Category Archives: Sommelier

This Somm’s Best Wines for your Thanksgiving Table!

Some of you may have seen the Food Network article online about Sommelier recommendations for your turkey day feast, myself included.  However that was a much abbreviated version of what I had to say (of course)!  So here is my full answer to help you fill in those lonely decanters in your cabinet.  Enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving!!!

“Keeping in mind the enjoyment of the meal, Thanksgiving is a classic time to introduce wines with the various courses and dishes.  I recommend starting with crisp light white wines to complement the start of your meals. With seasonal salads  or creamy soups, try the Robert Mondavi 2017 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley ($23). Modeled after the elegant white wines made in Bordeaux region of France, this new release is made with 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon. With aromatic aromas, the wine features lively flavors of a fresh peach, citrus, wild herbs and a smooth texture that can make the flavors in these starting dishes pop. Another Thanksgiving classic is the Gundlach Bundschu 2017 Dry Gewurztraminer, Sonoma Coast ($25). Celebrating their 160th Anniversary as the oldest family-owned winery in California, this new release from the Bundschu family features tangy flavors of ripe melon, grapefruit, white pepper, ginger and nutmeg that can pair with a wide range of starting dishes, including spicy soups and salads with zesty dressing.

Moving on to the yams, mashed potatoes, green bean salad, gravy, stuffing and white meats calls for something that can complement the various flavors on the dish. A easy choice would be a young, vibrant Pinot Noir with ripe red fruits, spice and a kiss of oak.  From the 2016 vintage that just hit the market, delicious examples include The Calling from Russian River Valley, Sanford from the Sta. Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County, and Penner-Ash from Oregon’s Willamette Valley ($28-$38). Beyond pairing nicely with fine cheeses, salads, cranberries and mushroom-based dishes, these Pinot Noir offerings are fabulous options to serve with turkey sandwiches on the days following Thanksgiving.

Of course, the main dish could range from deliciously brined or smoked turkey to savory pork or ham. Therefore, one needs a flexible varietal to suit these options. An easy solution to deal with the diverse flavors is to serve a medium to full-bodied Bordeaux style blend. Crafted with estate fruit from Paso Robles, the J. Lohr 2016 Los Osos Merlot ($15) is made with 85% Merlot and smaller portions of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The end result is a generous wine with deep, rich flavors of black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, baking spices, roasted nuts and smooth tannins that can complement each bite on the plate. For spicy and savory dishes, tangy sauces or heavier meats like dark turkey or ham, an admirable alternative would be the Dry Creek Vineyard 2016 Heritage Vines Zinfandel ($24). Honoring the old vine plantings in Dry Creek Valley and other special winegrowing regions in Sonoma County, this wine features lavish notes of blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, black pepper, licorice and a long, graceful finish.”

SVMA/12.2.18/Art & Poetry + Food & Wine

Pairings for the Senses

Come together on Sunday, December 2nd from 5:30-7:30pm, at our 3rd-annual Pairings event. Taste the fruits of Sonoma winemakers and chefs, see the art on view in the museum, and listen to live readings by our featured “Flight of Poets:” Julia Bouwsma, Joseph Rios, Sam Sax, and Melissa Stein.  I will be the featured Sommelier along with MCs with poets Tess Taylor and Hollie Hardy.

Featured wineries include Gloria Ferrer, Stone Edge Farm, Eco Terreno Wines, Dane Cellars, Once & Future, Garnet Wines, Belden Barns, and Winery Sixteen 600.

Featured Chefs include John McReynolds, EDGE at Stone Edge Farm, Sondra Bernstein & John Toulze, girl & the fig, Kyle Kuklewski, Ramekins, Ari Weiswasser, Glen Ellen Star, Sheana Davis, The Epicurean Connection and special visiting chef from Mei Prefecture, Japan, Takahisa Shirakawa, courtesy of Sonoma Cultural Exchange.

Get your TICKETS!

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Poets (clockwise from top left): Joseph Rios, Melissa Stein, Sam Sax, Julia Bouwsma

In Amoré with Amarone: The Sawyer-Casale Tasting

So happy to share this Napa Valley Register article by columnist Eduardo Dingler (and some of my pictures!) about our recent private wine tasting at the home of Don Sebastiani.

Every month, Keith Casale and I orchestrate a wine theme and food pairing to dazzle a table-full of people.  October featured Amarone, read more at the link below!

*Exploding violets and cigar boxes, an afternoon with Amarone*

Cheers! Christopher & Friends

Vote Vote Vote! Bohemian Best of for 2019

We all love to VOTE right?  With the official election in sight, let’s all get warmed up with some online participation of this North Bay’s longest running Best Of contest.

Please remember to enter Christopher Sawyer for Best Sommelier & Gravenstein Grill for Best Restaurant!

If you need a reason why to add my name then maybe you need to have an Exclusive Sommelier Wine Tour, or private wine dinner with Fire & Vine, or attend one of my Somm Sessions at Feast It Forward, or just go to the Gravenstein Grill and sample from my wine list.  Why not?  Enjoy and happy voting!

Cheers! Christopher

FEASTstock featuring mini-Somm Sessions on October 20th!

Announcing the Inaugural Oxbow District FEASTstock Festival, presented by Feast it Forward and Oxbow Public Market:  Here is a chance to get your Somm Session sampling with me and guest winemakers throughout the day in a fun interactive setting!

McKinstry Street and Oxbow Annex parking lot will be closed to create a neighborly and family friendly FREE block party.  Come out and play with us for a day filled with wine, craft brew, grub from Oxbow District merchants, kids zone and much more alongside #FEASTstudio playing host as Napa’s Own, Johnny Smith & Friends, Dgiin, Quinn DeVeaux Band and Justin Schaefers & the Blind Barbers jam on stage from 11a-8:30pm.

Presented by Feast it Forward and Oxbow Public Market to RAISE awareness and funds for Community Action of Napa Valley Food Bank!

Radio Show: ISO The Good Life from July 30th!

I was fortunate to meet radio host Mike The Wine Guy host of In Search of the Good Life, at the Grand Opening of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University.  In such, I was able to hop on for a fun 10 minute interview with him!

Here is the link (scroll to bottom of his page) to listen in on that show if you have a little down time: Christopher Sawyer Of SawyerSomm

Cheers! Christopher

Cabernet Sauvignon & Bordeaux Varietals at Somm Session October 4th!

Plan your next trip to Napa for my fun and educational Somm Session featuring Rocca Family Vineyards, Terra Valentine and Oberon Wines.

This intimate monthly seminar, Exploring the joys of Cabernet Sauvignon & other Bordeaux Varietals, will introduce you to high-end pure Napa Valley Cabs; smooth textured and graceful Merlot; and spicy profiles of a limited-release Cabernet Franc straight from the mountains, in addition to featured winemakers.

Check out the full Somm Session Schedule for 2018 & get your TICKETS through Feast It Forward!

Next Quarterly Somm Session on September 15th, plus Full Schedule!

I know the details for my FIF Somm Sessions have been just trickling out as we start each series, so here is the lowdown on my Quarterly Classes (each 3rd Saturday of the month from 10-11:30am), as well as some more ticket links, and a dedicated schedule page for your reference!  Whew, big breath after getting all that out.  Please proceed as the information unfolds below.

Quarterly Somm Sessions

Vintners, Vintages & Varietals Series:
Sept 15GIBBS Napa Valley & COHO Wines
Dec 15 Michael Mondavi and Oberon Wines

Trending Now! Series:
Oct 20The Rebirth of the Hip Red Grape Varietals
January Date TBA

Appellation Series:
Aug 18 (past)–Tasting Two Sides of the Mayacamas Mountains with Aiken Wines of Napa Valley & B. Wise Vineyards of Sonoma Valley
Nov 10Celebrating the 35-year Anniversaries of the Carneros, Russian River Valley and Paso Robles AVAs

FULL SCHEDULE through 2018

This additionally includes my Monthly Somm Sessions on First Thursdays, 5:30-7pm! Ticket links will be there as they come available. Contact me at wine@sawyersomm.com if you need any assistance!

Cheers!  Hope you are able join me at Feast It Forward.
1031 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559
707-819-2403 info@feastitforward.com

Rhone Wine Rendezvous Tasting at Gravenstein Grill: September 13th

Before the Sonoma County harvest kicks into high gear, join me and an all-star line-up of local #Rhone-style wine producers at the Rhone Wines Rendezvous happening at Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol on Thursday evening, September 13 from 6:00-8:00 pm.

Relax in the tranquil patio area for this very special walk-around tasting featuring the newest releases from many of the top producers of Rhone-style wines of Sonoma County. Sample lively aromatic white wines made with #Viognier, Grenache Blanc, #Roussanne, #Marsanne and #Picpoul Blanc; vibrant, elegant and spicy versions of complex red wines made with #Syrah, #Grenache, #Mourvedre. #Cinsault, #Carignane and Petit Sirah; zippy, tangy and taste-tempting offerings of sophisticated pink wines that finish dry instead of sweet; and flavorful appetizers prepared by Chef Bob Simontacchi.

In a nutshell, our local Rhone-style wines rock. So, let’s enjoy these fantastic flavor profiles at this amazing Rhone-style event on September 13th!

Participating wineries: Limerick Lane Cellars, Jeff Cohn Cellars, Davis Family Vineyards, Two Shepherds, Lasseter Family Winery, The Larsen Projekt, MacLaren Wine, Keller Estate, Dane Cellars, Montemaggiore, Eric Kent Wine Cellers, ACORN Winery, and many more!

There will also be a live performance by the wonderful Aly Rose Trio during the event.  Get your $25 ticket at EVENTBRITE!