Category Archives: Tasting

PinotFest in SF! Saturday November 18th

The action happens at the Farallon in San Francisco with an amazing list of participating wineries and North Bay Fire Relief raffle of Magnums.  Be sure to get your tickets to the 19th Annual PinotFest!

I’m not kidding about these wineries! Alma Rosa, Au Bon Climat, Big Table Farm, Bonaccorsi, Byron, Calera, Charles Heintz, Chehalem, Cobb, Costa de Oro, Cristom, Domaine Drouhin, En Route, Ernest, Etude, Failla, Fiddlehead, Flowers, Foxen, Freeman, Gary Farrell, Gloria Ferrer, Handley, Hartford Court, Hitching Post, Joseph Phelps, Keller Estate, Kendric, Kosta Browne, LaRue, Littorai, Lutum, Marimar Estate, Melville, Merry Edwards, Morgan, Nicolas Jay, Paul Hobbs, Paul Lato, Peay, Radio Coteau, Saintsbury, Siduri, Sinor LaVallee, Soter, Talisman, Talley, Testarossa, Tendril, Thomas Fogarty, Twomey, Wayfarer, Whitcraft, WillaKenzie, Williams Selyem

Then there is the Pinot Noir Pop Up – Focus New Zealand: Lime Rock, Escarpment, Ata Rangi, Neudorf, Huia, Greywacke, Villa Maria, Giesen, Mt. Beautiful, Pegasus Bay, Amisfield, Loveblock, Mt. Difficulty, Felton Road, Burn Cottage, Ostler

#PinotFest2017 #PinotFestSF #WineCountryStrong

Harvest Fair: The Judgement in Santa Rosa!

Fresh off the Harvest Fair judging this week, an amazing day of twenty different varieties in multiple forms that showcase the diversity of what Sonoma County has to offer; White wines from Albariño, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Muscat; Red wines from Old Vine Zinfandel, Tannat, Syrah, Grenache and individual bottles of Alicante Bousche. An amazing experience and team effort by the 21 judges present!

Check for our results in today’s Press Democrat (September 24th) and get your Harvest Fair tickets to try all the winning wine and food on October 6-8 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

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Free Passes! Experience The Big Crush, October 7-8 Weekend

Amador County is calling you! Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Big Crush and enjoy the fall harvest. There will be more than 40 wineries open with scrumptious food pairings and live entertainment, all in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  First person to email wine@sawyersomm.com gets 2 FREE tickets! 

We last attended in 2015 and made stops by Turley Wine Cellars, Terra D’Oro, Andis Wines, Dobra Zemlja Winery, Terre Rouge/Easton Wines and Vino Noceto. This time maybe you can try a few others and let me know what you think!

The Big Crush takes place October 7th and 8th, from 11am to 4pm.  Each ticket is good for both days, includes wine glass and map, to be picked up at the Amador Vintners’ Visitor Center located in Plymouth, CA.

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Pinot Tasting, Thurs August 24 at Gravenstein Grill!

Join me at Gravenstein Grill this coming Thursday August 24th, 5-6:30pm, for an outdoor wine tasting on the Bartlett Bar Patio for “Drink This! The Passion of Pinot” wine tasting event.  Call to reserve your spot 707-634-6142 ($10/person)

Participating Wineries:
Bacigalupi Vineyards
Balletto Vineyards & Winery
Friedeman Wines
Davis Bynum Winery
Radio Coteau Winery
Halleck Vineyard
Joseph Jewell Wines

Washington State Wine Month: Let the celebration begin!

Go north my friends! Each August, members of the Washington State Wine Commission celebrate the countdown to harvest with Washington State Wine Month, an interactive set of wine events and promotions designed to showcase the unique characteristics of the wide range of flavorful offerings made with premium grapes grown throughout the state.

In keeping with the theme, SawyerSomm decided there was no better time than the present to do a series of wine education posts focused on lessons learned from my visits to Seattle, Woodinville, Walla Walla Valley and the greater Columbia Valley appellation over the past year.

To get you started, below is a quick summary of the winegrowing areas of Washington State. Stay tuned for The Sommelier Files reviews on some of their hip new white wines, red wines and dessert wines; reports on the progression of the up-and-coming appellations; introductions to the people behind the brands; food and lodging tips for your next trip to the state of Washington; and much more!

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(Left to Right) A view from the fountain at Hedges Winery; Map of the Red Mountain Appellation; Paired wine dinner with Januik & Novelty Hill; Vineyard expanse at Hedges Winery

Exploring the Pacific Northwest: Compelling info on Washington State Wines

Atop the Pacific Northwest, Washington State has a rich history of growing wine grapes dating back to 1825. Many of the original grapes were American native varieties or hybrids planted along the Puget Sound between Seattle and Olympia and the more isolated Walla Walla Valley in the southeast part of the state. Consequently, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the first wave of the modern-day winemaking pioneers began putting more emphasis on planting popular varieties like Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

The largest appellation is the Columbia Valley, which covers 11-million acres east of the Cascade Mountains. Within these borders are the sub-appellations of Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope, Red Mountain, Columbia Gorge, Rattlesnake Hills, Snipes Mountain, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights, and Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley. Together, the region represents 99% of the premium vineyards planted in Washington.

A very special Syrah block in the Rocks AVA of Walla Walla Valley.

With dry, high desert conditions, the region averages less than ten inches of rainfall per year. So instead, the critical water supply for the vineyards is generated by the melting snow caps from the mountains. The combination of an icy winter and a high concentration of sandy and rocky soils also make the conditions ideal for naturally defending against phylloxera, a lethal vine louse, which commonly requires the use of special root stocks in California and Oregon. Therefore, a large percentage of the vines in Washington are own-rooted and many of the vineyards are farmed with state-of-the-art machine harvesters.

On the western side of the state near Seattle, the Puget Sound appellation is a much cooler and wetter area which specializes in more unique grape varieties like Madeleine Angevine, Siegerebbe and Muller Thurgau, as well as promising newer plantings of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

With over 50,000 acres of vineyards planted, Washington now ranks second in the United States for premium wine production. It’s a huge step forward over the past two decades—especially when you consider that there were only 17,100 acres planted in 1997. As a result, the state now features over 900 wineries and 350 vineyards that are home to world-class grapes.

But make no mistake, Washington cannot be defined by a single grape or even a group of grapes. Therefore, while it’s true Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay account for over 75 percent of the vineyards and wine production in the state; there are currently more than 30 varieties planted and experimentation continues.

“Diversity is what it’s all about here in Washington State,” says winemaker Scott Moeller, who works with Pacific Northwest wine legend Mike Januik and his son Andrew at Novelty Hill-Januik and the winery’s cutting-edge tasting room and production facility in Woodinville, which is just 25-minutes northeast of Seattle.

…Stay tuned for more SawyerSomm details about what is hot in Washington State in 2017 and beyond!

Taste of Mt Veeder: August 5th at Hess in Napa

Join me for this rare opportunity to TASTE and ORDER Mount Veeder wines…many of which are not open to the public and are difficult to acquire (See the full list below).

18th Annual Mt. Veeder Appellation Tasting
Saturday, August 5, 2017
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
The Hess Collection Winery
4411 Redwood Road, Napa

Walk Around Wine Tasting, Gourmet Food Pairings from Hess Executive Chef, Chad Hendrickson, Silent Auction, Prizes and Live, High-Energy Blues from The Hummingbirdz!

Single Vineyard night in Sonoma County June 30th

Join Russian River Valley Winegrowers for an amazing tasting experience of Russian River Valley single vineyard wines. More than 40 wineries will be pouring small-lot, single vineyard wines from the Russian River Valley, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Guests will dine on delicious appetizers, including a grill station with sausages, hanger steak and sliders.

Friday, June 30, 2017
VIP Tasting: 5:30 – 6:30 PM
MAIN EVENT: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Vintner’s Inn, 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa
TICKETS!

North Coast Wine & Food Festival on June 10th

I participated as a judge back in April, now here is your opportunity to taste the best wines from the North Coast American Viticulture Areas (AVA).  These are wines that achieve both a Gold Medal status and 90+ points in The Press Democrat North Coast Wine Competition.  The North Coast AVA consists of wines made from grapes grown in Napa, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Solano and Sonoma counties. The winning wines are selected by prestigious judges in a blind taste test.  Mark your calendar for June 10th and get your North Coast Wine & Food Festival tickets soon!

Tastings to come at Telluride Wine Festival 2017

As I prepare another amazing experience for wineries and guests at the upcoming Telluride Wine Festival on June 22-25, thought I would share some pictures from last summer, with more to come.

Also, a reminder for wineries, this Friday April 15th is the deadline for early-bird pricing to register for our Grand Tasting event.  REGISTER HERE or please send me an email if you have any questions. Cheers! Christopher

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