. I always come away with new stories, great memories, and a great new wine collection. I never leave a winery empty-handed and often come home with cases. I have also purchased futures and especially love going back when they are ready to try my favorites again!”

Just a small selection of the 40+ comments received.

 

Stop The Whining About Wine-ing

I love the wine business and wineries, but some it seems are never happy. “Its been dead for weeks.” “This event had no traffic.” “Oh my GOD, There were TOO MANY people.”

So which is it? It’s interesting for me to observe, often first hand, wineries that make a huge success, year over year, of the Wine Road’s three events, including this one, and those that decline every year, and bitch & moan in the process.

Having worked closely with some, (and been on the other side of the barrel) its all about attitude, preparation, and outlook. Is every person who comes into your tasting room an opportunity to join your wine club, or just some pain in the ass who drank too much that is in buy viagra without rx your way until 5 pm comes? You decide. I can tell you those who view it the former, always lead in sales results.

I have written repeatedly about the importance of the tasting room experience and its impact on wine sales. It’s as important (if not more important) than the quality of the wine. The winery with a great hospitality experience and mediocre wine will outsell the winery with the reverse, every time.

Locals, yes Healdsburg can be a bit crazy Saturday afternoon I know. Our hotels, shops, and restaurants are also all full. If you can’t

appreciate what this does for our tax base and smile just a bit, consider it a great weekend to get out of town.

 

What Barrel Tasting IS:

  • A chance to taste some great wines.
  • A chance to learn about wine that isn’t done yet, and the wine making process.
  • A chance to buy great wine and save some dollars, both in futures and finished wine sales.

I have more detailed information and suggestions in articles: My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting and Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

As always, I suggest you print out the Wine Road program, and make a plan. Some wineries participate early on Friday, this is an EXCELLENT opportunity for more attention and less traffic. Some wineries also only participate the first weekend.

 

What To Bring:

  • The program guide, with your plan: http://www.wineroad.com/media/originals/112-BT%20program%202012.pd
  • A cooler to put your wine purchases in. Yes its going to be 70 degrees. Bring a cooler. Heat kills wine.
  • Some food items. Since much of Dry Creek and Russian River is sparse in dining options, bring a picnic, a blanket and take a meal break. Or make your plan around dining somewhere in Geyserville, Healdsburg, or Santa Rosa. This is a day to be enjoyed, stop and smell the roses and eat lunch – its will enhance your day and experience. Its not a contest to see how many wineries you can visit.
  • Common sense. If you hate crowds and/or want to visit popular wineries, make your plan accordingly. Go to less busy areas like Geyserville & Russian River during peak times, and hit Dry Creek, Healdsburg, and popular wineries on Friday, first thing Saturday or Sunday morning.

Ok, Can I Win Tickets Already?

This Thursday Mar 1st, at 6 p.m. we will draw 4 pairs of winners for the Second weekend (March 9-11).

To win one of two ways (enter both!)

(1) Tell me in comments any one of the following:

  • Have you attended Barrel Tasting before, and what is your favorite part of the event? OR
  • Have you ever purchased futures before? Where? OR
  • If you won tickets, what winery do you want to go to most, and why? (Please make sure the winery you pick is participating, the list is here.

 

AND/OR

 

(2) Sign up for Simple Hedonisms email updates in the top right corner.

Its secure, private, and simply emails you when we have new articles. Nothing else. (Important – you will receive a confirmation email to complete your subscription, you must finish that step to be eligible.)

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and giving away some tickets! See you on the Wine Road – Heaven Condensed!

 

Related Articles

Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting. Tell us yours and win tickets.

Observations of Wine Road Barrel Tasting Week One; Suggestions & Ticket Contest for Week Two

 

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 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. 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 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.

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.

Experience 6 Micro-Wineries You Normally Can't Taste, Feb 4th, In A Unique Try& Buy Tasting, Santa Rosa

My mantra that Wine Tasting events must evolve remains steadfast, as I have written numerous times. (See buy cheap cialis online

href=”http://www.simplehedonisms.com/archives/date/2011/12/archives/5237″ rel=”bookmark”>Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve, Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format.)

In the ongoing competition of events, organizations need to evolve what they offer consumers. Likewise, for small wineries to survive, they can not simply continue to pour dozens of bottles of wine at events, without some level of ROI, beyond brand recognition.

Thanks to the concept of custom crush, where winemaking facilities can be shared, the advent of virtual, microwineries continues to grow. Yet if these wineries don’t have normal hours, how does one get to taste, and purchase these handmade (often hand bottled, labelled) true artisan, very small lot wines?

The state of California does not make premise wine sales very easy, but the industry and technology continues to evolve to facilitate wine tasting combined with sales.

One of these events is occurring Feb 4th in Santa Rosa.

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration Custom Crush

Many wineries now share their facilities with other small winemakers. This win win arrangement allows them to faster recoup their large capital investment, and simultaneously allows new, small wineries to get started without the capital investment up front, albeit at a higher production cost per bottle.

Inspiration Vineyards, itself a micro-winery producing ~1000 cases a year, is one of these facilities. Under its roof, Jon Philips has other wineries making wine. These small vintners have no tasting room, and sell by appointment only, and to restaurants.

 

Taste Small Lot Wines You Can’t Normally Try or Buy

Feb 4th, from 11 am to 5 pm, you will be able to try and buy these wineries.

Ticket Price Includes Wine Purchase Credits

The event features small bites to go along with the

wines, and Ultra Crepes, one of my favorite food trucks will be on hand.

Tickets in advance are $20, but come with $10 credit towards wine purchase, and $5 towards food, reducing your cost for the event to a mere $5.

You may purchase tickets online at: http://inspirationvineyards.eventbrite.com/

Don’t miss the great opportunity to taste wines you can’t normally!

Sonoma Holiday Wine Market delights with Wine, Food and Local Color

Dane Cellars Santa in "Floods"

The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Association “Wine Market – Holiday Edition” proved to be a great opportunity to taste from 27 wineries in one place, including small producers not open to the public. Here you could taste, then purchase unique wines at fantastic savings. Excellent food tastings, and food-wine pairing advice was available from local Sommeliers  – in Santa hats no less.  Last not least, you could speak with the winemakers … and see what characters they can be!

Santa in Floods? Bart Hansen, winemaker at Dane Cellars, says he spends most of the year in Bermuda shorts. When Sonoma temps hit 75’ F on December 2, he rolled out to the event in his special Santa Floods.  The Dane Cellars Clarksburg 2009 Chenin Blanc he poured is richer bodied than a Sauvignon Blanc, making it a was a good wine for a sunny winter day and a perfect match for the Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese served up by the girl and the fig.

Santa Sommeliers. What is a sommelier (so-mel-yay)? A “Somm,” or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional specializing in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching.  Three certified Somms in Santa hats roamed the floor at the “Wine Market – Holiday Edition” event, helping guests with wine advice, pairing, and directing them to wine specials.

Eric Ross "Struttin' Red"

Cocky Wine: Eric Ross 2010 Struttin’ Red

Eric Luce, winemaker at label Eric Ross, invites you to taste his red blend of the year. 2010 is a unique blend of Tempranillo, Old Vine Zin and Petite Sirah. It screams out for a really good Cheeseburger. Failing to find any cheeseburgers, this wine was great with the Truffle Gateau chocolates featured at the Market.

Consumers have many benefits to gain from a single-location event like this. To name a few:

  1. Access unique fine wines and local cuisine
  2. Lower prices on quality wines
  3. Remove the driving around from a wine-tasting outing – all the wines and food, all in one place
  4. Access to *Santa Sommeliers* to advise on matching foods with the wines you like
  5. Buy where you taste and take your wine home with you!

I had a conversation with Christopher Sawyer, Somm at Carneros Bistro in Sonoma. I asked Chris how one should go about pairing up wines with a meal. “First of all, the method should be reversed. Decide your menu, then match the wine to it.”  OK, I said, then to break the rules a bit, let’s say I’ve got a Zinfandel from Haywood Winery, which is pouring here today. Chris suggests, “This is a supple, medium body Zinfandel that gives you a lot of flexibility with the food pairing. Game. Duck. Spicy pork with compote on the side. Strip steak. And of course Ribs will go well with Zin.”

Christopher Sawyer "Santa Sommelier"

Wines of note:

Eric Ross 2010 Marsanne-Roussane. Your guests will appreciate when you serve this unique white. Winemaker

Eric Luce blends two grapes from the famed SaraLee’s Vineyard in Russian River Valley to make a wine in the Rhone style that everyone’s talking about.  Full-bodied, food-ready, and a great under-$30 wine to diversify your palate.  It paired with the Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese and I would recommend it with any cheese.

Dane Cellars 2007 Jackknife Cabernet Sauvignon. When you are looking for full-flavored, medium-bodied Cab, the Jackknife is a great choice. From a vineyard high above Sonoma Valley, with volcanic soils and generous late afternoon sun, this wine explodes with fruit and complex flavors. Sommelier Sawyer says:  “With a medium-bodied cab like Dane Cellars’ Jackknife you have more flexibility in your menu – you can pair with red meat or you can go with a bigger fish such as sturgeon or tuna prepared with a soy sauce.”

Pip 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.  Undecided between oaked and unoaked? You can’t go wrong with this under $20 wine from Dunstan, from famed Durrell Vineyards blended with nearby grapes, then aged in 1/3 neutral oak and 2/3 stainless steel.  The resulting Chardonnay will please both the oaked and unoaked taste, as the neutral oak imparts lovely vanilla aromas and softness while the stainless steel defines the varietal character and imparts a crisp finish.  Another great match for the Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese.

Abigail Zimmerman of Annadel Estate Wines

Best new wine find: 

Annadel Estate 2008 Anni’s Blend is an instantly memorable red wine that’s also easy to pair with food.  I got rich fruit medleys and a velvety mouth feel from this blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. For a Cab-Merlot blend like this, you could even serve it with a Mac & Cheese dish with toasted walnuts and mushrooms, according to Sommelier Sawyer.  The adjacent “Coppa & Apple Mostarda on Foccacia” from Estate went well.  Annadel Estate Winery is the effort of a family who are restoring an 1880’s vineyard estate in the region. Expect to hear more about their wines soon.

There were many more varietals and examples of great winemaking available for taste. I can’t cover them all here. See what you missed and check back soon for upcoming events at the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance website.

On my Christmas wishlist: http://www.platsdujour.net/

 

 

 

 

 

Don't Miss This Saturday: Sonoma Valley Wine Market. Promo code AND Two Chances to Win Tickets!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season? All the wine events, specials, bundles and promotions. You need wine for your table, entertaining, and if you have lucky friends, for gifts.

Regular followers will recall my ongoing mantra about wine events needing to evolve.  I am sick of big wine walk around tastings with 500 wines to try,  and I am  getting over driving all viagra cialis online over the place for bracelet events. Oddly, many wine regions DON”T do a walk around tasting (Dry Creek Valley did a great one once, and stopped.)

An ideal, interesting event: Gather wineries together in a modest size in one place, let me taste the wines AND if I like them, BUY them. Ideally, be able to take them home right away, but for some reason the ABC seems to think that is evil…even though I can go to Safeway and fill up my cart. Unless you have a special permit, or are on property like Ft Mason that is Federal, not State.

Introducing the Sonoma Valley Wine Market Sonoma Valley Grapes and Wine(And Save $10!)

At this unique venue, you’ll have unprecedented access to over 35 Sonoma Valley wineries all in one place. Gathered together are some of Sonoma Valley’s most celebrated wineries – many small production or closed to the public – for an opportunity taste and purchase new releases, special collections and hard-to-find vintages.

Enjoy special wine and holiday food pairings prepared by El Dorado Kitchen, ESTATE, Santé, the girl + the fig and Truffle Gateau while learning about holiday meal planning and pairing from sommeliers: Christopher Sawyer, Gillian Balance and James Dick.

Wine Country Photo Booths will be there to capture festive pictures owhile you enjoy the event. Plus, you can  have your wine purchases packed and shipped to your home by Premier Wine Shipping. Start your holiday celebrations in true Sonoma style at Sonoma Valley Wine Market!

Tickets are only $35 a piece, less than a day of Tasting Room Fees and lunch! Event is 12-4 this Saturday December 3rd at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall.

Purchase

tickets at: https://tickets.sonomavalleywine.com/mainstore.asp?vid=2

Use promo code LOCALS and save $10 off of the regular ticket price!

For those treasure seekers looking for something a bit more rare like large format bottles or hard to find verticals, go to the online auction at www.SonomaValleyWineMarket.BiddingForGood.com

Enter Two Different Way to Win Tickets

(1) Tell us your favorite participating winery, from below and why (or your favorite wine from them.) In comments below.

(2) Subscribe to Simple Hedonisms email updates. Emails are secure, never shared or spammed, and you only receive an email when we post a new article or review.

Look in  the top right hand corner to subscribe. You must complete  registration, which means clicking the link in the verification email. Its painless and takes less than two minutes!

Contest ends at 330 sharp Friday Dec 2nd! Watch for updates. If your name isn’t posted in comments on Simple Hedonisms, you didn’t win, but you can still use the discount code to save $10!

Simple Hedonisms will be there live covering, cheers!

Wineries Include

 Related Articles

Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve

Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format

Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve – An Example at the Saturday June 11th Vinify Winery Collective Event in Santa Rosa

I have been writing and vocalizing regularly these last few months that Wine Tasting events are going through an evolution. With more and more wineries and associations holding events, organizers are seeking ways to stand out and be unique. This is especially true for the 'walk around' tasting format where many producers are under one roof pouring for consumers walking around, such as the many Fort Mason events.

The Evolution of Wine Tasting Events

As someone who attends and covers a wide range of events, both as media and consumer, and who organizes many as well, I feel there are two themes that must emerge:

Smaller, more focused tastings:

The lines of people 4 deep waving their glasses like baby birds demanding food begats little in my opinion. As a consumer (or worse, Media) it means that there is no chance for meaningful dialog with the producer. (Unless you are one of the mannerless that hog the table irregardless.)

As a producer, you may think its great to pour for this many people, but you aren't leaving an impression with many, but simply doling out 'juice'.  More is not always better, there needs to be a balance. Being able to successfully target enthusiastic, interested consumers, eager to learn and experience,  instead of just party goers, is a key part of success as well.

A chance to buy, right away, a wine the consumer likes:

Evolutions in handheld and mobile Point of Sale systems (POS) are enabling this, and doing well at events like the San Francisco Vintners Market, the upcoming Taste of Mendocino and more. Many wineries are very small, have limited production and sales distribution. Paying for shipping is a proven barrier to consumer sales. If I loved a taste of something I tried, especially from a remote winery, why NOT buy it then and there. Its only logical.

As a new Board member of the Rhone Rangers, I keenly set my sights on this enabler. The usual challenge and expense of ABC licenses add expense & paperwork, but this evolution is coming, and is beneficial to the local artisan and the economy.

Many consumers are not aware, but these events are expensive, especially for a small winery. They carry the cost of table fees, travel, lodging, and the many bottles of wine they pour. If a winery can sell enough wine to cover their costs, that makes the ROI much

more palatable, instead of tryi

ng to justify only the 'soft' benefits of pouring my wine to new consumers. If they can actually make some money – bingo! After all, winemaking isn't a non profit venture, although it can sometime feels like it!

Voila – The Vinify Wine Collective Tasting

This Saturday, Vinify Wine Services, a custom crush facility located in Santa Rosa that houses boutique winemakers  from Sonoma County is offering a unique event. Their member wineries, who produce wines from highly acclaimed vineyards all over the North Coast , representing over 12 varietals and 40+ finished wines, will be holding a special tasting, that exemplifies what I just discussed.

These are small, artisan producers, many of whom have no tasting room and limited distribution. At this event, not only can you taste their wines, but you can walk out the door (after you pay) with your favorites.  Some of these are culty producers with waiting lists, others are new emerging stars.

$25 lets you experience these wines, and take home a Riedel Burgundy glass. A variety of cheese & other nibbles will also be available. I attended this event last year, and was impressed, look forward this tasting with great anticipation. Click here for more information, and tickets. Space is limited.  See you there!

Producers Include:

  • Baker Lane
  • Bjornstad Cellars
  • Lattanzio Winery
  • Sojourn Cellars
  • Westerhold Family Vineyards
  • Calluna Vineyard
  • Jemrose Vineyard
  • Barbed Oak Vineyards
  • Argot Wines
  • Desmond Wines
  • Frostwatch Vineyard and Winery
  • Olson Ogden Wines
  • Gracianna Winery
  • Vaughn Duffy Wines
  • Audelssa Estate Winery
  • Wren Hop Vineyards & Winery
  • Super Sonoman Wines
  • Kanzler Vineyards

Related articles:

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

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