Join me for the Holiday Winemaker Dinner at Seaside Metal Oyster Bar!
This fun, festive and delicious event will include winemakers Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Winery and Kurt Giusti of Via Giusti Winery. Check out the menu below.
Short notice for a great event!
PinotFest 2015 is happening on Saturday November 21st, 3-6pm at the Farallon Restaurant in SF (450 Post Street, 4th Floor). Get tickets HERE.
A great opportunity to find exciting new Pinot Noirs to serve with festive cuisine or give as presents during the holidays. Join me and an all-star lineup of winemakers, sommeliers, and wine pros for this extensive tasting from 60 of Oregon and California’s best Pinot Noir producers. Featuring sumptuous hors d’oeuvres to complement the wines and an opportunity to meet the winemakers.
Fabulous wines on site will include Alma Rosa, Archery Summit, Au Bon Climat, Bonaccorsi, Byron, Calera, Charles Heintz, Chehalem, Cobb, Costa de Oro, Domaine de la Côte, Domaine Drouhin, Drake, En Route, Ernest, Etude, Failla, Fiddlehead, Flowers, Foxen, Freeman, Gloria Ferrer, Greenwood Ridge, Handley, Hartford Family, Hendry, Hitching Post, Joseph Phelps, Keller Estate, Kendric, Kosta Browne, LaRue, Littorai, Lutum, Lynmar, Marimar Estate, Melville, Merry Edwards, Morgan, Patz & Hall, Paul Hobbs, Paul Lato, Peay, Radio Coteau, Reuling, Saintsbury, Siduri, Sinor-LaVallee, Soliste, Soter, Talisman, Talley, Tendril, Testarossa, Thomas Fogarty, Twomey, Wayfarer, Whitcraft, WillaKenzie, Williams Selyem
In America, celluloid dreams are to Hollywood what prolific Cabernet Sauvignons are to Napa Valley. And to celebrate all pairings of wines with film, I include 3 last bottles to The Perfect Case, to coincide with the beginning of Napa Valley Film Festival on Wednesday November 11th. Either way, on big or small screen, enjoy the combinations!
Classics with Cabernet Sauvignon
Raymond 2012 Sommelier Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($18)
Crafted by a special team of sommeliers from across the United States, this magnificent mixture of grapes from special North Coast vineyards creates lingering notes of ripe red fruits, raspberry, red currant, black fig, cocoa, espresso and elegant tannins.
Film pairing: Great sommelier wine to serve with Goldeneye or other classic James Bond films as hip red alternative to martinis shaken not stirred.
Freemark Abbey 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($44): Visceral cabernet with pleasurable flavor of wild berries, plums, cherries melded with secondary notes vanilla, cedar box and pastoral spice.
Film pairing: Like the vivid scenery in The Piano, the precious joys of this fine cabernet are slowly revealed inside the glass.
Grgich Hills 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($65): Rich wine with elegant notes of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, and silky texture.
Film pairing: Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean and Natalie Wood. The core fruit in this wine came from vines planted in Yountville the same decade the film was released and maverick winemaker Mike Grgich arrived in Napa Valley from Croatia.
In continuation of building The Perfect Case to pair with wines, I next take on the category of Drama. In deeper films, match the engaging characters with the grape varieties used in special proprietary blends.
Dramas with Proprietary Reds
Wolf Family Vineyards 2012 Phaedrus Cabernet Sauvignon ($45)
Made with smaller portions of malbec and petit verdot, this robust red wine is layered with notes of black cherry, wild berries, chocolate and allspice.
Film pairing: With American Beauty, the complex characteristics of this cabernet blend balance masterfully with the portrait of a dysfunctional suburban family.
Favia 2011 Cerro Sur Red Wine ($145)
With a dark purple hue, this magnificent blend of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon offers lofty aroma of leather, lavender and tobacco leading to concentrated flavors of blueberry, wild berries, fresh sage and a long dry finish.
Film pairing: High energy. Intensity. Birdman: Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.
Modus Operandi 2012 Vicarious Red Wine ($45)
Classy Napa Valley blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petite verdot, petite sirah and syrah with generous flavors of ripe cherry, wild berries and ground black pepper.
Film pairing: With powerful, rustic and savory notes, think red meat on the grill and Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood.
Napa Valley Film Festival
As the world’s first ever film festival sommelier, I have spent the last twenty years pairing wines with films. This fall I will once again be spreading my words and tastes to guests attending the Napa Valley Film Festival, November 11-15. I like to start with finding wines that compliment the theme of a film and the development of characters as the story progresses.
Here are the first 3 bottles of a Perfect Case, that I developed originally for a story with Saveur magazine: Twelve of my favorite new releases from Napa Valley with films you can enjoy in the comfort of your home this fall.
Comedies with Whites
Priest Ranch 2014 Grenache Blanc, Somerston Estate ($22): Fragrant floral aromas lead to refreshing flavors of white peach, cantaloupe, pear, and an elegant texture.
Film pairing: Elevate the fun personality of this wine with a Ben Stiller gem like Flirting with Disaster.
Cairdean 2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley ($32): Lovely sauvignon blanc aged in French oak barrels with gracious notes of passionfruit, kiwi, key lime pie, grapefruit, honey, creamy texture, and hints of peppermint and smoke.
Film pairing: Match the smooth and sassy characteristics of this fumé blanc alongside Down with Love.
Matthiasson 2013 White Wine ($40): In the glass, this unique blend of sauvignon blanc, ribolla gialla, semillon and tocai friulano expands with lively notes of ripe melon, fig, citrus, roasted hazelnuts, and a long graceful finish.
Film pairing: Showcase the young, energetic nature of these intriguing grapes with amusing films focused on adorable characters like Juno.
Driving home with my family along Hwy 1 a year ago, from a scenic Sea Ranch stay, we saw signage for an event I missed. This year, I am going! The Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Festival will be this Saturday, October 17, from 11am-4pm. It will be an exquisite way to take in breathtaking views, enjoy the lingering warmth of autumn, and experience celebrations of the Russian, Alaska Native, and Native American history, that worked these lands two hundred years ago.
From 1-3pm is the Grand Luncheon: A four-course meal of seasonal fare expertly paired with wines from the area, prepared by renowned local chefs and served on a marine terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Tickets are available by advance purchase only and will sell out. Purchase them here–ASAP-only available until 9pm tonight!
Flowers Vineyard & Winery
Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery
Precious Mountain Vineyard
Tin Barn Vineyards
Wild Hog Vineyard
See you there! Christopher
Litquake arrives in San Francisco on October 9th this year, departing October 17th, so don’t forget to join me for my 6th Annual Flight of Poets on Thursday October 15th! Featured wineries include Gundlach Bundschu, Hess Collection, Three Wine Co., LaFollette Wines, Tin Bar & Breathless.
To whet your palate, enjoy this poem by my friend Dean Rader, who is in the Department of English at USF, that was a finalist in the Caldwell Vineyard – Rocket Science Label Contest 2014.
Red is landing and launch, Orbit and origin, both cork and Crush. It’s motion, evolution, Kinesis. It’s fire and flight. Every color moves, but red Takes off, it rockets through Space, through science. Look: the Capsule is in your hand. Explore. Imbibe sun and skin, drink the Earth. You too can discover the New world; for in this realm, in this Cosmos, in this universe, Everything is wine.
And while you are feeling the wine vibe, chew on this little extra from Dean as well!
Take me over tongue over teeth over cusp cut and rim over skin Peel me back and push me down I want to go deep below body and bone beneath darkness and dirt and there raise me up to mouth on mouth on lip on tip I want to go deep I want to be squashed quashed and quelled I want to be crushed
Love this great article by Linda on the Salvation Sisters blog about the Petaluma GAP and first ever winemaker dinner, McEvoy Ranch Summer Winemakers Dinner — the McEvoy Ranch Chinese Pavilion and the Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area (AVA). Leslie Sbrocco and I are featured in this story as well: See us in action at the Gloria Ferrer Glorious Bites Appetizer Challenge event this Saturday October 10th.
That evening I will also be attending another culinary event at Jessup Cellars so look for my posts from the Surreal Harvest Dinner with gastronaut Bob Blumer!
If you aren’t feeling the pull, like I am, to the Sierra Nevadas this weekend (see The Big Crush), then perhaps you can enjoy some local sips to support worthy North Bay causes?
On Saturday October 3rd you can Raise the Roof along with an assortment of farmers, wineries, restaurants, hoteliers, insurance agents, realtors, event planners, civic leaders, local law and fire department personnel, and many other local Sonoma County businesses. Proceeds go to help victims of the recent Valley fire in Lake County.
Attend the event and participate in the silent auction while enjoying delectable wines from the most sought after wineries and sensational bites from featured chefs including Dustin Valette, Duskie Estes, Guy Fieri, Nicolai Lipscomb to name a few. Tickets are $100 pre-sale or $125 at the Sonoma Jet Center doors in Santa Rosa.
On Sunday, October 4th is the 15th Annual Blessing of the Animals at St. Francis Winery. Bring your best furry friend to the Winery to be blessed and spend the afternoon helping raise money for the Sonoma Humane Society.