Category Archives: Travels

Winemaker Galas in April, during the El Dorado Passport Weekends!

The Annual El Dorado Winery Association’s Passport Weekends includes two added adventures in taste, the Winemaker Galas!  Each of the Galas take place on the Passport weekend’s preceding Friday evenings, April 5th and 12th at Mercedes-Benz of El Dorado Hills from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Experience the great wine and food from this region in an intimate setting:  Guests will rub-shoulders with the winemakers themselves from C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery, Mediterranean VineyardsBumgarner WineryFenton Herriott Vineyards and many more of the region’s winemakers will be on hand as well pouring specially selected, rare and reserve wines from their cellars that are not generally available for the public.

Delicious food to pair from  top regional restaurants presenting hors d’ oeuvres to pair with the evening’s selection of wines.  Placerville’s Farm Table, and Heyday Café, plus El Dorado Hill’s C Knight’s Steakhouse, Milestone, and the new, Osteria Moto, to drop a few names.

A silent auction of limited hand-picked offerings and live music will cap the evening off.  Tickets are $85 per person for either of the two Friday events.  Purchase them HERE!!!

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My Sip-elicious Seminars at Telluride Wine Festival!

Summer sipping opportunities abound at the Telluride Wine Festival, June 28-July 1! I am returning for my third year as Wine Director and invite you to attend my finely crafted seminars with exquisite winery guests! Peruse the seminar list and wineries below if you need further convincing. Tickets available HERE & hope to see you there ~ Cheers! Christopher

Seminars

The Ultimate Six-Pack!

Appellation Celebration: The Exploration Tour of the West Coast AVA’s turning 35!

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & A True Sense of Place

Extreme Reds: Cult Wines with Class and Charm

The Rebirth of Cool:  Riesling and other Aromatic White Gems

The Duel of Wine Seminar & Film Screening ~ Featuring Star Sommelier Charlie Arturaola

In China with my buddy and Somm star Charlie from the film Duel of Wine!
In China with my buddy and Somm star Charlie from the film Duel of Wine!

Wineries

Alpha Omega ~ Brooks Wine ~ Chalk Hill ~ Cline Cellars ~ Fiddlehead Cellars ~ Flanagan Wines ~ Foley Estates ~ Laurel Glen Vineyard ~ Michael David Winery ~ Montemaggiore ~ Peay Vineyards ~ Pellet Estate ~ Perinet Winery ~ RR Winery ~ Tamber Bey ~ The Calling ~ Tolosa Winery ~ Y. Rousseau Wines ~ And more . . .

Last minute tickets! Hospice du Rhône on April 26-28

Just a short note to say online ticket sales ends this Friday April 20th!   I will be there enjoying the stellar wines and company.  Some availability already SOLD OUT so get them while you can.  If not sold out, tickets to the Opening and Closing Tastings will be available at the door for $10 more. All other tickets must be purchased in advance.

GET YOUR TICKETS!

CA State Fair: Wine Competition Winners Announced

Just a little trek to the State Capital over spring break and guess what we did?  While the fam was out exploring Old Town Sacramento and William Land Park, I participated in this amazing competition! Here are some highlights, with links to more winners at the bottom as well as your chance to taste them for yourself. CHEERS!

Top right photo, at the Sugar Mill in Clarskburg: El Dorado winery owners Greg and Susan Boeger were honored for their family’s achievements in the California wine industry.  In the background is our Chief Judge, Mark Chandler.  www.boegerwinery.com; Other photos showing professional wine judges at work & play!

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Best of Show Red: Double Gold 99
St. Amant Winery
2016 Touriga, The Old Soldier
Amador County

Best of Show White: Double Gold 99
Picchetti Winery
2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Cedar Lane Vineyard
Arroyo Seco

Best of Show Sparkling: Double Gold 99
Gwinllan Estate
2016, Pinot Noir Rose, Brut Sparkling Wine
El Dorado

Best of Show Pink: Double Gold 99
Malene
2017 Rosé
Santa Barbara County

Best of Show Dessert: Double Gold 98
Stephen & Walker
2012 Botrytis Chardonnay, Late Harvest
Mendocino Ridge

Golden State Winery of the Year
Imagery Estate Winery

Golden State Vineyard of the Year Award
Paraiso Springs Vineyard

Wine Lifetime Achievement Awards
Greg Boeger
The Bogle Family

California All Stars Awards
Ken Fugelsang
Dennis Martin

Here is a  searchable list of the 2018 CA State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners Several opportunities to try these wines upcoming include the Best of California Tasting Event on June 21, or through Taste of California Experience Classes from July 13-29.

Wineries Register now for Telluride Wine Festival!

Ever dream of the  high-altitude splendors in summertime?  Bring your wines to share and enjoy the spectacular scenes of Telluride, Colorado!  This marks my third year as Wine Director and I look forward to the many festive events including my educational seminars, wine pairing meals, The Grand Tasting and more!

If you are interested in joining us June 28-July 1, then please contact wine@sawyersomm.com to inquire about options that might suit you! 

Wineries can sign-up online at this site: Telluride Wine Festival 2018 Registration

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Attack of the Clones! Or WOPN Strikes Back on March 2-3

Will you be at World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) on March 2-3? If you will be at this Santa Barbara event then please be sure to sign up for my special Saturday seminar ATTACK OF THE CLONES!

A panel of winemakers and I will lead you during my fun and educational seminar. You will get to learn – and taste – the difference between many key Pinot Noir grape clones.  Panelists include:

  • Greg Morthole – Davis Bynum
  • Heidi Bridenhagen – MacRostie Winery & Vineyards
  • Ben Papapietro – Papapietro Perry Winery
  • Amy Thorn – Thorn Hill Vineyards
  • Ben Cane – Westwood Estate Winery

Get your tickets!

Aromatic White Wine Festival: February 24-25

Are you ready to #GoMendo?  Join me this weekend at the 13th Annual Aromatic White Wine Festival in Anderson Valley:  A celebration of Alsace  varietals from around the globe.   (Formerly known as the Alsace Festival).

It all begins Saturday morning, February 24, with Educational Sessions, then the afternoon Grand Tasting with over 100 aromatic white wines, perfectly paired with locally prepared small bites.  Followed by an evening Winemaker Dinner at Scharffenberger Cellars focused on locally sourced ingredients and perfectly paired with exquisite wines.  Sunday February 25 commences the Winery Open Houses, at participating tasting rooms.  See the list of wineries and purchase tickets HERE! 

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Some fine examples of past #GoMendo adventures!

 

Results! 11th annual American Fine Wine Competition

As some of you may know already, I spent the middle of January in the balmy climes of Miami.  It is a ritual these past few years to participate in judging at the American Fine Wine Competition.  Lucky for you as well that I have some splendid results for your perusal.  This is a partial list, but you can check the  AFWC website for final results in the next few days.

The 2018 Top Awards
CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE TOP WINNERS

BEST OF SHOW

Selfie with Carol Shelton, who won the best Red Wine at the AFWC!

Sparkling Wine
Domaine Carneros 2011 Le Reve, Carneros ($110)

White Wine
Fox Run Vineyards 2015 Riesling, Finger Lakes ($18)

Red Wine
Carol Shelton Wines 2013 Petite Sirah “Florence”, Dry Creek ($40)

Sweet/Dessert Wine
Ferrante Winery Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Ohio 2016 ($30)

BEST OF CLASS

Sauvignon Blanc: TIE!
Hoopes Family Vineyard 2016 $35
and Kelleher Family Vineyard 2016 $34

Chardonnay: Eleven Eleven Wines 2015 $95

Dry Rosé: Shadowbox Cellars 2016 $35

Pinot Noir: Mi Sueno Winery 2013 $55

Zinfandel: Brown Estate Chiles Valley 2015 $55

Cabernet Franc: Detert Family Vineyards 2015 $95

Merlot: Muscardini Cellars 2015 $60

Syrah: Klinker Brick “Farrah” 2014 $65

Red Bordeaux-style Blend: Ahnfeldt Wines “Quid Pro Quo” 2015 $59

Cabernet Sauvignon: Frank Family Vineyards Rutherford Reserve 2015 $95

Other Red Single Varietal: VIE Winery “L’Intruse” Mourvedre 2014 $45

Grenache VIE Winery “L’Imaginaire” 2014 $45

Other White Single Varietal: Reustle-Prayer Rock Vyds, Gruner Veltliner “Smaragd” 2015 $25

Other Red Blend: Buena Vista “The Sheriff” 2016 $40

Hanging with my judging crew!

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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Barbera and the Sierras: Mountain Merriment next weekend!

Work and school are keeping us close to home next weekend, but if you have the itch to explore, head to the mountains! Two events on Saturday September 16th to whet your wine and culinary palates.

The 7th Annual Barbera Festival will be at Terra d’Oro/Montevina Winery in Amador County, hosting nearly 80 wineries from all over California (to celebrate CA Wine Month simultaneously)!

Or travel a little further east to scenic South Lake Tahoe for Sample The Sierra, a farm-to-fork festival celebrating the bounty & heritage of the Sierra Nevada with wine, beer and other culinary endeavors!

Enjoy the mountains! ~CS