Category Archives: news

NVL: Rosé Style Wines for All Occasions

With a nod to National Rosé Day on June 12th, read my varietal article from the April 2021 issue of Napa Valley Life! Here is a starter to lure you in, finish it up by following the READ MORE link to their site. . . Cheers! Christopher

Drink Pink

“Pink sunshine” and “freshness in a glass” are catchy phrases Robert Sinskey winemaker Jeff Virnig uses to describe the winery’s latest release of the 2020 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, a complex pink wine with bright, fruity flavors, crisp acidity, and long dry finish. With a brilliant pale salmon hue, this signature style has become the benchmark for where classy pink wines have come over the past thirty years and one of the many reasons wine lovers flock to Napa Valley in the springtime to get their hands on these energetic young wines before they sell out.

The road to rosé’s popularity in Napa Valley did not happen overnight.

When Virnig started making rosé in1991, his goal was to create a fun, quaffable, food-friendly wine that added instant excitement to gatherings any time it was served. But at the time, the impression pink wines were making on American consumers was swayed by the sugary imports like Mateus and Lancers, which flooded the marketplace in the late 1960s. When Sutter Home Family Vineyards winemaker Bob Trinchero released their White Zinfandel in 1975, people went crazy for it, but it was still snubbed by serious wine drinkers.

As a result, the first few vintages of the Robert Sinskey Vin Gris were sold to wine buyers and sommeliers in New York City, who catered to world travelers that were already familiar with the drier  styles  of rosé produced in France, Italy, Spain and German. As the years passed, this learning curve gave Virnig and other adventurous winemakers of Napa Valley time to develop special techniques now being used to create various expressions of rosé wines.

Homage to Author Gerald Haslam on KFCF, 88.1 FM Fresno


Listen Here: Agrarian Trudy Wischemann celebrates the author Gerald Haslam

First Friday of the month at 5p.m.
KFCF, 88.1 FM Fresno

On April 13th of this year, my father-in-law, Gerald Haslams pen came to final rest. Over a fifty-year career, he wrote deeply authentic stories depicting California’s Central Valley, its diversity of people, places, and rural culture. He excelled at yarns from his South Valley Okie and oil patch upbringing. LISTEN HERE to “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey and Tulare County agrarian advocate Trudy Wischemann celebrate the life and times, most certainly the words of a singular Valley author.

Dry White Wines For A Pleasant Summer Season

The idyllic Dollarhide Vineyard at St. Supéry Estate is a perfect view to lead into warmer weather, home to their stunning Sauvignon Blanc: It is one of many white wines discussed in this article written recently by Katie Sweeney, where she follows my lead on many recommendations. To share a selfie quote “Dry white wines stand out because they pair so well with such a wide range of fine culinary cuisine, as well as comfort foods.”

READ MORE at this link to 24 Dry White Wines to Try When You Don’t Want Just Another Pinot Grigio, published in The Editorialist. You will thank us this summer! Cheers, Chris

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LangReed-CheninBlanc
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Clockwise: Goosecross crushing Sauvignon Blanc; Tasting at Cuvaison; Chenin Blanc from Lang & Reed; Greetings from Smith Devereux!

NVL: Napa Valley & Cabernet Sauvignon

Back in November 2020, my Cabernet Sauvignon varietal article appeared in Napa Valley Life. Here is a starter to lure you in, finish it up by following the READ MORE link to their site. . . Cheers! Christopher

A Perfect Match

The Napa Valley has been cultivating grapes since the 1700s, but Cabernet Sauvignon was not introduced to the area until the late 1800s around the time when industry icon, Charles Krug opened the first commercial winery.  A decade or so later, Beringer and Inglenook followed suit.

At  the time, America was captivated with Bordeaux wines, and in 1889, Inglenook gained worldwide notoriety with their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Rutherford, which won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Paris World Fair. This accolade ultimately drove attention to the Napa Valley and set the stage for the region’s potential to produce premier Bordeaux-style wines.

Celebrating its 120th anniversary in 2020, the Rutherford- based Beaulieu Vineyard has become a benchmark of Napa Valley style: An iconic winery responsible for the success of world-class wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes planted before prohibition and after the modern boom of large- scale plantings, which began when Robert Mondavi opened his winery in Oakville in 1966 . . .

Delicious Grub Everywhere — Go Get Some!

Perfect timing with many places reopened to outdoor dining, or continuing with take-out & delivery. Whatever suits your preference this Sonoma County Restaurant Week 2021, which starts February 19, keeps going until February 28th! You have plenty of time so get some good #SOCO eats and support a local biz!

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While not on the list this year, just a few examples to help whet the palate (all from delicious menus at Gravenstein Grill)!

Sawyer Somm Becomes the Interviewee!

“Turning the Tables – Interviewing the Interviewers” is a Q&A series profiling Wine Writers from The Wine Industry Advisor. The objective of this project is to understand and develop working relationships with journalists: Those that help tell the stories, review wines and potentially provide media coverage.

On Jan 12, it was MY TURN to be the subject of their inquiry. Read the interview HERE! This is part of an ongoing series that will be featured monthly by Wine Industry Network. Cheers! Christopher

An Exciting Episode Of Grape Encounters Radio In The Midst Of A Global Pandemic

David Wilson, host of Grape Encounters Radio, takes some time to virtually visit Italy with Piero Pavone, founder of Vinum Hadrianum, a winery on the eastern central coast of Italy that is breathing new life into an ancient Roman form of winemaking.

He then rejoins the U.S. with ME to discuss the pandemic effects on the wine and food industry and pontification of what the future might look like! LISTEN UP!


Grape Encounters Episode #566 – A Huge Step Forward in Sonoma and a Huge Step Back in Italy!

Read My Work About Rhône & Somm Camp in the Latest Somm Journal!

In between all my comings and goings there is a wee space to satiate my journalistic beginnings.  In addition to my occasional Sawyer Somm blog posts, take a minute to peruse some industry magazines either in print or online.  The 2020 February/March issue of  The SOMM Journal is a great place to start with my two published pieces!

 

My column Inside Sonoma is on  page 18.
Here to Stay: Sonoma County Producers Continue to Embrace Rhône Varieties

My article about The SOMM Journal Camp is on page 100.
With Love From The Russian River Valley: DeLoach Vineyards Leads SOMM Campers in a Regional Exploration of Wine and Vine

Happy Reading! Chris