Category Archives: Varietal

Passion For Pinot at Gravenstein Grill on Sept 30th!

Enjoy an outdoor Sonoma County Pinot Noir wine tasting paired with light appetizers by Chef Simontacchi & Chef Garcia at Gravenstein Grill, located at 8050 Bodega Ave in Sebastopol.

Passion For Pinot/Thursday September 30th/ 5:30-7:30/$55 per guest

The stellar wine guests include Trombetta Wines, Marimar, Belden Barn, Keller Estate, Balletto Vineyards, CalStar Cellars, Carpenter Wines, Emeritus, Thomas George Estates, Freeman Vineyard, Bricoleur Vineyards, Halleck Vineyards, Hartford Court, Moshin, Papapietro-Perry, Radio Coteau, Rodney Strong, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Benovia, Bacigalupi & MORE!

GET YOUR TICKETS!


NVL: Rosé Style Wines for All Occasions

With a nod to National Rosé Day on June 12th, read my varietal article from the April 2021 issue of Napa Valley Life! Here is a starter to lure you in, finish it up by following the READ MORE link to their site. . . Cheers! Christopher

Drink Pink

“Pink sunshine” and “freshness in a glass” are catchy phrases Robert Sinskey winemaker Jeff Virnig uses to describe the winery’s latest release of the 2020 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, a complex pink wine with bright, fruity flavors, crisp acidity, and long dry finish. With a brilliant pale salmon hue, this signature style has become the benchmark for where classy pink wines have come over the past thirty years and one of the many reasons wine lovers flock to Napa Valley in the springtime to get their hands on these energetic young wines before they sell out.

The road to rosé’s popularity in Napa Valley did not happen overnight.

When Virnig started making rosé in1991, his goal was to create a fun, quaffable, food-friendly wine that added instant excitement to gatherings any time it was served. But at the time, the impression pink wines were making on American consumers was swayed by the sugary imports like Mateus and Lancers, which flooded the marketplace in the late 1960s. When Sutter Home Family Vineyards winemaker Bob Trinchero released their White Zinfandel in 1975, people went crazy for it, but it was still snubbed by serious wine drinkers.

As a result, the first few vintages of the Robert Sinskey Vin Gris were sold to wine buyers and sommeliers in New York City, who catered to world travelers that were already familiar with the drier  styles  of rosé produced in France, Italy, Spain and German. As the years passed, this learning curve gave Virnig and other adventurous winemakers of Napa Valley time to develop special techniques now being used to create various expressions of rosé wines.

#OregonWineMonth 2021 In Review, On The Varietal Show

What an amazing month of interviews I was privileged to do on my OREGON trek this year, wrapping it up with a big Zoom finale of fabulous Willamette Valley producers from Brooks Wine, Elk Cove Vineyards, Lenné Estate and Utopia Vineyard & Winery!

Watch that episode here, and follow the links below to see more of my OREGON conversations with Abacela Winery, Lingua Franca, Sokol Blosser Winery, Troon Vineyard & Biodynamics. FOLLOW my You Tube channel, for weekly notifications, Tuesdays at 12:30pm

LINKS to more Oregon Winery episodes on The Varietal Show: THANKS FOR WATCHING!

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#OregonWine #WillametteValley #TheVarietalShow #SawyerSomm

SPECIAL Pinot Noirs in Willamette Valley Episode on The Varietal Show!

The Varietal Show makes a big finish to #OregonWineMonth with four wineries! Don’t miss this invigorating discussion about the world-class winegrowing region of Willamette Valley, and sub-AVA’s.

Join Carl Giavanti and I for the PREMIERE on Tuesday June 1, at noon, to taste through the spectacular 2014 Pinot Noirs with . . .

And peruse my You Tube channel for more Oregon winery episodes on The Varietal Show!

#OregonWine #WillametteValley #BrooksWine #ElkCoveVineyards #LennéEstate #UtopiaWine #TheVarietalShow #SawyerSomm

Dry White Wines For A Pleasant Summer Season

The idyllic Dollarhide Vineyard at St. Supéry Estate is a perfect view to lead into warmer weather, home to their stunning Sauvignon Blanc: It is one of many white wines discussed in this article written recently by Katie Sweeney, where she follows my lead on many recommendations. To share a selfie quote “Dry white wines stand out because they pair so well with such a wide range of fine culinary cuisine, as well as comfort foods.”

READ MORE at this link to 24 Dry White Wines to Try When You Don’t Want Just Another Pinot Grigio, published in The Editorialist. You will thank us this summer! Cheers, Chris

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Clockwise: Goosecross crushing Sauvignon Blanc; Tasting at Cuvaison; Chenin Blanc from Lang & Reed; Greetings from Smith Devereux!

NVL: Napa Valley & Cabernet Sauvignon

Back in November 2020, my Cabernet Sauvignon varietal article appeared in Napa Valley Life. Here is a starter to lure you in, finish it up by following the READ MORE link to their site. . . Cheers! Christopher

A Perfect Match

The Napa Valley has been cultivating grapes since the 1700s, but Cabernet Sauvignon was not introduced to the area until the late 1800s around the time when industry icon, Charles Krug opened the first commercial winery.  A decade or so later, Beringer and Inglenook followed suit.

At  the time, America was captivated with Bordeaux wines, and in 1889, Inglenook gained worldwide notoriety with their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Rutherford, which won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Paris World Fair. This accolade ultimately drove attention to the Napa Valley and set the stage for the region’s potential to produce premier Bordeaux-style wines.

Celebrating its 120th anniversary in 2020, the Rutherford- based Beaulieu Vineyard has become a benchmark of Napa Valley style: An iconic winery responsible for the success of world-class wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes planted before prohibition and after the modern boom of large- scale plantings, which began when Robert Mondavi opened his winery in Oakville in 1966 . . .

Going Global on #SauvBlancDay 2021

In case you missed this #SauvBlancDay virtual event on Friday May 7th, here is the recorded conversation I had with four global winemakers from California to Chile. Did you know that excellent Sauvignon Blanc is made in Uruguay and Mexico? Discover these great regions in an engaging chat .

  • Michael Scholz, VP Winemaking and Viticulture, St. Supéry Estate, Napa Valley, California
  • Christian Wylie, Managing Director, Bodega Garzon, Uruguay
  • Sofia Araya, Winemaker, Ritual, Casablanca Valley, Chile
  • Nikolai Rudametkin, La Lomita Winery, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

May 7 Is #SauvBlancDay: Join St Supéry Around The World Virtual Tasting

Sauvignon Blanc  Around the World: North & South America Live Virtual Tasting 

Friday, May 7 at 5pm PT Sauvignon Blanc has made a name for itself in many regions of the world. Hear “Sommelier to the Stars” Christopher Sawyer chat with global winemakers from California to Chile. Did you know that excellent Sauvignon Blanc is made in Uruguay and Mexico? Discover these great regions in an engaging chat on

  • Moderator: Christopher Sawyer, Sommelier
  • Michael Scholz, VP Winemaking and Viticulture, St. Supéry Estate, Napa Valley, California
  • Christian Wylie, Managing Director, Bodega Garzon, Uruguay
  • Sofia Araya, Winemaker, Ritual, Casablanca Valley, Chile
  • Nikolai Rudametkin, La Lomita Winery, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Join us on ZOOM, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or streamed live on my Sawyer Sommelier Facebook page! #SauvBlancDay

Chardonnay Classic: On Site In Napa Valley! May 20-22

The 2021 Chardonnay Classic, from May 20-22, 2021 will reunite wine enthusiasts’ minds and palates to celebrate the greatness of Chardonnay. One of the world’s most beloved, dynamic, and delicious grape varieties. This inaugural gathering will feature some of the finest domestic and international producers of Chardonnay and will take place at the Meritage and Vista Collina Resorts.

A weekend of indulgence curated by master sommeliers and acclaimed winemakers set in the beautiful Napa Valley. The program features iconic wine country experiences, gourmet lunches, luxury dinners and 22 unique tastings that culminate in a Grand Tasting of Chardonnay. Vintners, industry experts, and enthusiasts alike gather together to celebrate the incredible range of Chardonnay!

Purchase your full weekend ticket before 5/8 and save $300 with Early Bird pricing! Use promo code CHARD15 to claim the savings. To purchase your Chardonnay Classic ticket(s) click “TICKETS”.

Get Your Virtual ZinEx-perience!

While the annual ZinEx weekend was in late January, you can still a LIVE Virtual Seminar & Tasting event on March 4th, 4pm PST. Sign up HERE! Then, scroll down for the first set of Meet The Maker mini-seminars that was recorded for your viewing convenience.

This first day of Zinfandel features five locations; Paso Robles, North Sonoma, Dry Creek, Napa Valley & Italy. Check out the detailed list of moderators (including me!) and wineries below.

(Virtual ZinEX, Day 1 from New York Wine Events on Vimeo.)

Paso Robles: Moderated by Randy Caparoso | J. Dusi | Chronic Cellars | Ridge Vineyards | Peachy Canyon |

North Sonoma: Moderated by Ian Blackburn BACA Wines | Hartford Family Winery | Martinelli Winery | Mauritson Wines

Dry Creek: Moderated by Chris Sawyer | Armida Winery | Dry Creek Vineyard | Pedroncelli | Seghesio Family Vineyards

Napa Valley: Moderated by Chris Sawyer | Elyse Wines | Leonard Wine Company | Mike & Molly Hendry | Robert Biale Vineyards

Italy: Moderated by Sam Kimball | Felline Accademia dei Racemi