Category Archives: Tasting

My Somm Sessions getting started at FIF, August 18th!

Feast It Forward is finally open at 1031 McKinstry Street in Napa, and with that my educational seminars can begin!  Starting with my quarterly Appellation Series on Saturday, August 18, 10-11:30amReserve your space for $35, details below.

The Appellation Series: Tasting Two Sides of the Mayacamas Mountains with Aiken Wines of Napa Valley & B. Wise Vineyards of Sonoma Valley
The two sides of the Mayacamas Mountain Range come together in this one-of-a-kind exploration of high-class wines made with cherished grapes grown on the famed “Rutherford Dust” soils of Napa Valley and the rugged western-facing hillside of the Moon Mountain appellation overlooking Sonoma Valley. Taste and discover the complex profiles of these delicious gems with gifted winemaker Joel Aiken and other special guests. All this while relaxing in the comforts of The Studio by Feast it Forward in downtown Napa. Your $35 ticket to the Appellation Series includes a superb flight of six elite wines; discussion of each wine; food pairing tips; and much more!

I will post an extended schedule of monthy & quarterly offerings for the remainder of 2018 soon, so you can mark your calendars!
Cheers ~ Christopher


FEAST IT FORWARD!

Rosés of Sonoma County at Gravenstein Grill! Thursday, July 19th

Join me at the Gravenstein Grill for the evening of July 19, from 6-8pm, celebrating the incredible local Rosé wines of Sonoma County. We’ll have guest wineries pouring on our patio including Radio-Coteau Wine Cellars LLC, Kokomo Winery, Benovia Winery, Kobler Estate Winery, Friedeman Wines, Claypool Cellars, and more!

Accompanying the incredible wines will be seasonal passed appetizers by Chef Bob Simontacchi featuring the great summertime local produce of West Sonoma.

There will also be a performance by the incredibly talented Sebastopol band the Aly Rose Trio. Don’t miss out on this event, one of Gravenstein Grill’s Summer Wine Series!

GET YOUR TICKETS!

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!