Category Archives: news

The Return of Lake County!

lakecoAfter the devastating Valley Fire last autumn local organizations and citizens have been collaborating in  a multitude of ways to help support the recovery and redevelopment of Lake County.  It seems the efforts are making a difference, particularly in regards to their wine industry, with events in addition to ample tourism.

Read this recent Press Democrat article by Bill Swindell to find out more and perhaps think about ways we can continue supporting our neighborto the North:

Lake County Wine Industry is Ready for Takeoff!

2016 North Coast Wine Challenge Results!

The fabulous panels for the 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge.
The fabulous panels for the 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge.

Spectacular finish to the North Coast Wine Challenge with some of the finest wine judges in America. Our team sent the top red & white wine winners to the final round and the 2012, 2013 & 2014 vintages were brilliant.

Enjoying the fabulous Judges Dinner at MacMurray Ranch in Russian River Valley.
Enjoying the fabulous Judges Dinner at MacMurray Ranch in Russian River Valley.
My fellow judges and two of my favorite people in the wine industry: Traci Dutton, Manager of Wine & Beverage Studies at the Rudd Center at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, and Master Sommelier Fred Dame.
My fellow judges and two of my favorite people in the wine industry: Traci Dutton, Manager of Wine & Beverage Studies at the Rudd Center at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, and Master Sommelier Fred Dame.

The big winners have been published in the Press Democrat in this article by Diane Peterson:

Find the entire winners’ list is HERE!
Cheers! Christopher

 

The Wine-pocalypse: Fact or Fiction?

beltane ranchBy now the California Drought is common knowledge.  Residents are working to conserve, but hoping for at least a nudge of relief from the current El Nino, results of which are eagerly being awaited.  In this interesting Forbes article, my friend Greg Hittelman examines the grapes to see just how wineries are being affected and what the outcome will be on the 2015 vintage.

Dry State: Will California’s Drought Trigger a Wine-pocalypse?

Sad Grapes by Mai T. Trinh
Sad Grapes by Mai T. Trinh

Wine Radio! Tune in to Talk910 for Somm Talk today. . .March 19th

JRNew.phpJoel Riddell talks Flavor! Napa Valley starting today at 1:15, you can listen via the Dining Around link or on the airwaves at Talk910.  Listen for his interviews with winemakers, chefs and, at 2pm, myself and Master Sommelier Gillian Balance!  Gillian is on the panel for High Elevation Wines Part 1 and The Rhone Zone wine classes:  Listen, learn and join one of our classes!

Cheers! Christopher

Just in time for Valentines, Crab is back!

Dungeness Crab is back! As seen in this tasty new pasta dish at Cucina Paradiso in Petaluma with fresh crab, cauliflower, pepper flakes, lite cream, and a lovely bottle of #Presqu'ile Pinot Noir. Yum!
Dungeness Crab is back! As seen in this tasty new pasta dish at Cucina Paradiso in Petaluma with fresh crab, cauliflower, pepper flakes, lite cream, and a lovely bottle of #Presqu’ile Pinot Noir. Yum!

The glorious news just in this week, Dungeness crab is back!  Happy days ahead for lovers of the crustacean delicacy and most especially the fabulous fishermen that collect them for our markets. Congratulations to all!

Read more in this SF Examiner article: Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Opens

Cheers! Christopher

Ashes to Ashes: David Bowie RIP 1947-2016

bowieSo sad to hear about the passing of David Bowie just a few days after his birthday at the age of 69. There is no doubt the man was an icon, a legend, and helped change the face of music in the 70s & 80s. He will always be one of the greatest entertainers of our lifetimes and a star that will always shine bright not only as a musician but as an actor as well. For that reason, this week I will have his vinyl playing in the cellar and opening fine bottles of wine with friends in his honor!
#RIP #ZiggyStardust #DiamondDogs #RebelRebel #cancersucks

Read more about the amazing life of David Bowie
in this BBC article
.

50 Years of Success with Richard Arrowood

Writing my retrospective of the year reminded me to share these published articles from 2015! As written, some of my favorite memories from the past year were based on the accomplishments of gifted winemakers and family owned wineries. One of those was a celebration of a number of fun days spent with Sonoma County winemaker Richard Arrowood of Amapola Creek.

arrowood1Last spring marked the monumental kickoff to Arrowood’s 50th vintage and a series of retrospective tastings featuring over 60 wines from the iconic winemaker’s private collection. My great mentor Master Sommelier Fred Dame and I were on hand to help with each of these tastings. I must say it was a pleasure to taste through this vast collection of gems. Highlights include: a rare series of vineyard designate wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Riesling and Chardonnay grapes from legendary sites like the Laurel Glen, Wildwood and Glen Ellen (now Moon Mountain Vineyard) that were part of the Chateau St. Jean collection from 1974 to 1988; to a series of elegant and ageworthy wines from Arrowood Vineyards; and an impressive grouping of the more powerful styles made under the Amapola Creek label from 2005 to the present. You can read my stories on this experience in these two articles published by Napa Sonoma Magazine, Notes Worth Savoring: Richard Arrowood celebrates five decades of making fine wine, and The Tasting Panel, Celebrating 50 Years of Success with Richard Arrowood.

And now some special wine reviews —Into the Cellar: Six memorable Cabernet Sauvignon selections by Richard Arrowood

Here are six of my favorite cellar selections of Cabernet Sauvignon made by one of the great masters of the craft, Richard Arrowood. From a sommelier’s standpoint, it’s a wonder to taste these vintage wines over time. File under #Priceless! -CS

Chateau St. Jean 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wildwood Vineyards, Sonoma Valley: Big, ripe and juicy flavors of wild berries, chocolate, black olive, mineral, and an ample amount of structure for a wine that is pushing 40-years since the grapes were picked. A true ethereal experience made with fruit from one of the most historic Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in America. 97 pts

Chateau St. Jean 1977 Cabernet Sauvignon, Laurel Glen Vineyards, Sonoma Valley: Attractive aromas of leather, tobacco and seared meats; flavorful notes of wild mushrooms, soy and ripe berries; soft elegant texture; followed by a long, engaging finish. 98 pts

Chateau St. Jean 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon, Glen Ellen Vineyards, Sonoma Valley: Deep flavors of briary blackberries, blueberry, wild sage and mountain herbs, earthy tones, and a lingering finish. 96 pts

Arrowood 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon, Réserve Spéciale, Sonoma County: Sophisticated wine with aromas of dark fruits, bay leaf, tobacco and cedar leading to complex flavors of dark cherry, dried herbs, earth, rich texture, and a generous finish. 98 pts

Arrowood 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Sonoma Valley: Magnificent Cabernet that still tastes young. Lively notes of ripe berries, tobacco, summer sausage, chocolate nibs, rich texture, and an impressive blast of vibrant acidity towards the end. 96 pts

Arrowood 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Réserve Spéciale, Sonoma Valley: Extremely concentrated wine with layers of dark cherries, plums, wild berries and dark chocolate enhanced with nuances of fresh mountain herbs, clove, cardamom, and chewy tannins. 97 pts

Make your special trip to Amapola Creek this year. Hours and tastings by appointment only.  392 London Way, Sonoma, CA                (707) 938-3783

Enjoy & Happy New Year to you all!!!!