Category Archives: Tasting

Pinot on the River fest this Sunday, Oct 26!

Pinot On The River is the place to be this weekend: I will be returning for my 10th or so year, it is that great!  It will be a fun filled weekend of Pinot Noir, in the beautiful Russian River Valley town of Healdsburg.

You can participate in the Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, with over 100 wineries plus guest Artisan Food Vendors all on the downtown Healdsburg Plaza Square,  it’s a Sonoma County wine weekend you won’t want to miss.

Tickets Available Online: http://pinotfestival.com/registration.html

See you there!  Christopher

Home Crafted Wine Awards Dinner & Celebration

The winners of the 2014 Petaluma Pro-Am Homemade Wine Competition will have their wines presented in a featured pairing at a four course dinner in the 160 year old dining room on the 3rd floor of the IOOF Lodge #30 in Petaluma.

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Christopher will discuss the wines professionally paired with a succulent dinner menu.  The money raised from this event will be used to benefit the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum and the Petaluma IOOF Building Renovation Fund.

There are only 80 tickets available for this unique Petaluma-themed Food & Wine pairing dinner.

BPT_buy_tickets_largePurchase your tickets today!

Premier Cruz tickets available now!

Join the Cabernet producers of the Santa Cruz Mountains for
PREMIER CRUZ
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2014
6 TO 9 P.M. THE TOLLHOUSE, LOS GATOS CA

PURCHASE EVENT TICKETS TODAY!

Join in for an exclusive evening of Cabernet tasting with the 14 most distinguished Cabernet producers from the Santa Cruz Mountains at the Toll House Hotel in Los Gatos, CA. Cabernet lovers will sip, sample and enjoy an array of new releases and hard to find library wines while enjoying a strolling dinner by Three Degrees Restaurant.

Bid on exclusive auction lot library wines, magnums, private winemaker tours and new releases at our silent auction. Guest will also be able to dine on a wonderful menu.

Vintners in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon’s since as early as the mid 1800’s. The Cabernets produced from the Santa Cruz Mountains have a distinct character and style that is original to this Mountainous region. In 1976 the Judgment of Paris wine tasting event helped to catapult Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignons onto the international stage when Monte Bello also known as Ridge Vineyards beat out classified Bordeaux estates like Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Montrose, Château Haut-Brion and Château Léoville-Las Cases in a blind tasting conducted by French wine experts.

Strolling Dinner & Tasting: 6-9pm
Short Rib Sliders
Pork Tenderloin Medallion & Fig Chutney
Roasted Rack of Lamb wrapped in Bacon
Smoked Chicken Canapé
Mushroom Bouchee
Risotto & Butternut Squash Croquette

WINERIES
Beauregard Vineyards, Burrell School Vineyards, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Fernwood Cellars, House Family Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy Vineyards, Left Bend Winery, Lexington, McCarthy Family Estate Vineyards, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Woodside Vineyards

cruz flier

 

First Annual Petaluma PRO-AM Homemade Wine Competition

First Annual Petaluma PRO-AM Homemade Wine Competition will be held this Tuesday afternoon, September 30, 2014 under the auspices of “Sommelier to the Stars” Christopher Sawyer.

That evening Chris and several other noted wine experts will share their opinions with you – after you have tasted and scored the same wines. Compare your opinions with the experts!  Rare opportunity to taste Gold Medal Winning wines from the recent professional International Wine Channel TV Wine Competition by Gloria Ferrer, Kokomo Wines, St. Anne’s Crossing and Muscardini Cellars.

The Petaluma Museum Association and the Petaluma Chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows invite you to a World Class tasting of Homemade Wines at:
Petaluma Historical Library & Museum
Tuesday September 30th at 6 PM.
20 4th Street, Downtown Petaluma
Limited to 72 Ticket Sales Total
Tickets $20 at the Museum Door

BUY ONLINE TICKETS HERE!

Wine tripping in Lodi: The Photo Journal

Here we are a couple weeks into the month of August, a great time to start following the exciting 2014 harvest in the great winegrowing regions of California. With that being said, it’s also time to get ready for California Wine Month, a festive myriad of activities which kick off on September 1st.

So to get you primed for what’s going to be happening around the state, below is a set of photos from my recent visit to Lodi, an important appellation that is home to the highest concentration of old vine Zinfandel plantings in the world, as well as a fantastic grouping of vineyard owners and winemakers who are committed to working with California’s legendary “sweetheart” grape and a hundred other specialized varietals.

Later this month, look for more of my other writings about this fascinating region, including a focus on the exciting Native Lodi program. In the meantime, for more information about the Lodi AVA, Zinfandel, and other festive regional events happening throughout the state, visit www.lodiwine.com, www.Zinfandel.org and www.discovercaliforniawines.com .

Exploration tour of Noma Vineyard in Victor: Wine writer Randy Caparoso; premier grower Leland Noma; me; owner/winemaker Tim Holder of @MacchiaWines; wine writer/entertainer Ziggy The Wine Gal. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl
Wine writer Randy Caparoso with one of the gnarly old Zinfandel vines at the Noma Vineyard in the Lodi appellation. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl.
At the Soucie Vineyard, sandy soils and healthy old Zinfandel vines planted by Kevin Soucie's grandfather in 1916. The fruit is now sourced by Layne Montgomery,  owner/winemaker of @m2wines. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl @TheZinfandelOrg.
At the Soucie Vineyard, sandy soils and healthy old Zinfandel vines planted by Kevin Soucie’s grandfather in 1916. The fruit is now sourced by Layne Montgomery, owner/winemaker of @m2wines. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl @TheZinfandelOrg.
Michael MacCay of @MacCayCellars with a bottle of his Carignane made with old vine fruit from the Rausch Vineyard. @Lodi_Wine @alltheswirl.
Michael MacCay of @MacCayCellars with a bottle of his Carignane made with old vine fruit from the Rausch Vineyard. @Lodi_Wine @alltheswirl.
At the Soucie Vineyard, sandy soils and healthy old Zinfandel vines planted by Kevin Soucie's grandfather in 1916. The fruit is now sourced by Layne Montgomery,  owner/winemaker of @m2wines. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl @TheZinfandelOrg.
Exploration tour of the Noma Vineyard in Victor, a small town just out the city limits of Lodi: Randy Caparoso; Noma Vineyard fruit proprietor Leland Noma; me; winemaker/proprietor Tim Holder of Macchia Wines; and wine writer/entertainer Ziggy the Wine Gal. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl @TheZinfandelOrg.
Bursting with fresh and lively aromas and flavors, the #Bokisch 2013 Albarino the Cellar Door Tasting Room in downtown Lodi. @Lodi_Wine @MarkusBokisch @LizBokisch @alltheswirl.
Bursting with fresh and lively aromas and flavors, the #Bokisch 2013 Albarino the Cellar Door Tasting Room in downtown Lodi. @Lodi_Wine @MarkusBokisch @LizBokisch @alltheswirl.
The brotherhood of #LodiNative: Winemakers & proprietors discuss the exciting Lodi Native Project, heritage vineyards and the 2012 vintage with me and Ziggy the Wine Gal. From left: Winemaker Chad Joseph and proprietor Todd Maley of Maley Brothers Wines;  winemaker Layne Montgomery of @m2wines; winemaker/proprietor Tim Holdener of @macchiawines; Stuart Spencer of @stamantwine; and proprietor Lani Holdener of Macchia Winery, which hosted the tasting. @Lodi_Wine #TheBootlegSociety @alltheswirl @RCaparoso @TheZinfandelOrg.
The brotherhood of #LodiNative: Winemakers & proprietors discuss the exciting Lodi Native Project, heritage vineyards and the 2012 vintage with me and Ziggy the Wine Gal. From left: Winemaker Chad Joseph and proprietor Todd Maley of Maley Brothers Wines; winemaker Layne Montgomery of @m2wines; winemaker/proprietor Tim Holdener of @macchiawines; Stuart Spencer of @stamantwine; and proprietor Lani Holdener of Macchia Winery, which hosted the tasting. @Lodi_Wine #TheBootlegSociety @alltheswirl @RCaparoso @TheZinfandelOrg.
Refreshing white wines by Michael David served with our luncheon at the Phillips Farms Cafe in Lodi. @MDWinery @Lodi_Wine.
Refreshing white wines by Michael David served with our luncheon at the Phillips Farms Cafe in Lodi. @MDWinery @Lodi_Wine.
At Michael David Winery in Lodi: Kevin Phillips (VP of Operations, Michael David Winery & Phillips Farms) and Adam Mettler (GM/Winemaker). @MDWinery @Lodi_Wine.
At Michael David Winery in Lodi: Kevin Phillips (VP of Operations, Michael David Winery & Phillips Farms) and Adam Mettler (GM/Winemaker). @MDWinery @Lodi_Wine.
The delectable Earthquake Petite Sirah made by Michael David Winery & Phillips Farms. @Lodi_Wine @MDWinery.
The delectable Earthquake Petite Sirah made by Michael David Winery & Phillips Farms. @Lodi_Wine @MDWinery.
The marvelous lineup of the new 2012 Lodi Native wines made from classic old #Zinfandel vineyards without the use of additives (yeast, nutrients, new oak, etc) in order to capture the purity of the fruit from these historic sites. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl @TheZinfandelOrg.
The marvelous lineup of the new 2012 Lodi Native wines made from classic old #Zinfandel vineyards without the use of additives (yeast, nutrients, new oak, etc) in order to capture the purity of the fruit from these historic sites. @Lodi_Wine #LodiNative @alltheswirl @TheZinfandelOrg.

 

Top Picks from the 2011 vintage at the Rutherford Dust Tasting

Hewitt 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Powerful wine with expressive aromas of dark berry, cola, cinnamon and savory spices. Deep, rich flavors of blackberry, cassis, plum, dark cherry, mineral and roasted black fig; gritty tannins smoothed out with silk texture; long finish. Young, dense and mysterious. www.hewittvineyard.com

Beaulieu Vineyard 2011 George de Latour Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Stately new release with entrancing aromas of mocha, plum, raspberry, earth, tobacco and black walnut. On the palate, the dimensions of the wine expands with notes of cherry, black raspberry, mineral mint, dark chocolate and well-integrated oak. In my opinion, joel aikenone of the top ageworthy wines from 2011 vintage in the Rutherford AVA. www.bvwines.com

12C 2011 Beckstoffer Vineyard George III Cabernet Sauvignon: Complex wine with aromas of roasted fig, wild herbs, black fruits, smoke and cedar. Flavors of cassis, blackberry and tart cherry; chewy tannins; and a burst of bright acidity on the finish. www.12cwines.com

Frank Family 2011 Winston Hill Red Wine: Pretty aromas of red fruit, allspice, mineral, chaparral and roasted meats. Flavors of wild berries, ripe cranberry, capers, black pepper and savory spices; chewy fruit-based tannins; and strong finish with nuances of vanilla and cedar. www.frankfamilyvineyards.com

Quintessa 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: Elegant wine with alluring floral aromas and deep flavors of ripe plum, cherry, blueberry, cocoa and a hint of sea salt; vibrant acidity; elegant tannins; and long engaging finish. Drinking nice now but has enough of structure to go the distance as well as any of the other wines poured from the 2011 vintage. www.quintessa.com

Freemark Abbey 2011 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the more intriguing Cabernets of the tasting. Fairly closed aromas at first, but after a few minutes the wine opens up with notes of dried red fruits, tobacco, rosemary, bay laurel and cedar. Flavors of dusty briary blackberry, dark cherry, wild herbs, blood orange and shaved bittersweet chocolate on the finish. www.freemarkabbey.com

McGah Family Cellars 2011 Scarlett Cabernet Sauvignon: Impressed wine with the fragrant aromas of fresh violet and tobacco and lively flavors of raspberry, plum and cassis. Very sexy and extremely food friendly with daintier styles of cuisine. www.mcgcellars.com

Wm. Harrison 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Pretty wine with lifted bouquet driven by lofty nuances of roasted chestnuts, cocoa, mint, cloves, cigar box and ripe red fruits. Tranquil, refined and elegant. www.whwines.com

Flora Springs 2011 Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Elegant and sophisticated style of cabernet Sauvignon made with fruit from the top blocks on the Flora Springs Estate Vineyard in Rutherford. Aromas of ripe berries, spice and seasoned meats. Flavors of raspberry, cherry, plum, wild sage, dark chocolate and vibrant acidity from start to finish. www.florasprings.com

Aiken 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: Made exclusively with fruit from the famed Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford, this food-friendly Cabernet features spicy aromas with hints of vanilla, licorice and dark cherry. The flavors open up with notes of ripe berries, cherry, plum, heirloom tomatoes and black olive. The finish is long, spicy and generous. www.aikenwines.com

Classic Rutherford style in the Chaix 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Classic Rutherford style in the Chaix 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chaix 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: In the old days, most of the fruit from the Chaix Vineyard was sold to Beaulieu Vineyard. But today, the family and winemaker Sam Baxter work together to craft its own signature style of Cabernet Sauvignon. From the 2011 vintage, the wine features deep flavors of black raspberry, plum, mocha and earth. Overall, one of the few examples that stood out as having the classic Rutherford Dust flavors of mocha and shaved chocolate. www.chaixwines.com

Riboli Family Vineyard 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the newest producers in the Rutherford AVA. This fantastic medium to full bodied wine features elegant flavors of ripe berries, violet, cherry, mineral, roasted walnut, black pepper, and lively savory notes on the finish. Definitely a great brand to watch for in 2014 and beyond. www.sanantoniowinery.com