Category Archives: Sommelier

Caribbean at Christmastime: Pinot in Paradise Wine Cruise!

Imagine this.  Seven days of luxurious ocean travel with three special ports to explore along the way; San Juan in Puerto Rico, Totola in the British Virgin Islands and Philipsburg at St. Maarten.  And wine!  Aboard ship, I will be hosting special Costco member-only tastings, pairings and more, focused on Pinot Noir wines.

Then, at each of these scenic Eastern Caribbean ports, enjoy soft white beaches, clear blue waters and deep green landscapes; Historic Puerto Rico, with its imposing forts and rhythmic salsa; Nearby St. Maarten, sample cheese on the Dutch side and wine on the French side.

Join my family and I for this exciting adventure!
Departing December 15 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Returning December 22.

SEE TRAVEL INFORMATION HERE. . .

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From Telluride to Sebastopol!

To prepare for the 4th of July festivities, join me at Gravenstein Grill for Wine Wednesday from 5:30-7:00 pm on July 3rd for a special pouring of world-class wines from Sonoma County that will prime the palate for our national holiday and other fun activities happening with family, friends and the staff at Gravestein Grill in summertime!

The July guest list for Wine Wednesday!

July 10:  Jigar Wines

July 17:  O’Connell Vineyards

July 24:  Miramar Torres

July 31 & beyond. . . more to come!

Here comes the Telluride Wine Festival! June 27-30

I am looking forward to another visit to the mile-high town, with lots of delicious wines, foods and friends!  Why join me there for my fourth year?  The Telluride Wine Festival is a community event that’s not only fun; it is also an opportunity to experience epicurean delights with other people who love food and wine! You’ll learn about what wines you like and why…enjoy creative wine and food pairings…and how to craft fabulous cocktails.

Check out this winery line-up for the 38th year!

Celebrating Colorado with local favorites: Red Fox Cellars, Four Leaves, Vinne Ferra, Chill Switch Winery and The Storm Cellar.

More Select Wineries: Alpha Omega Collective, Aratás Winery, Bodega de Edgar, Carpenter Wine, Belharra, Canard Vineyard, Chateau D’Esclans, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, Llamas Family Wines, Kinsella Estate, Oakville East Exposure, Peachy Canyon Wine, Pellet Estate,  Skylark Wine, Tamber Bey Vineyards, Thirty Seven Winery, 2Hawk Winery, Turnbull Wine Cellars, VGS Chateau Potelle, Zinke Winery and two Champagne Houses–Laurent Perrier and Freixenent-Mionetto!

Peruse the list of EVENTS, including my fabulous seminars:  “Sommelier Winemakers: The Double Edge” & “Bubbles & Stills: Building a Bridge between Champagne and New World Varietals

Ready to pack your bags yet?  Hope to see you there!

Follow the updates at Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!

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Immersion: Vineyard Exploration + Tasting @Signature Sonoma Valley – May 17th!

Make time for this  CLONAL EXPLORATION I will be moderating, a Signature Sonoma Valley  seminar with guest panelists from Gloria Ferrer.  I am looking forward to exploring the extensive clonal research projects Gloria Ferrer has done in conjunction with my alma mater UC Davis. The studies were specifically about sparkling wine, and more than 40 clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, 18 of which were brought for the first time from Champagne, France.

FEATURING WINES FROM GLORIA FERRER CAVES & VINEYARDS

Mike Crumly, VP of Production, led Gloria Ferrer as one of the great Pinot Noir pioneers in the 1980’s, will lead guests on an exciting vineyard exploration, exploring various clone trials currently in the field. Guests will even get the opportunity to see a replant of one of the original clone trial vineyard blocks – a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Following the vineyard exploration, Winemaker Steven Urberg will lead guests in a tasting of single Pinot Noir clones – some Dijon and Swiss clones, as well as some California clone selections – discovering the unique characteristics of each.

Signature Sonoma Valley is a distinctive wine experience that happens May 17-19 this year.  From the heights of Moon Mountain to the windswept hills of Carneros, Signature Sonoma Valley is a uniquely exclusive immersion into the incomparable wines, acclaimed vineyards and legendary wine community of Sonoma Valley. Be one of the few to experience this highly-curated wine weekend with unprecedented access to over 80 sommelier-selected wines and the 100+ celebrated vintners and winegrowers who craft them.

Signature Sonoma Valley tickets are available to purchase
individually, or via the weekend package at www.SonomaValleyWine.com/Signature-Sonoma-Valley.

Make your way to Rosé at Gravenstein Grill on April 18th!

Join us for the first event of Gravenstein Grill‘s second annual Summer Wine Series for a taste of the AMAZING new Rosé releases by Sonoma County wineries!

On April 18th, from 5:30-7:30,  enjoy sips and appetizers with these participating wineries; Radio-Coteau, Kokomo Winery, Papapietro Perry Winery, Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Talisman Wines (Official Fan Page), Claypool Cellars, ACORN Winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Jigar Wines, The Larsen Projekt, Muscardini Cellars, Halleck Vineyard, RED CAR WINE and many more stylish producers of dry pink wines!

All for $25: Get your TICKETS!

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There will also be live music in outdoor on our Grove Patio, so come ready to eat, drink, mingle and have a great time in West Sonoma Wine Country!

 

Double Win in Best of Bohemian for 2019!

That’s right!  I won Best Sommelier for the 6th year running, but now add Best Wine List to that.  Have you tried out my award winning wine list at Gravenstein Grill yet?  Time to check it out and get some delicious food by the fabulous Chef Bob Simontacchi to pair!

THANK YOU for all your votes and support!  Hope to be seeing more of you at Gravenstein Grill soon.

Cheers! Christopher

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African American History Month meets the Wine Industry!

Many people enjoy their vino without knowing where or whom has contributed to their treasured tasting.  Well I think it is appropriate to point out some stellar wines to try during African American History Month both for educational and pleasurable purposes!  Please peruse this informative article that shares 31 Black Owned Wine Businesses to get started before February ends!

In the article you will find featured, as well as pictured above, Winemaker/Proprietor Mac McDonald of Sonoma County-based Vision Cellars (center).  With us is star sommelier Tonya Pitts of One Market restaurant in San Francisco (left), along with myself and fellow judges at the Annual KRSH FM Thanksgiving Wine Picks team last fall.

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Also included in the article is Brown Estate, their fabulous Zinfandel is made with fruit from the family’s high-elevation vineyard in the Vaca Mountains above Napa Valley.: Here is a special selfie with Coral Brown (bottom right), before our special Napa Valley Zinfandel Advocates & Producers seminar at the CIA at COPIA.

The top right photo features Football legend Charles Woodson, who launched his Napa-based Charles Woodson Wines with business partner Rick Ruiz in 2001.

Cheers! Christopher

AMAZING EVENING AT THE LEDSON CASTLE

Please welcome guest writer Steve Ledson in this wonderful recounting of the Judges Dinner for East Meets West Wine Challenge, which was graciously and deliciously hosted at the Ledson Castle.

Hosting Chris Sawyer and 35 amazing wine judges and wine writers from all over the United States.

As I approached the Castle from the south, the sun was just setting against Hood Mountain creating this amazing back drop for the Castle. The driveway lanterns were lit and the Castle just glowed with all its lights setting it off against the twilight of this majestic backdrop. What an amazing site.

Walking up the steps and into the entrance I could hear the chatter of everyone’s excitement of what this evening had to share for all of us. To my right was our Dining Room that Stacey and her staff including her incredible husband Sean had set up with black table cloths and napkins and a beautiful flower arrangement of red, white and blue in the center of each table. Every glass and piece of china was in perfect order. I stood and just stared for a moment. It was so rich and inviting. Probably one of the best dining room settings I’ve seen over the last 20 years.

Stacey shuttled me along into Winslow’s Bar where everyone was mingling, Jerry and Brendon were pouring behind the bar with their amazing smiles and incredible hospitality. It was easy to see how everyone was soaking up the attention and kindness of these two handsome gentlemen. I was extremely proud of them as I watched everyone’s enthusiasm as the night unfolded. Scott Eddinger and his lovely wife Audrey were seamlessly moving through our guests passing hors d’oeuvres while mingling and chatting as the guests arrived. Both perfectly dressed for the occasion. Chef Kendyl Bilenkij stole the night starting with her amazing pairing of pickled Shrimp in a Meyer Lemon sauce and Chicken Pate paired so perfectly with our Russian River Pinot Noir Reserve and our Mountain Terraces Viognier. It was quite impressive to watch these two as they offered up Chef Kendyl’s amazing appetizers’ with a very warm and nourishing smile making guests feel so welcome.

With a tap of the glass Chris Sawyer froze the crowd as he introduced me in a way that made me feel like a King. This man has a way of making every person feel important. Chris shared stories of some of the great times he and I have shared over the last 30 years bringing back very special moments during my life here in Sonoma County. There is nothing better than reminiscing great moments of your life.

As I spoke to our Guests it was important to me to recognize all of you here at Ledson. I explained we are just one big family and each and every one of us plays a very important role in the success and most importantly the image we have in the wine world today.

I was very proud to speak and represent all of us in front of some of the greatest wine judges and wine writers in the United States today. Thank all of you for your continued efforts and hard work that has lifted us to an image anyone should be very proud of.

Stacey announced that dinner was served so we slowing flowed into the Dining Room. Stacey and Sean along with Scott and Audrey, as well as Brendon seamlessly served us an incredible meal. The first course, a citrus salad paired with our Zina Hyde Russian River Sauvignon Blanc. The phenomenal entrees of Salmon and Filet Mignon were shared with our Mes Trois Amours, Bellisimo and the Sonoma Valley Estate Reserve Merlot. To finish the evening, Chef Kendyl prepared decadent chocolate cake served with fresh raspberries which we paired with our award winning Stagecoach Reserve and the Mountain Terraces Lex’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

With each course and each pairing, Chris and I introduced the wines as our Guests anxiously listened and graciously commended the entire setting and event. Hours passed by like swift moments in time. Each and every attendee was provided with the most impeccable wines, food and service. At the close of the evening every single person there made a point to come to me personally and thank me.

It just shows what can happen when you have a team of passionate people working together.

To sum it all up for the evening in short.  Incredible food, incredible service in and incredible atmosphere with and Amazing group of very talent People.

 I’m very proud to be a part of this amazing event, not only should all of you me proud for the incredible job you all did last night, each and every one of you who works here at Ledson should be proud of the image that was present last night to some very talent wine writers and wine judges traveling here from all over the United states.

A very special thanks to my Dear Friend Chris Sawyer for making this all happen.

March 2nd Vintner Dinner with Halleck Vineyard!

Join me at Gravenstein Grill for a very special evening featuring special guest Ross Halleck of Halleck Vineyard!

Chef Simontacchi has created a dish to go alongside some of Halleck Vineyard‘s finest wines – including the #1 Pinot Noir in the US from the 2019 SF Chronicle Wine Competition.

Check out the five course wine-paired menu below and call 707-634-6142 to make your reservations!

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